Saturday, March 14, 2009

Glenn Beck Plays Footsie with the Mass Murder Line

I wouldn't pretend to have opened any windows into the soul of Glenn Beck. Still, it appears that he's experimenting with justifications for violent, terrorist-type acts against American society during the Age of Obama.

A few weeks ago, I put up a couple of brief posts on Becks enthusiastic references to militias, depression, and revolution as example of "freak show" Republicans in action.

But now Beck's gone farther in the direction of domestic terrorism in response to the shootings in Alabama. Nobody knows why Michael McLendon shot up his mother, grandmother, and a bunch of people sitting on their porches in Samson, Alabama. McLendon tried to join the Marines but failed. He tried to become a policeman but failed. Likewise, McLendon had a list of people who had "wronged" him and appeared to be involved in some sort of family dispute. But right now, there's no public information on what kind of guy he was, how exactly he felt wronged, or what triggered his murderous rampage.

And there might not ever be any good information. McLendon killed a number of the people who knew him best.

But that didn't stop Glenn Beck from speculating.

According to Beck, McClendon's problem might have been that he was one of the people who's been "disenfranchised" by the recent liberal turn in American politics and social attitudes.
But as I’m listening to him. I’m thinking about the American people that feel disenfranchised right now. That feel like nobody’s hearing their voice. The government isn’t hearing their voice. Even if you call, they don’t listen to you on both sides. If you’re a conservative, you’re called a racist. You want to starve children . . . Yada yada yada. And every time they do speak out, they’re shut down by political correctness. How do you not have those people turn into that guy?
Beck's theory here is that people on the right are being "silenced" and that mass murders like the one perpetrated by McLendon could be a "natural" reaction to the sense of exclusion. One example of what Beck's talking about is the attack on a Unitarian Universalist Church outside Knoxville, TN where Jim D. Adkisson tried to kill as "many liberals as possible" and did manage to murder a couple of people before he was stopped. Beck's logic here would be that Adkisson was so fed up with the shaming he felt from the media about racism, homophobia, and the other ways that liberals shame, silence, and disenfranchise conservatives that he lashed out.

The question is whether Glenn Beck is justifying mass murder as a legitimate expression of right-wing grievance against a liberal society. My impression is that Beck is experimenting with that possibility but has not quite made up his mind and is taking care about risking his cushy gig on Fox. Even Fox might have a hard time defending Beck if he began to openly justify domestic terrorism.

Still, Barack Obama has only been in office for two months and Glenn Beck is already toying around with the idea of justifying domestic terrorism.

It makes you wonder how far the fringes of the right are willing to go.


CBL said...

I'm finding Beck's militancy interesting. It's as if they've (the freak show Republicans) picked up where the militia movement left off with the Clinton administration, as I think you've pointed out before.

There is that same undercurrent running through this part of Kentucky. I've been to gun stores a couple of different times in the past few months, and I get the same anxious vibe from proprietors. As soon as Obama got elected, assault-type firearms prices shot through the roof (pardon the pun), and ammunition for them is now difficult to buy. I don't know where this heading. I've heard a couple of times from different people the fear that, if the economy collapses and local people don't get their welfare checks, those people will turn to looting and rioting. Thus, the need to be "prepared."

Makes you wonder what happens to neighborliness and Christian hospitality.

Ric Caric said...

Hey! How's it feel to have your Ph.D.? How's the job market look. I'm still bummed that I couldn't help you out much there.

Beck is interesting and I'm anxious to see where he's going to take the whole pseudo-militia thing. Personally, I think Beck and Fox are looking to see where the mythical "line" is on this angle and then they'll start gingerly crossing it as a way to get higher ratings and political impact.

But the main impact will be to sink the Republican Party even further.

CBL said...

I'm torn about the Ph.D. I'm very happy to have the diploma in hand, but not happy about present job prospects. All that I see being offered these days are one-year positions, and I'm not keen on moving every year, which is what many of my classmates are doing. You did all you could with help on the job front, and I appreciate that.

The Republican Party is playing brinksmanship with the economy, for sure. Fox has certainly amped up its gloom-and-doom coverage, and many survivalist/militia blogs that I follow are eating every word of it. I believe the Republican Party has committed itself to a very self-destructive course and are willing to risk the health of this country to do it. Such is "sticking to their principles."

Todd Mayo said...

First Rush Limbaugh is the new face of the republican pary; now Glenn Beck is the new face of domestic terrorism. Fox News can sell it. The fringe right lap it up like pavlovian dogs, and the dialogue becomes increasingly dangerous. Why dangerous? Beck is easily mistaken for a legitimate, main-stream commentator by those whose primary source of "information" is Fox News. The more Beck grooms the sycophantic "Ted Nugent Right" with this kind of hate speech, the farther he will push them to acts of extremism. It would not be difficult to imagine the ranks of those crazed right-wing militia groups, white-identity groups, and the KKK to swell with the encouragement of people like Beck, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, and "man" Coulter. They scare me. What sickens me most is that Glenn Beck claims membership in the same religion to which I belong. Rest assured, most of us aren't hate-mongers, or racists, or homophobes (ala. large LDS contingent went to extraordinary lengths to reinstate bigotry into California law with vigorous support of prop initiave I find reprehensible and disgusting.) He is a member but he certainly does NOT represent all members of our faith, nor do the other fringe-right members who are so eager to bellow their prejudices loudly enough for all to hear.
Bit of a tagent there, I realize, but I felt the need to distance myself, and others of my faith-tradition who are progressive, rational, tolerent people who abhor the words, works, and positions of the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs of this world.

Anonymous said...

hmmmm. strange coming from those who defend Obama's association with Bill Ayers.....a guy who DID engage in terrorist activities.