Some of you, in complimenting me on last week’s column (sincere thanks to all of you who did, by the way), described it as a premature obituary for Hatred. It wasn’t. I said Hatred was on its last legs, but anything on any legs is highly unlikely to be dead.
In last week’s print edition, this column appeared on Page 12. On Page 9, you saw a piece about the sentencing of an out-of-work truck driver for firing three blasts of a sawed-off shotgun into the audience of a production of the musical Annie in Knoxville, Tennessee, last July 28th. Two people were killed and six others injured. The murderer would love for me to identify him by name. So I won’t.
I will, however, identify the location of the murder, as that leads us to the point of this piece. It was the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. It has been one of the main gathering places in Eastern Tennessee for those who consider themselves liberal, either socially or theologically. It was a desire “to kill liberals” that led the murderer to attack the church. In television coverage of the sentencing, the murderer showed a perverse pride in what he’d done. Remorse wasn’t present at all.
Last Monday, as he was sentenced, the Knoxville News-Sentinel published the handwritten “manifesto” of the murderer, which he had left in his apartment with the expectation that police would shoot him at the scene of the attack. (In fact, several members of the audience subdued the murderer before police arrived.) Among other items police report finding in his apartment was a book by “Michael Savage” titled Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder.
The “manifesto” has four basic parts to it. First, the murderer laments his unemployed status, and immediately blames it on liberal Democrats. Among his complaints: “[Democrats] are all a bunch of traitors…Liberals have attacked every major institution that made America great…I've always wondered why I was put on the earth….lately I've been feeling helpless in our war on terrorism. But I realized I could engage the terrorists' allies here in America. The best allies they've got.” In Part Two he rails against the church he shot up. He assails the Unitarian Universalist denomination as a “cult” that “worships the God of Secularism” and a “den of un-American vipers” who accept “perverts” but hate “conservatives.” By “perverts,” it’s likely he meant the usual readership of the Observer and papers like it; by “conservatives,” it’s likely he means characters like himself (who, as Barry Goldwater could have told you, are far from actual conservatives). This section ends with the words “environmental nuts have to be stopped.”
The next page opens with the statements, “Know This if Nothing Else…This was a hate Crime…This was a Political Protest.” Here, he rants against “liberal Supreme Court Justices” and “Osama Hussein Obama,” the latter in disgustingly racist terms. “This was a Symbolic Killing…I wanted to kill every Democrat in the Senate…[as well as] everyone in the Mainstream Media…I couldn't get to the generals and high ranking officers…so I went after the foot soldiers, the [expletive deleted] liberals that vote in these traitorous people.”
Part Four, even after all this, is the topper: “No one gets out of this world alive so I've chosen to skip the bad years of poverty. I know my life is going downhill fast…So I thought I'd do something good for this Country and kill Democrats ‘til the cops kill me…Liberals are a pest like termites… the only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets...I'd like to encourage other like-minded people to do what I've done. If life ain't worth living anymore, don't just kill yourself… kill liberals. Tell the cop that killed me that I said, Thanks, I needed that.”
Hitler’s Mein Kampf read like Oscar Wilde compared to this nut.
But this nut was exactly the kind of audient Michael Weiner, whose air pseudonym is “Michael Savage,” wants. Anyone who has heard his program – run in Tucson every weeknight for six consecutive hours, three live on Journal’s KQTH-FM 104.1 and then three in repeat on ChumpChannel’s KNST-AM 790 – recognizes that this murderer’s rhetoric is lifted directly from Weiner/”Savage” and his fellow far-right propagandists, which fill the schedules of three stations in this city (don’t forget Salem’s KVOI-AM 690 is here, too).
It has come time for the people of Tucson to tell these stations and their sponsors that we have no intention of sampling these wares anymore, and we will most likely have to boycott those stations and advertisers until they actually pull their money out of hate radio.
I have a blog at kingdaevid.blog.de at which I will occasionally post a listing of the sponsors who advertise on these stations in random hours each day, beginning today (Wednesday, February the 18th). And it won’t be just The Savage Weiner I’ll pay attention to; “Jon Justice” and whichever fool KQTH replaces Bill O’Reilly with soon will be part of it as well. I hope there will be some of you who will join me in developing this boycott. The problem is not actual conservatism, it’s hardcore hatred masquerading as conservatism. And its perpetrators have to be called on it before some Limbot starts shooting into OUR churches, regardless of denomination.
A tip of the hat to Prof. Mark Hulsether of the University of Tennessee, whose blog posting at religiondispatches.org was liberally quoted in this column.
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