[Originally posted on my blog, Library Grape.]
Crooks and Liars posted new details about the right-wing psychopath who gunned down three police officers in Pittsburgh:
Thanks to some sleuth work on the Internet, we're starting to learn more about Richard Poplawski, the 23-year-old who killed three police officers yesterday in Pittsburgh, evidently out of fear that his guns were going to be taken away.
It appears that what police may be looking at is a budding white supremacist who frequented one of the most popular neo-Nazi websites and harbored an apocalyptic dread of the federal government...
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has some corroboration from other sources that indicates he fits this profile:
Richard Andrew "Pop" Poplawski's ex-girlfriend said he dragged her by the hair and threatened to shoot her.
He slept with a gun under his pillow in a basement room filled with firearms and ammunition, convinced that Jews controlled the media and President Obama was scheming to take away his arsenal, friends and relatives said Saturday.
"He was a violent, abusive man. He dragged me by the hair, pulling me across the floor. I saw him choke his own mother. He was controlling," said Melissa Gladish, 23, of Verona, his former girlfriend who received a protection from abuse order against him in 2005. She said she had no doubt he would kill someone.
I can't begin to tell you how frightened this makes me. The radical right wingers that were so prevalent during the Clinton administration went dormant during the Bush years. Now that Obama is in office, and irresponsible sociopaths like Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck and Rep. Michele Bachmann are recklessly stoking the fires of paranoid rightwing victimization, I fear we will face countless tragedies like what just went on in Pittsburgh.
When liberal radicals get upset, they engage in protests and damage property, like the unfocused, anti-everything nonsense you saw outside the G-20 summit.
When right wing radicals get upset, they shoot lots of people and or blow up a building with lots of people in it (see, e.g., the FBI building in Oklahoma City).
As Tim F. at Balloon Juice opines:
How is that "orderly revolution" going, Michelle? How about that laundry soap rebellion, Erick? This is what Glenn Beck's citizen army looks like. People like Michelle Malkin fantasize about citizens rising up against the (Democratic) state. They stoke their followers' paranoia with bullshit that, mostly, they know is bullshit, for ratings and a shot at political traction. Did they expect the American revolution?John Cole, as usual, has a spot-on view of the situation
In response to John's famous Peak Wingnut post I pointed out that political irrelevance will hardly stifle rightwing victimology but feed it like CO2, manure and sunlight. I tend to call the relevant phenomenon `toxic victim syndrome', or TVS. The feeling that one is a powerless victim has a corrosive psychological effect. It exempts self-appointed victims from normal moral standards. It justifies (in one's own mind) an endless list of behaviors that an ordinary person would never consider.
And, of course, when you point out that certain individuals with all their talk about "revolution" and "armed insurrection" are inciting this kind of behavior in unstable people, you will get howls of protest about the 1st Amendment and what not. Sure, crazy people do crazy things. But that doesn't make it responsible to encourage them, which is what a lot of really foolish people are doing right now for purely political reasons.
And for a final word on the responsibility of the media, here's Andrew Sullivan
Many of us have worried that the heated, apocalyptic rhetoric of the anti-Obama forces might spill over at some point into violence in the hands of individuals prone to lashing out. We now have what seems to be a clear instance of that and three dead police officers. One wonders whether Fox News or the Second Amendment fanatics will chill it out a little. And then one realizes who we're talking about.
How many people have to die before the right-wing media acknowledges their complicity in these kinds of attacks and voluntarily dials back their inflammatory rhetoric and incitements to violence?
Sadly, I think it's going to take a long time for that to happen -- and a lot more innocent people are going to die in the interim. I guess this is what "America First" means for the radical right under an Obama presidency.