This troubles me even more

by David Safier
This is one of those times I wish I could say I'm being overly fearful. You know us liberals, always worried about the violent convergence of extreme right wing politics and the gun culture. But some of the back story behind the killing of three Pittsburgh police officers by 23 year old Richard Poplawski really scares me.

Yesterday, before I had heard of this latest horrific incident of random violence, I wrote This troubles me, referencing a column by Charles Blow where he mentions the increase in legal gun purchases since Obama's election and my concern this could be a forerunner of an increase of rage-related gun violence, not to mention acts of planned terrorism. "We sometimes forget that not all dangerous men are trained by Al Qaeda," Blow wrote.

And the right wing blow hards, both in the media and the halls of Congress, are doing everything they can to stoke the fires of rage and fear, which means unstable people who are prone to violence are being given a provided with a target.

You never know what triggers one of these killing sprees. Someone already has to be right at the edge. But in this case, part of the trigger might have been Poplawski's fears that guns would be banned, according to AP:

Police Chief Nate Harper said the motive for the shooting isn't clear, but friends said the gunman recently had been upset about losing his job and feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.

Further on in the article, Poplawski's best friend, Edward Perkovic, said this:

Poplawski had feared "the Obama gun ban that's on the way" and "didn't like our rights being infringed upon," said Edward Perkovic, his best friend.

Note Perkovic' phrasing: "the Obama gun ban that's on the way." It's Obama's gun ban, and it's not a some vague possibility. It's "on the way."

Elsewhere, Perkovic had this to say about his friend:

"I've known this kid my entire life and he was a good kid. He never had bad intentions. He never spoke about harming anybody," said Edward Perkovic, a lifelong friend who had known Mr. Poplawski since the two paired up at a daycare.

Who is Edward Perkovic? Here's what the Troll Report says it found on Perkovic's MySpace page (I haven't checked to confirm this):

DOCUMENTS I RECCOMEND YOU READ BY GOOGLE: "Civil War II" by Tom Chittum "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" "The Turner Diaries" by Dr. William Pierce "Jewish Supremacy" by Dr. David Duke It Has Even Been Documented In The Communist Manifesto: "“We must realize that our party’s most powerful weapon is racial tension. "By propounding into the consciousness of the dark races that for centuries they have been oppressed by the whites, we can mold them to the program of the Communist Party. "In America we will aim for subtle victory. While inflaming the Negro minority against the whites, we will endeavour to instill in the whites a guilt complex for their exploitation of the Negros. "We will aid the Negros to rise to prominence in every walk of life, in the professions, and in the world of sports and entertainment

One crazy guys kills some policemen. He's afraid Obama wants to rip his gun out of his hands. His best friend's reading list is a rogue's gallery of anti-semitic and racist literature. This doesn't add up to clear cause and effect. But it scares the hell out of me.

I still hope I'm being overly fearful and this is an isolated incident where it was the shooter's sickness and despair, not far right wing fear-and-violence mongering, that was to blame. But I fear we're going to see more politically inspired violence in the days ahead.

0 responses to “This troubles me even more

  1. I agree with Michael. These nuts won’t listen to Obama, they’ll just continue down the rabbit hole with the likes of Beck, Savage & Limbaugh.

  2. Michael Parker

    I believe you are quite mistaken when you write that Obama need only spend some time at the shooting range if he wants to improve his image among the country’s professional malcontents and their legions of followers. Ideology does not work this way. To the contrary, it is immune to the sort of empirical falsification you describe. For instance, when Borat encountered an instance of Jewish generosity, he didn’t renounce his anti-Semitism. Instead, he incorporated the concept of shape-shifter into his notion of Jewishness and thereby insulated his benighted beliefs from the devastating influence of fact. The same would undoubtedly be true of people who perceive Obama as a threat to their liberties. They would leave the sort of pandering exercise you describe no less paranoid than they were before. In fact the trope of shape-shifter that seems so absurd in everyone’s favorite Kazakh already exists in much reactionary discourse surrounding the president: for right-wing populists, rhetorical prowess is just a highfalutin form of duplicity. Even if the president subjected himself to an NRA catechism, he would only reinforce the bunker mentality of people like Glen Beck and his followers.

  3. A radical Christianist suicide bomber in Davenport Iowa on 9/11/2006. An IED left at a woman’s health clinic in Austin, Texas.
    I have seen the terrorists and they are among us, watching Fox News and sending money to Focus on the Family.

  4. “Democracy and liberalism are not synonymous.” Conservatism is certainly not synonymous with democracy either.

    “It would be better if you made efforts to understand what’s at work here and adjusted your theory of government accordingly. “Consent of the governed” is much more subtle than majoritarian elections” You may want to adjust the lenses of whatever glasses you use to view the past 8 years my friend. 8 years of liberals being called terrorists, obstructionists, traitors, treasons, illegals, immorals & socialists. 8 years of government purges, warrantless wiretaps, & citizens denied equal protection and due process. 8 years of class warfare waged to transfer the earnings & savings of the working class to the wealthy. How strongly did you “seek to understand” the positions of those in the minority, Ben?

    “and if Morris is worried about his family and friends it would be wise for him to consider if and whether they are oppressing anyone.” ….or what? They’ll be shot if they don’t change their beliefs? They’ll be shot if they don’t change their votes? Your idea of who is attempting the oppression is amusing.

    Liberals have buried thousands of friends & family, Ben. We’re the party of non-violent resistance.

    Your view of America is far… far different from mine. I don’t see America as dirt under my feet. I don’t see America as a strip of red, white & blue cloth. I see America as it’s people, it’s governance and it’s rule of law.

    Had Major Buttrick called on his militia to fire on his own countrymen, he would have been hung for treason. Continue advocating for violence on citizens exerting their rights and you will see how far in the minority you really are.

  5. If you (i.e. Saifer, Morris) want some insight on this, try _The Ballad of Carl Drega_ by Vin Suprynowycz, a collection of news articles and the like, with commentary, about people driven to suicidal rampages by Big Government.

    The question is always out there: when is the appropriate time to stand and fight? When do we stop looking at these people as nuts, quit taking bullets from authority, and instead start sounding like Major Buttrick: “Fire, fellow soldiers, for god’s sake!, fire!” There’s no getting away from that as a trope in U.S. culture. April 19 is coming up–what does that mean to you?

    If your answer is “as long as there are elections” it’s incomplete. Democracy and liberalism are not synonymous. It would be better if you made efforts to understand what’s at work here and adjusted your theory of government accordingly. “Consent of the governed” is much more subtle than majoritarian elections–and if Morris is worried about his family and friends it would be wise for him to consider if and whether they are oppressing anyone.

  6. I really do see right-wing terrorism ratcheting up over the next few years. The church shooting was not the only recent violent attack directed at “liberals”.

    There was also the shooting of Bill Gwatney in the office of the Arkansas Democratic party headquarters last year. The Maine dirty bomber was potentially another.

    Dont forget that the anthrax letters went to 2 senators, both Democrats. Anthrax was also sent to media outlets, but the only weaponized anthrax went to the senators because they were pro-choice Catholics.

    Eric Robert Rudolph’s Olympic park bombing in 1996 was directed at “socialism”. In addition to his bombings at gay bars & abortion clinics.

    One arrest that got very little media attention was William Krar in 2003. A right-wing militia member who, along with other militia members, built a high-yield sodium-cyanide bomb and hundreds of other explosives.

    I know we have our fringe as well. People who spike trees, burn down ski lodges or Hummers, & attack people who do animal research. The difference is that the left doesn’t give them any mainstream support. The radical left also doesn’t tend to target children like McVeigh, Atkinson & Rudolph did.

    The right’s freedom of speech stops at the point they advocate violence against my family & friends. I’m hoping some of that spike in gun purchases was from liberals too.

  7. I just came across an interesting photo essay about a machine gun seminar. Lots of “birthers”, neo-nazis, new world order cranks, and other various Glen Beck fans in attendance.

  8. David Safier

    I just read the manifesto Stephen Morris linked to of the guy who shot up the church. Scared the hell out of me. I usually don’t follow these incidents too closely. It seems macabre. But when they have political/extremist undertones like this one, they deserve thoughtful coverage, not just of isolated incidents but of trends.

  9. I really like the SPLC’s Hatewatch blog. It is where I learned about the dirty bomber in Maine.
    Dave Neiwert, who currently blogs over at Crooks and Liars is also an expert on right-wing domestic terrorists as well as the historical roots of hate in the U.S.; I can’t wait for his new book, ‘Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the american Right’.
    Neiwert’s old essays about things like “Sundown towns”, Nazism, and eliminationism in America are must reads, they are at his personal web site:

  10. AzBlueMeanie

    If you want to learn more about the threat from domestic terrorist organizations in the U.S., check out the Southern Poverty Law Center which has successfully tracked and prosecuted Nazis, Aryan Nation, Militias and other fringe groups for decades.

    The site includes this helpful “hate group map” of the U.S.:

    And lists the 19 identified hate groups in Arizona:

  11. The only thing that gives me a sense of relief is that President Obama did not relinquish the ability to continue warrantless wiretaps & electronic surveillance on American citizens. I was fully opposed to it under the Bush regime, but for President Obama’s sake and ours I think it’s necessary. I could only hope someone is recording the IP addresses & information of people posting on places like Townhall and adding them to no-fly lists or other watch lists.

    I’m also beginning to see the merit of the purges from government positions that Bush instituted and now would be an excellent time for President Obama to take out the trash.

  12. I’m no advocate of “the cartridge box” as the ballot box and jury box are still mostly working, but it’s worth keeping in mind that this is what happens whenever and wherever one starts crossing lines previously though uncrossable and losing the consent of the governed.

    I wouldn’t say that Obama and company have done that yet, but even the perception that they will sets off marginal characters. You blame the talk show hosts, and perhaps their bombast does contribute, but at the heart of this is a refusal to find common ground with non-leftist Americans and to make it clear that certain things will remain off-limits. A little pro-RKBA talk from Obama would go a long way. An official visit to the range would go even further. And Democrats have gotten much better on markets in the last decade and a half–and at times Obama reflects that–but he spends too much time pandering to lefty ideologues, which pretty much precludes sounding like the President of the US.

    Something for you to chew on, too: Certain legal arrangements are recipes for social peace. The regulatory framework put forth in Epstein’s Takings is one; markets in general are another.


    This was the note left by the guy who shot up the church last year.

  14. David Safier

    flounder, I share your sentiments. After the Oklahoma City bombings, there were rumored links to far right, heavily armed safe houses in various parts of the country. McVeigh’s connections to a larger network were never discussed in any depth, even though that’s the first thing you expect to hear discussed when something like that happens.

    I don’t know how serious the threat of right wing terrorism is. I’d simply like to see the issue aired in a reporterly manner in the traditional media. Individual nut cases are only a local threat. Larger movements that promote the ideas of violence and revolution are a much larger problem.

  15. Number one ; we the people of the United States are being lied to by our Government who feeds the media information every morning from the White House to go through the days talking points.

    These points are the opposite of what the true story really is.

    Both Political Parties are corrupt in that they do not represent what the founding fathers and our constitution intended.

    as we have strayed further away from the docuement that has built this Nation into “its all about power for 535 members of Congress, and keeping them in power,and we are only to be used to provide them with our property, money and votes so they can intern make us reliant on them we will loose our individuality and Liberty!

    Its not about the Glen Becks of the world , its your ability to use common sence!

    Obama today;

    No Borders:
    No Common Language; Press One:
    No Culture:
    No Freedom of Speech:
    No Guns:
    No Defense Shields:
    No Nuclear Deterants:
    No Rights for American Citizens; Only Rights for anyone OTHER than American Citizens:

    Yes:tax everything in sight and things you can not see like carbon that we as humans exhale and plants use to live:

    Yes:Tell we Americans what car to drive,what light bulb to use; how much electricity we should use(or else)how much money we should spend; how much money we should earn(anything above the limit goes to the government) when and if we should be born and how long we should live; regulate religion’s abilty to deturmine morals only in the view of the government!

    If you like being told what you can’t do, NOT what you CAN do than this society Rejects Liberty and IS a Tyranny!

    I do not like following the failed paths of Europe that we had die to save them from themselves but they will do nothing to help themselves even today!

  16. David, there sure seems to be conscious effort by the traditional media to not point fingers over this stuff. About a year ago, Dana Priest, National Security Correspondent of the Washington Post wrote a really snide comment to me when I asked her about right wing terrorism. I’ll have to track it down…
    But have you heard anything in the traditional media about the Glen Beck-type in Maine that had the components to create a dirty bomb (that was killed by his wife)?
    A couple ethnically Pakistani kids play some paintball in New Jersey and it drives the news for two days, but some conservative has a real weapon of mass destruction and these people pretend it doesn’t exist. I’m trying to figure out why.
    sheapenny, maybe you can tell me???