Monday, November 13, 2006

The other kind of terror

We've been steadily adding to our gallery of domestic terrorists in recent weeks, and now we can add the perpetrator of the anthrax hoax letters that were sent to Keith Olbermann and other leading media and "liberal" figures -- which, as I pointed out at the time, is definitively an act of domestic terrorism.

His name is Chad Conrad Castagana:
LOS ANGELES -- A man was arrested and accused of mailing threatening letters laced with white powder to Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, David Letterman and other high-profile figures, the FBI announced Sunday.

FBI agents took Chad Conrad Castagana, 39, into custody Saturday on charges of conveying false information and sending threats via the U.S. mail, the bureau said in a statement.

... Authorities claim he mailed threatening letters to Pelosi, Letterman, New York Sen. Charles Schumer, Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and MSNBC host Keith Olbermann.

Some letters included phrases like "Death to Demagogues" and pictures of victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami, authorities said.

Gavin at Sadly, No! has the full rundown on this character. Seems he was a regular Freeper who posted the following bio:
I am a lifelong Conservative Republican .

I have an Associates Degree in the Science of Electronics .

Ann Coulter is a Goddess and I worship Laura Ingraham and Michele Malkin .

English is the langauge of the United States of America- - our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are written in the langauge that expresses our civilized freedoms .

Spanish is the language of Banana Republics, beyond that it belongs in a European country.

Bruce Wilson at Talk To Action points out that Castanaga was also a devout Christian Nationalist who posted the following at Freep:
Liberals and Lefties everywhere in America's institutions are trying to slowly but increasingly ban Christianity from America, from our site, from our discourse !
They have already succeded in banning any sign of Christianity from ourPublic Schools ! !

If THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST were released today for the first time, it would be slapped with an NC-17 rating !

It might also be worth finding out whether this character had any contact with Paula Froelich of the New York Post.

And as Gavin notes, Malkin -- who is quick to proclaim random acts of violence on a jihadist terror conspiracy within our borders, but never seems to worry about actual acts of domestic terrorism -- has so far ignored Mr. Castagana at her site.

As Bruce Wilson and Evan Derkacz point out, it is unfair to smear all conservatives generally with the acts of loons like Castagana. But there is, as I've remarked previously, a level of culpability here as well in cases like these:
What all of these incidents have in common is the mental instability of the actors; and I've explored previously how that affects the way society and the law must deal with the perpetrators. In the case of Buford Furrow, for instance, his mental illness became a mitigating factor in his eventual sentence, as prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty in large part because of it.

Marking off rampages like Furrow's, Huff's, and Haq's as "isolated events" caused by mental illness is a cop-out, however. Because, as the case of David Lewis Rice made all too clear, these mentally unstable types are almost always stirred up and driven to their insane acts by haters of various stripes, the kind whose voices seem each day to be growing louder in our public discourse. These cultural vampires have developed a real knack for inspiring mentally unstable people into horrific acts of violence.

Haters like the people Castagana claims as his heroes -- Coulter, Malkin, Ingraham, just for starters -- are constantly engaging in the worst kind of eliminationist rhetoric directed primarily at liberals. It is simply an inevitability that, when this kind of hate is broadcast to millions of people daily, some of them are eventually going to start acting it out in fashions precisely like this. And worse.

All these figures, of course, have the right to speak as they wish. But the media-industry figures -- the producers and executives who put them on the air, thereby giving them a bullhorn to broadcast it nationally and spew it across our television sets and radios -- are simply being irresponsible.

It's past time, really, to start holding them responsible.

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