Bigotry or Free Speech in San Juan Capistrano?

The case of San Juan Capistrano council member Derek Reeve who named one of his dogs “Muhammad” (the other was named “America”)  has earned him scorn and, oddly praise.  OC Register columnist Frank Mickadeit’s column raises the question if this case is one about bigotry or free speech. And oddly, Frank doesn’t come out on the side of either.  But since Reeve is a conservative, Mickadeit offers a softer side than he would say if Larry Agran or Loretta Sanchez were his target.

From Mickadeit’s column:

“Reeve most definitely didn’t apologize. Here are a few things that were running through my mind as the issue was debated for well over an hour.

First, was his stated reason for naming one of his dogs Muhammad – teaching his children the meaning of free speech – completely sincere? Did he name his dog something he knew would offend some Muslims because it was necessary to make a point? Or does he mainly just want to offend Muslims?

According to Patch.com, after the Sept. 6 council meeting, he wrote a blog piece for Patch talking about how his two dogs got their names. In the original blog, he wrote:

“While playing with our family’s two new Basset Hounds, Muhammad and America (Muhammad is the bitch), I was thinking …”

But this part of his post was removed a short time later. In response to another reader’s inquiry about its disappearance, Patch editor Jenna Chandler wrote that “(Reeve) wrote to me to say he had intended to delete that part of the blog post, and wasn’t sure how it remained in our queue. In fairness to him, we deleted it from this story.”

So, if Reeves’ naming of his dog was also something of a statement – essentially, Muhammad is America’s bitch – that would seem to belie his public statement that it was all about freedom of speech. It would be evidence of the insensitivity and mean-spiritedness his critics allege.

If this is a free-speech demonstration against an oppressive society – radical Islam – that might do him harm, why did he insert his family into it? He’s not only putting one of the household providers at risk but he might be putting his family at risk as well.

And if Islam not a society to be feared, than what is the point of making a “statement” by the naming of his dogs – unless it really wasn’t to make a free-speech statement at all, but really just to have a couple of basset hounds be the sad, living bearers of a stupid, offensive joke? Either way, he’s shown bad judgment.”

I’m still amazed it took Mickadeit almost the entire column to offer a mild rebuke of “bad judgment.” 

We contacted Adel Syed, the government relations official with the Los Angeles chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and he wasn’t happy about the comment.

“Councilmember Reeve’s comments about his dogs were not only in bad taste but also an insult to his office, as well as Muslim and other Americans who care about tolerance and understanding in our communitie,” Syed said.

Since Reeve is using the “I did this to teach my children a principle,” then allow me to use his example to teach my children that this is bigotry and intolerance wrapped in a flag.  I actually feel bad for the dog who clearly doesn’t deserve to have this person as an owner.  On the positive side, Deborah Pauly now has someone she can sit with at conservative Tea Party functions.

Reeve was the council member advocating for allowing SJC residents to openly carry unloaded guns in city parks.

Mickadeit actually wrapped up with his column with this phrase: “…the two council members most vocal about saying they too were offended by Reeve’s comments, and who most strongly urged him to apologize, were Allevato, a 30-year cop, and Kramer, a 30-year Navy officer, a sub boat captain. Not exactly your weak-livered liberal kowtowers. Reeve would be wise to take their counsel.”

Weak-livered liberal kowtowers?  No one will ever accuse Mickadeit of liberal media bias.

I have to wonder how Reeve or Mickadeit would react if Syed announced he had a dog named “Reagan.”

  4 comments for “Bigotry or Free Speech in San Juan Capistrano?

  1. junior
    September 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I think that this is about stupidity – that dude is one stupid dumb f**k.

  2. rebel girl
    September 23, 2011 at 9:40 am
  3. Tru
    September 23, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Why can’t it be both?

    The guy is free to display his bigotry and name his dogs pretty much anything he wants.

  4. September 23, 2011 at 9:43 am

    IT’S A NON-ISSUE: MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL

    “It’s not even worth commenting on. It’s a non issue,” said Marium Mohiuddin, communications coordinator for the Muslim Public Affairs Council. “It’s beneath us as a community to dwell on this kind of subject…there are too many important things happening in this world to make this an issue.”

    (2nd to last paragraph)
    http://www.thecapistranodispatch.com/view/full_story/15538921/article-Capistrano-Councilman-Criticized-for-Naming-Dog–Muhammad-?instance=eye_on_sjc

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