“Homegrown Terrorists”

The day before the Norwegian attacks, Esquire posted Charles P. Pierce’s smart, heartbreaking article on Spokane’s “Bomb That Didn’t Go Off“:

… 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…
__
The bomb in the bag on the bench in Spokane was a shrapnel bomb, a direct descendant of Henry Shrapnel’s original brainchild. It was specifically designed and carefully placed to create an expanding killing zone, a sideways rain of lethal fragments. A child could have been killed by the blast itself, or by a piece of the bench, or by a chunk of the child’s own father. After all, shrapnel is nothing more than undifferentiated fragments with sufficient force applied.
__
That the bomb did not do what it was designed to do was a combination of luck and human agency. (It was a triumph for public employees, to put it in the context of our current political argument.) That the events of January 17 largely have faded from the news has nothing to do with luck at all. That is all human agency — how a fragmented country gathers the pieces of an event like this and tries to construct from them, not necessarily the truth of what happened, but a story that the country can live with, one more fragment among dozens of others that the country has remembered to forget.
__
Don’t talk, then, about the wildness in our rhetoric today, and its undeniable roots in that deep strain of political violence that runs through our national DNA, on a gene that is not always recessive. Don’t relate Centennial Park in Atlanta in 1996 to Oklahoma City to murdered doctors to Columbine, and then to Tucson and to the bag on the bench in Spokane. Ignore the patterns, deep and wide, that connect each event to the other like a slow-burning fuse to a charge. That there are among us rage-hardened, powerless people who resort to the gun and the bomb. That there are powerful people who deplore the gun and the bomb, but who do not hesitate to profit from their use. And when the gun goes off or the bomb explodes, the powerful will deplore the actions of the powerless, and they will reassure the rest of us that We are not like Them, who are violent and crazy and whose acts have no reason beyond unfathomable madness. But above all, they will say, Ignore the fact that there is still a horrible utility in political violence, the way there was during Reconstruction, or during the labor wars of the early twentieth century. If there were not, it wouldn’t be so hard to get an abortion in Kansas, and assault weapons would not have been accessories of choice at recent rallies purportedly held to discuss changes in the way the country organizes its health-care system.

(My emphasis)

56 replies
  1. 1
    sb says:

    Can’t get enough Pierce.

  2. 2
    Trainrunner says:

    The Norway Nut gunned down nearly a hundred liberal-leaders-in-training.

    He will be lauded as a hero and martyr by the Right.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    Let’s do a poll and see how many American’s heard about the Spokane incident. I’m sure Fox News covered it.

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    well said, well said.

  5. 5
    celticdragonchick says:

    Red State and their ilk will insist that any violent acts immediately means the person was a leftist.

    Right wingers cannot be violent criminals, see?

    Pointing out the “No True Scotsman” fallacy does no good at all.

  6. 6
    celticdragonchick says:

    Red State and their ilk will insist that any violent acts immediately means the person was a leftist.

    Right wingers cannot be violent criminals, see?

    Pointing out the “No True Scotsman” fallacy does no good at all.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    Right-wing terrorism is a highly effective tactic, expect to see more of it. Remember, these people hate you, they hate me, they hate our children and they hate our friends. In the course of doing genealogical research I learned that Russian Jews describe Holocaust victims as “murdered by fascists”. This is absolutely correct. Fascists don’t only murder to acquire power; they acquire power so that they can more easily murder.

  8. 8
    jeff says:

    He will not be lauded by any mainstream republican, nor do they “secretly” condone his murders. He will certainly be lauded by someone on the right, no doubt (already has). I would not be surprised if there are people who do Nazi dress-up at home, either.

    Probably David Duke will condemn his actions, but not his thinking. Many of the “thought leaders” of the right wing have a lot to digest and think about. Without trying to be too specific, Republicans that I know and like have nothing to do with any of this, and would not understand wtf the guy was talking about anyway. However, Instapundit, Hot Air, FreeRepublic and certainly Pat Buchanan know exactly where this guy was coming from, though they would have suggested shooting at a different group of people, no doubt.

    Charles Johnson seems more prescient than ever right now.

  9. 9
    Mark S. says:

    Sarah Palin’s movie: real crappy per theater average ($1,714) for a movie playing in 14 theaters.

    And god that poster’s ugly.

  10. 10
    beltane says:

    @Mark S.: Someone on Wonkette thought that poster was made by Piper’s 4th grade homeschooling group.

  11. 11
    Lit3Bolt says:

    White terrorism will never be called what it is lest white people lose their guns.

    And that is that.

  12. 12
    jeff says:

    God, Charles really must be having a weird time right now…he was in contact with so many of the crusaders before he decided they were dangerous fascists.

    http://littlegreenfootballs.co.....d_Ideology

    Just look at what these people are saying to their right wing fans; if you follow this stuff to its sickening logical conclusion, the very fate of civilization itself is at risk. It’s an apocalyptic view, a vision of a war for existence against the encroaching dark-skinned hordes.

    Among people who truly believe this paranoid world view, is it any wonder that one of them finally took the next step?

    I’m going to read everything he posts about this.

  13. 13
    gnomedad says:

    @Mark S.:
    The Unattended
    Fewer people buy tickets to a movie they don’t plan to see than buy books they don’t plan to read, it seems, also, too.

  14. 14
    Lost in America says:

    Given the teahadists seem to get crazier and more gun-obsessed by the day, I won’t even display bumper stickers, lawn signs, etc ‘cuz it feels like I’m making myself a target. Sad fucking world these people want.

    Maybe I’d feel different in a more urban area (safety in numbers?)

  15. 15
    Mark S. says:

    @beltane:

    Ha! She looks like she’s mid-stretch after waking up from a good night’s sleep. I also love the fucking oil pipeline in the background.

    @gnomedad:

    Yeah, it’s a little harder to do bulk-buying for movies.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    Mark S. If you just outline the drawing of Sarah, it reminds me of Jabba the Hut but he was actually a good guy.

  17. 17
    RossInDetroit says:

    I read Esquire, and everything political that Pierce writes. I was scanning the online version of that article when the news about the Norway massacres came through.

    I doubt many will make a connection. Yeah, the Norway killer is a blonde, blue eyed Christian but he has a funny name so it’s too easy to disassociate him from the violent factions on America’s right.

  18. 18
    Norbrook says:

    @MarkS I predict that they’ll take it to DVD shortly. Of course, I also predict that they’ll have to bundle it with Hustler’s Nailin’ Paylin to get enough sales.

  19. 19
    JPL says:

    Don’t forget the Norwegian murderer was an organic farmer so that could mean something. I’m not sure what was with all that fertilizer he was buying though.

  20. 20
    Citizen_X says:

    Cannot recommend that Pierce article enough.

    This passage, I thought, is especially resonant:

    …For thirty years, we have been told by our leaders to estrange ourselves from our political natures, to ignore what Aristotle said, and to pretend that we are not political in our daily lives, in our daily work, or even in how we choose (or choose not) to govern ourselves. If we still recognized our essential political nature, we would recognize the inherent absurdity of people who spend millions of dollars to campaign for a political office on the grounds that they are “not a politician.”

    Of course they are, because we all are. That nature was what the Founders were counting on when they set up a system of self-government. But, having convinced us that “politics” was something outside ourselves, it was easy for those same people to convince us that “government” was something even more alien and (very likely) predatory, instead of being the vehicle through which we could exercise our political natures without necessarily killing one another. Having been convinced to deny who we really are, we then allowed those same people to arrange things so that politics actually became nothing but a show, and government actually became the private preserve of a consolidating oligarchy. If it all is dumbshow, what does it matter if some of the principals start talking about watering the tree of liberty and so on?

  21. 21
    me says:

    They were just the wrong political party, is all. I’m pretty sure (without actually checking) that every single one of the victims was radioactive pale.

    It’s pretty typical of religious or ethnic jingoists to hate your “own” people who disagree with you more than the “enemy”.

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    Citizen_X… The idea is to downplay the good in public services from schools to roads. In fact the right tries to sell political correctness as an evil force. How our public could be so ignorant to buy into that is distressing to me because political correctness is nothing more than common decency. Of course most of our citizens have not heard that a bomb was planted on a parade route in Spokane.

  23. 23
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Citizen_X: Pierce is right, but I hope he’s general enough.

    The belief in the possibility of a polity-without-politics, or at least a politics-without-politicans, in government as an alien threat, and in action in the public sphere as a shuck and a farce, beneath serious attention, are far from the exclusive province of the right.

    Jon Stewart, e.g., goes there reflexively, unless his writers sit on him.

  24. 24
    Ash Can says:

    @jeff: That’s a good article. Surely I can’t be alone in thinking Little Green Footballs should be added to the blogroll here.

  25. 25
    Carl Nyberg says:

    AP has written “Norway suspect borrowed from Unabomber’s manifesto” and Yahoo has put it as one of its top stories.

    The establishment media is doing it’s best to portray the shooter as being something other than what he was: a Right Wing terrorist.

  26. 26
    Carl Nyberg says:

    Right Wing terrorism prospers because the media refuses to call it “Right Wing terrorism”.

  27. 27
    Mark S. says:

    Interesting article about some new developments in male contraception. A couple of them didn’t sound too appealing, like injecting gel into your scrotum. They also don’t know if that one’s reversible yet.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    True “political correctness”, a term that was coined by leftists to mock ideological orthodoxy, is seen in spades on the right. One need look no further than the teatards screaming about “betrayal” if Boner even sits at the same fucking table as Obama in discussing the debt ceiling.

  29. 29
    nellcote says:

    #19

    Well, the thing about the Norway terrorist is, the selfsame dark-skinned hordes had nothing to do with it.

    Actually, the summer camp was consciously multi-cultural/multi-racial. It had a lot to do with it.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    It’s pretty typical of religious or ethnic jingoists to hate your “own” people who disagree with you more than the “enemy”.

    They’re “race traitors”. Blood traitors are as bad as mudbloods, you know.

  31. 31
    Citizen_X says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Pierce is more focused on how the right has purposely denigrated government, so that they can achieve governmental power.

    But you’re right. As a whole, this country (and many others) slid beyond having a healthy cynicism about politics a long time ago. How we’re supposed to maintain a government by the people, of the people, and for the people with that sort of mindset I don’t know. Libertarians and anarchists have at least an attempt at a coherent response to that question, but for most of us, it’s the laziness of trendy irony and aloofness, muttering “they’re all crooks,” saying, “Don’t vote! It only encourages them!” etc, etc.

  32. 32
    Trollenschlongen says:

    this

  33. 33
    cleek says:

    @Lost in America:

    Given the teahadists seem to get crazier and more gun-obsessed by the day, I won’t even display bumper stickers, lawn signs, etc ‘cuz it feels like I’m making myself a target. Sad fucking world these people want.

    right there with ya.

    see, also, chilling effect

  34. 34
    Norwonk says:

    Tbogg caught some of these wingnuts with their pants down as they pivoted from “Look what these Muslims did!” to “This was not terrorism, and if it was it was probably carried out by leftists to smear us honest Conservative Christian folk!” It didn’t take them long, as you can imagine.

    But the really revealing part was that their initial response to the news about the bomb was to scream about how Norway was being taken over by muslims. The “evidence” they pointed to was a post on the “Gates of Vienna” blog — which, as it turns out, was one of the main sources of inspiration for the bastard who did this.

    Hoocoodanode…

  35. 35
    Norwonk says:

    Ooops! Forgot the link.

  36. 36
    Citizen_X says:

    I actually sat through the Breivik’s entire twelve-minute fascist shitshow of a video, even to the point of pausing it to read the text. I found it absolutely indistinguishable from any other eliminationist/islamophobic/anti-liberal rant you’d find from Pam Geller, FreeRepublic, Limbaugh, or the rest of the assholes. (Hello, Herman Cain!)

    The most pathetic thing is how heroically Breivik portrays himself, literally juxtaposing portrayals of Crusaders with warporn poses of him with his weapons and “uniform.” Bold work for a loser that mows down trapped, unarmed teens.

  37. 37
    cleek says:

    my favorite is Treason Yankee’s headline:
    Religion of Pedophilia and Infantile Rage Strikes Again

    well … yeah. i suppose you’re right, Mr Brokenclock!

  38. 38
    BruinKid says:

    FYI, per his manifesto, Breivik also wrote this:

    Let us hope that the US (Democratic and Republican party) allows us, their European cultural and economical crown vassals, to liberate ourselves and deport the Muslims without them militarily intervening. We shouldn’t forget that we have many allies in the US including a sizable faction of the Republican Party. There are signals that might indicate that the US will not intervene militarily after we begin liberating ourselves in the coming decades. We must continue to work close with our US allies to prevent this from happening.

    Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has been closely monitoring these people for years. It’ll be interesting to see how much association Breivik had with people like Pam Geller.

  39. 39
    Chad N Freude says:

    From the Guardian. Breivik: It was dirty job but somebody had to do it.

    The man charged with the twin terror attacks that killed at least 93 people in Norway on Friday is expected to plead not guilty when he appears in court on Monday despite telling his lawyer the atrocities had been “gruesome but necessary”.

  40. 40
    BruinKid says:

    @ 17. RossInDetroit:

    Isn’t Anders Breivik simply the Norwegian translation of Andrew Breitbart?

  41. 41
    Chad N Freude says:

    @cleek: It would be more persuasive* if he knew the difference between “tenants” and “tenets”.

    *Not really, but you know what I mean.

  42. 42
    burnspbesq says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    From what I read, he admits he did it all but somehow claims not to be criminally responsible.

    I know zippo about Norwegian criminal law, but that seems a bit of a stretch.

  43. 43
    burnspbesq says:

    Apparently there are concerns that Breivik may have pals in the UK.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....eivik.html

  44. 44
    Carl Nyberg says:

    efgoldman, did ABC explain the perpetrators ideology and what the most similar ideology is in U.S. politics?

  45. 45
    Chad N Freude says:

    @burnspbesq: It’s absurd, (even under Norwegian law). His lawyer seems unenthusiastic. Read the Guardian article.

  46. 46
    Another Bob says:

    That is all human agency — how a fragmented country gathers the pieces of an event like this and tries to construct from them, not necessarily the truth of what happened, but a story that the country can live with, one more fragment among dozens of others that the country has remembered to forget.

    Hey, didja see Rupert Murdoch’s foxy Asian wife slap the cream pie outta that dude’s hands? Good for them, and bravo too for them going to Parliament like that to keep the Islamofascists from instituting Death Panels in the guise of health care reform here in the States. Since government can’t do anything right, at least we have Fox News to protect us from cream pies and nuclear Islamic death panel attacks.

  47. 47
    burnspbesq says:

    @Another Bob:

    Unclear whether that’s intended as snark or trollery, but either way it’s awfully weak stuff.

  48. 48
    Another Bob says:

    @burnspbesq

    Unclear whether that’s intended as snark or trollery, but either way it’s awfully weak stuff.

    Thank God we have self-appointed arbiters of comment threads like you to protect our democracy. If self-importance is in critical supply right now, then surely you’ve done your part. But couldn’t you have at least made your comment witty, or at least slightly clever, if you were really trying to make a point?

  49. 49

    @gnomedad:

    i went to the palin movie, the projector quit in the middle and no one asked for their money back.

  50. 50
    Fax Paladin says:

    I wish like hell I’d had a screen at work (just got home) with a high enough resolution to get the Adkisson quote on the same screen shot as the Google ad for the book explaining how liberalism destroys countries…

    As for the motherpusbucket himself, I strongly suspect admission that he did it but insistence that he’s not criminally culpable — along with the desire to explain himself at length in court — means he’s readying the “But Your Honor, they needed killin'” defense.

  51. 51
    Samara Morgan says:

    You can read Breivik’s translated writings at Harry’s Place.
    He planned to kill those kids.

    he killed “the most beautiful girl” first, but he deliberately targeted AUF youth.

    Breivik was wholly shaped by Gates of Vienna, Pam Geller’s blog, Robert Spencer, Fjordman, and admiration for the Tea Party. He wanted to create a norwegian teaparty. He admired the EDL. He participated in Swedish neo-nazi formums.

  52. 52
    murbella says:

    oh, right from moderation to deletion.
    niice.

  53. 53
    Quincy says:

    Saw the title of chunky Bobo’s column this morning “Right Wing Monster” and hoped he might actually call the situation for what it is. What followed was galling and might warrant its own thread. He begins with an appalling false equivalence, arguing Breivik had as much in common with the right-wing echo chamber as the Unibomber had with Al Gore. Then the column gets truly horrifying. He basically argues that Breivik is right about everything (except, presumably, slaughtering children) and that these things wouldn’t happen if liberals would just admit that multiculturalism doesn’t work, immigrants shouldn’t be allowed where they’re not wanted and muslims are awful.

  54. 54
    Ives says:

    We have a tea party organization in Maine that calls itself the Maine Refounders. On their webpage today they have named Anders Breivik their ‘man of the year’ for 2011. No kidding.

    http://themaineteaparty.com/pr.....-year-2011

  55. 55
    Ash Can says:

    @Ives: That shook me up so much I reported it to the FBI. Maybe I’m overreacting, but the only thing I can think of is all those kids in Norway, and I’m a parent myself. Thanks for this heads-up.

  56. 56

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