In Pittsburgh today, a gunman wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire on police officers who were responding to a domestic disturbance call, killing three of them. Many bloggers have noted that the shooter, 23-year old Richard Poplawski, irrationally feared for “the Obama gun ban that’s on the way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon.” In a presciently-timed op-ed, Charles Blow warns of the disturbing escalating rhetoric of right-wingers like Chuck Norris, Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, and others:
Lately I’ve been consuming as much conservative media as possible (interspersed with shots of Pepto-Bismol) to get a better sense of the mind and mood of the right. My read: They’re apocalyptic. They feel isolated, angry, betrayed and besieged. And some of their “leaders” seem to be trying to mold them into militias. [...]
At the same time, the unrelenting meme being pushed by the right that Obama will mount an assault on the Second Amendment has helped fuel the panic buying of firearms. According to the F.B.I., there have been 1.2 million more requests for background checks of potential gun buyers from November to February than there were in the same four months last year. That’s 5.5 million requests altogether over that period; more than the number of people living in Bachmann’s Minnesota.
Coincidence? Maybe. Just posturing? Hopefully. But it all gives me a really bad feeling. (Where’s that Pepto-Bismol?!)
John Cole wrote, “Sure, crazy people do crazy things. But that doesn’t make it responsible to encourage them, which is what a lot of really foolish people are doing right now for purely political reasons.”