I thought I’d go light on politics in today’s post. I’ve got a collection of interesting links on varied topics. I hope you’ll find something to your taste.
I’ll begin with some true crime stories.
LA County’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran has completed a review of actress Natalie Wood’s autopsy report and has concluded that she was very likely assaulted before her death and was probably unconscious when she went into the water, indicating that her death is now considered “suspicious.” CBS News reports:
The Los Angeles Coroner’s Office released a new report (pdf) Monday. Sources tell CBS News the review of the original coroner’s report in 1981 raises questions about every major finding that led investigators to originally conclude Natalie Wood’s death an accident. Sources say the report concludes that the bruising on the actress’ wrists, knees, and ankles could be more consistent with injuries from an assault than they were from struggling to climb back on a boat.
Wood died on November 28, 1981, when according to her husband, actor Robert Wagner, she fell off their yacht, the 60-foot-long Splendour, possibly while trying to re-tie a dinghy that had been banging against the side of the boat, disturbing her sleep.
Her body was found hours later floating in the waters off Catalina Island.
Wood’s death was ruled an accidental drowning. But in 2011, Los Angeles Sheriff’s detectives re-opened the case after the skipper of the boat, Dennis Davern, co-authored a book in which he gave a very different account of what happened that night. Davern said, “I believe Robert Wagner was with her right up until the moment she was in the water.”
According to Davern, Wagner asked him not to tell investigators what had happened, but years later he regrets contributing to a “cover-up.”
However, according to CNN the county Sheriff says that Wagner is not a suspect. CNN provides two alternative descriptions of the events leading up to Wood’s disappearance from the yacht.
Davern offered a previously unreported account of how Wood’s death was reported, saying that Wagner waited hours to call the Coast Guard after Wood went missing off Catalina Island following an argument between the couple….
Wood and Wagner married in 1957, divorced in 1962, then remarried in 1972. They invited Wood’s “Brainstorm” co-star, Christopher Walken, to join them on the Thanksgiving weekend sail that preceded her death….
After Wagner then argued with Walken and broke a wine bottle, Wood left in disgust and went to her stateroom, Davern told CNN. Walken also retired to a guest room, Davern added, and Wagner followed his wife to their room. A few minutes later, Davern said, he could hear the couple fighting.
Embarrassed, Davern said, he turned up the volume on his stereo. At one point, Davern recalled, he glanced out of the pilot house window and saw Wagner and Wood on the yacht’s aft deck. “They’d moved their fight outside … you could tell from their animated gestures they were still arguing,” he said.
A short time later, Wagner, appearing to be distraught, told Davern he couldn’t find Wood. Davern searched the boat but couldn’t find her. He noticed the rubber dinghy also was missing.
Wagner claims that Wood went to her room and he didn’t follow her, but sat on deck having drinks with Walken before noticing that his wife was missing.
I’m sure you remember the story of the 10-year-old boy who shot his Neo-Nazi father, Jeff Hall, after years of abuse. I’ve written a couple of posts about it. Well, today the boy was “found responsible” for the death.
A Riverside County judge on Monday found a 12-year-old boy guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting and killing of his father, neo-Nazi activist Jeffrey Hall, as he slept on the family’s living room couch.
He also was found guilty of a weapons charge, with the judge determining he knew right from wrong.
This kid was 10 years old! Children that young simply cannot understand the consequences of their actions in the same sense as adults can. Yet he was found guilty of second degree murder.
Public Defender Matthew Hardy focused on the boy’s abusive home life, where gunplay and neo-Nazi gatherings were commonplace. Witnesses testified that Hall beat his son repeatedly, often in drunken or drug-addled rages.
Social workers responded to the Hall household more than 20 times. At the time of the shooting, the boy was a dependent of the court, an effort designed in part to shield him from further abuse, Hardy said.
Clinical psychologist Anna Salter, a mental health expert called by the prosecution, testified that the boy’s birth mother used heroin, LSD and other drugs while she was pregnant, which she called
“devastating” to the boy’s development. The boy also has an extensive history of violence dating to when he was 3. In school, he once tried to strangle a teacher with a telephone cord, she said.
The judge acknowledged that years of abuse and exposure to hate-filled Neo-Nazi philosophy had led to the child killing his father. Yet at the same time the judge used the child’s exposure to violence and hate to claim that this boy was mentally more mature than other 10-year-olds.
The youngster, who was 10 when he put a gun to his sleeping father’s head and pulled the trigger, was charged as a juvenile. He could be held in juvenile detention until he is 23.
The boy’s father, Jeffrey Hall, was a West Coast leader for the neo-Nazi organization known as the National Socialist Movement. He was asleep on a couch in the early morning hours of May 1, 2011, when his son crept downstairs with Hall’s .357 magnum revolver and shot his father point-blank in the head.
The judge said Hall’s attempts to indoctrinate his son into the hate group corrupted the thought process of a disturbed boy who already had displayed violent tendencies.
“It’s clear that this minor knows more than the average child about guns, hate and violence,’’ Leonard said.
Still, she added, “this is not a naive little boy unaware of the ways of the world.’’
It’s outrageous. Putting a 12-year-old boy in a facility with older boys who are already hardened criminals will erase any chance this boy has for a decent future.
One more crime story…another person is claiming to know where Jimmy Hoffa is buried.
An aging mobster who was once a high-ranking member of Detroit’s La Cosa Nostra organized crime family reportedly knows where labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa is buried.
NBC 4 New York reports that Tony Zerilli, 85, said Hoffa was buried in a field in suburban Detroit, about 20 miles north of the restaurant where he was last seen in July 1975.
“All this speculation about where he is and he’s not,” Zerilli told the station. “They say he was in a meat grinder. It’s all baloney.”
Zerilli said Hoffa’s final resting place is in a field in Michigan’s northern Oakland County. He was buried in a shallow grave and the plan was to move the body at another time, but Hoffa’s remains were never moved from the first spot where they were buried, he said.
I suppose the police will have to go dig up the field and try to find poor old Jimmy Hoffa’s bones…
Since I’ve been struggling with a horrible cold plus a case of norovirus, I decided to check out the health news. I’ll bet you didn’t know that a bad cough will last around 18 days no matter what you do to treat it. According to Mark Ebell, associate professor at the University of Georgia College of Public Health, recently did a study to compare public attitudes with actual facts about viral illnesses.
A new study shows that although most people think a cough ought to last no more than a week or so, the duration of the most annoying symptom of winter illness is about 18 days — and could be more than three weeks.
Taking antibiotics in the interim is not only ineffective, it could also prompt dangerous side effects — and contribute to the country’s growing problem with bugs becoming resistant to the drugs used to treat them.
“A lot of times patients will come to me and they’ve been coughing for four or five days and they’re not getting any better, so they ask for an antibiotic,” he said. “After eight or nine days, they’re still not feeling better, so they ask for an even stronger antibiotic. Then they’ll say, ‘The only thing that really works for me is this really strong antibiotic.’”
The trouble is, antibiotics aren’t actually the solution for most of the 3 million outpatient cases in the U.S. each year in which cough is the chief complaint, or for the more than 4.5 million outpatient cases diagnosed as acute bronchitis or bronchiolitis. More than 90 percent of such cases are viral, not bacterial, which means they won’t respond to the drugs most folks request, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I love berries, so I found this story interesting: Berries Ward Off MI in Women. MI stands for Myocardial infarction, basically a heart attack.
Young and middle-age women whose diet included high levels of anthocyanins — the flavonoids present in red and blue fruits such as strawberries and blueberries — had a significantly reduced risk for myocardial infarction (MI), a large prospective study found.
Women whose anthocyanin intake was in the highest quintile had a 32% decrease in risk of MI during 18 years of follow-up (HR 0.68, 95% CI 0.49 to 0.96, P=0.03), according to Eric B. Rimm, ScD, of Harvard University, and colleagues.
And in a food-based analysis, women who consumed more than three servings of strawberries or blueberries each week showed a trend towards a lower MI risk, with a 34% decrease (HR 0.66, 95% CI 0.40 to 1.08, P=0.09) compared with women who rarely included these fruits in their diet, the researchers reported online in Circulation.
“Growing evidence supports the beneficial effects of dietary flavonoids on endothelial function and blood pressure, suggesting that flavonoids might be more likely than other dietary factors to lower the risk of [coronary heart disease] in predominantly young women,” they observed.
For years, researchers didn’t bother to study heart disease in women; but in recent years it has become clear that women and men differ in how heart attacks are experienced. Perhaps what we need to do for prevention differs from men too.
Here’s a science story that Dakinikat may find interesting in relation to her fascination with ancient graves and burial rites: DNA Test Sheds Light on Mystery Deaths.
A new DNA test can restore at least part of the identity of long-dead people who left no trace of their image, scientists reported on Monday.
The technique has revealed the hair and eye colours of unknown individuals slaughtered as sub-humans by the Nazis and of a mystery woman buried alongside monks in a mediaeval crypt, they said.
“This system can be used to solve historical controversies where colour photographs or other records are missing,” said Wojciech Branicki from Poland’s Institute of Forensic Research in Krakow.
Here’s one example:
Reporting in the journal Investigative Genetics, the researchers first tested it on a tooth taken from the remains of General Wladyslaw Sikorski, who led Poland’s government-in-exile in Britain in World War II before dying in a plane crash in 1943.
Sikorski’s body was disinterred from a cemetery in Newark, England, in 1993 for reburial in pomp in Krakow, but was exhumed once more in 2008 for further examination to sound out a theory that he had been poisoned, shot or strangled.
Analysis of the genetic code from the tooth gave a 99-percent likelihood that Sikorski had blue eyes, and an 85-percent likelihood that he had blond hair.
Both tallied with contemporary descriptions of Sikorski and with paintings of him made many years after his death (no colour photographs of him are known to exist).
I’m running out of space, but I have a few political reads for you that I’ll post link dump style.
Allyssa Rosenberg at The New Republic: FX is Feminism for Men. Seriously, take a look at this one!
Those are my offerings for today. What’s on your reading and blogging list?
I’ve been trying to wrap my mind about this issue for a few days. I remember the reaction to the DHS report released a few years back and the
one briefing released in May of this year. The right went ballistic because of the profile that was given of the likely domestic terror threat. I guess it sounded a little too much or way too much like them and stuff they worship and do themselves. Let me refer to a 2009 Fox News (sic) report: “Chorus of Protest Grows Over Report Warning of Right Wing Radicalization”.
The government considers you a terrorist threat if you oppose abortion, own a gun or are a returning war veteran.
That’s what House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said Wednesday in response to a Department of Homeland Security report warning of the rise of right-wing extremist groups.
Smith, who said the report on “right-wing extremism” amounts to “political profiling,” said that DHS is “using people’s political views to assess an individual’s susceptibility to terror recruitment.” He joins a growing chorus of protest from irate conservative groups that are protesting the report’s findings.
The report, titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” released last week by DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis, said while there is no specific information that domestic right-wing terrorists are planning acts of violence, it suggests acts of violence could come from unnamed “rightwing extremists” concerned about illegal immigration, abortion, increasing federal power and restrictions on firearms — and it singles out returning war veterans as susceptible to recruitment.
A senior Republican Judiciary Committee aide tells FOX News that the Obama administration “should immediately retract the report and apologize,” saying that according to the report, pro-lifers, anyone who lost their jobs or are one of the thousands of military veterans who have fought to prevent another 9/11 could be suspect.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the report Wednesday, saying it is part of an ongoing series of assessments to provide information to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies on “violent radicalization” in the United States.
“Let me be clear: we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States,” Napolitano said in a statement. “We don’t have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence.”
Yes. Every time we try to discuss this issue, the right’s propaganda machine starts churning and their cronies in congress start the pearl clutching and the jingoism. You can read more about this kind of thing in an article at The Atlantic called: Why Why the Reaction Is Different When the Terrorist Is White” by Conor Friedersdorf. The major difference to me is that Right Wing Republicans in this country actually encourage these groups. They try to tell us that abortion is some kind of holocaust that’s equivalent to Pearl Harbor or the actual holocaust. They scream about how bad guys could be taken down only if more people carried guns around and were prepared to shoot. They rail about how ‘evil’ our government is and how it’s everything that’s wrong with the country. They use the adjectives ‘foreign’, Muslim, ‘not American, and Kenyan born when discussing the current POTUS. They question the loyalty of state department employees and demand they be investigated as potential radical Islamic moles. They tweet obvious racial dog whistles. They say horrible things about women and imply they should be raped, beaten, or worse for not doing the ‘right’ things. Of course, these enablers don’t recognize violent, homegrown terrorist when they see them. They are a vital part of their grassroots any more. They probably see them at their rallies all the time and don’t even know or care who they are as long as the election turns out well.
Instead Wade Michael Page was the gunman.
Attacks like his are disconcerting to some white Americans for a seldom acknowledged reason. Since 9/11, many Americans have conflated terrorism with Muslims; and having done so, they’ve tolerated or supported counterterrorism policies safe in the presumption that people unlike them would bear their brunt. (If Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD sent officers beyond the boundaries of New York City to secretly spy on evangelical Christian students or Israeli students or students who own handguns the national backlash would be swift, brutal, and decisive. The revelation of secret spying on Muslim American students was mostly defended or ignored.)
In the name of counterterrorism, many Americans have given their assent to indefinite detention, the criminalization of gifts to certain charities, the extrajudicial assassination of American citizens, and a sprawling, opaque homeland security bureaucracy; many have also advocated policies like torture or racial profiling that are not presently part of official anti-terror policy.
What if white Americans were as likely as Muslims to be victimized by those policies? What if the sprawling national security bureaucracy we’ve created starts directing attention not just to Muslims and their schools and charities, but to right-wing militias and left-wing environmental groups (or folks falsely accused of being in those groups because they seem like the sort who would be)? There are already dossiers on non-Muslim extremist groups. In a post-9/11 world, Islamic terrorism has nevertheless been the overwhelming priority for law enforcement, and insofar as innocents have suffered, Muslims have been affected far more than any other identifiable group, because the bulk of the paradigm shift in law enforcement hasn’t spread beyond them.
Would that still be true if the next terrorist attack on American soil looks like Oklahoma City? How would President Obama or President Romney wield their unprecedented executive power in the aftermath of such an attack? Who would find that they’d been put on no fly lists? Whose cell phone conversations and email exchanges would be monitored without their ever knowing about it?
It ought to be self-evident that non-Muslims perpetrate terrorist attacks, and that a vanishingly small percentage of Muslims are terrorists, but those two truths aren’t widely appreciated in America.
CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland have followed this threat for some time. They are also speaking out again on the threat from radical right terror groups.
Militants linked to al Qaeda or inspired by jihadist ideology have carried out four terrorist attacks in the United States since September 11, which have resulted in 17 deaths. Thirteen of them were in a shooting incident at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009.
By contrast, right-wing extremists have committed at least eight lethal terrorist attacks in the United States that have resulted in the deaths of nine people since 9/11, according to data compiled by the New America Foundation.
And if, after investigation, Sunday’s attack on the Sikh temple in Wisconsin is included in this count, the death toll from right-wing terrorism in the U.S. over the past decade rises to 15.
The shooting suspect, Wade Michael Page, posed with a Nazi flag on his Facebook page and has played a prominent role in “white power” music groups. The FBI is investigating the case as a “domestic terrorist-type incident.”
A particular concern for law enforcement is the Sovereign Citizens movement, whose adherents reject all U.S. laws as well as taxation and American currency. An FBI report published in 2011 said “lone-offender sovereign-citizen extremists have killed six law enforcement officers” since 2000.
The numbers in the New America Foundation database may well understate the toll of violence from right-wing extremists. Another FBI study reported that between January 1, 2007, and October 31, 2009, white supremacists were involved in 53 acts of violence, 40 of which were assaults directed primarily at African-Americans, seven of which were murders and the rest of which were threats, arson and intimidation. Most of these were treated as racially motivated crimes rather than political acts of violence, i.e. terrorism.
In the past year, the FBI has concluded investigations into a number of right-wing extremists, in some cases securing lengthy sentences for violent plots. In December, Kevin Harpham of Spokane, Washington, was sentenced to 32 years for planting a bomb at the site of a Martin Luther King Jr. parade. City workers found the bag containing the bomb an hour before the streets filled with parade-goers.
Here’s a list from the SPLC on acts of Terror From the Right. It’s a long list. David Neiwert at C&L wrote about this last year after Norway’s mass murder by the typical lone wolf right wing nut. The article is called: “Why right-wing domestic terrorists are our big blind spot: Let’s start with the media”. Charles Pierce wrote an article with a similar theme that year at Esquire Magazine. It’s about how the media basically spent very little time on that parade bomber. Perhaps, it’s because we haven’t had a horrific body count since the Oklahoma Bombing.
At the beginning of this year, not long after they’d found the bomb on the bench in Spokane, a journalist named David Neiwert put together a list of nearly thirty acts of right-wing political violence that had taken place, or had been foiled, in the United States since the summer of 2008 — or roughly since Barack Obama’s presidency began to be seen as a genuine possibility. The list began with Jim David Adkisson, who killed two people in a Unitarian church in Tennessee because he was angry at how “liberals” were “destroying America.” It included two episodes in April 2009, one in Pittsburgh and one in Florida, in which men who were sure that Barack Obama’s government was coming for their guns opened fire on law-enforcement officers who had come to investigate them on other matters.
Some of the crimes on the list were briefly sensational — Scott Roeder’s murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, or Joseph Andrew Stack’s flying his small plane into a building in Austin in protest of the Internal Revenue Service, or the incoherent array of violent crimes committed by the “Sovereign Citizens Movement.” But most of them barely made the national radar at all. In December 2008, a woman in Belfast, Maine, named Amber Cummings shot to death her sleeping husband, James, who’d been savagely abusing her. Upon arriving at the Cummings home, investigators found Nazi paraphernalia and a stash of chemicals indicating that James Cummings was preparing to make a “dirty bomb” that he planned to detonate at Obama’s inauguration. Except in the local media, that aspect of the case disappeared completely. James Cummings and his bomb had nothing to do with Scott Roeder’s handgun or Joe Stack’s airplane.
It is a fertile time for such things. The country elected a black president with an exotic name. The economy, wrecked by a rigged game at the highest levels, continued to grind through a jobless recovery. The national dialogue grows coarser and wilder, and does so at a pace accelerated by technology. People sense the fragmentation — things are falling apart — even while they take refuge in those fragments of life that seem safest and most familiar.
Still, to me, the reason is clear. Folks like Michelle Bachmann and Allan West and countless other republican elected officials, blog writers, and journalists legitimize the right wing terrorist’s extremist beefs. They use inflammatory, violent, hateful, and bigoted frames, language, and code words. I frankly think they’ve put enough ammunition and thoughts in these people’s hearts, minds, and guns that we’re going to see more of it in the days to come. We’re also going to see the correlation and possible causation between their rhetoric and the right wing terrorist’s actions poo-pooed by the right wing press and blogosphere. That, and we’ll continue to see the framing of left wing causes of environment and civil rights causes placed into equivocal boxes. These people need to be held to account and more time and money needs to be spent on paramilitary groups than tree huggers and animal fur-haters. PERIOD.
White Power. White Supremacy. Or whatever you may want to refer to it as, is hate. And that word hate can be applied to all sorts of people and religious organizations and political movements. There is no doubt in my mind that this mass murder against a group of people purely targeted because of the color of their skin, and the turbans on their heads, will happen again and again…
Here are some updates on the neo-nazi who killed six men, with dark complexions, wearing turbans.
After authorities confirmed that Wade Michael Page, 40, was the lone gunman in Sunday’s tragic Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisc., details began to leak about the shooter’s past. One particularly interesting story is that he was the member of a white supremacist “skinhead” punk group End Apathy, whose Myspace page confirms Page’s involvement in the band (with pictures).
A 2006 posting by Page on BandMix.com — a site used by aspiring musicians seeking other artists to join them — seems to detail when he recruited a bassist and drummer for End Apathy. On the site, he reveals that he is also a member of bands Definite Hate and 13 Knots. The posting is based out of “South Milwaukee, Wisconsin,” which neighbors the city of Oak Creek where the shootings took place.
There are a series of pictures at the link, but here is one that stands out to me at least:
Another heavily-discolored photo shows a Confederate flag in the practice space. While not necessarily an indicator of neo-Nazism, in this case the flag makes sense given many white supremacists’ infatuation with antebellum slavery.
A 2010 interview Page gave to Label 56, a white supremacist music site, further reveals his dabbling with neo-Nazism. Page indicated he went to the Hammerfest 2000 in Georgia, which was an annual “hate rock” festival organized by a skinhead group.
I have no doubt that Page would have supported this religious right prayer rally. Religious Right Groups Organize Nationwide September 11 Prayer Rallies | rightwingwatch.org
The group Awakening America is hoping that people on September 11 will head to their county courthouse to gather for Cry Out America. Organizations partnering with Cry Out America 2012 include the Family Research Council, the Christian Broadcasting Network, The Call, Intercessors for America, Teen Mania and 40 Days to Save America. They hope that the prayer rally will bring about a revival that will lead to a “decrease in divorce rates, co-habitation [and] same-sex relations,” along with “the restoration of Christ’s influence in the arts, media, and communications.”
Hmmmm, seems like those bands mentioned in the Mediaite link would fit in with that twisted sense of Christ influencing the arts.
Okay, maybe I am taking that a bit further than I should, but these people believe that they are part of a supreme white race, and right-wing extremism is connected with right wing Christianity.
Just a few other opinions and links regarding the shooting, hate and Page.
A reader writes:
I am appalled with your choice for Face of the Day. I realize that the words you used to accompany the picture were not designed to whip up anti-Sikhism in the same way the picture was, but the picture, with its violent, retributive elements, is stronger than the text.
Last night, I watched CNN as Don Lemon interviewed the president of an American Sikh organization. I also saw an interview with the nephew of the Wisconsin’s temple’s president. The nephew’s uncle was seriously injured and the nephew had spoken directly with eyewitnesses. Both men impressed me with their kindness, their calmness, and their clear commitment to retaining the values of their religion as they spoke. They also were clearly not anti-American. They reminded me most of those Amish who were magnanimous after a madman killed many of their children.
Are Sikhs saints? No more than members of any other religion. I am aware that Sikh extremists murdered Indira Gandhi and almost certainly were responsible for bringing down Air India Flight 182, out of Vancouver. But on the day after American Sikhs were murdered for no good reason, and quite possibly because someone saw them in exactly the threatening terms that you chose to accentuate by using that image, why focus on that image?
I saw the image the reader is talking about, click the link to see it if you like. It bothered me as well…Please read the rest of this post because there is another interesting link made to a documentary commentary:
Ebert highlights a clip from Dastaar: Defending Sikh Identity, a documentary that “presents the struggle of the Sikh American community against discrimination and violence caused by ignorance of an essential symbol of the Sikh faith — the dastaar , or turban.”
Here are a few recent postings that you may not have seen yet:
The mass shooting at the Sikh temple seems even more horrifying than most. Of course victims are just as dead no matter what a killer’s motive. But here the “best” case interpretation would be that the gunman was merely one more psychopath who decided to take out his madness by shooting into a mass of innocents — like those in Aurora or Tucson, at Virginia Tech, and so on — rather than someone attempting to launch flat-out racial or religious war.
The suspect in the horrific shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin has now been identified. He is Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old army vet and described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “frustrated neo-Nazi who had been the leader of a racist white power band.” He’d also washed out of the army after a reduction in rank for being drunk on the job and was ineligible for enlistment. He may also have just broken up with his girlfriend. Tell me again why we don’t worry about violent white men or their sense of entitlement?
He also had a 9/11 tattoo and an apparent inability to tell brown people apart. An inability he shared with a lot of dumbshits in this country…
I will end with Charlie Pierce:
The Sikh temple outside Milwaukee that this Sunday became the location of the most recent mass murder by firearm in this freedom-loving country is one of those strange, wonderful huge things that pop up along the side of the road when you least expect to see something like a Sikh temple. It’s one of those things that can make you smile and, on a glorious summer’s day like this Sunday, contemplate what a diverse and fascinating place this country really can be, so long as we keep a grip on the dark and terrible impulses that too many people have become too rich and too powerful enabling at this time in history.
The law is calling this an act of “domestic terrorism,” which at least is a start, if not nearly the beginning. The guy who shot up the temple — an Army veteran with an arsenal at his disposal so sufficient that they’ve cordoned off an entire block in downtown Cudahy — behaved in every particular the way that a terrorist would. He killed his first victims, and then he opened up on the cops that came to help them. That’s the kind of murderous calculation that a terrorist makes. Call in a bomb threat to a building and then set the bomb outside on the sidewalk. People have done that overseas. We have our terms straight on this one, at least.
(And can we spare a minute and recall the howls of the various flying monkeys a couple of years ago when the Department of Homeland Security came to the unremarkable conclusion that rightwing domestic terrorist groups might be recruiting people who were being mustered out of the military? To its disgrace, DHS ducked and covered on its findings. I think this case might at least prompt further research. You can scroll down here to see the defensive whinging in embryo.)
This is the second mass murder by gunfire here in a month. Is it time to talk about gun control yet? We are an armed and dangerous society at a perilous and uncertain time, and there are far too many people who look at that combustible combination of circumstances and see, not a national problem, but a financial and political opportunity. It is time to stop listening to them. It is time to deafen ourselves to the professional paranoids and the people who enrich themselves while stepping through the blood of their fellow citizens. (I am, by the way, not optimisticthat this will happen.)