America, Fuck Yeah
Dave Weigel took a trip to a gun show in Kentucky and came back with some sadly predictable snapshots.
Not everyone in a rural area is a militia-member-in-waiting. But there certainly are a substantial chunk of people weak-minded enough to be twisted by conservative hate media into believing this tripe, and potentially acting on it. Dave Neiwert has been on this beat forever, and today his new book, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right, gets its release. Neiwert writes:
This is a familiar refrain that comes up every time anyone raises a socially damning issue like this one: We're trying to oppress them, to silence their voices, by pointing out how morally and ethically bankrupt they are.
Actually, we're just pointing out how bankrupt they are. No one here has said anything about silencing their voices -- we just want them to face up to the consequences of their irresponsible rhetoric. It's called culpability: They obviously are not criminally culpable, nor likely even civilly culpable. But they are morally and ethically culpable.
We do have serious differences of opinion here. We strongly believe that there's a clear, common-sense connection between the paranoiac fearmongering that has passed for right-wing rhetoric since well before Obama's election (and has become acute since) and violence like that in Pittsburgh, or in Knoxville: horrifying tragedies, in which the sources of the criminal's unambiguous motives are that very same hysterical fearmongering -- whether it's about the evil socialists, stinking immigrants, or conspiring gun-grabbers who've taken over the country since Election Day.
It may be inconvenient to point out the rise of militia groups and hate talk, but it's vital to stop this violence and end the irresponsible talk that helps create a space for it.