A terrifying and tragic juxtaposition of news pieces crossed my desktop in the last two days. First, an op-ed piece from the NYT on Friday-
Pitchforks and Pistols
By Charles M. Blow, New York Times, April 3, 2009
Lately I’ve been consuming as much conservative media as possible (interspersed with shots of Pepto-Bismol) to get a better sense of the mind and mood of the right. My read: They’re apocalyptic. They feel isolated, angry, betrayed and besieged. And some of their “leaders” seem to be trying to mold them into militias.
At first, it was entertaining — just harmless, hotheaded expostulation. Of course, there were the garbled facts, twisted logic and veiled hate speech. But what did I expect, fair and balanced? It was like walking through an ideological house of mirrors. The distortions can be mildly amusing at first, but if I stay too long it makes me sick.
But, it’s not all just harmless talk. For some, their disaffection has hardened into something more dark and dangerous. They’re talking about a revolution.
Some simply lace their unscrupulous screeds with loaded language about the fall of the Republic. We have to “rise up” and “take back our country.” Others have been much more explicit.
For example, Chuck Norris, the preeminent black belt and prospective Red Shirt, wrote earlier this month on the conservative blog WorldNetDaily: “How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?”
Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, imagining herself as some sort of Delacroixian Liberty from the Land of the Lakes, urged her fellow Minnesotans to be “armed and dangerous,” ready to bust caps over cap-and-trade, I presume.
And between his tears, Glenn Beck, the self-professed “rodeo clown,” keeps warning of an impending insurrection by saying that he believes that we are heading for “depression” and “revolution” and then gaming out that revolution on his show last month. “Think the unthinkable” he said. Indeed.
All this talk of revolution is revolting, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
As the comedian Bill Maher pointed out, strong language can poison weak minds, as it did in the case of Timothy McVeigh. (We sometimes forget that not all dangerous men are trained by Al Qaeda.)
At the same time, the unrelenting meme being pushed by the right that Obama will mount an assault on the Second Amendment has helped fuel the panic buying of firearms. According to the F.B.I., there have been 1.2 million more requests for background checks of potential gun buyers from November to February than there were in the same four months last year. That’s 5.5 million requests altogether over that period; more than the number of people living in Bachmann’s Minnesota.
Coincidence? Maybe. Just posturing? Hopefully. But it all gives me a really bad feeling. (Where’s that Pepto-Bismol?!)
Think he's over-reacting a bit, being a little over dramatic? Well, even as I was finishing reading that article, this appalling story hits the headlines-
Call lures police to ambush; gunman kills 3 at the door
Associated Press, Sunday, April 05, 2009
Pittsburgh —- A man in a bulletproof vest killed three police officers answering a domestic call Saturday, police said. 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.
Richard Poplawski, 23, met officers at the doorway, shot two in the head immediately and then killed an officer who tried to help them, Harper said.
Harper said more than 100 rounds were fired when Poplawski, with an assault rifle and two other guns, held police off four hours as the fallen officers lay nearby.
The officers killed were Eric Kelly, Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullo III. Kelly had finished the night shift and was on his way home when he responded to the call. Another officer was shot in the hand and a fifth broke his leg on a fence.
Poplawski had gunshot wounds only in his legs because of the bulletproof vest, Harper said.
He was charged with three counts of homicide, aggravated assault and a weapons violation. “It appears he was lying in wait for the officers,” Harper said.
Poplawski’s best friend said Poplawski feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on the way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon.” Edward Perkovic said Poplawski had called him at work and said, “Eddie, I am going to die today.”
Moral: The Right Wing really is nuts, and they are out to get us.