Someone's going to end up dead

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about anger.  Not just recently, but for a long time.  One of the joys of studying history, I suppose.  The current waves of anger and vitriol have me worried that we’re not going to see an end to it until someone–maybe a number of people–are dead.  I’m not wishing it on anyone, but it seems to be where we are heading.

Late Tuesday, before the health care reform vote, there was a protest outside of Congresswoman Mary Jo Killroy’s office in Columbus.  I’ll let the video below speak for itself (it’s a shorter version of the original posted on the Columbus Dispatch website).

At the beginning of the last century, immigrants and minorities faced violent discrimination and lynchings were common.  It was not uncommon to find local politicians, especially in the South, involved in racist activities.  The first year that no Blacks were lynched in the US was 1952.  That lull lasted until 1955–the year after Brown vs. Topeka.  The violence aimed at Civil Rights activists continued through the late 1960s and culminated in the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.

Student activism that started with the Civil Rights movement and grew to include protests against the Vietnam War resulted in violent protests at many universities:  Berkeley, Wisconsin, Columbia. etc.  The protests did not end until the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State in 1970.

Extremists in the US–racists, militias, Skinheads, and others–experienced a resurgence starting in the 1980s.  The groups were distinct, but one common thread was an anti-government bent fueled by anger about affirmative action, gun-control, desegregation, taxes, and more.  Their numbers and activities grew until 1995 and Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.  After that, they continued to be a movement that attracted new members but were viewed as fringe elements that were repudiated by mainstream politicians.

But the fringe is once again becoming more mainstream, more a part of the base that must be appealed to for its support, votes, money, and unity.  Two examples:

  • The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, started in Arizona to patrol and “secure” the border.  The Arizona leaders of the movement voted this week to disband after issuing a “call to arms” that they worried would “attract the wrong people” to Arizona.  Other articles discuss the links between the MCDC and Tea Party activists.
  • Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. George Tiller, was interviewed from prison in February and the interview posted on YouTube.  In it, Roeder defends his actions.  He is supported by Leach and a number of video responses.  Operation Rescue and other mainstream anti-abortion groups officially distance themselves from Roeder’s actions.

Angry Americans are being egged on by talk radio, demagogue politicians, and each other.  No one will take responsibility for leading or inspiring them.  The few people who have turned violent have been labeled as “lunatics” or “lone wolves.”  In other words, no one’s responsibility or problem.

Until someone ends up dead.

Well, people have been ending up dead, but I guess they haven’t been the “right” people yet, because the anger is still boiling.

In the past week, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), was spit at and targeted with racial epithets by Tea Partiers.  Yesterday, Bonesparkle posted “Teabagger Jedi Ex Cathedra Journalism: now being practiced in Lynchburg, VA” about an incorrect address being posted for Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-Va.) (the address posted was for his brother).  Well, someone went to the brother’s house and cut his gas line.  Bricks are being thrown.  Sarah Palin’s PAC is using images of Democrats who voted for healthcare reform with crosshairs on their faces.

Again, no one’s dead yet.  But who has to die before we say, “Stop it!”?

25 replies »

  1. The time is in the street you know,
    And the new word to have is “revolution”.
    People don’t even want to hear the preacher spiel and spill,
    Because God’s hole-card has been thoroughly punched.
    And America is now blood and tears,
    Instead of milk and honey.
    ~Gil Scott Heron

    As the above is now decades out of date, while still feeling topical, i would only amend that today’s preachers have found a way to be listened to…they preach blood and tears instead of milk and honey.

    Those promoting this behavior from on high – and make no mistake, it is being promoted – are playing with fire. They believe that they can control it, but they can’t. And when they can no longer control it, attempting to blame the Democratic Party for the whole mess won’t even matter.

  2. You are right, of course. People are crying”Fire!” and they realize that the theater is full. But few people seem to think of that any more. Or care.

    Of course if it were the Lefties going on a rampage, there would be more of a response.

    This morning, as soon as I woke up, I realized that I completely ignored the global aspects to this entry. In some parts of the world they probably wish they had situations this benign. Death threats? Just part of the job. Bricks? At least it’s not car bombs.

    I hate to think I should be “grateful” for such a political atmosphere.

  3. Well, people have been ending up dead, but I guess they haven’t been the “right” people yet, because the anger is still boiling.

    What people are you referring to? Not aware of any deaths from the Tea Party crowd, despite their violent tone. Yet.

    Fortunately, most of it is just talk. Unforuntately, some idiots will act.

    What appalls me is that the Tea Partiers, talk-radio, and the GOP haven’t really distanced themselves from this violent rhetoric at all; they’ve just encouraged it further. If it boils over and people get killed, the backlash against them will be so great their movement will effectively be destroyed.

    If conservatives cared about their cause, they’d strongly condemn these violent comments now. they’re too short-sighted to do it though. So keep playing into the liberals’ hands, conservatives. You’re only killing your own movement in the long run.

  4. OK–so what do we do when someone takes credit for encouraging the violence?

    The Washington Post ( referred to reports linking a blogger from Alabama to posts encouraging the brick throwing, Mike Vanderboegh.

    His blog, “Sipsey Street Irregulars” ( contains the following passge from today:

    OK, folks, in talking with a reporter for the Belgian paper Die Morgen this morning now I finally hit upon the perfect metaphor for what we are trying to accomplish with the Window War. . . . Have we committed vandalism against property? Surely. But which is the greater crime? Ours, or the criminal driver? And despite what you say now, what will you say when you realize that it is the entire country — everything and everyone that you know and love — that the Pelosi Limousine Service is driving straight to civil war?

    Because — and here’s the deal they don’t yet understand — before we see our children consumed in the chasm, we will shoot the driver.

  5. This is quite possibly the stupidest post I have seen anywhere on any website promoting political agendas, ever. People are ending up dead all the time, because of political agendas! Did you just notice or think it now? Maybe diid you just suddenly think it might be YOU (or a whole lot of REALLY important people in YOUR world that end up dead? Unlike when just regular ‘unimportant’ people die every day….by the score!).

    Violence is okay (or, not okay–blah,blah, blah) but being a political action figure on the internet is like having a bible of safe words one can banty about and joust with unless and until it (violence) comes too close to home. And where is HOME? ??

    When it hits ‘home’, then you panic.



  6. Timothy McVeigh has been corrected (that’s what happens when I write late at night).

  7. Panic, ned? Hardly.

    And I’m not ignorant of the fact that one possible consequence of political opinion/belief/action may be death. Is that where YOU want it to go? I don’t. I’d be just as appalled if Conservatives were the target of the violence.

    In general, we turn over power peacefully when someone else takes office. We argue but don’t normally come to blows. There hasn’t been a fistfight in Congress for over a hundred years, much less a good old fashioned duel. Do we want to make the evening news for our legislative brawls like Taiwan or South Korea? Do we want political assassinations to become commonplace, like in Russia or Iraq? And after we all get used to that status quo, would it be OK to object?

    Or should we just anticipate the “civil war” that Mike Vanderboegh seems to predict?

  8. I agree, Vic. But I’m not going to do violence because we did not get our way this time.

  9. Wow, that was a shortcut to a lot of hot air. Lots of links to right-wing blogs without substantiation. And some of the “liberals” behind the “real violence” include Joseph Stack (who flew his plane into the IRS office in Austin) and Amy Bishop (the professor who killed several department members after learning that she was being turned down for tenure for the last time). Oh, and the guy who had the “Finger Bitten Off in Scuffle at Health Care Rally” threw the first punch (but I don’t excuse the biter, either).

    I also don’t condone the threats to Eric Cantor or Jean Schmidt. My point was and is that the level of anger is getting out of control. Thanks you for providing additional proof.

    • Um, according to NPR last night, “Richmond police say a bullet was fired into the air around 1:00 a.m. Tuesday. On the way down, it broke a window in Cantor’s office.” This description strikes me as having been a random gunshot that had to come down somewhere and happened to hit the window. However, without having access to the Richmond police or the police report myself, I can’t be certain. Let’s just say that Cantor’s claims aren’t necessarily correct or accurate and leave it at that for the moment.

  10. I learned when I accidentally lived near a crack house the different between “a shooting” and “shots fired” (namely a target).

  11. Peggy Noonan’s ‘Patriotic Grace” and Howard Finemans “13 American Arguments” should be required reading. Those two books, have meant more to my thought process about honest debate than any others.

  12. I notice the liberals incessant bagging on the patriots that are involved in the tea parties, this site included. The tea parties are composed of 55% women and 45% men. The tea party movement is primarily organized by women, which is undeniable as I get many mailers, with women and minorities clearly in charge. Tea parties are composed of people who are pissed off at big government, reckless government, the nanny state, and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of humanity that percolates up from the liberal movement. The tea party is also composed of the people who will be required to pay for the agenda of the collectivists, and they’re not happy at all. You might think the tea party is composed of crackpot right wingers, but the roots of support run very deep, much deeper than the left wing organizations funded by the Palindrome. Still, there’s more to the liberal hatred of the tea partiers that mere politics. Perhaps the instinctive misogyny of the left, the built in racism, the challenge to the left’s perceived intellectual superiority, the fact that tea partiers are just nicer people than your garden variety liberal. Tea partiers are very in tune with what’s going on, and study role models like Hayek, Friedman, von Mises, Rand, etc. They deal in facts, not feelings and made up shit like the liberals do. Whatever, I think all of this has the liberals panties in a bunch, and this is making them squirm, and I’m enjoying the show.

  13. Back up your claims with facts (aside from generic references to authors that anyone can throw around without actually reading). Seems like squirming to me.

  14. For the record, the bullet that hit the window of “Cantor’s office” was actually the office of some consultants who sometimes work for Cantor’s campaign…besides for being fired at 1 am and randomly hitting the window. As Cat already pointed out, some of us already know what random gun shots are like. Shit happens, and don’t put the couch against the picture window.

    Tea parties are composed of people who are pissed off at big government, reckless government, the nanny state, and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of humanity that percolates up from the liberal movement.

    They don’t seem all that pissed off at the big government of the military that chews up a trillion dollars a year in tax dollars to no discernible benefit. They don’t seem all that concerned with the $50B spent every year – to no avail – on drug enforcement (plus the $45B or so spent on prisons and all the other associated expenditures). Most of them seem willing to accept the nanny state as long as it nannies according to their political-moral ideals, that’s not the same as being against the “nanny state” in total.

    I’d be a lot more interested in hearing the gripes against “big government” if the people making the argument actually focused their interest on the biggest bits of government. Let me know when their concerns over the oppressiveness of big government include our civil liberties like protection from unwarranted search and seizure.

    Seriously, where were these people when the great conservative, George W. Bush made the largest expansion of government since LBJ and declared that the Constitution is just a “goddamned piece of paper”?

    That’s right, they were cheering it all on, just like far too many “liberals” are now cheering on the worst aspects of the Obama administration. Both do it because they conceive politics as akin to team sports, and both are the problem rather than the solution.

    So come off the high-and-mighty bullshit, Jeff. You’re perpetuating the problems, and you’re doing it purposefully. This ain’t the Daily Kos, man. Obama has gotten mostly criticism on these pages since he took office. The majority of the writers here are all for 2nd Amendment rights and are not flaming, Democrats are always right types. In fact, you seem to be the person here least able to break out of petty, political definitions.

    In other words, the standard response to your screeds applies yet again, “Whatever.”

    • Uh-huh. Where was all that righteous teabagger rage over the Patriot Act and FISA?

      Want some credibility? Then speak and act credibly.

  15. Sammy, when it comes to self righteousness, you should win a gold medal. You can insult me, but until I lopwer myself and get a PhD in media(whatever that means) from a second rate school and become a self righteous pseudo-intellectual, I’ll take you with a grain of salt. Since I have a bit more experience hanging around with (Teabaggers…I suspect you only read about them in the liberal MSM), It will be shown that of these attacks on the left wing congressmen come from the left and are blamed on the right. Kind of similar to another liberal, Hitler, who had his buddies burn down the Reichstag, and cast similar blame. This should be expected as y’all love to beat up the right. The left is too intellectual to believe in a higher power, yet they demand religious adherence to their dogma……mere substitution in any logical mind. Sam, I wish you’d put your money where your big mouth is (I’d like to take the other side of whatever wager you’d make as, you’re a net loser in both games and life) but suspect that your mouth is much bigger than your wallet.

    • Jeff, there were no comments at all aimed at you. Unless you’re a teabagger who supported FISA and the Patriot Act, that is, and that’s not how I read your last remarks. In case that does describe you, though, the comments weren’t personal beyond suggesting that your positions were inconsistent and hypocritical and thus lacking in credibility.

      It’s been made clear to you before that your comments need to be on-point and that you need to avoid personal shots. Consider yourself reminded.

  16. Jeff, would you care to address the fact that many involved in the Tea Party movement against big government and against the creeping Socialism that will tear America asunder are, in fact, on the government dole in one way or another?