Monday, July 28, 2008

My God: Unitarians Viciously Attacked in Hate Crime

I can't believe this.

An apparent stranger entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church Sunday and opened fire during a children's performance based on the musical “Annie,” killing two, according to published reports.

Jim D. Adkisson, 58, has been charged with first-degree murder and on Monday was being held on $1 million bail. Witnesses said some of the male parishioners present tackled Adkisson after he pulled a 12-gauge shotgun from a guitar case and fired at least three times. One of those killed was a burly usher who shielded others from the gunfire.

So, the big question: Why?

One witness said Adkisson shouted “hateful things” before opening fire. At a press conference Monday, the Knoxville police chief said that Adkisson was frustrated at his inability to find a job and blamed liberals and gays.

I wish conservatives could see these incidents and realize the consequences of their hatred and fears. This guy wasn't just an unhinged crackpot, he clearly had his influences.

"Inside the house, officers found Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder by radio talk show host Michael Savage, Let Freedom Ring by talk show host Sean Hannity, and The O'Reilly Factor, by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly."

Here's the sad thing: while Republicans push for policies that harm the economy and make the working people of this country suffer, they prey (pray?) on the same-old social issues that don't effect anyone else, all to keep the populace in line. The result? There's a lot of poor people in this country looking for people to blame and end up targeting the wrong people - quite literally in this case.

Bent on attacking nearby liberals, Adikkson was suffering under decades of conservative influence on this country's policies. Adikkson shouldn't have tried to shoot all his local liberals and gays; he should have spent his time organizing against the nearest Republican candidate. If this country didn't waste so much time on hot button issues, instead focusing on policies that help the vast majority of Americans, maybe two more people would be alive today and Unitarians everywhere wouldn't feel under siege. Maybe the world would be a much better place.

15 comments:

Daniel said...

Very well said. This is just one example of the effectiveness of the conservative propaganda machine in their "divide and conquer" strategy: try to direct the rage of economically distraught working and middle class people toward minorities, "liberals", and gays. It's terrible that this strategy is still working, many years after Reagan first adopted it in the early 80's.

Charley on the MTA said...

I don't buy this premise. The guy was deranged. There are plenty of people who read stupid and vicious books, listen to stupid and vicious talk shows and so on, who don't open fire on UU's. Thinking of this as an expected, if fringe, response to such propaganda conflates too many variables in the guy's life.

More and more I find myself thinking that brain chemistry has a hell of a lot more to do with crime than we give credit. Prozac for peace!

In the same way, I don't blame video games for Columbine. etc.

Amber said...

Isn't any violent crime by definition a hate crime?

Ryan Adams said...

I don't disagree with you, Charley. The guy was deranged. If he wasn't deranged, he wouldn't have shot people at the UU church. However, if he wasn't absorbed into thinking that gays and liberals were the cause of his demise, he wouldn't have shot the UUs either. While Hannity and the ilk didn't shoot the bullet, they fed his fears to the point where he was willing to act on it. So I don't blame Savage and O'Reilly as if they pulled the trigger, but I do realize they've helped create such a toxic environment that there are people out there who think we must persecute people because they're gay or liberal - including some who feel inspired to terminate all of us.

Amber, no. It's not. A "Hate Crime" as we define it in this country is a crime that's designed to inspire fear in an entire community. The "hate" isn't just on the person that was killed, but on the people who belong in that community. Furthermore, hatred isn't the only reason to commit violence. Plenty of people in this world have been killed for other things - like for money or revenge (which is slightly different than hate).

Anonymous said...

Were those books the only thing they found in the man's house? Was there a television? How about some music cds? Were there any other books?

You assume that those books were the sole cause for the man's deranged actions.

Anonymous said...

And it's not just Republicans, it's the entrenched politicians like the head of the Senates banking committee (Dodd?) a Democrat, who personally called the CEO of Countrywide Mortgage company for a mortgage. When he got a special rate and it was found out, he said he didn't think he was getting any special treatment. Like any of us could get a personal phone call through to the head of Countrywide. It's these types of actions which make the little guy feel helpless.

Ryan Adams said...

Anon,

Of course his books weren't the sole reason why he killed those people. However, he certainly viewed liberals and gay people as a threat and part of the reason why his life was on the dumps, to the extent that he'd be willing to take lives. Those thoughts came from somewhere. That's all I'm saying.

On Dodd: Dodd's not a part of the problem when it comes to persecutation against gay people, UUs and liberals. Dodd allegedly made a big mistake, but that was a personal mistake that only he need pay the price for, if he's guilty. The big difference, of course, is when Republicans attack and persecute others, their decisions have wide-sweeping effects that hurt and ruin the lives of milliions of Americans.

sarah said...

During the Reagan years, as the "middle class" felt progressively oppressed, lost buying power and unemployment crept up, hate crimes soared. daniel's statement is totally accurate, but there are several enhancements to the strategy. The media is now mostly "corporate controlled" although others would ignore that fact and the strategy has been further perfected. You have an obedient audience that willingly repeats the FAUX propaganda verbatim without question. The public educational systems that historically set the US apart from the rest of the world, are mostly producing poorly educated people who are easily manipulated and incapable of analytical thinking. But it also has built on Hitler's demons of 'those others' that we can clearly recognize -- blacks were the easiest, but 'terrorists,' muslims, illegal immigrants, pedophiles, gays, and so on. You know the list. Blame them for your job loss, high energy prices, credit crunch and anything else because that's what MSM says.
While charley on the mta and others would excuse the derangement, the constant reinforcement by MSM of blaming "those others" is not to be ignored, but represents history repeating itself.

Anonymous said...

So you forgive Dodd, because he's a Dem. So much of what you wrote is about "harm the economy" "make working people suffer" it makes me think the guys motive was based on economics. But if a Dem uses his power to abuse the system, it's OK, it's a personal forgivable transgression. So every Republican is a demon, and a Democrat is a saint.

Anonymous said...

anon 5:42, you sound like Bill O'Reilly, so maybe you're watching him too much. How did a hate-filled act become confused with Dodd?

Anonymous said...

Ryan implied voting out Republicans would solve the problem. I pointed out the transgressors come from both parties and used Dodd as an example.

lovable liberal said...

My Massachusetts connection to the events in Knoxville here, titled "Killing liberals".

Peter Porcupine said...

Ryan- if I am wasted at the GOP convention by a loon who read Al Franken's books - I hope you'll write ME a nice obituary...

lovable liberal said...

Ryan- if I am wasted at the GOP convention by a loon who read Al Franken's books - I hope you'll write ME a nice obituary...

Truly hysterical! Killed by jokes! And only Republicans are vulnerable. Humor, the new terror weapon.

Ryan Adams said...

Don't worry, PP, you'd get an awesome obit from me. Although, let's hope it doesn't happen. I've seen too many friends buried lately.

About Ryan's Take