Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Goofball hate

Sean Hannity's old pal Hal Turner has been gradually sinking so deep into the far-right swamp that he's practically vanished. No one takes him seriously, and no one really pays him any attention. His following could meet in a men's bathroom stall. Indeed, they may already.

So in order to keep drawing attention to himself -- which has become pretty much his sole reason for being -- he has to keep pushing the envelope, saying more and more extreme things in the hopes that people will pay attention.

Well, he's finally hit the jackpot with his latest call for assassination [warning: links to hate site] of the "problems" in Congress and on the Supreme Court:
First, let me say that I do not envision a Second American Revolution as being some gallant fight, with tens of thousands of armed citizens facing tens of thousands of US troops on some battlefield. No. Far from it.

In watching the military campaigns of the past 25 years, I have come to admire "surgical strikes." When force is applied in a specific, limited way, the results can be magnificent. Such is my HYPOTHETICAL thinking for our present circumstance.

Suppose, HYPOTHETICALLY just for the sake of argument, that not all of the Congress and Supreme Court need to be removed. The House of Representatives consists of 435 members. The Senate consists of 100 members. But not all of them are "problems."

For the purpose of this HYPOTHETICAL discussion, let's say that only half of the US House and half of the US Senate are "problems" That's a total of 267 "problems" in Congress. Obviously, there are at least three "problems" on the Supreme Court. 267 + 3 = 270 total "problems."

Imagine if you will, teams of 5 committed citizens each, who were fed up with these "problems."

270 x 5 = 1,350 committed citizens needed to resolve these "problems."

Do you think that in America, a nation of 300,000,000 people, there are 1,350 committed citizens willing to put it all on the line to "correct" these "problems" and thus save the nation? I do.

It could be called "patriotic assassination."

It seems to me that a HYPOTHETICAL operation using teams of five men assigned to each "problem," could gather information on the assigned persons. It is easy to find out things like daily schedules, public appearances, travel routes to and from work, etc.. Once the data was collected and analyzed a time and date could be set for "solving" these "problems."

Who are these "problems"? Hard to say, exactly; in some cases they're clearly liberals (especially the three "problems" on the Supreme Court) but in others they are Republicans who've failed to fall far enough to the right. If you read the input from his commenters, most of them clearly favor assassinating Democrats before Republicans, though the latter are hardly exempt. Reading Turner's own diatribes, I'd wager that any Jew or black in Congress would be on the list as well.

So far he's been getting all the attention he could ask for: Drudge has given him a link. WorldNetDaily has written him up. And according to his Web site, a major radio talk show is going to feature him today to talk about his plan.

Turner has become so extreme that even other extremists like to point to him as proof of their own relative moderation -- which is how WND and Drudge have handled him.

The reality is that Turner's influence is so tiny, and the likelihood of any of his followers actually carrying out his plan so remote, that in an ideal world we'd just be able to scoff this off as the pathetic warblings of an increasingly desperate attention-monger.

After all, he tried doing more or less the same thing last year when he began targeting judges with whom he disagreed, using the murders of Judge Lefkow's family in Chicago as a springboard. But there were no further murders, no further threats. Turner's influence was nonexistent.

He's continued making threats along these lines, posting home-address and personal-finance information for one of his sharpest critics [warning: hate-site links] as well as for an offending commenter from Alaska. Meanwhile, of course, he's been dispensing anonymously authored advice for "Lone Wolves".

It is this latter phenomenon, really, that is the source of any immediate concern about Turner's threat. The kind of people who would join Turner's organization or comment on his Web site are mostly loudmouthed lardasses incapable of any such action. But inevitably, hanging on the fringes of these kinds of figures, there are followers -- mentally unstable, more often than not -- who may just decide to act out this kind of hatred.

Certainly, we saw this in action a few months ago in Seattle when an anti-Semitic hater shot up the Jewish Federation building downtown. Indeed, there's a whole gallery's worth of these kinds of figures coming out of the right.

The chief concern with threatening rhetoric like Turner's is that he's going to convince some mentally unstable listener out there to go off his meds and start taking out Supreme Court justices.

And the larger concern, really, is how talk like this simply adds to the hate quotient floating about in our public discourse -- of which there is already plenty. All of those right-wing outlets eager to decry Turner's hatemongering ought to take a look in their own rhetorical back yards as well.

Meanwhile, where's Michelle "Unhinged" Malkin when you need her? Oh, nevermind; she's too busy getting all worked up about John Kerry.

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