One Year Ago Today...
By Coury Turczynon July 27, 2009 10:24 AM
...Knoxville experienced a nightmarish attack when Jim David Adkisson decided to strike out against liberals and "kill them where they gather." He chose the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church as the site of his rampage--on a day when children were performing Annie Jr. Greg McKendry and Linda Kraeger were killed, and six others were wounded. It could have been even more horrific were it not for the brave liberals who tackled Adkisson.
Today at 7 p.m., the TVUUC is holding the "Instruments of Peace" concert as a thank-you for the support it received from the Knoxville community. Folk musicians Guy and Candie Carawan are performing. ...
Jim Adkisson didn't see his intended targets as human beings, he only saw them as "liberals". He got his sick twisted ideas from the so-called conservative media. Adkisson's apartment was filled with books and newsletters penned by Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and other right-wing hate talkers.
Right-wing hate talk had worked on Adkisson. Before setting out to murder "liberals" at a Knoxville church that had come to his attention because they welcomed gay people, he wrote in what he intended to be his 'suicide note':
"Know this if nothing else: This was a hate crime. I hate the damn
left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country &
these liberals are working together to attack every decent & honorable
institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state.
Shame on them....
"This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in
the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to
kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible
to me. I couldn't get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist
movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote
in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered.
I hope others do the same. It's the only way we can rid America of this
"I thought I'd do something good for this Country Kill Democrats til the
cops kill me....Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them Each little
bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid
ourselves of this evil is to kill them in the streets. Kill them where they
gather. I'd like to encourage other like minded people to do what I've done. If
life aint worth living anymore don't just kill yourself. do something for your
Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals.
Although one would have thought that Adkisson's manifesto/suicide letter and his reading list would have given rightwing talkers pause, a year later, nothing seems to have changed.
On our local talk/news station, KGMI, still plays syndicated rabid Rightwing fearmongering and scapegoating from 9 to 5; Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity. It's our own little Radio Rwanda.
And this Right-wing brainwashing is working, you can see the signs (pictured to the right) just a couple weeks ago in front of Congressman Larsens Bellingham office.
Sara Robinson did a great job of summing up some of what we can learn from that sad event, a year ago in Knoxville:
Nicely done, Messrs. Hannity, Goldberg, Limbaugh, Savage and O'Reilly -- and all your lesser brethren who keep the hate speech spewing 24/7/365 across every field and into every shop in the country. There is no more debate to be had, no more doubt about it: What you did in the name of "entertainment," and for the sake of the almighty ratings, raised and animated a monster like Jim Adkisson, gave him a list of targets ("the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book"), and was directly responsible for the deaths of two brave and decent people. Adkisson was clearly angry and crazy -- but his "manifesto" draws the clearest, brightest line possible between the media he consumed and his actions that terrible Sunday morning.
Progressives should take three lessons away from Knoxville:
One: we are no longer safe, not even in our own houses of worship. It's ironic that progressives -- the subgroup of Americans who were most determined not to abandon reason and succumb to overblown fears of Islamic terrorism in the wake of 9/11 -- now have good, serious reasons to fear real domestic terrorism against themselves.
Two: A significant part of this country's media infrastructure is thoroughly devoted to inciting people to commit horrific acts of violence against us -- and now, we know for a fact that people are acting on those incitements. It's time to start taking this far more seriously. What goes out across our airwaves these days isn't all that different from what went out over Radio Rwanda a decade ago, spurring that country to genocide. At this point, it's only a difference of degree.
Three: The right wing has, as usual, grossly underestimated our courage and our commitment. The members of Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist quickly and effectively disarmed and captured this man within seconds after he opened fire. Adkisson expected fear; what we got was determined resistance. It's why he's still alive today, and why more UUs aren't dead by his hand. The TVUUA congregation should be our enduring example of liberal grace under fire.Adkisson's "manifesto" should end any doubts we ever had about how virulent and dangerous hate talk is, or whether or not that talk will eventually translate into action.