Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

When discontent turns into hate

By CALVIN WOODWARD and EILEEN SULLIVAN
March 5, 2010

John Patrick Bedell

The river of discontent running through America turned toxic in the fevered mind of the Pentagon shooter and others of his ilk. In a culture awash in conspiracy theories and raw anger at government, they are lone wolves who find a sense of community for their hate — yet act alone.

They are, in some ways, more unsettling than organized and trained terrorists because they come from us.

Their diatribes and smoldering grievances are familiar and homegrown. For the Texan who steered a small plane into IRS offices last month, it was taxes. For the Nevadan who shot at a courthouse in January, it was his Social Security.

In these times, disgust with authority — a president, a tax law, a health plan, one political party or both — comes with a hard-edged hallelujah chorus.

Few kill. But many rant.

The litany that made accused Pentagon attacker John Patrick Bedell smolder and rant is varied, and still coming to light. His history was one of mental illness, not fringe-group agitation.

In an Internet posting, Bedell had suggested an act like the 2001 terrorist attacks could have been the work of a criminal organization controlling the U.S. government, accepting a “sacrifice of thousands of its citizens … as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control.”

His poisonous view of the government appears well out on the extreme — until you see what some people close to the center of power are saying these days.

“America is teetering towards tyranny,” Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina told the Conservative Political Action Conference last month. He accused the governing Democrats of peddling socialist policies “that have been the enemy of freedom for centuries all over the world.”

Republicans have been branding Democratic policies as some form of socialism for generations, par for the course.

But tyranny? America has real issues with that — it violently overthrew that enemy at the start.

However outrageous the notion that the government would sacrifice its citizens “as a small cost,” it’s not limited to warped malcontents.

It was California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark who said, late in the Bush administration, that Republicans want to spend money “to blow up innocent people — if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.”

Multiply rhetoric like that and you have the new public square, swarming with bloggers and broadcasters reaching for the provocative and feeding the grievances of the like-minded.

Altogether it’s a rage against the machine. Activists such as the tea party movement tap that rage for political and policy ends — stopping the health overhaul, getting supportive politicians elected.

But it’s surely not been lost on the lone wolves, whether it fuels their acts or not.

The Pentagon gunman, who wounded two police officers and was himself shot to death, joins two other men with anti-government sentiments who have attacked the government since the beginning of the year.

Just last month, Joseph Stack flew his small plane into an Austin, Texas, IRS building. In his online turn on the public square, Stack had railed about U.S. tax laws.

In January, a Nevada man, Johnny Lee Wicks, fired shots at a Las Vegas courthouse, killing a security guard and being shot to death soon after. Wicks was angry about losing a lawsuit challenging a cut in his Social Security benefits.

All three men appeared to have acted alone, without ties to the militia or patriot groups that gained traction in the early and mid-1990s.

That was another era of rising anti-government sentiment and a decade marked by the domestic terrorism of Timothy McVeigh, who in 1995 blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City and killed 168 people.

Mark Potok, co-director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which published a report that listed 363 new patriot groups that appeared in 2009, said the Pentagon shooter does not fit the profile of radical organizations.

Not an activist himself, Bedell appeared to be one who absorbed the ideas of those groups and twisted them to his own ends, Potok said.

Oddball ideas alone are no red flag. True, Bedell subscribed to conspiracy theories about “the September 11 demolitions.”

But Debra Medina, too, said last month there were “some very good arguments” for believing the U.S. was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. And she won 19 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s Texas Republican primary for governor.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

15 Responses to When discontent turns into hate

  1. Sandune

    March 6, 2010 at 6:38 am

    I often feel that the Federal Government does not work “for the people” and often sets up rules and regulations that they do not folloiw themselves. Many Americans who had researched the warnings prior to 9/11 had doubts about President Bush 43. There were several excellent books written about the warnings from the Middle East that seemed to go over the heads of our White House. Conspiracy theories were everrywhere and our government simply shut the door to the many books and even television shows that were denied airing in the USA.

    Ther 911 Commission report was filled with errors and ignored by our Congress. In my opinion, when a federal government depends on the faith of the citizens it is usually to cover up some questionable actions.

    When I see how Representatives are elected; integrity and ethics are not part of their campaigns. In America we get what we vote for and “character” is often ignored. Americans still carry the baggage of racism, religion and money and we get disreputable representation.

    Freedom of speech will be controlled and the reason is the comments from this article. Our government is not “of and for the people” and hasn’t been since the end of WW2. Of course there is “anti-government extremism” in America…..The reaction will be a controlled press and debates.

    If there is a good, honest and ethical side to our government, it is well-covered. It is the government who sets the voters up to go to war. It is the government who set up our economic crash to weaken our self esteem. There is no partisan efforts to blame except when the voters elect a White House that runs without honesty.

    Bush was elected because he was a born-again candidate. He had to be honest…..Was he? Did his crusade to destroy Islam work? or did he piss off the rest of the world? Did President Obama try to fix this mess? or did he add to it by continuing the same actions?

    No wonder our citizens are annoyed. There is no political movement to protect us as individuals. We are the victims of greed and power. I have no doubt more of this nasty actions will occur. The Partiots Act will take care of the dissent.

    Certainly Olbermann will be censored but those insane women from the Tea Party will stir up others. I’m on my way out of these extremist trouble makers’ demonstrations and have tried for many years to down size our war-like government.

    This is one hell of a lead story for CHB and I wonder how honest the comments will be. America needs desperately to form a third party who can give all of us hope for a government based on the Constitutional Republic.,

  2. griff

    March 6, 2010 at 7:30 am

    A surprisingly fair and honest piece. Where the hell did this come from?

    What would a constitutionalist presidency look like? Ron Paul gives us a glimpse.

  3. Sandune

    March 6, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I did not mention Ron Paul. I am concerned with the amount of slanderous information that is freely used by Americans who have little knowledge of what is basically wrong with the current government.

    We give too much power to the Administration that is in power. The slander starts during their campaigns and the emotional voters will follow the campaigns without a word of validity. You have watched Olberman and Beck and you have seen the reactions of both of these men. You have commented on the shallowness of the Tea Party agenda. I have no idea if you followed the reactions to the 911 Commission Report. The Report missed much of the information presented to them.

    Ron Paul is not the answer to our problems as he is the problem of the current tax deniers who refuse to pay their own way. Several times in the past, we have tried to repeal the 16th Amendment and we failed because the voters want the power of the IRS to operate within or without legality. The voters want our White House to have the power to declare war whenever they want.

    Before we can return to the Constitution we must downsize the responsibility of the Federal Government. That will take an enormous education process for the next generation of voters. The voters must understand that they have the responsibility to know what the government can and cannot do. The last generations do not even know the concept of world peace. Our government has kept us in a continual state of war.

    Since the end of WW2, the voters have requested more and more federal authority over our individual choices. It was easy to do as our academic classes have been worn down by social issues.

    Come on Griff, respond to the column and not me. Individual freedoms should be the the backbone of all Americans. I realize you dislike my comments and that is your problem.

    The article is a good piece and all of us should be aware of extremists who arm themselves to respond to the government. We have seen these extremists gun down abortion clinics and doctors. It all starts with a mental problem that grows when so many Americans go off the deep end emotionally. They feel helpless and act like cave men..

    My desire is to have a political party that does not make promises they cannot keep and offer money they do not have. Ron Paul is not the answer and many of us voted (wrote in) his name as a NOTA. America is filled with skinheads and uneducated armed heroes who were too damn cowardly to join the Army and will build their own. Have you driven through Idaho, Montana and parts of Nevada? We have seen these same gangs in Texas and New Hampshire and they have no concept of peace or honest govcernment. Many have their own religious leader who tells them who to kill.

    I do not like America filled with these emotionally demented people. Do I want them disarmed? No! I want the people made aware of this Manson family of the 21st Century. These are people who need their own Messiah.

    • griff

      March 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm

      Uh, I did respond to the article, and not you. I’m heartily sorry that my comment appeared after yours. I find I can’t offer a response to incoherent, meandering gibberish, but I’ll make an exception this one time.

  4. Almandine

    March 6, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Griff commented to the article. Ron Paul STARTED with downsizing the govt.

    Stream of consciousness lives on.

    • griff

      March 6, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      Yeah, I want individual freedoms but refuse to support any politician that does.

  5. Sandune

    March 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Ron Paul ran in 1988 as a libertarian Republican against Bush 41. But he did not start the limited government movement. That started after the Civil War whan a new political party was formed called the Republican Party. It ran on a limited government.

    I was raised in the 30’s and we all were firmly Republicans against the FDR handouts. It did little for culture except raise generations of Americans with their hands in the government till.

    Not a day goes by when some smart ass voter tells me that the world and America would be better off when the WW2 generation dies out. I get the same crap here at CHB. In all the debate and replies, it is still unclear what the hell you youngsters want in a government. Your generation wants everything the government can hand you. Instead of working for whatever party you want, you spend your time arguing with others. Everyone is wrong in your eyes. You never once spent 4 years searching for a candidate who would fit what you wanted in the House or White House. You sit on the sidelines and bitch and moan without coming up with a single suggestion.

    I know what I want! I travel all over America searching for the correct agenda of equality for all Americans. The problem is the dishonestry found in these conventions who promise all sorts of individual freedoms and then they follow up with some Christian bullshit about being worthy of elections. Just wait until you catch the crap from Romney.

    Griff, we have not had a single candidate for president who will even address individual freedoms. We can’t due to the restriction set down by the religious right. Assuming all Americans are Christians is what drives this horrible plan that was introduced by Bush 41 and 43. The one world order over the entire world to be designed and governed by a Christian America. The list of prohibitions that come with this design will destroy our American values.

    I won’t live to see the destruction of a free America but I can only hope you young fools will learn something about individual values. Apparently your mothers and fathers were not interested; and possibly you did not pass this on to your own kids.

    • griff

      March 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm

      Ha. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. You speak of the individual but all your thoughts are collectivist.

      You are indeed one disgusting individual.

      • Carl Nemo

        March 6, 2010 at 9:54 pm

        Hi Ms. Price,

        I swear it’s a dejavu experience when you post. Just a few weeks ago you came on the site and attacked posters, then again about a week ago and Doug stepped in and now its degenerated to the same. You seem to be sensitized from being challenged concerning your thought processes over a many year period.

        There’s no debate on this site, because no one’s going to win over anyone else. We just meet at this watering hole for thought and share our “opinions”. Sometimes we’re challenged, most of the time not, but no one prevails. If anything CHB is simply catharsis for the soul and allows us to vent our spleens in hopefully a creative manner.

        I’m not your enemy in thought. You’ve evidently been quite proactive in your life and I respect your efforts and commitment to your core principles, but CHB is not about attacking other posters and then disappearing in a huff while imagining Doug is banning you and your fellow posters are hating on you etc.

        “You and Carl have played dirty with me in what you believe is a power grab of CHB.” …extract from your post

        Madam, I don’t play “dirty” with people. Folks have read my writings over time and realize I handle every situation with a measure of intelligence, tact and gentility. It’s when you start using my name on this site with reference to “playing dirty” that I find you to be an irritant. There’s no “power grab” here other than in your mind.

        I’ve read all your posts over time and you seemingly don’t realize that you’re all over the map, at times from paragraph to paragraph and when Griff disputes your position you then take it personal.

        Would you rather have us simply ignore your posts as if you were an oddity; ie., a “loon”. So consider our interest in what you have to say as something that is good.

        I appreciated your “Bingo” comment to one of my posts the other day concerning citizens first showing a revolution at the ballot box. : )

        So you need to stack arms madam and quit looking at Griff, myself, Doug Thompson et al. on this site as the enemy. I can assure you we are not. We simply have a difference in “opinion”, nothing more, nothing less.

        Carl Nemo **==

        • griff

          March 7, 2010 at 10:11 am

          Hey Carl, I’m afraid you can’t even ignore her posts any more, as evidenced above. Sandy has come to the conclusion that I’m her enemy and that she some how has sole ownership of the truth.

          I’m tired of this. I’m done here. You can catch me over at Daily Caller.

          Adios.

      • griff

        March 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm

        You’re a fool, and you prove it every time you write some thing.

        • Carl Nemo

          March 7, 2010 at 1:47 pm

          Hi Griff,

          Thanks for the tracks. I’ll check it out and possibly interface on the Daily Caller. : )

          Carl Nemo **==

          • Doug Thompson

            March 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm

            It saddens me to have someone feel like they are driven away. Sandy is history. She will not be allowed back onto this site. She was permanently banned at ReaderRant some time ago and she has forced my hand here.

  6. Almandine

    March 6, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Intermittent reinforcement is the strongest of all…

    But then again, extinction requires total resolve.

  7. Doug Thompson

    March 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Sandra has left the building and I’ve locked the door behind her.

    She pulled this stunt one time too many and will not be allowed back. I’m sorry it had to come to this but the shrillness of the posts have become too much of a distraction here. I have deleted her last diatribe.