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.