What makes someone open fire on a group of people watching a children’s play in a church?
When a gunman was arrested after opening fire in a Knoxville church last weekend, he told authorities
that he had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of the major media outlets.
He was known as someone who “hated blacks, gays and anyone different from him”. He was unemployed, and was losing his food stamps.
Was he just someone who turned to hating other groups because his own life was unsuccessful? As the Christian Science Monitor suggested, was he one of a “whole category of mass killers who are seeking vengeance against a group of people who they feel are taking away their birthright, their opportunities, and making it difficult to succeed…society has been bending backward to favor disenfranchised groups so they’re trying to get some justice for their own victimization.”
Or maybe a question of lost manhood?
They will take that intense personal feeling of emasculation and failure and find some societal or political overlay that makes the failure seem not of their doing.
Leave aside for the moment the question of how someone whose wife had a restraining order against him and who once told her he was going to “blow her brains out then blow his own brains out” was able walk into a pawn shop and to buy a semi-automatic weapon.
Where did the shooter get the “political overlay” that told him to kill liberals?
It’s nothing new. For years, conservative pundits have been calling for physical violence against those who don’t agree with them. Glen Greenwald spent some time a while back documenting the conservative lynch mentality, links are in the above Media Matters piece. Some on the blogosphere think that words don’t matter, and this type of call for violence is unimportant.
You can still get a “liberal hunting license” with a picture of a donkey superimposed on a target from one blog’s “Patriot Shop”. This from a website with a mission to distribute their literature to military personnel. Just what we need. People who already know how to use a gun being indoctrinated to shoot democrats.
The chatter on the blogosphere also points to conservative pundits (Savage, Hannity, O’Reilly, Coulter, FOX, Limbaugh, Beck etc.) as being responsible for the shooting.
And what was the shooter reading before he went on his rampage? Police removed the following books from his home:
- The O’Reilly Factor, by television commentator Bill O’Reilly
- Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, by radio personality Michael Savage
- Let Freedom Ring, by political pundit Sean Hannity
I grew up in a very conservative community, although of course there were all political types there too, but I never saw the kind of hate speech and intolerance that passes for conservatism these days. Whatever happened to conservatives like William F. Buckley? The conservatives these days just seem to push the envelope more and more, becoming more and more outrageous in order to market more and more books and make more and more money.
The other day I was in one of those little Arab supermarkets buying pita bread. They had on a program with a man weeping copiously and dramatically about the latest political action in his neighborhood, I think from al-Jazeera. It wasn’t being presented as a news program although it was news. It was the equivalent of a soap opera.
This is the new entertainment, whether al-Jazeera or Ann Couter. It sells. Some recognize it for marketing, like professional wrestling, but others mistake it for truth. The tragedy is when someone like the Knoxville shooter, or the al-Quaeda suicide bombers mistake this type of propaganda for real life and act on it.