Trying to make sense out of this senseless act, I've done some research on the past few years' violent incidents and rhetoric as a way to understand how yesterday's massacre was the inevitable outcome.
Here are some of the other violent acts and rhetoric that some of us may have forgotten and that were a prelude to the assassinations of January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona:
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 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.”
May 21-22, 2009—We The People Chairman Bob Schultz hosts a gathering of 30 "freedom keepers" in Jekyll Island, Georgia. The meeting plays "a key role in launching the current resurgence of militias and the larger anti-government 'Patriot' movement." One of the participants, former Texas militia leader Jon Roland, claims the federal government has "been engaging in warlike activity against the American people."
May 31, 2009—Scott P. Roeder shoots and kills Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. The FBI lists Roeder as a member of the Montana Freemen, a radical anti-government group. In April 1996, he had been pulled over in Topeka, Kansas, for driving with a homemade license plate. Police found a military-style rifle, ammunition, a blasting cap, a fuse cord, a one-pound can of gunpowder, and two 9-volt batteries in his car.
June 10, 2009—James W. von Brunn, a convicted felon and a “hardcore Neo-Nazi,” walks into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and shoots and kills a security guard. Von Brunn believed that Western civilization was going to be replaced with a “ONE WORLD ILLUMINATI GOVERNMENT” that would “confiscate private weapons” in order to accomplish its goals.
June 24, 2009—Hal Turner, a New Jersey resident and white supremacist blogger/radio host, is arrested again after calling for the murder of three Republican-appointed jurists on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals who had issued a June 2 decision upholding handgun restrictions in Chicago. Writing on his blog, Turner says, “Let me be the first to say this plainly: these judges deserve to be killed,” and includes photographs, phone numbers, work addresses, and room numbers of the judges, as well as a map of Chicago’s federal courthouse which points out its “anti-truck bomb” pylons.
July 15, 2009—Katherine Crabill, a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the state’s 99th District makes headlines by calling on Americans to resist the course President Obama has set for the country. Appearing at a “Tea Party” rally, Crabill quotes a 1775 speech by Patrick Henry and then states, “We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. But that's the beauty of our Second Amendment right. I am glad for all of us who enjoy the use of firearms for hunting. But make no mistake. That was not the intent of the Founding Fathers. Our Second Amendment right was to guard against tyranny.” This thought is reinforced on Crabill’s campaign website, where she states the Second Amendment “was clearly intended for self defense as well as, and more specifically, to keep the government on notice of an armed citizenry.”
September 9, 2009—With President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol to address a joint session of Congress on the subject of health care reform, Joshua Bowman, 28, of Falls Church, Virginia, attempts to drive his Honda Civic into a secure area near the building. U.S. Capitol Police stop him and, searching his vehicle, find a rifle, a shotgun, and 500 rounds of ammunition. He is arrested on weapons charges.
September 25-26, 2009—Kitty Werthmann, a speaker at the “How to Take Back America” Conference in St. Louis, tells her audience, “If we had our guns [during the time of the Nazis’ reign in Germany], we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism.”
September 29, 2009—An editorial at the Newsmax website calls for a military coup to oust President Obama.
MORE TO COME TOMORROW...