In Milwaukee a veteran with allegedly white supremacist ties went on a shooting spree in a Sikh temple killing seven people. The report that the shooter had a 9/11 tattoo suggests an anti-Muslim motivation. Of course, we don’t know for sure, and Sikhs aren’t Muslims – although I suspect that bigots who open fire on unarmed people may not be too aware of such distinctions, if they even care.
On the evening of the same day, a Joplin, Missouri Mosque, previously attacked by arsonists, was burned to the ground. There’s no statement about whether or not the latest fire was also arson, but it’s hard not to want to jump to that conclusion.
The first act was been termed “domestic-terrorism.” If the Mosque-fire proves to be the act of arsonist, it is probable that the label will fit it as well.
Today I read in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that a member of the Missouri National Guard has admitted conspiring with white supremacists who are training for “racial” war. Earlier this year, another guardsman was dismissed for attempting to recruit new Neo-nazi group members from within the guard.
Recruiting extremists from among the members of the military? Violent acts from home-grown “domestic” terrorists? Am I the only one who remembers the 2009 Homeland Security Report that warned:
Rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.”
I’m sure that some of you also remember the conservative squawking that greeted this report, an example of which can be found in this diatribe from blogger Michelle Malkin. Evidently, the report’s definition of what constitutes a right-wing extremist hit a little too close to home for some of the sensitive souls on the right.
We also had a Missouri version of the same ruckus. A report issued by the Missouri Highway Patrol, Right-Wing Group Characteristics and Ideology, identified right wing groups that should be monitored for potential violent activities. The report’s rather common-sense contents led to such an explosion of conservative wrath that controversy adverse Missouri officials withdrew it.
Remember the old song, “Who’s Crying Now”? Sadly I’m sure that no one on the right has the honesty – or, more likely, even the intellectual wherewithal – to understand why I bring it up. Things will have to get a lot worse before we get any practical reactions from reality-adverse wingers.
What we actually do get from our our friends on the right is (mostly Republican) opportunistic and/or just plain stupid politicians trying to fan the flames of xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment and, particularly, anti-Muslim sentiment – and other marginally sane GOPers unwilling to condemn the racist rhetoric and run the risk of angering the “base.” For example, while a few principled GOPers were willing to speak out about Michele Bachmann’s most recent efforts to pander to the anti-Muslim brigade, most influential party members either refused, like Mitt Romney, to condemn her antics, or, like House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-VA), defended them.
We’ve also got the National Rifle Association scaring the not-so-bright crazies even sillier than they normally are so that they stockpile up guns on top of guns – including rapid-fire assault weapons meant for battlefields. We’ve actually got public figures who will claim that it’s the obligation of citizens in our supposedly civilized country to arm and defend themselves from the other citizens who’re packing heat. The results are predictable. And I’m not just talking about the spectacular events like Aurora or yesterday’s Milwaukee mass shooting. Just today, I read in the Post-Dispatch’s “Law and Order” segment about another incident where a man was shot during a traffic dispute. The paper regarded this as such a routine matter that it merited only a brief 2-3 sentences.
But God forbid we talk about the boundaries between extremist paranoia and legitimate political beliefs or do anything to keep those suffering from the former from amassing the means to act on their insane and ugly fears.