Friday, June 12, 2009

Haters with Guns: Right-wing Crackpots Use Violence to Go after Purported Enemies

The white supremacist charged this week with the murder of a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was a racist and a crackpot, a man with a long history of wild and erroneous notions about why the world doesn't work they way he thought it should. 

The death of the security guard was a tragedy, of course. The guard, Stephen Johns, 39, was doing his job, protecting the lives of others. His death has been widely condemned, as it should be. 

But this wasn't the first recent death caused by violent paranoia on the American right. Lest we forget, only last year an unemployed truck driver in Knoxville, Tenn., walked into a Unitarian church and murdered two innocent people. 

This shooter, Jim David Adkisson, made clear his intent to kill liberals. Before his crime, Adkisson explained his actions in several pages of notes. "Know This If Nothing Else," he wrote. "This was a hate crime." He continued: "I hate the damn left-wing liberals."

If these words aren't scary enough, Adkisson went on, referring specifically to a book that blames liberals and others for "screwing up America."

"This was a symbolic killing," Adkisson wrote of his shooting at the church. "Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book." 

This are deeply disturbing political ideas—ideas about murdering your political opposition, ideas that led to murder

Adkisson was so angered by whatever he read or heard that he twisted his ideas into violence against his apparent enemies, which he named. He hated the "traitors," "the Democrates" [sic], "liberalism," "anti-American organizations," and so on. 

Blame others—and then kill them. This was the evil idea Adkisson clearly articulated, one that we saw repeated this week at the Holocaust Memorial Museum by another disgruntled gunman. 

But violence is not an acceptable political solution, as we all should have learned by now. In a democracy, we fight with ideas, not guns. But the crackpots and haters haven't accepted this, apparently, so they get riled up and start shooting. The result is murder. 

This is not the America we want. 

1 comment:

Tulsan said...

The hate radio jocks probably take the proliferation of right-wing shooters as a validation of their power.