How Did a Dead Otto Warmbier Get ‘Exactly What He Deserved’?

Two weeks ago, when 22-year-old Otto Warmbier returned to the U.S. from North Korea in a coma after being held captive there for 17 months, there was considerable righteousness in leftist corners of the Internet about how Warmbier had it coming to him.

Social media users re-upped a media narrative that mocked Warmbier (“This Might Be America’s Biggest Idiot Frat Boy,” read one Salon headline) and impugned his “white privilege” after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in the hermit kingdom for allegedly pilfering a propaganda poster from his hotel.

Even after Warmbier’s parents declared him dead on June 19, the righteousness and victim-blaming continued.

AffinityMag, a social justice publication “for teens by teens,” sneered at a Washington Post interview with Danny Gratton, a fortysomething British man who stayed with Warmbier during their four day visit to Pyongyang with Young Pioneers Tours.

“Watch whiteness work,” AffinityMag wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “He wasn’t a ‘kid’ or ‘innocent’ you cant go to another country and try to steal from them. Respect their laws.”

In a shocking display of ignorance and intellectual bankruptcy, AffinityMag was more sympathetic to the “laws” of a murderous dictatorship than an American victim of that dictatorship, whose “whiteness” apparently does not afford him sympathy.