On that day, "conservative" Jim D. Adkisson burst into a Unitarian Universalist Church, during a children's performance of "Annie", and opened fire with a shotgun, killing two people, and wounding five more. Parishioners managed to wrestle Adkisson to the ground after he had fired three times, killing a woman identified as Linda Kraeger, and a church usher, Greg McKendry who witnesses say died shielding others from the gunfire.
Police found a 4 page signed letter in Adkisson's automobile that listed his apparent motives. "It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that and his stated hatred of the liberal movement," said Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen IV.
The Unitarian Church certainly fits into most definitions of the "liberal movement." The church emphasizes social justice, tolerance for the GLBT community, civil liberties, and charity. And, perhaps its most egregious sin, from a conservative viewpoint, is that dogma takes a backseat to charity. (Please see a previous post that I wrote about this contrast, Christians vs. "Christians".)
Somehow, in Adkisson's feverish ethos, murder became virtuous in the cause of preventing people from loving gays, helping the poor, and seeking justice. Apparently, as the conservative zeitgeist that has dominated our society for the last eight years rots away, Adkisson's despair became overwhelming and he lashed out at the "liberals" that are poised for ascendancy. (Like so many conservatives, Adkisson is unwilling or unable to ascribe responsibility to the real villains responsible for his misery.)
And, while it is true that a crazed lunatic like Adkisson clearly does not epitomize a typical conservative, an examination of statements made by conservative icons shows that the rhetoric has been edging toward something like this for a long time. Consider these remarks:
There is a group that's sending letters to our troops in Iraq ... claiming 9/11 was an inside job -- oh, yeah, yeah -- and that they should rethink why they're fighting. Who -- we ought to -- excuse me, folks, I'm going to say this: We ought to find the people who are doing this, take them out and shoot them.Really. Just find the people who are sending those letters to our troops to demoralize our troops and do what they are doing, you take them out, they are traitors to our country, and shoot them. You have a problem with that, deal with it. But anyone who would do that doesn't deserve to live. You shoot them. You call them traitors -- that's what they are -- and you shoot them dead. I'll pay for the bullet. --Michael Reagan, radio talk show host, June, 2008
When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors. --Ann Coulter, columnist, February 26, 2002A quick Google search using the keywords "conservative hate speech" will produce a myriad of other, equally offensive and violence-inciting remarks. Well, when you consider the mentality of people who even now defend Junior Bush as a "visionary," and a "man of principle," that's some pretty fertile ground for this kind of asinine spew.
My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building. --Ann Coulter, columnist, August 20, 2002
What do you have to say, now, Ann Coulter?