Lars Man Standing, Just
National Review Online 6 February 2013
By Mark Steyn
I’ve written previously about my friend Lars Hedegaard, head of the Danish Free Press Society, in a series of posts about his outrageous show trial headed "Lars Man Standing".
I meant the term metaphorically. Today, it got a little more literal. Yesterday morning, Lars survived an assassination attempt in Copenhagen.
Incidentally, the slapdash hack at the Associated Press can’t even get the basic facts right, reporting that Lars was "fined 5,000 kroner ($1,000) in 2011 for making a series of insulting and degrading statements about Muslims,” but apparently unaware that last year the Danish Supreme Court struck down his conviction 7–0.
In that previous post on Lars, apropos our free speech battles, I quoted a prominent Toronto talk-show host:
Can we get over the idea that it’s "dangerous” to be Mark Steyn. It’s actually rather benign and highly profitable.
And I responded:
Well, it’s dangerous to be Lars Hedegaard, or Lars Vilks, or Geert Wilders or Ayaan Hirsi Ali – while there’s surely nothing safer than peddling "dangerous” "edgy” cobwebbed multiculti pieties and knowing that, whatever words you utter, there will never come a day when you’ll be called on to bet your house and your savings and perhaps your life on them.
That’s what Lars did this morning, in one of the oldest free societies on earth. On the Continent, for the few who talk about Islam and Europe life is not "benign and highly profitable” but comes at a very steep price.
UPDATE: From the BBC:
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt condemned the attack, saying: "It is even worse if the attack is rooted in an attempt to prevent Lars Hedegaard using his freedom of expression.”
That statement would be more persuasive had not the Danish state (as noted above) spent the last three years in multiple attempts to "prevent Lars Hedegaard using his freedom of expression”.