Even as I write we are learning of a massive shooting rampage which to this point has left at least fourteen people dead and fifty wounded.
These were innocent civilians who were just out for a night at the movies.
Unfortunately, the movie they decided to see was Batman, the Dark Knight Rises, a film which was targeted by Rush Limbaugh.
You see, a couple of days ago, Rush made the claim that the villain in the movie, Bane, was a liberal conspiracy to embarrass Mitt Romney because it might remind them of his company, Bain Capital. He stated:
"This evil villain in the new Batman movie is named Bane. And there's now a discussion out there as to whether or not this is purposeful and whether or not it will influence voters. It's gonna have a lot of people. This movie, the audience is gonna be huge. A lot of people are gonna see the movie, and it's a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd, and they're gonna hear Bane in the movie and they're gonna associate Bain. The thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie, ‘Oh, yeah, I know who that is.’ There are some people who think it'll work. Others think you're really underestimating the American people to think that will work.”
Thus, Rush planted a seed. It didn't matter to him that the character was created when Mitt Romney was still an Independent voter who had to that point never entered politics. It didn't matter to him that he had suggested that these people might decide to vote against Romney based on the flimsy premise he had concocted. It didn’t matter to him that some of his followers are seriously mentally ill and armed.
How many times have we been down this path where a hate mongering pundit will attack recklessly in order to obtain ratings, not caring that their mentally ill minions take their words and poison to heart? How many times will we hear those responsible for the violent rhetoric claim once again that they have no responsibility for the lone shooter who just happened to listen to the vitriol.
David Neiwert put together a list of the right wing “lone gunmen”:
-- July 2008: A gunman named Jim David Adkisson, agitated at how "liberals" are "destroying America," walks into a Unitarian Church and opens fire, killing two churchgoers and wounding four others.
-- October 2008: Two neo-Nazis are arrested in Tennessee in a plot to murder dozens of African-Americans, culminating in the assassination of President Obama.
-- December 2008: A pair of "Patriot" movement radicals -- the father-son team of Bruce and Joshua Turnidge, who wanted "to attack the political infrastructure" -- threaten a bank in Woodburn, Oregon, with a bomb in the hopes of extorting money that would end their financial difficulties, for which they blamed the government. Instead, the bomb goes off and kills two police officers. The men eventually are convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.
-- December 2008: In Belfast, Maine, police discover the makings of a nuclear "dirty bomb" in the basement of a white supremacist shot dead by his wife. The man, who was independently wealthy, reportedly was agitated about the election of President Obama and was crafting a plan to set off the bomb.
-- January 2009: A white supremacist named Keith Luke embarks on a killing rampage in Brockton, Mass., raping and wounding a black woman and killing her sister, then killing a homeless man before being captured by police as he is en route to a Jewish community center.
-- February 2009: A Marine named Kody Brittingham is arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate President Obama. Brittingham also collected white-supremacist material.
-- April 2009: A white supremacist named Richard Poplawski opens fire on three Pittsburgh police officers who come to his house on a domestic-violence call and kills all three, because he believed President Obama intended to take away the guns of white citizens like himself. Poplawski is currently awaiting trial.
-- April 2009: Another gunman in Okaloosa County, Florida, similarly fearful of Obama's purported gun-grabbing plans, kills two deputies when they come to arrest him in a domestic-violence matter, then is killed himself in a shootout with police.
-- May 2009: A "sovereign citizen" named Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas, and assassinates abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.
-- June 2009: A Holocaust denier and right-wing tax protester named James Von Brunn opens fire at the Holocaust Museum, killing a security guard.
-- February 2010: An angry tax protester named Joseph Ray Stack flies an airplane into the building housing IRS offices in Austin, Texas.
-- March 2010: Seven militiamen from the Hutaree Militia in Michigan and Ohio are arrested and charged with plotting to assassinate local police officers with the intent of sparking a new civil war.
-- March 2010: An anti-government extremist named John Patrick Bedell walks into the Pentagon and opens fire, wounding two officers before he is himself shot dead.
-- May 2010: A "sovereign citizen" from Georgia is arrested in Tennessee and charged with plotting the violent takeover of a local county courthouse.
-- May 2010: A still-unidentified white man walks into a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque and sets it afire, simultaneously setting off a pipe bomb.
-- May 2010: Two "sovereign citizens" named Jerry and Joe Kane gun down two police officers who pull them over for a traffic violation, and then wound two more officers in a shootout in which both of them are eventually killed.
-- July 2010: An agitated right-winger and convict named Byron Williams loads up on weapons and drives to the Bay Area intent on attacking the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, but is intercepted by state patrolmen and engages them in a shootout and armed standoff in which two officers and Williams are wounded.
-- September 2010: A Concord, N.C., man is arrested and charged with plotting to blow up a North Carolina abortion clinic. The man, 26-year--old Justin Carl Moose, referred to himself as the "Christian counterpart to (Osama) bin Laden” in a taped undercover meeting with a federal informant.
-- January 2011: Jared Loughner, an anti-government, anti-immigration fanatic with ties to racist organizations kills six people including a nine year old girl and seriously wounds 14 including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
And now we have 14 more killed, 50 more injured. And the excuses will be the same as they have been the last 19 times. But, after 20 incidents in four years, after 33 deaths of innocent civilians and the wounding of 61 others, isn’t it time to accept the fact that we have right wing domestic terrorists willing to commit murder and their behaviors and beliefs are being enflamed by the hatred and the rumors and the rhetoric from pundits who later wash their lands and claim no responsibility for shouting fire in a crowded theater.