Philadelphia, Pennsylvania--It would be unfair to lay all of the blame for the shooting rampage of Richard Andrew Poplawski in Philadelphia this week on Alex Jones (or even Glen Beck) alone, but he and the rest of the reactionary right noise machine own a good chunk of it. It's not begging the question since the unbalanced and ignorant spree killer was an avid reader and consumer of such extremist dreck.
This wasn't about someone "getting into it" with their family over a dog urinating on a rug, it was about a sick young man with a small mind who found inspiration from right-wing demagogues, some of whom erroneously get lumped-into being part of the progressive and populist left. But Poplawski wasn't part of that political stream and had direct connections with the white supremacist "Stormfront" white supremacist group and was an avid reader of Alex Jones, among others on the rightist fringe.
While it's true that Poplawski was influenced by various texts, Jones figures highly in the story, and the role of anti-government conspiracy theories play a significant part of what led an ignorant and antisocial personality to focused and violent action.
“He was really into politics and really into the First and Second amendment. One thing he feared was he feared the gun ban because he thought that was going to take away peoples’ right to defend themselves. He never spoke of going out to murder or to kill,” said Edward Perkovic, who described himself as Mr. Poplawski’s lifelong best friend.
Mr. Poplawski’s view of guns and personal freedom took a turn toward the fringes of American politics. With Mr. Perkovic, he appeared to share a belief that the government was controlled from unseen forces, that troops were being shipped home from the Mideast to police the citizenry here, and that Jews secretly ran the country.
Believing most media were covering up important events, Mr. Poplawski turned to a far-right conspiracy Web site run by Alex Jones, a self-described documentarian with roots going back to the extremist militia movement of the early 1990s. ("Suspect in officers' shooting was into conspiracy theories," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 04.05.2009)
Dallas' 5th District, East Texas' 2nd District and the amazing 14th District, which runs all over everywhere, are also in play. In the amazing 14th, Democrat Lefty Morris (his slogan is "Lefty is Right!") faces the Republican/Libertarian Ron Paul, who is himself so far right that he's sometimes left, as happens with your Libertarians. I think my favorite issue here is Paul's 1993 newsletter advising "Frightened Americans" on how to get their money out of the country. He advised that Peruvian citizenship could be purchased for a mere 25 grand. That we should all become Peruvians is one of the more innovative suggestions of this festive campaign season. But what will the Peruvians think of it? ("Molly Ivins October 10," Forth Worth Star-Telegram, 10.10.1996)In short, Paul is recommending that well-off Americans at that time engage in capital flight, which is hardly a "left" position, but parallel with that of the mainstream Republican Party as well as extremist tax resisters and Wall Street. It's certain that he feels the same now, and that's not a populist argument by any stretch--it favors the rich--the people we can presume he really serves. But this is really going easy on Ron Paul, so we'll get to the "meat."
There have been many accusations over the years levelled at Paul that he's a white supremacist. Some of this comes from his own connection with the militia movement, one he shares with Alex Jones and many other allies of the Austin-based parapolitical demagogue. But Paul's grandstanding on these issues begs-the-question of whether it even matters whether he believes what he says.
Last week, Congress hailed the 40th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The heroic Ron Paul was the only member of Congress to vote No. Here is his statement. ~ Ed.Mr. Speaker, I rise to explain my objection to H.Res. 676. I certainly join my colleagues in urging Americans to celebrate the progress this country has made in race relations. However, contrary to the claims of the supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the sponsors of H.Res. 676, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty.The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties. The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society. ("The Trouble With Forced Integration," by Ron Paul, M.D., lewrockwell.com, 07.03.2004)
We tried in our discussions to identify and find remedies to typical militia weaknesses. One weakness seen often in militia history is that units degenerate into mere social clubs. To prevent this, all companies would participate in annual play-offs in the form of free-play exercises against other companies. The winner would advance to the next level. Our hope is that these competitions would become big deals in communities across America, spurring the militiamen on to greater efforts.Another typical militia weakness is doctrinal stagnation. To counter this, the militia would have its own General Staff, made up of the kind of "military dinks" who have been into military history and war games since they were kids. The General Staff would oversee doctrine, training and the regular round of free-play exercises. It would not vet individual militia members, since this would create centralization, but it would have the power to dissolve companies that performed poorly, became social clubs or got taken over by MS-13 and the like. ("Organizing the Militia, by William S. Lind," lewrockwell.com, 08.11.2005)
...In the meantime, we can expect the Obama libs [Ed.--I voted Nader, thank you very much.] to continue their demonization of those of us who not only value and support the Second Amendment – the very cornerstone of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – but also those of us who realize government invariably plots against liberty and eventually enslaves the masses, as a glance at the last century reveals. ... It should be expected that the government will exploit the recent shootings in order further their propaganda and realize their master plan of an unarmed and helpless populace. It really is sad the liberals are helping them in this effort by offering themselves up as useful idiots. ("Lib Blogs Kick into Frothing Overdrive in Reaction to Pittsburgh Shootings, inforwars.com, 04.04.2009)That's funny, I'm a philosophical socialist who voted for Ralph Nader in the 2008 presidential elections, but does that matter when you're trying to discredit your critics? It does. Nimmo and Jones like accusing their adversaries of using "Stalinist tactics," yet there isn't one mention of the fact that Poplawski was an enthusiastic reader of Jones's site anywhere in his meandering article that must be read to be believed for its acrobatics and wild leaps of logic. What do you expect in the world of the paranoiac, the demagogue? Stalin would be proud.
Additionally,Nimmo creates a straw man argument that Poplawski's comments on the Obama administration came from Edward Perkovic, when the information really came from an acquaintance named Aaron Vire. Poplawski's neighbor, Tom Moffitt, has also stated that the young man expressed comments along the same lines as the accounts of Perkovic and Vire. That's three testimonies thus far that Poplawski was afraid his guns were going to be taken from him, specifically by the Obama administratoion, with more to come.