The Education of an Assassin

We are in for a long season of bipartisan nonsense. There’s always plenty of crazy people in the world, and some of them have guns, and over the course of modern history crazy people have used violence for every reason imaginable. At this point in history, though, the people who advocate violence in the United States, however indirectly and hypocritically, are religious conservatives. The assassination of Congresswomen Giffords is no different.

It’s not a new problem, no matter what the apologists say. It wasn’t a liberal who published a map with gun sights superimposed over congressional districts; it was a member of the Tea Party who called for “second amendment remedies.” The last wave of conservative violence targeted family planning clinics and doctors. This new violence, though, recalls the militias of the 1990s, focused on the federal government. That wave climaxed with McVeigh‘s bombing.

If you want to find left-leaning paranoid nuts, it’s not hard; do a search on the Kennedy assassination or on the events of 9-11. If you want to find right-leaning nuts, look at Congress. That difference matters; the periphery has become the center. The new speaker of the house, Baener, refused to directly confront the birthers, even when they disrupted his political theater. He cavalierly dismisses the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the cost of the repeal of health care.

Congressman Issa calls Obama, “the most corrupt president in history.” There are no “death panels”: there has not been a “government takeover” of anything; the list of these alarmist fabrications is almost endless. We don’t need a “toned down” rhetoric; we need a sharpened rhetoric that is capable of identifying and squashing paranoid conservative nonsense before it grows into violence. We need to hold the Pallins and Becks’ accountable. We need to control the guns.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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