Anti-Bush Truther shoots up Pentagon; Should we play the political blame game?
On Thursday, a "9/11 Truth" fanatic named John Patrick Bedell started shooting at the Pentagon and managed to wound two guards before they mercifully put him out of our misery.
We now know that the guy thought the government and the Bush family were behind the 9/11 attacks (or "demolitions" as he called them), and was basically frothing at the mouth with Bush hatred.
Now, I've been to innumerable "Truther" rallies over the last 8 years, and can say with some confidence that about 98% of folks who think 9/11 was a hoax are left-wingers, or at the very least fit in very comfortably in the left-wing milieu, since the impetus behind Truthism is to undermine the basis for Bush's "War on Terror," an impetus which is also a cornerstone of modern Leftist thought as well.
So far, however, I've noticed a deafening quietude on the left-leaning blogs about this guy's affiliations and belief systems. Those brave enough to troll leftist comments sections have noted mumblings therein that the guy was probably a secret "teabagger," despite all evidence to the contrary.
Compare this to the response in the leftosphere when Joseph Stack flew his plane into an Austin IRS building a couple weeks earlier. Despite leaving a suicide note that approvingly cited Karl Marx and that condemned capitalism as nothing but "greed," he was pilloried by every left-leaning site as a right-wing hitman who epitomized the inherent violence of the Tea Party movement -- because he had anti-government feelings.
Now, just for a moment, let's set aside the false guilt-by-association game everyone's always playing. We all know that John Patrick Bedell and Joseph Stack are basically insane, plain and simple -- as are any number of similar whackjobs who periodically go loco and erupt into violence. Violent psychopaths often incorporate some seemingly random overarching theme into their mindset, and on occasion that theme involves politics. Whenever someone like Bedell or Stack goes ballistic, every pundit jumps into the fray and tries to spin the outburst as "exemplifying" the political viewpoint of those with whom the pundit disagrees.
But that only rises to the level of a valid argument when a distinct pattern emerges. If, say, 5,000 suicide bombers in a row are invariably Islamic fundamentalists -- well, OK, we've got a problem with the belief system, not just with the individuals. Yet I don't see a pattern in these "going postal" violent outbursts which seem to happen perhaps three or four times per year, every year, no matter who's in power or who's president: it seems that the "philosophy" (if you can even call it that) of each of the attackers is unique, idiosyncratic and just plain illogical. Even so, if he starts shooting or killing when a Republican is president, he is deemed a left-wing psycho (see: Charles Manson); if he starts shooting or killing when a Democrat is president, he is deemed a right-wing psycho (see: Joseph Stack). But the truth is, paranoid people simply feel threatened by the external power structure in general, so they lash out at any symbol of authority, regardless of its political affiliation.
So, instead of playing the blame game so unapologetically employed by the Left when they feel they can spin things to their political advantage, I'm not going to say that Bedell's actions at the Pentagon epitomize the leftist worldview. Rather, he was just crazy, as clearly indicated by his belief in the craziest of modern crazy conspiracy theories, 9/11 Truthism.
Are most Truthers leftists? Yes. But that doesn't mean that all left-leaning Americans are thereby just as crazy as the most extreme among them; it simply indicates that when a leftist goes crazy in the post-9/11 era, he often gloms onto Truthism as his paranoia of choice.
Put it this way: Leftism fails as a coherent philosophy on its own terms. We shouldn't try to wring significance from the delusional outburst of someone who just happened to be leftist. There are plenty of ways to logically disembowel Marxism and its numerous noxious contemporary offspring without having to resort to an unnecessary round of political "gotcha!"
To my utter amazement, some left-leaning blogs and top MSM outlets this morning somehow managed to brand Bedell as a "right-wing extremist" anyway, despite the ever-growing pile of evidence contradicting this tired old narrative. The Christian Science Monitor titled its article "John Patrick Bedell: Did right-wing extremism lead to shooting?", while top leftist blog Talking Points Memo ran with "Pentagon Shooter Worshipped Private Property Rights, Denounced Government 'Schemes' Like Public Education".
Michelle Malkin uncovered a key inconvenient fact which doesn't quite fit this predictable "right-wing extremist" narrative -- that Bedell was a registered Democrat.
Bedell was also a marijuana smoker, grower and activist, as documented at Gateway Pundit.
Patterico has now posted a full transcript of one of Bedell's internet rants -- the same one cited by Talking Points Memo as evidence of his right-wing leanings -- which has Bedell uncorking phrases like "economic justice" and paragraphs like (writing in 2006 during the Bush presidency) "This organization, like so many murderous governments throughout history, would see the sacrifice of thousands of its citizens in an event such as the September 11th attacks, as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control. This collection of gangsters would find it in their interests to foment conflict and initiate wars throughout the world in order to divert attention from their misconduct and criminality. The true nature of such a regime would find its clearest expression in Satanic violence currently ongoing in Iraq." and anti-war conspiracy theories like "The political and military disasters such as the wars in Vietnam and Iraq that an illegitimate coup regime uses against the people...".
Add all that to the previous discovery already linked above that Bedell's Amazon "Wish List" featured the the left-wing conspiracy-theory books The Immaculate Deception: The Bush Crime Family and Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America.
And more evidence is being uncovered by diligent bloggers with every passing hour.
I post all this not to backtrack on my original wish to avoid the blame game, but to defuse the blame-the-right game now coming from the other side.
Tell me, Christian Science Monitor and Talking Points Memo (and the innumerable left-leaning sites which by now have surely followed in their wake): How many Tea Partiers or conservatives
- Shoot at the Pentagon and hate the military?
- Are registered Democrats?
- Hate George Bush and the whole Bush family?
- Think 9/11 was perpetrated not by Muslims but by Republicans?
- Grow and smoke marijuana?
- Read left-wing anti-Bush books?
- Are anti-war?
- Talk about "economic justice"?
- Think the Vietnam War and the Iraq War were not merely mistakes but were part of a government conspiracy?
Exactly as I had surmised, Bedell seems to be a nutcase who overwhelmingly tends to lean left but with a sprinkling of libertarian attitudes thrown in just to spice things up -- and it is those exact libertarian sprinklings which the leftist mediasphere is focusing on, while completely ignoring the much larger pile of evidence on the other side of the scale.
Bedell may have been a left-wing conspiracy kook, but much more importantly: He was insane, and it was his insanity (not his politics) which led him to start shooting at the Pentagon.
Unfortunately, I can see now that the blame game is already in full swing and I am powerless to stop it, but at least I can say I tried.
Exactly as I had stated in my original post, we now know that Bedell was clinically insane:
The man who opened fire in front of the Pentagon had a history of mental illness and had become so erratic that his parents reached out to local authorities weeks ago and warned them that their son was unstable and might have a gun, authorities said Friday.
San Benito County Sheriff Curtis Hill told The Associated Press that Bedell, 36, had been at in-patient mental health institutions at least four times. Court records showed he was diagnosed as bipolar, or manic depressive.
The family put out a statement Friday saying they were "devastated as a family by the news from yesterday."
"We may never know why he made this terrible decision," it said. "One thing is clear though — his actions were caused by an illness and not a defective character."
A completely crazy person goes berserk. That's it. Can we for once not make this into a political boxing match?
Seems to me that Bedell falls into the Alex Jones / Libertarian extremist camp. Contrary to what [some Web sites] are promoting, I know from first hand experience that these types of “truthers” are ubiquitous at all International ANSWER sponsored anti-war demonstrations, but I have not seen any of them at the handful of “tea parties” I’ve attended. You can call them “right-wing” if you like, but they are definitely not conservative. Actually, they are the exact opposite of conservative, they are radicals - and nuts. They’re anti-military, anti-war, anti-Bush, conspiracy kooks who often stink of marijuana.
If a group like this bunch Alex Jones supporters were to show up at any “tea party” I’ve been to, I suspect they’d be run out, or at the very least booed and heckled. At anti-war demonstrations these very same people are welcomed with open arms. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see followers of “Libertarian” Alex Jones and members of the Maoist group, The World Can’t Wait, marching together carrying the same “9/11 truth” banner.
Bedell may not have been a Leftist, but he was most certainly not a conservative either. And he was not a Republican.