Paranoia on the right leads to more bloodshed

Not too long ago, CNN contributor and Republican blogger, Erick Erickson, publicly threatened to pull a shotgun on census workers if they had the audacity to show up on his doorstep…. Here’s a clip from Politico:

…Erickson — the founder of the conservative blog RedState — said on his Macon, Ga.-area radio show Thursday that if a census worker carrying a longer American Community Survey form came by his house, he would “pull out my wife’s shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door”…

It’s unclear as to whether Erickson would indeed pull a shotgun on a census worker, but my guess is that, beneath the anti-government bluster, he’d acknowledge that it’s both relatively harmless and Constitutionally mandated. Of course, that doesn’t make for good radio, as it doesn’t fire up the anti-government “tea party patriots” among us.

Unfortunately, not everyone is smart enough to recognize this type of cultivated fear for what it is, and, of these, some have guns. And, inevitably, something goes wrong.

A few days ago, in California, a woman was shot and killed by police after her husband pulled a gun on a census worker. (When the police came to speak with him, his wife then confronted them with a shotgun.) At present, there doesn’t seem to be evidence that the woman and her husband were influenced by Erickson, or other anti-census folks active in the Tea Party movement, but I suspect it’s likely.

One wonders if media personalities like Erickson and politicians Michele Bachman, who famously warned that census information could be used to identify Americans destined for internment camps, will apologize for contributing toward the environment of paranoia on the right which likely drove this woman to her death.

Oh, and while we’re talking about people on the right pulling shotguns out on census workers and making death threats against politicians, it’s probably worth mentioning that another anti-government evangelist was involved in a shootout with police recently. His name was Jerry Kane, and the following clip comes from the website Crooks & Liars:

…C&L was one of the first news organizations to report that last Thursday’s shootout in West Memphis, Arkansas, involved a far-right extremist named Jerry Kane and his 16-year-old son Joe, acting evidently on the paranoid belief systems they had been traveling the country promoting.

Now more details are emerging about Kane. And the portrait that is emerging is one that’s becoming all too familiar: Yet another “sovereign citizen” radicalized by far-right belief systems, fully convinced that the American government and its laws are illegitimate, which gives them the right to act beyond the law.

And once they move beyond the law, anything is possible. This is why we’ve seen so many “sovereign citizens” acting out violently now, from Scott Roeder, the killer of Dr. Tiller, to James Von Brunn, the Holocaust Museum shooter, to Jerry Kane. This is also why we’re seeing so many police officers — seven in the past year alone — mowed down by these far-right radicals…

Kane, who killed two policemen in the West Memphis shootout, is described by the Associated Press as a man who traveled the country holding debt-elimination seminars along the tea party circuit, and ranting about our government’s Nazi-like behavior, which is kind of ironic, since he himself seems to have a history with neo-Nazi groups.

One wonders to what extent the likes of Bachman, Limbaugh, Palin and Beck should be held accountable for these events. If we can point to radical Muslim Imams, and suggest that they are in part to blame for the actions of their followers, then surely we can do the same here, right?

But the real threat to the American way of life, as we all know, is those itinerant lettuce pickers coming across the border from Mexico to work for less than minimum wage.

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  1. Peter Larson
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    They are patriots fighting a war for the unborn.

  2. Kim
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Between this and the oil spill in the gulf, I’m pretty damn depressed. I wasn’t expecting this when I voted for Obama.

  3. Larry Seven Larry
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Unstable anti-government forces are certainly a threat, but I’m much more concerned about the growing evangelical presence in the Pentagon.

    Fortunately, some are trying to drive it out.

  4. Peter Larson
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    More government meddling in private business. These patriots should hurry up and overthrow the evil people in Washington so we can put a stop to government smearing of ineffective herbal health products laced with arsenic, lead and cadmium.

  5. Kevin
    Posted May 26, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know that it fits here, but someone just pointed out to me that among Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s supporters in Arizona are the neo-Nazis.

  6. Posted May 26, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I have a long-standing policy of not siding with candidates who enjoy the support Nazis…. Fortunately, I don’t think it’ll be an issue in Ypsi’s upcoming Democratic primary.

  7. Posted May 26, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Pete, I’m pretty sure this is one of those little problems that the free market would remedy pretty quickly, if only government would step out of the way and allow a few hundred people to die.

  8. Posted May 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    We should start a movement to arm the unborn. We could have doctors outfit them with tiny suicide vests, so that, if they mother were to choose to abort, she, the doctor, and everyone involved would be killed.

  9. Kim
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    There are apparently other census workers that have had guns pulled on them.

  10. Peg
    Posted May 27, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    First, they were not husband and wife. Second, there had been multiple neighborhood burglaries, she had been awakened by her boyfriend’s screams as police took him to the ground, and was completely unaware that his cries were linked in any way to the census worker, who had contacted the police earlier in the evening. When the investigation is complete, the D.A.’s office will release the police report. Until then, it is irresponsible to link this tragedy to politicians, radio hosts, etc. or try to blame anyone other than those who made the individual choice to behave as they did.

  11. Edward
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    So, when the census worker knocked on their door, you’re suggesting that the man thought that he was being burglarized? Is that the way burglars operate in California? They knock and ask to come inside?

    You might be right that the woman had no idea later that evening that the individuals taking down her boyfriend were cops, but it doesn’t explain why a gun was pulled on the census worker to begin with.

  12. Peter larson
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Or why there have been more than 100 other assaults on census workers…

  13. Stephen J
    Posted May 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Some of those were straight up muggings. Still, though, some percentage were no doubt politically motivated.

  14. Listening
    Posted April 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Who said that we were paranoid? Did someone really say that?

  15. Meta
    Posted April 30, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    From Texas:

    When Liberty County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call for a man shooting at his wife on a lone country road 70 miles northeast of Houston, they knew he was armed and dangerous.

    But they didn’t expect him to charge out of his trailer with a ballistic helmet, body armor – including advanced ceramic plates, able to stop high-powered rifle bullets – and two semi-automatics, complete with an extra drum of ammunition.

    “I don’t recognize your authority,” Kevin Boney allegedly told deputies before a tense standoff that had officers crouching behind their patrol cars for nearly 90 minutes while the 34-year-old spewed anti-government vitriol.

    “You can’t arrest me,” yelled Boney, a self-described “warrant officer” in the Texas Militia. “I don’t recognize your laws. You can take my guns from my cold dead body.”

    After surrendering, Boney said he should have just “(expletive) killed” the deputies, remaining so violent that they subdued him with pepper spray. The Feb. 14 incident and another Texas Militia standoff in March involving Boney’s cousin – where deputies found enough explosives to alert federal agents – is the latest in what officials here say has been a considerable uptick in confrontations with anti-government extremists, mirroring a troubling nationwide phenomenon.

    “We have dealt with people like that a lot more in the past year than before,” said Capt. Rex Evans, a Liberty County sheriff’s spokesman. “They are, maybe not always violent and confrontational, but certainly argumentative whenever we try to arrest them, stop them, write them tickets, go on their property, anything. They believe we have no authority.”

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