According to the evidence, the man who walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church during a children’s show and fired three rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun into the congregation, killing two people and wounding six others before he was wrestled to the ground by church members, “hated liberals and gays.”
Knoxville Police Department Officer Steve Still wrote in his police report that the shooter, Jim David Adkisson, targeted the UU Church “because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.” Adkisson’s message has been broadcast on countless media outlets over the past few days, just going to show that in the 21st century, committing a sensational multiple murder is a very viable way to get your political “point” across to millions.
Adkisson, an unemployed truck driver and former member of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne who recently ran out of food stamps, said that since “he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement, that he would then target those that had voted them into office.”
The UU’s are nothing if not liberal, especially as churches go. Their website states that it has worked for “desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights” since the 1950s. Current ministries involve emergency aid for the needy, school tutoring and support for the homeless, as well as a cafe that provides a gathering place for gay and lesbian teens. Sounds like an oasis of sanity in a sea of intolerant religiosity. Apparently, Adkisson targeted his victims for this precise reason. That and the fact that his estranged ex-wife used to be a UU member.
Inside Adkisson’s house, officers found the books “Let Freedom Ring” by right-wing TV talk show host Sean Hannity, “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder” by far right-wing radio talk show host Michael Savage, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by right-wing loofa lover Bill O’Reilly. There’s a great temptation to blame right-wing blowhards like Savage, Hannity and O’Reilly for Adkisson’s hate-fueled shooting spree, and many of my fellow lefty bloggamists are doing just that. But considering the evidence thus far, I’m going to pass on accusing the O’Reilly Gang of being “accomplices” to Adkisson’s murders. Maybe it’s because the right-wing blogosphere, most prominently Wall Street Journalist columnist James Taranto, melodramatically blamed me (me!) for the horrific suicide-bombing of Istanbul’s HSBC bank in the Summer of 2003 and accused me (me!) of being “Saddam’s Sex Therapist,” all because I had written an anti-war essay called “Rape of Iraq” that Spring just after the Anglo-American invasion. You can read all about how several rabid right-wingers held me “morally responsible” for that terrible tragedy and called for me to be “hanged for sedition” in “Saddam’s Sex Therapist and the Rape of Free Speech.”
Speaking of Free Speech, O’Reilly, Savage and Hannity are *just* exercising theirs. Along with their feminine counterparts, Dr. Laura and Ann Coulter, they cheer on what is meanest in America: war, intolerance, ignorance, bigotry, backwardness. But no, they are not guilty of “aiding and abetting” this trigger-happy hater in his cold-blooded murder of two innocent people. At least, they are no guiltier than they are of aiding and abetting the Bush Administration in the conduct of an illegal, mass-murderous invasion and occupation of a once-sovereign country which, by the way, is filled with millions of innocent people, many of whom have been killed by trigger-happy haters of gays and liberals. Yes, the O’Reilly Gang is among the lowest of the low. But, even though their minions have called for my execution, I won’t give them the satisfaction of calling for theirs. The Freedom of Speech we receive from our First Amendment gives us the right to be right-wing, war-mongering loudmouths like O’Reilly and friends, or liberal, peace-through-pleasure-loving loudmouths like me and my friends.
So I’m not calling for their hanging, but I am calling for these overexposed corporate hacks (hooker is too good a word for them) to be vilified in the village square, throughout cyberspace and, hopefully, at a dinner table near you. Because their self-serving, mean-spirited philosophy of aggression and intolerance is, indeed – sometimes quite literally – killing all that is good, gay and liberal in us.
But enough about those right-wing cretins, corporate shills and loser shooters. I’m going to end on a note of hopeand praise for Linda Kreager and Greg McKendry, the two people who were killed in the blasts delivered by this crusader-maniac egged on by media bullies. If the UUs had a sainthood, they should be canonized. McKendry, a UU usher and much loved foster dad, died while shielding the children from shotgun fire as fellow church members wrestled the gunman to the ground. Both Kreager and McKendry are heroes for “taking the bullet” for the rest of us liberals. They give us hope for humanity. We will not forget their sacrifice.
Dr. SUSAN BLOCK is a sex educator, cable TV personality, author of The 10 Commandments of Pleasure and hostess of Dr. Suzy’s Speakeasy. Commit Bloggamy with her at http://www.drsusanblock.com/blog/ Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
© August 5, 2008.