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FLASHBACK: Leftist ‘News’ Sites Mocked Otto Warmbier After North Korea Sentenced Him

This afternoon, Otto Warmbier passed away at home after losing a significant amount of brain tissue during his 17-month imprisonment in the communist totalitarian nation North Korea. He was 22 years old. North Korea sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor after he attempted to steal a propaganda poster.

When he was sentenced, leftist “news” sites like Salon and Huffington Post mocked Warmbier’s plight and argued that he deserved to be harshly punished by the communist regime. Here is what the Huffington Post wrote:

“That’s what the hell he gets. Good for him!” My mother had uttered those words in her typical matter-of-fact tone one morning as she watched the news. “He” was Michael Fay,an 18-year-old from Ohio who had confessed to vandalizing cars in Singapore, and was subsequently sentence to six lashes from a rattan cane. I was in sixth grade and all I could imagine was how horrible the pain would be. My mother was unmoved at the thought, remarking, “He earned that.”

I thought about my mother’s words a few days ago while watching video of 21-year-old Otto Warmbier, another man from Ohio who last week was convicted of subversion for stealing a propaganda banner in North Korea, and sentenced to 15 years hard labor. Just as in Fay’s case, I was shocked by the severity of the punishment. I’ve tried to imagine spending a decade and a half performing what the North Korean state deems hard labor and I can’t. But I’m not 11 anymore, and now, my mother’s callous reaction to [Michael] Fay’s sentence is my reaction to another young white man who went to an Asian country and violated their laws, and learned that the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.

In short, the author believed that Warmbier deserved to get arrested because he did not believe he would experience the consequences of breaking North Korea’s laws because he was white. This woman, a black woman, also nonsensically compared the harsh sentence Warmbier received from North Korea to being black in America:

As I’ve said, living 15 years performing manual labor in North Korea is unimaginable, but so is going to a place I know I’m unwelcome and violating their laws. I’m a black woman though. The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense. He is now an outsider at the mercy of a government unfazed by his cries for help. I get it.

Amazingly, Salon‘s take on Warmbier was magnitudes worse than The Huffington Post, which referred to him as “America’s biggest idiot frat boy” quoting supposedly funny Comedy Central comedian Larry Wilmore. Here’s an excerpt:

Wilmore noted that Warmbier may have also been coerced into the stunt as part of an initiation into UVA’s secretive Z Society.

“So you have to commit an international crime to get into that clique?” Wilmore added. “If your hazing includes international crimes, you’ve got to read the fine print on your American frat bro warranty … it says, ‘Frat Bro Privilege not valid in totalitarian dystopias.’”

According to the Left, Warmbier was a privileged white fraternity boy who deserved his fatal sentence because he arrogantly believed he could get away with breaking their laws. Now Warmbier is dead and whatever “privilege” the Left claimed he had cannot logically include being savagely murdered by the North Koreans for supposedly stealing a poster.


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