In a video game, a conspiracy-theorist radio host asks if his callers could please just make sense.
In life, though, I wonder the same thing about, well, yeah ….
In von Brunn’s car outside the museum, authorities found a handwritten note, according to the affidavit: “You want my weapons — this is how you’ll get them. The Holocaust is a lie. Obama created the Jews. Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do.” There were other anti-Semitic rants, followed by: “The 1st Amendment is aborgated — henceforth.”
There is actually a lot to consider about the Holocaust Museum shooting. But while some would make the hay about the obvious—that the DHS report on right-wing extremists might well have been accurate, for instance, or connecting angry, right-wing talk show rhetoric to extremist violence—there is something else, perhaps more subtle, that begs notice.
I’m sorry, did I say subtle? Maybe that’s a liberal-elitist underestimation of the American people. But it’s time we all not simply admit, but openly and unabashedly proclaim that right-wing psychobabble makes no more logical sense than much of the leftist-revolutionary crap that people have long decried.
I mean, fine. So you don’t like patchouli or hippie hygiene, but a Republican-leaning associate of mine—alienated, as such, by the party’s conduct of late—recently accused the Today show of being a right-wing news source. This is patently false, and the kind of thing you expect from embittered leftists complaining about media compliance with the Bush administration. Isn’t it obvious that the Today show isn’t a news source?
But I digress.
Obama created the Jews? What does that even mean? And then to turn around and say, in the next sentence, “Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do”? I mean, it’s incongruous at the very least. We might as well look at the Bush Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and say Bush did what his Muslim owners told him to do. And, you know, the American government did help create the Taliban. But it would still be a stupid statement. Sure, Bush did exactly what bin Laden and Islamic-based terrorists wanted him to do; it was stupidity, though, and not fealty.
And while I find it ironic that it was a FOX News anchor, Shepard Smith, who connected angry, stupid conservative rhetoric with extreme violence in the United States (“If you’re one who believes that abortion is murder, at what point do you go out and kill someone who is performing abortions? …. If you are one who believes these sorts of things about the President of the United States?”), we must also account for other factors. At 88, was James von Brunn senile? Perhaps, but in 1981 he tried a similar routine with the Federal Reserve Board, and spent four years in prison.
Perhaps such behavior is fueled or reinforced by extreme popular rhetoric, but let’s face it: There is something wrong with this guy. That is, he’s crazy. Bonkers. Living in some alternate reality.
I don’t know, maybe I’m appealing for better mental health care in the United States. The fact is that this guy has been nursing his hatred for years; it ruined his marriage, according to the Los Angeles Times. He wrote an anti-Semitic novella called Kill the Best Gentiles, according to an FBI affidavit: “The novel detailed how Von Brunn believed the government was being run by Jews and the Jews were looking to extinguish the white race.”
I mean, I know this is the land of the free and home of the brave, and all that, but come on … this is insane.
There is something wrong with him, but getting help is another issue all together…
While I do agree that we need mental health care in the United States , I’m also pretty sure that the government shouldn’t have anything to do with how it’s run. Look at how well they’ve screwed everything else up, from Medicare to prescription plans for the elderly. Some acne-ridden pencil pusher with no medical degree can decide your fate at any given time, and it’s all based on the $$ on the bottom line. We need mental health care period. I would venture to say “better” but it’s virtually non-existant save for if you are an extreme case that has manifested itself. see Andrea Yates, Ted Kasinsky, John Chew, Hinkley, Manson, et al… the list goes on and on.
That said, the news is not the news anymore. It’s barely factual, and it’s always biased save for a few sources. But that’s humanity and I would venture a guess that it’s how it always has been. We just don’t know they aren’t factual because we weren’t there and no one live was. News outlets, not the Today Show mind you, are nothing more than censured opinion. They give us what we want to know and you can’t trust the rest. When the Buddha said, “”Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it –
even if I have said it – unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” maybe he just didn’t have a big enough audience. Or perhaps, this country is severely lacking in common sense. Is that a mental defect? I think it should be.
Or maybe I’m just a paranoid 🙂
A certain low dose of paranoia is probably healthy. Or perhaps at that point we still call it skepticism, or some such.
In truth, I think I lost myself when I stopped to make the smug joke about subtlety. When I wrote the first line about the GTA soundtrack, well, memory informs that I somehow felt sure of where I was going with the post.
I’m trying not to jump on the bandwagon accusing right-wing radio of being responsible for this. Indeed, in the days since I wrote the post, I’ve heard plenty of people from my side of the aisle make the point. And yes, to this day I resent the suggestion that heavy metal or rap music is the spawning point for youth violence.
But people like Von Brunn? You know, when I was a teenager, I was smart enough that listening to King Diamond wasn’t going to compel me to go out and slaughter people or animals for ritual purposes. And, in truth, I have no idea what S.O.D.’s “Pre-Menstrual Princess Blues” was supposed to make me do wrong. And there was no way that a musical tribute to Stephen King’s “The Apt Pupil” (Different Seasons) was going to send me off on a shooting spree. (Although, to be fair, I did hold some political affection for Anthrax’s “Indians”, and I would have done well to remember “Efilnikufesin” in adulthood.) But even before I was a teenager, James von Brunn stormed the Federal Reserve. The guy was recognizably crazy and dangerous for years.
I would like influential public figures to pay at least a little attention to what they’re saying, but that also feels like I’m asking a lot. Nature will always provide us with a frightening array of psychoses, and not everyone can specialize in psychology even if they had better reasons than understanding the possibility of accidentally contributing to dangerous insanity.
Now there is an idea. I took a psychology class in high school, and it’s stuck with me as an abiding interest ever since. Not that I should attempt to diagnose or counsel mental illness. But it has served me well. Perhaps a high school health credit could be spent giving students some basic tools for understanding the processes of the human mind.
Many thanks for stopping in. I do appreciate the attention. What can I say? I’m human.