I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but the man thought to be the I-96 shooter appears to identify as a Tea Party activist

An arrest has been made in the case of the I-96 shootings. A man from Wixom by the name of Raulie Wayne Casteel has been taken into custody. According to the Daily Tribune, “Casteel was charged with six counts of a combination of felonious assault, carrying with unlawful intent, felony firearms, and discharge of a dangerous weapon from a vehicle.” Here, with more background, is a clip from the Daily Mail.

The man accused of terrifying suburban Detroit, Michigan, for two weeks by shooting at two dozen cars on the highway ranted about far-right-wing politics for months before the attacks.

Raulie Wayne Casteel, 43, bragged on his Twitter feed about carrying a handgun everyday and said President Obama should be arrested by the military and ‘marched out of the White House in handcuffs.’

Police arrested him Sunday night at his home in Wixom, Michigan, near the epicenter of the seemingly random shootings…

And here’s a clip from Casteel’s Twitter account.

While I certainly don’t believe that right wing politics and violence necessarily go hand in hand, I do think it’s worth exploring whether, in instances such as this, the actions of the perpetrator can, in any way, be traced back to the purposefully cultivated paranoia and vitriolic anger which are clearly manifest in the anti-government Tea Party movement. How many times, I wonder, can someone… especially someone at risk for mental illness… hear that our President, for instance, is an America-hating Socialist, who, since his training as a young man in a radical Muslim madrassa, has been programmed to take over our country, with the intention of putting white Christian males in death camps, before he snaps? I have no idea what the I-96 shooter may have been thinking as he attempted to murder drivers making their way to and from work, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that anti-government sentiment, and a feeling of powerlessness, were contributing factors. At least, I can imagine how a man who’s fearful about the future might seek out ways to reassert himself, and feel, once again, as though he has agency and power. And nothing makes a man feel more powerful, as we know from the rhetoric of the “patriot” movement, than a gun… hence the record-breaking sales of firearms during Obama’s first term.

And, regardless of whether there’s a causal link in this particular case between this man’s alleged actions and the political hate speech he surrounded himself with, I wonder if the individuals that he’s known to have followed online, like Rush Limbaugh, Allen West, Michelle Malkin, Karl Rove and Michele Bachmann, feel any responsibility whatsoever for filling his head with conspiratorial nonsense about a government intent on enslaving him. For all that these people like to talk of accountability, I wonder if any of them are willing to take some for themselves and tone down their rhetoric now that the election has passed.

And, speaking of accountability, and the day of reckoning which has to come within the Republican party if it’s to survive as something other than a fringe party animated primarily by the conspiratorial tweets of psychopaths, here’s a little something from Thomas Friedman in today’s New York Times.

…The G.O.P. has lost two presidential elections in a row because it forced its candidate to run so far to the loony right to get through the primaries, dominated by its ultraconservative base, that he could not get close enough back to the center to carry the national election. It is not enough for Republicans to tell their Democratic colleagues in private — as some do — “I wish I could help you, but our base is crazy.” They need to have their own reformation. The center-right has got to have it out with the far-right, or it is going to be a minority party for a long time…

And I would go one step further… Not only is it going to be a fringe party, but it’s going to be an increasingly violent one.

Oh, and one last thing… According to Facebook, Casteel also happens to be a supporter of Kerry Bentivolio.

And, if you’re interested in going deeper on the subject of increased violence in our post-Tea Party world, I’d suggest listening to my interview with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Mark Potok.

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  1. Erika
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I had these same thoughts when reading about this guy. Unfortunately, Obama is the new reason to wear a tin foil hat or fear that there are “bugs” implanted in ones teeth. Paranoia seems to be like currency these days – no one can ever have too much. I am so curious as to what signs his mother saw that alerted her to his mental illness – because honestly, I know one or two people right now who have been exhibiting symptoms of paranoia and are holding tightly to their multiple guns in fear of the government. (Also, clinging to Ted Nugent as some sort of spiritual leader… yikes) It’s strange and pathetic and it makes me wonder what would constitute the breaking point for some of these people.

  2. Rai Harashi
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Parents, please, never never never ever never give your child “Wayne” as a middle name.

  3. Edward
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Very disturbing. It’s like the Michael Douglas movie “Falling Down”.

  4. Meta
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    There are several examples of Tea Party leaders using violent imagery. Yesterday, Donald Trump called for revolution. The instance that comes to the forefront of my mind is when Sarah Palin, on her website, posted Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ name next to the crosshairs of a gun. (Palin took it down once Giffords was shot in the head.)


  5. Mr. X
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    We don’t know the facts of this case. I don’t think anyone can argue, however, that the increasingly violent rhetoric of the far right is helping matters in this time for great change and anxiety. And, yes, many people are responsible. Not just the ones pulling the triggers.

    As Drummond Pike, the CEO of the Tides Foundation, famously said, after being targeted for assassination by a follower of Glenn Beck’s, “There will be blood on many hands.”


  6. John Galt
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    It’s not like he killed anyone. This is just one more giant step toward the big gubment nanny state. I for one would rather be shot at than live in a world like that.

  7. Bob Krzewisnki
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I will take a nanny state any day that goes after someone randomly shooting people. How would you like it if he had been in Ypsi shooting at people.

    It is amazing somebody wasn’t killed.

  8. Knox
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    What do we know about the shooter’s m.o.? Was he parked alongside the road, shooting about people? Or did he pull up alongside going full speed and shoot? If it’s the latter, I wonder if he was targeting cars that were similar. Were they foreign cars? Did they have Obama bumper stickers? Does anyone know?

  9. The Real Real McCoy
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Considering we live 50 miles from two of the perennially top 5 most dangerous cities in the US and we aren’t exactly doing much to address their inhabitants feelings of powerlessness and their use of violence to feel as though they have agency and power, I think we’ll file this one under “Don’t sweat the small stuff”.

    Or maybe we should make blanket statements about groups of people based on their behavior? I mean hell, it’s worked out so well in the past…

  10. The Real Real McCoy
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Knox, he would shoot at oncoming traffic as he was driving by. That’s what made him so difficult to catch.

  11. Scientist Man
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Good news. Bad News.

    First, the good news. We just identified a habitable “earth-like” planet.

    Now, the bad news. We’ve de-funded space exploration to point that it’s doubtful we’ll even get back to the moon in my lifetime.

    So, it looks like we’re all stuck here, with the nuts.

    Time to buy body armor.

  12. Meta
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    From the Detroit News:

    The aunt, Cynda Warth of Owosso, said Casteel suffered from paranoia, believing the government was after him. “All he talks about is the government,” she said.

    ……A “Raulie Casteel” who shares key biographical information with the suspect has an Internet persona that is pro-gun and anti-establishment. He has taken to Twitter to call for the impeachment of President Barack Obama and the arrest of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

    In a “profile” posted on FreedomConnector, a social-media site for conservatives, “Raulie Casteel” wrote that Michigan politicians should “issue a statement to the citizenry supporting the option of an open carry firearm policy. The state shall repeal any and all prohibitions related to carrying sidearms.”

    Read more:

  13. Tea Party Sue
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    When I get out of here, I’m going to post one hell of a comment.


  14. anonymous
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    It’s going to get worse before it gets better, if this post by Eric Dondero is any indication.

    ….Secondly, today starts a new course for my life. I’ve soured on electoral politics given what happened last night. I believe now the best course of action is outright revolt. What do I mean by that?

    Well, to each his own. Some may choose to push secession in their state legislatures. Others may choose to leave the U.S. for good (Costa Rica, Switzerland, Italy, Argentina, Hong Kong, Israel). Still others may want to personally separate themselves from the United States here in North America while still living under communist rule’ the Glenn Beck, grab your guns, food storage, build bunkers, survivalist route. I heartily endorse all these efforts.

    Express your hatred, shame, and outright disgust with anyone you know who voted Democrat

    However, for me, I’m choosing another rather unique path; a personal boycott, if you will. Starting early this morning, I am going to un-friend every single individual on Facebook who voted for Obama, or I even suspect may have Democrat leanings. I will do the same in person. All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them. They are in short, the enemies of liberty. They deserve nothing less than hatred and utter contempt.

    I strongly urge all other libertarians to do the same. Are you married to someone who voted for Obama, have a girlfriend who voted ‘O’. Divorce them. Break up with them without haste. Vow not to attend family functions, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas for example, if there will be any family members in attendance who are Democrats.

    Do you work for someone who voted for Obama? Quit your job. Co-workers who voted for Obama. Simply don’t talk to them in the workplace, unless your boss instructs you too for work-related only purposes. Have clients who voted Democrat? Call them up this morning and tell them to take their business elsewhere.

    Have a neighbor who votes for Obama? You could take a crap on their lawn. Then again, probably not a good idea since it would be technically illegal to do this. But you could have your dog take care of business. Not your fault if he just happens to choose that particular spot.

    And start your boycott of your Democrat friends and family today. Like this morning. First thing you can do, very easy, is to un-friend all Democrats from your Facebook account.

    Boycott Business who accept Welfare payments

    Thirdly, I believe we all need to express disgust with Obama and Democrats in public places. To some extent I already do this. Example:

    When I’m at the Wal-mart or grocery story I typically pay with my debit card. On the pad it comes up, “EBT, Debit, Credit, Cash.” I make it a point to say loudly to the check-out clerk, “EBT, what is that for?” She inevitably says, “it’s government assistance.” I respond, “Oh, you mean welfare? Great. I work for a living. I’m paying for my food with my own hard-earned dollars. And other people get their food for free.” And I look around with disgust, making sure others in line have heard me.

    I am going to step this up. I am going to do far more of this in my life. It’s going to be my personal crusade. I hope other libertarians and conservatives will eventually join me.

    What I plan to do this week, is to get yard signs made up, at my own expense, that read, “EBT is for Welfare Moochers.” I will put the signs out on public property off of the right-of-way so it’s entirely legal, in front of every convenience store or grocery store that has a sign out saying “EBT Accepted Here.” I may even do some sign waving in front of these stores, holding up my “EBT is for Welfare Moochers,” sign, and waving to passers-by.

    If I meet a Democrat in my life from here on out, I will shun them immediately. I will spit on the ground in front of them, being careful not to spit in their general direction so that they can’t charge me with some stupid little nuisance law. Then I’ll tell them in no un-certain terms: “I do not associate with Democrats. You all are communist pigs, and I have nothing but utter disgust for you. Sir/Madam, you are scum of the earth.” Then I’ll turn and walk the other way.

    Buttons. Boy, you can have a lot of fun with this. I plan to make up a bunch of buttons, and wear them around town, sayings like “Democrats are Communist Pigs,” or “Welfare moochers steal from hard-working Americans,” “Only Nazis support Seat Belt laws” or “No Smoking Ban: Nanny-Staters go Fuck Yourselves.”

    There are so many other nasty little things I plan to do against the communists and those who support them. Perhaps I’ll keep Jim informed and he can report on my activities here at LR.

    For now, off to my first assignment: Telling all my friends and family who voted for Obama to “fuck off, don’t ever speak to me again you slimeball mother fuckers.” Wish me luck!

    He goes on to say in a comment, “Nazis and Communists have just seized control of the United States of America.”


  15. observation
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink


  16. Meta
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Ted Nugent’s post election tweets:

    Ted Nugent @TedNugent
    “Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav a president to destroy America”

    Ted Nugent @TedNugent
    “What subhuman varmint believes others must pay for their obesity booze cellphones birthcontrol abortions & lives”

    Ted Nugent @TedNugent
    “Goodluk America u just voted for economic & spiritual suicide. Soulless fools”


    In April, while speaking at a National Rifle Association convention, Nugent said there are two alternatives for him if the “vile,” “evil” and “America-hating” Obama beat Romney. “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” said Nugent, who has also defended Romney’s “47 percent” comment.

    Four years earlier, he threatened both Obama and 2008 competitor, Hillary Clinton.

    While dressed in camouflage hunting gear and wielding two machine guns during a 2007 concert, Nugent raged: “Obama, he’s a piece of sh-t. I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Continuing, “Hey Hillary. You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless b-tch.”

    Read more:

  17. Lana Hunt
    Posted November 1, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    This is m y son that you are talking about and dont ever think it cant happened to you or someone you love. He did not have any intent to shoot or kill anyone just warning the Gov. to stay away from him and stop harrassing him in his own mind. There was no reason why the judge would not let his mental illness be used in court. There was no INTENT to harm anyone, this terrisom with Bill Shute the Attorney General is bull shit. Remember he was coming up for re-election so it made him look good. The judge said his mother had mental illness and took care of her and he knew all about mental illness, dont believe he knows all kinds of mental illness. Yes i believe my son should spend some yrs. in prison but not for terrisom and not for that length of time. I love him and will always be there for him as long as my Lord lets me.

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