I wouldn't pretend to have opened any windows into the soul of Glenn Beck. Still, it appears that he's experimenting with justifying violent, terrorist-type acts in 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 examples 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. A history of personal frustration and failure might have something to do with it. McLendon tried to join the Marines but failed and later tried to become a policeman but failed. Likewise, McLendon had a list of people who had "wronged" him at his factory job 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 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." The 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 he lashed out.
The question with this kind of argument 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.