Yesterday in Domestic Terrorism and Stochastic Violence: Exceedingly Pale Edition Part II

Last night Adam Purinton of Olathe, KS decided he needed to take his 1st and 2nd Amendment rights out for some exercise at the local sports bar. Purinton killed one patron of the bar and wounded two.

A man opened fire at a crowded Olathe bar, killing one man and wounding two others before he was arrested across state lines hours later, police said Thursday about an attack that some witnesses suggested had racial overtones.

Adam Purinton, 51, of Olathe, was arrested in Henry County, MO after the shooting Wednesday evening at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe. He waived extradition from Henry County Thursday and was expected to be returned to Kansas, said Maj. Rob Hills of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

He has been charged with murder and attempted murder.

The Kansas City Star reports that Purinton provided his own explanation for his actions at the time of the attack:

At least one witness reportedly heard the suspect yell “get out of my country” shortly before shooting men he thought were Middle Eastern. Both men, engineers at Garmin, appear to be originally from India.

Like the fine, brave, upstanding citizen that he is, he fled across state lines to a near by Applebees where he asked the bartender “he needed a place to hide out” and that “he had killed two Middle Eastern men”.

The victims are Srinivas Kuchibhotla, Alok Madasani, and Ian Grillot. Kuchibotla died of a result of his injuries, while Madasani and Grillot were wounded. Grillot is reported to have stood up to the shooter in defense of Kuchibhotla and Madasani.

This is Purinton.

Which reminds us to post this obligatory page from the Preacher comic book:




A Pictorial Guide to Targeted Voter Outreach

Controversies frequently arise in comments here and elsewhere when the topic of Trump voters comes up. It goes something like this:

PERSON A: Fucking Trump-voting assholes! They’re either racist, sexist, xenophobic shitheads or didn’t think their candidate’s racism, sexism and xenophobia were deal-breakers. So fuck those motherfuckers!

PERSON B: Neo-liberal losers gonna keep neo-liberal losing with that neo-liberal voter outreach strategy! Just get ready for eight years of Trump, neo-liberal establishment purity mavens!

Setting aside the fanciful notion that anyone venting on an almost top-10,000 left-leaning blog is officially in charge of Democratic Party voter outreach and is sharing tactics here, let’s review some pertinent facts in graphic form, put on our thinking caps and tackle the hard questions:

Assuming that this data is accurate, the question is, would it make more sense for Democrats to pursue the “Voted Trump” group (19.5%) or the “Didn’t Vote” segment (29.9%)? Now, I’m really dumb at math and statistical inference, but I’m pretty sure that not only is the second group larger, its members have not already signaled outright hostility to our coalition.

So, if I were the Democratic Party’s outreach coordinator (I’m not!), I’d make the second group my top priority — helping folks overcome registration issues, building relationships at the local level, etc., to get them off the sidelines.

Now, let’s consider variances among the Trump voters. I don’t claim any special insight, but I have observed over the years that people aren’t always rational in their actions. They don’t always take their civic duties seriously. Some folks just aren’t all that bright.

Sometimes people will vote for an asshole because they “want change” or they “hate politics” or they have a dumb but typically American reverence for rich people and a belief in plutocrats’ superhuman powers. Maybe their minds were poisoned by Iron Man, I don’t know.

Anyhoo, is there a meaningful distinction between those folks and hardcore Trumpers? I’d say yes. Here’s a crude drawing to illustrate how that difference might look:

So, to recap: If I were in charge of outreach for the Democratic Party (which I’m not!), my objectives would be to 1) keep the base that voted with us in 2016 and won the popular vote by nearly 3M on board, 2) see if we can get folks who DIDN’T vote and who share our values off the sidelines, and 3) hope some of the dumbasses who zigged toward Trump last time zag toward Democrats in 2018 now that they see what a fucking disaster their candidate is as president. The end.

Weaponized Fragility

If you’re willing to read one more piece connected with the Yiannopoulos shit-show, make it this essay by Laurie Penny: “On the Milo Bus with the Lost Boys of America’s New Right.” (Brought to our attention in the overnight thread by valued commenter TheMightyTrowel.)

As the title suggests, the article isn’t so much about Yiannopoulos himself but his entourage, a crew one can imagine comprises involuntarily celibate young men who bonded over online gang-harassment of anyone who’s visibly female or nonwhite while hiding behind ironically customized Nazi frog avatars. An excerpt:

Many of them don’t agree with what Yiannopoulos says, let alone what Trump says. They agree with the way he says it, because their life experience does not extend beyond interpreting being criticized as censorship. Yiannopoulos’ brand is all about “fuck your feelings.” But the kids following him around are nothing but feelings…

These boys will be allowed to forget everything but their own immediate feelings for as long as society allows them, and this society allows straight white boys to dodge personal and emotional responsibility until at least the age of 70. The current man-child president would be Exhibit A, but not every lost boy gets a golden throne. In this culture war, most of them are cannon fodder.

The post-election media coverage of Trump voters focuses obsessively on white working class economic anxiety, even though there’s much evidence to suggest that focus is misplaced. Anecdote isn’t data, but the Trump voters I know have more in common with the “lost boys” described in this article than out-of-work coal miners.

They may be grown-ass adults with jobs and mates, but they share the militantly anti-PC, “you’re not the boss of me” pose that disguises deep insecurity and a gibbering fear of victimhood. Small wonder they fell for conmen like Trump and Yiannopoulos.

As for how we address it electorally, my feeling is we have to turn out our own and get unengaged people who share our values off the sidelines. Could be the “lost boys” are just that — lost.

Today In Be Careful What You Wish For: Not So Strange Bedfellows Edition II

Shortly after the election the American Jewish Congress and the Islamic Society of North America formally entered into a civil rights protection and promotion and civil society defense agreement. Today, in response to yesterday’s violence and vandalism at St. Louis’s Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, Linda Sarsour and Tarik El-Messidi have started a fundraising campaign to help repair the damage done.

You may remember Linda Sarsour, the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York, as one of the co-chairs for the Women’s March. Tarik El-Messidi is the founder of Celebrate Mercy, an educational outreach program intended to inform both Muslims and non-Muslims about Islam and the life of Prophet Muhammed.

So well done currently unknown dickheads and domestic terrorists – your stupidity has just drawn Muslim and Jewish Americans closer together. Give yourselves a round of applause for achieving exactly the opposite of what you intended to achieve: to scare Americans of different faiths and ethnicities in order to drive them apart and make them easier to prey upon in the future. Morons!


Late Night Open Thread: Precious, Fragile Snowflakes


Last night in the comments to Doug!’s post about the breaking news regarding the Trump Organization’s lawyer, an opposition Ukrainian member of Parliament, and a Russian-American with significant ties to organized crime, as well as US law enforcement, a number of people asked where they could find information on all of the financial connections.

There are two very good resources on this.

The first is James S. Henry’s (very) long form article at The American Interest. Henry goes into a great deal of detail regarding all the various financial connections of the alleged ties between the President and Russian business and other interests. David Cay Johnston, who has written a biography of the President, wrote the foreword.

The second is the twitter feed of Adam Khan. Khan has painstakingly combed through news reports, financial disclosures, and a whole host of other documents and documented all of the alleged connections with explanatory annotations. His research includes not just the alleged ties between the President’s businesses, campaign, transition, and/or Administration and various Russian interests, but that of folks within his orbit such as Carter Page. He’s also branched out into focusing on Vladimir Putin and the people within his orbit.

I want to state clearly that these are allegations. However, there is a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence that simply cannot be hand waved away. As I’ve repeatedly stated when doing the maskirovka posts, as a national security professional, if there is indeed a straightforward explanation, then the President and his Administration should provide it for the good of the Nation.

Today in Domestic Terrorism and Stochastic Violence

This week the weekly phone in bomb threat to multiple Jewish Community Centers and synagogues came a day early. Instead of Tuesday, the preferred day for the last several week’s worth of calls, the caller moved it to Monday. Perhaps to capture the festive spirit of Presidents’ Day.

WHITEFISH BAY — Officials with the Village of Whitefish Bay say a bomb threat was called into the Jewish Community Center at 10:08 a.m. on Monday, February 20th.

The Jewish Community Center posted on its Facebook page, Twitter account and its website that the facility was “safely evacuated.”

A limited number of students were at the center because of the holiday. Other guests who were on site using the gym and pool facilities were also evacuated.

Police say the center was cleared by bomb sniffing dogs. The “all clear” was issued around 12:30 p.m. — after the sweep of the building.

This appears to be one of several threats made to Jewish community centers around the country on Monday.

There was also a threat called into the Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham, AL.

The Levite Jewish Community Center was briefly evacuated Monday morning after receiving a bomb threat. Many parents picked their children up from the child care facility.

Authorities have given the all-clear now, and staff and students are now back in the building.

A Birmingham police officer said there have been several of these threats across the U.S. today.

The JCC has received bomb threats before, including one in mid-January.

The FBI has been investigating threats to Jewish centers in Alabama and several other states.

Both the Whitefish Bay and Birmingham JCCs received similar phoned in threats in January.

Here’s what I think the security issues are going forward:

1) We’ve got some knucklehead who gets his gratification calling these in and seeing the news coverage. He may or may not be a hard core anti-Semite, but he’s basically in it for ego gratification. And based on decades of criminological research into deviance, delinquency, and offending, it is highly likely it is a he. So step up your game ladies! He may or may not even be in the US, given VOIP technology. And he may never intend to do anything but make these calls.

2) Or he intends to eventually escalate. Specifically after he feels that he has made enough of these, or other copycats have, to create a sense of complacency for the folks at the JCCs and synagogues. Basically emergency alert fatigue. At that point he actually plants a bomb at one of these locations because he figures he’s got a reasonable expectation of casualties because the threats have become commonplace and are no longer being taken seriously.

3) Or, even worse, he never originally intended to escalate, but because the threats have become commonplace the coverage drops way off. He doesn’t get his gratification and as a result escalates in order to get his rush. Basic addictive behavior pattern. Also, serial criminal pattern.

4) Or, also even worse, he never intends to escalate beyond calling in the threats, but someone else who does want to do real, physical damage to property and harm to people does. This individual or individuals waits until the coverage begins to drop off because the calls are every week or every other week like clockwork and the local news decides it needs to cover something more important. And then this person that wants to cause real harm and actually hurt people decides its time to strike because complacency has set in and some synagogue or JCC isn’t going to take the threat as seriously.

And I fully expect that this pattern will at some point be fully extended to mosques and Hispanic and Asian churches, as well as Sikh temples. I know that the Hispanic and Asian churches in my area have seen an increase in both vandalism and threats, just as the synagogues and mosques have, because they are viewed as immigrant places (of worship) and therefore acceptable targets despite being churches.

Updated at 6:15 PM EST

Thanks to commenter Timurid, this also happened today:

I cannot emphasize enough just how bad this is. Not the property damage, in and of itself that’s bad, but because ground that has been the site of violence cannot be sanctified/re-sanctified. Provided that this is just cosmetic damage to the headstones – defacing, being knocked over, etc – there should be no problem. But if the graves themselves have been desecrated, then it will require reburials and the spaces will never be able to be reused as Judaism prohibits reusing a grave. This means that if someone has to be reburied in another plot, then the final resting place and marker/memorial will either be aware from the remainder of their relations graves or everyone will have to be relocated. This is not only traumatic for the living, but becomes prohibitively expensive to deal with.