James Adkisson, the gunman who walked into a Unitarian Universalist Church with a shotgun and opened fire on the congregation (who were watching children perform their rendition of Annie), was sentenced to life in prison today. As part of his final statement, Adkisson released a four-page manifesto, which he had originally intended to be his suicide note if he was killed by police during his rampage.
A Vietnam-era veteran with alcohol abuse problems, Adkisson had been struggling to find gainful employment. He eventually came to blame Liberals for his problems, and when arrested claimed that his intention had been to kill as many Liberals as possible to send a message to the nation. The four-page manifesto he released to the press goes into great detail about his hatred of all things left-wing, and serves up one especially noticeable paragraph (emphasis added):
"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 cancerous pestilence."
The book that Adkisson is referring to is Goldberg's 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken is #37). In the book, Goldberg rants on how people like Tim Robbins, Norman Mailer, Howard Stern and Gloria Steinem are destroying America from the inside out (Spoiler Alert: Michael Moore is #1). He actually followed it up in 2006 with 110 People Who Are Screwing Up America, because you never want a list of such magnitude to become outdated.
After the shooting, once Adkisson proclaimed his motives and intentions, a lot of people started screaming that this was proof that the hate-speech being spewed by the hard-right was actually inciting hatred and violence in its audience. Those claims have now been somewhat validated.
Granted, this was definitely not the name that many people were hoping would pop up. Those who are disgusted by the right-wing-talking-head-propaganda machine were really holding out for something bigger; a last minute shout-out to Sean Hannity, a Rush Is My Spirit Guide bumper sticker, or even a complete collection of Anne Coulter's books, signed by Coulter with the inscription "Go get'em, Tiger!"
Hannity, O'Reilly or Limbaugh would have been major Conservative Icons worth raking across the coals for their incendiary and inciting diatribes. Goldberg, for the most part, is just a big-mouthed stooge who pisses and moans that every negative thing said about Republicans in the media or the entertainment industry is proof of a vast left-wing conspiracy to drown out the true voice of America. His latest book, A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media, is 184 pages of him complaining that the News Media gave Obama a free pass to the White House. For anyone who actually paid attention during the elections, this assessment is complete crap. But, hey, whatever makes you feel better.
But the point of this, the importance of Goldberg's name actually appearing in Adkisson's Manifesto, is that most of the right-wing ranting and posturing is designed to make people worse. People like Adkisson, down on their luck and easily influenced, turn to these people not because they offer hope or answers, but because they offer them someone to hate.
Adkisson was told that the Liberals are to blame for the shape of the economy. He was told that the Liberals are letting foreigners into the country to live off welfare and take the jobs away from Americans like him. He was told that the Liberals hate God and Christianity, and are trying to destroy (Christian) religion by stopping prayer in schools, letting Gays get married, and taking the Christ out of Christmas. He was told that the Liberals wanted to destroy the American way of life and turn it into a Communist/Socialist/Marxist One World Order. Oh, and Liberals hate the troops and want America to lose the war.
Adkisson believed them. He believed that the country he fought for and loved was under attack. So he loaded a shotgun, marched into a non-Christian church known to perform outreach programs for Gays, and started shooting.
Congratulations, Bernie. Your sales should go up with this news. All that fear mongering and alarm-sounding have finally paid off. One of your biggest fans took your book and turned it into a hit list. Of course, I'm not implying that you intending anyone to go out and harm others when you wrote any of your books. Then again, you and your cronies have been screaming at that top of your lungs for years that the American Way as we know it is under constant attack by the evil Liberals. What else did you expect a God-fearing Patriot to do?