But the evidence is there in the man’s own writing. His screed is reported to be chock-a-block full of vilification for homosexuals. The disgust with liberals came from their acceptance of gay men and women. Just two weeks before the shooting the church in question began to openly display a gay welcoming message outside its doors. The church has a long history of being an accepting and tolerant community.
So how did the Moron Media miss this one? Even after the California Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage, homosexuality is still the love that dare not speak its name. When violence happens to Gays and Transgenders we still look away just like the New York neighbors of Kitty Genovese did forty odd years ago. Only the most horrific and scandalous murders of gays gets any mention. It also helps if the victim had the face of an angel—telegenic looks matter.
Not that this particular fact really “explains” the shooters actions; it does not. But the story does become a lot clearer if this particular piece of the puzzle is in place. We begin to see the poisoned waters this particular fish was swimming in. We can see how certain elements of the right-wing noise machine aided and abetted him. We can see how he was goaded into action by the more irresponsible actors on the right.
For a 1st Amendment type this does present a problem. When does free speech become destructive? How do we enforce any type of community standards especially when there is no consensus of what those standards might be? Should a loud-mouth hater like Michel Savage be pulled off the air because of his demented opinions on all things gay? The guy makes money for the Syndicator; there is an audience for this stuff after all. Still the Wiener-man gets to spout all sorts of gay bashing stuff on his program while Don Imus got kicked to the curb because he insulted some women basketball players. The garbage Wiener-Dog puts out is much more hateful and wrong than anything Imus ever put out. But it was Imus who got yanked off the airwaves while the Savage-Wiener has never been given a time out.
One of the biggest issues with the corporate media is its refusal to accept any kind of responsibility for its actions. Blowhards like Rush and Savage and others get to put out garbage and they are not held accountable. The lame excuse that “I’m an entertainer, I can’t be held liable because a disturbed individual took me seriously” is the worst sort of cop out. Real damage is being done to the public space; our political conversation is being dumbed-down so GE and other corporate pirates can make a fast buck.
Coupled with right wing radio we have the other part of the 1st amendment quandary – right wing religion. It is no secret that the conservative evangelicals have it out for the gays. The Christianists claim to love the sinner but to hate the sin. Unfortunately, the love portion is coming out a little muffled while the hate is coming through loud and clear. Fred Phelps lovely bunch of demented daffy denizens of the deep being the most outrageous example of this lot. Need we point out the fellow travelers like Concerned Women For America or Focus on the Family? When it comes to Gay-bashing, the Fundamentalist Christianist sectarians wrote the book. How far can these people go? If we yank their chain and reel them in what’s to prevent the U-U’s from being the next target? If we yank a bigot off the public stage who is to say that “good liberal” might not be next. Still some type of accountably is required for these supposed followers of Yeshua bar Yosef. Their biblical pronouncements helped stir the witches’ brew of hatred that the shooter emerged from.
The violence in Knoxville is just a reflection of where we are as a nation. We allow bigots to demonize other people because of the sexual make-up. We allow our conversation to be debased for entertainment purposes. We allow people to indulge in the politics of fear. We allow the politics of hatred. In his demented mind the shooter acted out on signals he was receiving. He was at least accidentally encouraged by the broad based anti-gay movement. He was at least accidentally goaded into action by the “family values” crowd.
A half century ago three little black girls paid the price for our tolerance of racial bigotry, more followed. As bad as it was at least no one claimed the bomber acted out of “anti-liberal bias.” We must confront our daemons head on; we must be honest with ourselves. The attack in Knoxville was the end result of someone’s anti-gay agenda. This was a hate crime. By failing to report that fact our moron media failed to do it’s job.