For years, Dave Neiwert over at Orcinus has been tracking the rising tide of "eliminationism" amongst the right wing talking heads. That's when the bloviators go beyond simply arguing that their opponents are wrong, but rather are evil, something less than American and/or human, and suggest that the world would be a better place without them. Dave has cataloged a few of the more noteworthy examples here.
Of course, we know millions of people listen to that stuff every day. But does anybody actually take it to heart? Apparently, one man did. Remember last year when a Tennessee man shot up a Unitarian Universalist Church during a service, killing two members? The perpetrator of that act, James Adkisson, was sentenced the other day to life in prison. At that time, he provided a copy of a 4-page hand-written "manifesto" to the local media explaining his crime. It was apparently intended to be a suicide note, but the police did not oblige his desire for suicide by cop.
Adkisson left little doubt about why he did what he did. After stating, "This was a hate Crime," he goes on:
Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate,+ House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldbergs book I'd like to kill everyone in the Mainstream Media. But I knew these people were inaccesible [sic] to me. I couldn't get to the generals + high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chicken shit 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 cancer this pestilence!Pay particular attention to that last part. Making your opponents subhuman is a good step towards not thinking twice about killing them.* * *
I thought I'd do something good for the Country Kill Democrats 'til the cops Kill me
If decent patriotic Americans could vote 3 times in every election we couldn't stem this tide of liberalism that's destroying America.
Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them. Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather.
So, what should be done about the right wing noise machine that fed this man's rage?
Should we indict Bernie Goldberg and his ilk for incitement to murder and put them in prison? No.
Should the families of the victims sue their pants off for spreading that kind of bile? No.
One of the hard parts about applying the First Amendment is that it becomes meaningless if it only applies to speech we like. It's not only competing ideas that are protected, but the means of transmitting them, subject to some very narrow exceptions that I don't think apply here. So, no, there's nothing the law can do. But one would hope that perhaps the purveyors of this swill might think twice the next time they're ready to fire off an eliminationist comment. And maybe the people who listen to it and, more important, the people who pay for it will decide that they don't want to endorse that kind of bile anymore.