The Civil War II Redux
…or how The Manchurian Candidate may have graduated to real life.
Last Friday, I was watching a recent video on Campaign For America’s Future featuring Orcinus’ David Neiwert and Sara Robinson and Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland.
Sometime in the interview, David Neiwert said something on the order of people in the mainstream media (namely O’Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh and so forth) who could theoretically be activating these people by addressing their pet causes. Whether it be white supremacy and the endangerment of the Master Race through immigration, legalized abortion, prayer in the schools or whatever fringe issue brings out their inner Karl Childers, eventually people who we consider to be mainstream extremists will touch upon everything near and dear to the hearts of people such as Adkisson, Roeder or von Brunn.
And perhaps it’s no coincidence that these random acts of violence are coming in a tighter and tighter cycle.
And again and again, I keep going back mentally and cybernetically to Pamela Troy’s February article “The Pinochet Rationale“, which is steadily becoming in my subjective opinion one of the best and most prescient articles ever written for the web. It dovetails perfectly with Sara Robinson’s quasi-Cassandra-like warnings that we could be hearing just the rumblings of the second Civil War with the murders at the Unitarian church in Tennessee, Dr. Tiller’s murder at his own church and, days later, the murder and woundings at the Holocaust Memorial in our nation’s capitol.
And things haven’t changed much since Ms. Troy’s February article. The tactics of the knuckle-dragging right wing blogosphere remain the same because they have scratched up, self-repeating LPs for brains:
It’s the fault of the Leftists, the liberals, the Democrats. The shooter must have been a liberal war protester. This, in spite of the fact that people like Adkisson were found to have had literature written by some of the aforementioned right wing commentators viewed upon by these ultra right wing extremists as mainstream at best, liberal at worst. This despite the fact that murderous homophobia and racism, hatred of government and hatred of pro-choice advocates are all hallmarks of the authoritarian personality that gives us so many shock troops from the extreme right wing.
Some wars and battles start with advance scouts like scout snipers, people whose job it is to do recon and to take out high value targets. In a more unfocused yet equally fatal way, we’re seeing this on the streets and even in the churches of America. Stephen Tyrone Johns, the guard killed at the Holocaust Memorial two days ago, was not a high value target but he is nonetheless a victim. It was enough for the elderly and deranged James von Brunn that he worked in a memorial dedicated to remembering a Holocaust that never happened in his addled mind.
It would perhaps be a legal impossibility to somehow connect Bill O’Reilly and his several hateful diatribes over the years aimed at Dr. Tiller with the gynecologist’s murder. After all, what measure of responsibility can a court apportion to Fox or any other news channel and how it will unpredictably and subjectively affect those who listen to such diatribes? Unlike obvious psychopaths such as Hal Turner and Michael Reagan, O’Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh are savvy enough to know not to get their feet wet at the edge of the surf. They’ve all been around more than long enough to know what’s legal and what’s illegal and they’re very adept at keeping their hands clean in their neverending Pontius Pilate routines.
Yet it would be naive to assume that their hate speech that’s amplified on a national network would not have an effect on these little sleeper cells that seem to be suddenly awakening in our midst like pint-sized Martian tripods springing up from deep underground in War of the Worlds. They’ve always been among us. Von Brunn is pushing 90 and he saved his best for last.
Someone is activating them in this brewing Civil War II that will pit against each other not states but states of mind.
What we’re possibly seeing, however deliberate or incidental, is a Manchurian Candidate Effect.
The Manchurian Candidate Effect
On the face of it, it would seem to be a more diffused, less effective way to go about overthrowing the existing order of things. In the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate with Denzel Washington, we see Raymond Shaw as a US Congressman and eventual vice presidential candidate. Shaw is a Medal of Honor winner who, along with the Manchurian Corporation, parleys his alleged bravery and celebrity to take control of the White House. The original plot was to kill the president-elect, effectively making the mind-controlled Raymond Shaw the president by default. One Commander in Chief whose mind is controlled by shadowy conspirators is infinitely more dangerous than 100 James von Brunns.
Yet we ought not dismiss the effect that a single man can have on world history. Witness the assassinations of Lincoln, Gandhi, the Kennedys and Dr. King. Let’s also not dismiss the possible effect of synergy, the ability of supposedly random acts of violence begetting others (witness Timothy McVeigh and his carefully-timed bombing in Oklahoma City. McVeigh, in fact, actually visited the Branch Davidian compound during the standoff and even handed out pro-gun literature).
However, Fox News wouldn’t be founded until the year after the Oklahoma City bombing and the blogosphere wasn’t even a gleam in Michelle Malkin’s jaundiced eye. The rules, and accessibility to hate speech, have changed considerably since Oklahoma City. The rapidly-expanding internet with its incredible potential to reach millions and even billions became not only a method of irresponsibly disseminating hate speech with the full blessings of the First Amendment and the ACLU but it also instantly brought such hate literature into peoples’ dens, kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and even work places.
One stop shopping for hate mongers as well as legitimate news consumers, we have seen the best and worst of humanity come out in the digital age, with pacifistic, liberal antiwar sites to al Qaida, Hamas and the KKK also putting up their shingles right next door.
What we may need, unfortunately, is a Rosetta stone killer, someone who can definitively link themself to a right wing commentator whom he cites in no uncertain terms as their inspiration to commit their atrocity. Another trend we’ve seen, especially in the bloody wake of the Holocaust Memorial shooting, is right wing organizations that crawl away from such people after their unspeakable acts while shouting over their shoulders that the bad guy must have been a liberal.
That’s hardly what a sane person would call factual. Christian fundamentalist survivor Frank Schaeffer has already bravely accepted a share of responsibility for Dr. Tiller’s murder and had even gone one step further when he said on the Huffington Post,
The right wing propaganda machine and big time American evangelical religion turns stable people into jerks and a few unstable people into killers. America has a right wing domestic terrorism problem exploding in our faces.
However, even a youthful and misguided Schaeffer never called for murder or used rhetoric that was crafted to achieve the most sensationalistic impact.
So, in summation, we could be seeing the advance scouts and scout snipers. Some appear to be freelancers, others have been tangentially tied to militia and white supremacist hate groups such as the kind that rub shoulders with the likes of Hal Turner.
Turner was stopped mere hours before he was to disseminate the addresses of two CT lawmakers and an OSE official on his radio program and is free only on $25,000 bail. Yet the press needs to stop treating these supposedly random acts of violence as if these are school shootings and to start connecting the dots. These may not be individual acts of murder and mayhem and could be symptomatic of some larger albeit loosely-connected conspiracy at work here.
The Department of Homeland Security last April warned us about possible attacks of right wing extremist violence and Republicans and conservatives went apeshit despite their blood-spattered record. They blew off Janet Napolitano’s report even more vociferously than George Bush blowing off the CIA’s August 6th 2001 PDB about Osama bin laden attacking us on US soil and Richard Clarke’s constant warnings about the evil efficacy of al Qaida.
We cannot afford to be as complacent about a movement that has plainly killed more innocent Americans on US soil than the post-9/11 al Qaida network.