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No, they’re not the same

I was reading about the whack-job behind the “film” that is being touted as the provocation of rage in various Muslim countries. The man appears to have a criminal record including a meth related conviction, a bad check scam/bank fraud and a parole violation (probably soon to be plural). Nakoula Basseley Nakoula has been revealed as “Sam Bacile” the director of “The Innocence of Bin Laden” (among other titles used for the film). Federal Authorities confirmed his identity after tracing his cell number from a call made to one of the other men involved with the film, Stephen Klein.

I find it a little disturbing that federal authorities were tracking this guy down, after all, making a dumb movie is not a crime. Being offensive is not a crime. Heck, if your target is the Catholic Church, you might even get a federal grant for your “art.” But with so much of this story looking like a choreographed attack with terrorist connections, and this movie being so pathetic and coming out of nowhere, perhaps they wanted to see if it was a front for those seeking to use it as justification for violence elsewhere.

That does not currently appear to be the case. It looks like it is just the workings of characters on the fringes (Nakoula was once a registered Democrat, so no doubt ABC’s Brian Ross will be following up on that political connection). Their film will inspire more loss and cruelty to come, but those who do it are obviously craving an excuse to do so.

One comment I’ve heard and observed more than once in this situation is something along the lines of “these extremists are inciting each other.” This is trying to create a moral equivalency between the two situations where none exists. One one side, you have a group of individuals who made a crude film challenging the beliefs of others in a disrespectful way. One the other you have terrorists and their useful idiots violating sovereign territory, destroying property and murdering good men. Those two kinds of “extremism” are not interchangeable.

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