Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Another Homegrown Terrorist, This Time in Tennessee

Police: Man Shot Church­go­ers Over Lib­er­al Views

Knoxville, Tennessee—An unem­ployed man accused of open­ing fire with a shot­gun and killing two peo­ple at a Uni­tar­i­an church appar­ent­ly tar­get­ed the con­gre­ga­tion out of hatred for its sup­port of lib­er­al social poli­cies, police said Mon­day.

That makes a lot of sense. This whack­job is unhap­py because he lost his job, gets a let­ter say­ing he’s los­ing his food stamps too, and instead of blam­ing the Repub­li­cans who have been in charge of the coun­try for the past eight years, he trots off to the near­est UUA con­gre­ga­tion and opens fire dur­ing a children’s per­for­mance.

Two peo­ple are dead, one because he gave his life in an attempt to save oth­ers. Five more are injured–no chil­dren, at least.

What did those peo­ple do to upset the home­grown ter­ror­ist?

The Uni­tar­i­an-Uni­ver­sal­ist church pro­motes pro­gres­sive social work, includ­ing advo­ca­cy of women and gay rights. The Knoxville con­gre­ga­tion also has pro­vid­ed sanc­tu­ary for polit­i­cal refugees, fed the home­less and found­ed a chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union, accord­ing to its Web site.

Good­ness. How upset­ting. Obvi­ous­ly, they caused him to lose his truck­ing job. Yep. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Sam Har­ris’ views on reli­gion make more sense every day.

5 comments to Another Homegrown Terrorist, This Time in Tennessee

  • Our friend Jess used to co-run the Spec­trum queer youth min­istry at TVUUC. The gen­tle­man that got killed was a dili­gent vol­un­teer and pas­sion­ate about help­ing queer youth. There’s a lot of stunned incom­pre­hen­sion here.

  • cyn

    I wasn’t coher­ent enough to put that togeth­er with where y’all are. If we can do any­thing to help, please let us know. *hugs*

  • I have found this case dis­turb­ing at a very fun­da­men­tal lev­el, per­haps because it is the liv­ing exam­ple of the prob­lem with free speech.

    The issue of “the only answer to hate speech is more speech” seems to be wrong (despite the fact that I des­per­ate­ly want to believe in it). Our soci­ety seems to have a bro­ken polit­i­cal dis­course (in addi­tion to the bro­ken health care sys­tem, the bro­ken fam­i­ly sys­tem, and the bro­ken finan­cial sys­tem).

    I don’t think that the killer was reli­gious, or shoot­ing because of reli­gious views. He *said* he was out to kill peo­ple for their polit­i­cal views, and tar­get­ed a church where peo­ple of the polit­i­cal view that has been dehu­man­ized by Fox et al. con­gre­gate. How­ev­er, I not­ed a cou­ple of oth­er things about him: he was adopt­ed as a new­born, grew up in a church­go­ing fam­i­ly (and appar­ent­ly dis­ap­proved of being forced to go to church) and tar­get­ed the church to which his ex-wife belonged — the ex-wife whom he had threat­ened to mur­der (Google Liza Alexan­der for more about this; she was his fourth ex-wife, and I did not see any infor­ma­tion about any of the oth­ers). More­over, he did this just before his food stamps eli­gi­bil­i­ty was about to run out.

    So he had rage (unem­ploy­ment, lone­li­ness), fear (no food, com­ing right up, and ris­ing costs), and a strong soci­etal voice say­ing that the peo­ple he was mad at (his wife, and the com­mu­ni­ty that embraced her when they were divorced) were trai­tors and should be killed. More­over, he had mil­i­tary train­ing (Air­borne?) which implies anoth­er strong voice that shouts “kill-kill-kill” inside his head. And ear­ly sep­a­ra­tion trau­ma.

    And what’s scari­est is that there are many peo­ple just as angry, just as des­per­ate, and hear­ing just the same mes­sages.

  • cyn

    You know a lot more about his back­ground than I’ve seen so far, but I’m Googling to catch up now.

    Yes, he had many problems–but, as you say, so do many oth­er peo­ple. I believe that the anti-intel­lec­tu­al­ism of this coun­try, the refusal to encour­age crit­i­cal think­ing, con­tributes to this kind of crime. Did it make any sense for him to lash out at peo­ple who had no direct con­nec­tion to his prob­lems? No. Did his ex-wife cause his prob­lems? I seri­ous­ly doubt she had any­thing to do with them. But he lashed out, because they were an easy tar­get and, as you said, those who share lib­er­al views are vil­i­fied reg­u­lar­ly.

  • That’s exact­ly it — there are many oth­er peo­ple in this coun­try who have been giv­en tac­it soci­etal per­mis­sion to lash out mur­der­ous­ly at a dehu­man­ized, neb­u­lous enti­ty vague­ly referred to as “those lib­er­als” by a spe­cif­ic stream of anti-democ­ra­cy pun­dits (which are on the right wing side of pol­i­tics here and now; the left wing has had its share, of course).

    Con­sid­er­ing the fact that pres­sures are ris­ing and the U.S. has near­ly zero by way of sup­port net for those who will fail, I am afraid of an epi­dem­ic of repeats.

    And of course, his ex-wife didn’t cause his prob­lems. They divorced in 2000, more than eight years ago. (Yes, I’ve been googling this all day). The *cause* of his prob­lems is a bro­ken soci­ety, where peo­ple become des­per­ate and enraged and have no way to express these feel­ings that is soci­etal­ly accept­ed except for the form known as “sui­cide by cop”.

    Oth­er soci­eties have had oth­er ter­ri­ble respons­es to these same sort pres­sures: killing minori­ties, going to war, clamp­ing down on var­i­ous per­ceived Oth­ers. Where in the world is there less of this sort of thing in times of cri­sis? Can we learn from any part of his­to­ry how NOT to become col­lec­tive­ly hostages of mad­men in tough times?