Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where in the World Is Molly Norris?

Last week I asked a question that I thought everyone should be asking, but that no one was: Why can't they protect Molly Norris? Link here. 

If the British government could provide police protection for Salman Rushdie and if the Dutch government could provide protective custody for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, why couldn't the FBI protect Molly Norris?

Why did the FBI decide to erase the identity of a Seattle Weekly cartoonist when other governments had been able to protect people who had much higher profiles?

If Ayaan Hirsi Ali can live freely in the United States, why can't Molly Norris?

I am happy to report that this idea has now moved from the blogosphere to the the media. In an editorial two days ago the Washington Examiner asked the same question and called out the FBI, and, by extension, the Holder Justice Department, for cowering in the face of terrorism. Link here.

The Examiner pointed out that the FBI had fought Ku Klus Klan terrorist threats and had defended Southern newspaper editors vigorously. Why could it not have protected Molly Norris?

And the Examiner also calls out journalists for failing to stand up for Molly Norris. The American Society of News Editors refused its request to offer a statement about her, and, as I have also noted, the pathetically pusillanimous Nicholas Kristof thought that it was a great time for America, or American journalists, to apologize to Islam. My remarks here.

Now let's see how long it takes for the question to be asked of the FBI, the Justice Department, or Robert Gibbs. Molly Norris is not a high profile public figure. Why could the FBI not find a way to protect her short of silencing her?


Proud Hindu said...

She's here:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that the criticism I've seen on this topic is entirely fair. To begin with, underlying it all is the assumption that the government is somehow doing wrong by Ms. Norris.

It seems to me that if I wanted to protect someone in Ms. Norris' situation, the very first thing I'd do is say *absolutely nothing* about what I was doing.

If I also happened to already operate a system like the witness protection program, I'd certainly consider that as an option.

I'd then put the question to Ms. Norris: we can have cops accompany you everywhere for the next n years (which wouldn't provide a whole lot of protection, but which would definitely cramp your style), or you can adopt a new identity but otherwise live fairly normally. Both options are lousy, but one has a record of being perfectly effective (at least according to the U.S. Marshals Service).

The lack of mainstream notice of this annoys me, but it does strike me that the government may be doing for Ms. Norris exactly what she wants done.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you, Anonymous. That's a possibility that I had not considered. It is certainly possible that the FBI offered her two options, with the one seeming ultimately safer than the other.

For all we know she might have had bodyguards and might have escaped an assassination attempt... that might motivate her to want to have her identity erased.
And yet, as I understand that situation, she is not going to be paid by the government, so she will have to find work. And now, the career she has developed and the reputation for her art are gone. She can no longer work as a cartoonist.

Depending on the regimen, people in witness protection are often prohibited from contacting family and friends. I find it difficult to imagine that one would choose to be a nonentity, but I do agree that it is a possibility.

But I still wonder how someone as high profile as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and someone who has received far more death threats and been more threatened than Molly Norris, can find safety and refuge in the U.S. while an American journalist cannot?

Proud Hindu said...

Ayaan Hershey Bar Ali is a Black woman from Africa with a Muslim background. There's your answer.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Do yourself and the rest of us a favor, and spare us the vulgarity. It does neither you nor your cause any honor.

proud hindu said...

What was vulgar about what I said? She's good press. A 50-something year old woman from the midwest who's trying salvage her dying art career is not.

Not rocket science to figure out, Doc.