Not that I lack a proper regard for my own intellectual product and scribble, but today will be a day for sharing some better reads of the past twenty-four hours or so.
After Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others were shot in Tucson two weekends ago, some on the Left, repelled by two years of reckless right-wing calumny and flirtation with violent and rebellious rhetoric, were quick to find responsibility for the Tucson shooting in just that hateful cultural climate. The Right was just as quick to be stunned with outrage that anyone could make such a suggestion, pointing out that Jared Lee Loughner was not in conversation with Sarah Palin or Michele Bachman on his cell phone as he fired, nor was he declaiming Tea Party slogans as bodies hit the ground. American conservatives, who for forty years have cried that liberal social policy, cultural beliefs,and creative products were debasing and destroying American life, now shamelessly argued with a deep brew of umbrage that no contribution they make to the American scene has any effect on anyone, and nothing is related to anything else unless you can produce the birth certificate. And besides, the Reasonable amongst us reasonably opined, both sides are guilty of “incivility.” However, the fact is that over the two and a half years since Barack Obama’s Democratic Party nomination for the presidency, this claim is simply garbage – demonstrably false.
Here, from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, is a timeline of right wing insurrectionist speech and violence during the period in question. It continues after the break at even more astonishing length at the Coalition’s own site. I challenge anyone to produce – without use of a Breitbart Editor – a comparable timeline of speech and violence from the Left during this period.
On June 26, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court embraced the National Rifle Association’s contention that the Second Amendment provides individuals with the right to take violent action against our government should it become “tyrannical.” The following timeline catalogues incidents of insurrectionist violence (or the promotion of such violence) that have occurred since that decision was issued:
June 26, 2008—The case of District of Columbia v. Heller is decided by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling. The opinion not only endorses the National Rifle Association’s “individual right” interpretation of the Second Amendment; it also affirms that one of the purposes of the right is to “assure the existence of a “citizens’ militia” as a safeguard against tyranny.” The NRA’s amicus brief in the case had argued that “the Second Amendment refers to the utility of an armed population in preventing government tyranny.”
July 27, 2008—Jim Adkisson shoots and kills two people at a progressive church in Knoxville, Tennessee, wounding two. Adkisson calls it “a symbolic killing” because he really “wanted to kill…every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg’s book,” but was unable to gain access to them.
September 18, 2008—Dick Heller, the plaintiff from the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, provides testimony to the D.C. Council regarding firearm-related legislation. Heller’s written, submitted testimony states, in part: “‘We the people,’ armed, are TRULY what the Writers of the Constitution intended for us to be in Art. 1, Sec. 8, para. 15, and that is the CITIZEN MILITIA. If suicide terrorists DO attact our city, ARMED CITIZENS could be the First to counter these hostilities in our individual neighborhoods.”
September 22, 2008—The National Rifle Association launches its GunBanObama website, which predicts that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, “if elected…would be the most anti-gun president in American history.” The website is part of a $15 million NRA campaign to discredit Obama.
December 9, 2008—FBI teams investigating the murder of white supremacist James Cumming, 29, a resident of Belfast, Maine, find supplies for a crude radiological dispersal dervice and other explosives in his home. Cumming’s wife, who shot him to death after being abused by him repeatedly, explains, “His intentions were to construct a dirty bomb and take it to Washington to kill President Obama. He was planning to hide it in the undercarriage of our moter home.”
February 5, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts an hour-long special on Fox called “We Surround Them,” a “grassroots effort to wake up our Nation’s leaders and let them know what many, if not most, Americans truly believe in and stand for.”
February 20, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts a program that games a 2014 civil war scenario called “The Bubba Effect.” It involves citizen militias in the South and West taking up arms against the U.S. government.
March 3, 2009— FOX commentator Glenn Beck interviews NRA celebrity spokesman Chuck Norris. During the interview, Beck states that, “Somebody asked me this morning, they said, ‘you really believe that there’s going to be trouble in the future?’ And I said, ‘if this country starts to spiral out of control and, you know, and Mexico melts down or whatever, if it really starts to spiral out of control, before America allows a country to become a totalitarian country … Americans will, they just, they won’t stand for it. There will be parts of the country that will rise up.’ And they said, ‘where’s that going to come from?’ And I said, ‘Texas, it’s going to come from Texas.’”
March 9, 2009—NRA celebrity spokesman Chuck Norris writes in an editorial published at 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?”
March 11, 2009—NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference and announces that “Our Founding Fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules.”
March 21-22, 2009—Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) states that she wants residents of her state to be “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”
April 4, 2009—Neo-Nazi Richard Poplawski shoots and kills three police officers responding to a 911 call to his home in Pittsburgh. His friend Edward Perkovic tells reporters that Poplawski feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on its way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon.” Perkovic also commented that Poplawski carried out the shooting because “if anyone tried to take his firearms, he was gonna’ stand by what his forefathers told him to do.”
April 7, 2009—The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis releases an assessment of right wing extremism in the United States. The Department notes that “the economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.” Recalling the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh, the Department speculates, “The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
April 15, 2009—Daniel Knight Hayden, 52, is arrested by FBI agents after he openly states on Twitter that he is going to turn the upcoming Oklahoma City “Tea Party” into a bloodbath. Two months earlier, Hayden had written online, “The only thing that is keeping the New World Order from destroying this nation is the presence of over 100,000,000 guns in civilian hands. When guns are outlawed, only criminals will have guns. Since we are already criminals in the eyes of the New World Order, and they intend to enslave us all, and to kill those of us who will NOT submit to their slavery, I say to IGNORE gun “laws” and keep your guns (AND ammo) handy.”
April 19, 2009—The Oath Keepers, an anti-government group made up of current and former law enforcement and military personnel, holds its first “muster” in Lexington, Massachusetts, the site of the opening shots of the Revolutionary War. The groups’ members pledge to disobey ten different orders that they deem “unconstitutional” and “immoral,” the first of which reads, “We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.”
April 25, 2009—Joshua Cartwright, 28, a member of the Florida National Guard, shoots and kills two Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies attempting to arrest him on a domestic abuse charge. Cartwright is killed in an enusing gun battle with police. Cartwright’s wife reports that he was “severely disturbed” that Barack Obama had been elected president. Okaloosa County Sheriff Edward Spooner states that Cartrwight was “interested in militia groups and weapons training.”
Continued at Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
- Anti-goverment hyperbole and gun violence: A timeline (alternet.org)
- Anti-goverment hyperbole and gun violence: A timeline (dailykos.com)
- America’s most persecuted minority group: Republicans (salon.com)
- Violent Rightwing Rhetoric Doesn’t Kill People. People Living in a World Where They Hear A Lot of Violent Rightwing Rhetoric Kills People. (bradblog.com)
- Rep. Trent Franks tries to bury his own right wing vitrolic behavior on CNN (crooksandliars.com)
- Miles Mogulescu: The Paranoid Style in American Politics: Its Past, Present and Future (huffingtonpost.com)
- Op-Ed Columnist: No One Listened to Gabrielle Giffords (nytimes.com)
- Hendrik Hertzberg: The Giffords shooting in Arizona (newyorker.com)
- A Livid Sarah Palin Preaches To The Choir (But No One Else) On Tucson Massacre (mediaite.com)