Archive for June 9, 2014

Coming on the heels of a “Sovereign Citizen” shooting up a Georgia courthouse, we have two people in Las Vegas who murdered two police officers in cold blood, then went to Wal-Mart, killing another person before they ended their spree in a murder-suicide pact. These two incidents are not isolated, but are the direct result of the hate-filled rhetoric that the rabid right wing has directed toward the government and President Obama in particular.

It turns out that the Las Vegas killers were ardent believers in positions espoused by the most extreme people on the right; the “Patriot” movement. They yelled, “This is the start of the revolution” and draped a Gadsden Flag (a symbol appropriated by extremist groups in recent years) over the body of one of the police officers. The couple’s Facebook page railed against anyone not 100% supportive of unrestricted 2nd Amendment rights and demonizes the federal government. Here’s an example of one of their statements on the 2nd Amendment:

“This is a declaration to all Americans. If you don’t agree with and hold dear the second amendment of the united states constitution (sic), then you ,need to self-deport yourself to someplace where people like you can congregate,” he wrote on Jan. 1, 2013. “We are already on our way to tyranny, and your corrupt evil ass needs to leave this country before you incite another civil war.”

“Your (sic) a traitor to this nation and its people who hold their rights dear to them and deserve to die a traitors death.”

And here’s one on the threat of the federal government:

“We can hope for peace. We must, however, prepare for war,” Miller wrote on June 2. “To stop this oppression, I fear, can only be accomplished through bloodshed.”

The rampage in Las Vegas is what happens when violent rhetoric is taken to the extreme. Right wing politicians have increasingly embraced this rhetoric in order to compete for the votes of the Tea Party and extremist conservatives who dominate Republican primaries without regard to how they are aiding and abetting attacks like the two that occurred in the past week. Joni Ernst talks about cutting off the testicles of big spending politicians and literally shooting Obamacare, other candidates shooting Obamacare, and even one candidate shooting a drone.

Since 2008, we have also seen the right attempt to delegitimize the President, and by extension any action he has ever taken and his entire party, by calling into question his citizenship and his religion. Their reasoning is that if can cast enough doubt on his legitimacy, nothing he does can be considered legitimate. The ones who are out there doing this in the public square are doing it for partisan political reasons (because angry people vote), but they aren’t giving any thought to how they are stirring up the masses.

Extremists use the rhetoric they hear from Tea Party candidates and take it to heart, not realizing they are being agitated. They, unlike the political candidates, actually believe what they are hearing. This gives rise to groups like Oath Keepers, who flocked to the Bundy Ranch in anticipation of being able to stand on the front lines of the coming civil war. Some of those people were salivating at the chance to put a bullet into a government employee and, in their view, start the campaign to free America from the tyranny of the left.

You would be hard pressed to put comments by the Las Vegas murderers, Tea Party candidates, and right wing bloggers and commenters side-by-side and determine who said what. Bloggers joyfully anticipate a Second American Revolution, but will deny that they mean anything that has to do with violence. Right wing commenters will talk about how they must prepare for the day when the left takes one step too far and they are forced to defend themselves and their property. They will talk about the jack-booted thugs oppressing Cliven Bundy and make comparisons between Democratic policies and Nazi Germany, then express shock and dismay when the Las Vegas murderers equate police officers with Nazis.

I’m sure we are all familiar with comments like this one from the Las Vegas killers:

There is no greater cause to die for than liberty. To die for that cause is easy, to live for it is another matter. I will willingly die for liberty. Death, in a sense is freedom from tyranny. Death, is the easy way out. Most notably is the “suicide by cop” routine. Yes, standing before despots is dangerous and most likely does not end well for you. I know this, my wife knows this. Soon they will come for us, because they don’t like what we think, and what we say. They don’t like the fact that we, simply will not submit to fascist rule. We don’t have much, but we are willing to sacrifice everything…….for you, for your freedoms. Even if you wouldn’t let us have ours. We know who we are and what we stand for, do you?”

The people who generate this type of rhetoric, whether they are politicians, pundit, bloggers, or anonymous commenters, need to own these violent acts. Their words are directly responsible. The only difference between the talkers and the doers is that one group actually means what they say, and I don’t know how to tell them apart anymore.

I don’t know if these conservatives are suffering from group psychosis, a new strain of denial or if they are reenacting the Monty Python bit The Black Knight.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Knight_(Monty_Python)

This is the punchline.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/08/phillip-puckett-resign_n_5470640.html