Going to any length.
October 28, 2008 7:13 AM   Subscribe

A couple of Neo Nazis were going to kill 88 blacks and behead another 14, culminating in the assassination of Barack Obama. They aren't the first to attempt to keep him out of the White House.
posted by gman (278 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Morans.
posted by rokusan at 7:16 AM on October 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


The two men “planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows,” according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Jackson, Tenn., by an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Mr. Obama has no plans to be in Tennessee, and the affidavit does not make clear whether the men had picked a place for an attack.

Hmmm...it's just so crazy that it just might...work!
posted by ColdChef at 7:18 AM on October 28, 2008


They aren't the first
And I hate to say that they won't be the last.
posted by Sailormom at 7:18 AM on October 28, 2008


Is that lipstick?
posted by ColdChef at 7:19 AM on October 28, 2008


Is that lipstick?

Palin supporter.
posted by rokusan at 7:20 AM on October 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


The plan seems to have been they load up on whiskey and guns. Dress in a hat and tails suit (seriously!), then drive at high speeds towards a group of black people shooting guns out the window. Then they'd get out and start beheading people.

This is not a plot, it is a fantasy.
posted by absalom at 7:21 AM on October 28, 2008 [44 favorites]


I think it's doubly awesome that the ATF was the agency to lock them up. For reasons I don't entirely understand, the extremist wackos have a serious hate-on for the ATF that magically doesn't extend to the FBI or DHS. Gordon Liddy evidently advocated killing ATF agents on his show. So good that they got scooped up by their boogeyman.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:21 AM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


A would-be assassin tried to keep Lincoln from becoming president.He failed. As we know, later an assassin succeeded.
posted by Postroad at 7:22 AM on October 28, 2008


White privilege is being able to go to work everyday without the assassination attempts that "should be expected" for your black opponent.
posted by aftermarketradio at 7:25 AM on October 28, 2008 [46 favorites]


Is that lipstick?

In the old days these types used to just join the Marines.
posted by gman at 7:25 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


"For reasons I don't entirely understand, the extremist wackos have a serious hate-on for the ATF that magically doesn't extend to the FBI or DHS."

Hmmm... this might have something to do with it.
posted by MarshallPoe at 7:25 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


A couple of Neo Nazis were going to kill 88 blacks and behead another 14,

Shouldn't that read "Kill 102 blacks, 14 by beheading"? I'm pretty sure beheading someone would kill them. The legacy of David Lane lives on I guess.
posted by MikeMc at 7:25 AM on October 28, 2008


I'm so glad Obama got early Secret Service protection.

Also: Hi, Secret Service googling team!
posted by DU at 7:26 AM on October 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


An American tradition.
posted by MarshallPoe at 7:27 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good luck with that.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:28 AM on October 28, 2008 [13 favorites]


I suppose if you're going to be all Michael Bay about it, top hat and tails isn't a bad plan. But seriously -- how did they possibly think that was going to WORK?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:28 AM on October 28, 2008


Is that lipstick?

My first thought on seeing the news was that gay Nazi post the other day...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:29 AM on October 28, 2008


For reasons I don't entirely understand, the extremist wackos have a serious hate-on for the ATF that magically doesn't extend to the FBI or DHS.

Umm. It's in the name. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The three (legal) things wackos tend to enjoy.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:31 AM on October 28, 2008


It makes me happy that one or more of those SUVs surrounding President Obama will have a chain gun.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:33 AM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Umm. It's in the name. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The three (legal) things wackos tend to enjoy.

Well, yeah, but three things that are painfully easy to get hold of, too. It's not like you've got to go through the ATF to get them.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:33 AM on October 28, 2008


Just a couple of gay boys sharing their fantasies!
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 7:33 AM on October 28, 2008


You know why they did it?
Because there isn't any Santa Claus!
posted by cimbrog at 7:33 AM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Maybe thirty years from now these two will have an opportunity to be college professors.
posted by thrakintosh at 7:36 AM on October 28, 2008 [15 favorites]


Is that lipstick?

The shade matches his eye shadow, and his nicely plucked eyebrows.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:36 AM on October 28, 2008


Fuck them. That is all.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:36 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I also thought lipstick. And eyeshadow.
posted by Manhasset at 7:36 AM on October 28, 2008


FYI - Credit where credit is due... Previous comment a quote from Howard Stern.
posted by thrakintosh at 7:37 AM on October 28, 2008


I don't really think it's appropriate to compare Ashley Todd to these nutbars. (Not that she's not a nutbar, obviously she is, but she's not a homicidal Nutbar)
posted by delmoi at 7:41 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nothing puts the "Neo" into Neo-nazi like a freshly coiffeured monobrow and kiss-me-quick strawberry lips. They're this season's must-have hate-crime-hot-look.

[/Glamourmagazine]
posted by Jofus at 7:41 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


@middleclasstool:

They hate the ATF because the ATF does not want them to have Alcohol, Tobacco or Firearms. The FBI or DHS simply don't want them to have freedom. And who cares about freedom so long as you've free to have Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms!

Duh! =)
posted by mrzer0 at 7:42 AM on October 28, 2008


The two men “planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows,”

As a finisher, they would "punch the continent of Africa so hard it sank into the ocean" and then "enjoy the adulation of the (white) masses and totally score with chicks."

I mean, really? This is the best that Tennessee's finest can offer? I expected more in an assassination plan from the nation's bigoted lunatics. Kids these days...
posted by FatherDagon at 7:43 AM on October 28, 2008 [25 favorites]


I suppose someone has to stand up for the Aryans in these troubled times. But why not have a nice feast instead?
posted by b1tr0t at 7:45 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


A couple of Neo Nazis were going to kill 88 blacks and behead another 14, culminating in the assassination of Barack Obama.

No, they weren't.

Realistically, I mean.
posted by Ryvar at 7:47 AM on October 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


I mean, really? This is the best that Tennessee's finest can offer?

These guys clearly do not qualify as anyone's finest.
posted by Tehanu at 7:47 AM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but as it's a government body responsible for the A, the T and the F, the wackos automatically assume ATF is out to take the three away from them.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:51 AM on October 28, 2008


This is not a plot, it is a fantasy.

A fantasy is something exists in your head. A plot is something that buys guns and targets a school.
posted by DU at 7:51 AM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


What word is missing in this story?
posted by cashman at 7:53 AM on October 28, 2008 [64 favorites]


I know we really shouldn't be making light of this, but...this would have been an awesome idea for a scene in a Dolemite movie.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:53 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


They hate the ATF because the ATF does not want them to have Alcohol, Tobacco or Firearms.

Actually, I think it's mostly just the firearms issue on which the ATF and radical nutjobs typically butt heads. As long as you're not selling smokes or booze in an illegal way (like across state lines or to minors), I don't think the ATF generally cares how much you smoke or drink.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:56 AM on October 28, 2008


Umm. It's in the name. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The three (legal) things wackos tend to enjoy.

It's actually the ATF(E) now. The E stands for excitement (actually explosives).
posted by Pollomacho at 7:57 AM on October 28, 2008


I expected more in an assassination plan from the nation's bigoted lunatics.

Be patient. There are a lot of bigoted lunatics out there.
posted by headnsouth at 7:58 AM on October 28, 2008


Agreed that this was a fantasy and not a "plot" or "attempt" of any kind. I tend to think we overestimate the prospect of an Obama assassination through the projection of our own racial fears. We discussed this in an earlier thread about Palin/McCain rallies and violent invective heard there, and during that discussion I found this interesting Secret Service analysis of actual Presidential assasins and attempted assasins, which seems to lend support to my sense that it isn't racism which causes assassination attempts (all targets until now have obviously been white) but teh crazy - criminal insanity, of which a contributing factor may be racial hatred.

In any case, I know that Obama has accepted the risks of running, as every Presidential candidate does. It comes with the territory. I'm sure he's not cowed and I would never wish to see him step down based on the ravings of some losers or any other form of fear. We can't afford to indulge that fear either - we just need to stare it down, and hope the Secret Service and other security agencies have been able to keep their skills sharper than certain other agencies under the Bush Administration.
posted by Miko at 7:58 AM on October 28, 2008 [14 favorites]


This "news story" is just a desperate and thinly-veiled attempt to spread the perception that Obama is assasin-heaven. That is the ONLY reason we are seeing this in the national news today.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 8:01 AM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


People have plotted to kill Presidents as long as there have been Presidents. It's never been called terrorism. Let's not fall for that catch-all boogeyman term, okay?
posted by rokusan at 8:02 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know that 88 has "special meaning" for the Neo-nazis (H is the 8th letter in the alphabet...88 stands for "Heil Hitler") but does anyone know what "14" signifies?

(I am so not researching that one at work.)
posted by JoanArkham at 8:03 AM on October 28, 2008


extremist wackos have a serious hate-on for the ATF that magically doesn't extend to the FBI or DHS

Timothy McVeigh would disagree.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:04 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


A couple of Neo Nazis were going to kill 88 blacks and behead another 14.

Can someone better connected with the crazy world explain these numbers? Is there some skinhead significance I am missing here?

(I'm guessing it has nothing to do with pianos, but I'm stuck after that.)
posted by rokusan at 8:04 AM on October 28, 2008


Damn you, preview! Thanks, JoanArkham.
posted by rokusan at 8:05 AM on October 28, 2008


JoanArkham: The "14 words" which is a white power creed.
posted by jmhodges at 8:05 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Assassination attempts [not plotes, attempts] against W (hadn't heard so much about these, huh). And heck, Nicholson Baker wrote a whole book about that idea.

The sky stayed up.

I have campaign work to do tonight.
posted by Miko at 8:06 AM on October 28, 2008


I know that 88 has "special meaning" for the Neo-nazis (H is the 8th letter in the alphabet...88 stands for "Heil Hitler") but does anyone know what "14" signifies?

SEE THE LINK '14' IN MY POST.
posted by gman at 8:06 AM on October 28, 2008 [7 favorites]


I also thought lipstick. And eyeshadow.

Hell, I thought it was a woman outright. I'm still not convinced that isn't a woman.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:07 AM on October 28, 2008


SEE THE LINK '14' IN MY POST.

Haha. Teh internets is hard. I'm a moran, too. :)
posted by rokusan at 8:08 AM on October 28, 2008


No need to shout.
posted by Miko at 8:08 AM on October 28, 2008


I don't think the ATF generally cares how much you smoke or drink.

Moonshining and cigarette scams often are used to finance terror or relates to organized crime involved in other smuggling.

John McCain tried to raise tobacco taxes and some said it would have made the problem worse. In the end Big Tobacco gave the McCain bill concrete slippers.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:08 AM on October 28, 2008


Obama is assasin-heaven

Huh?
posted by DU at 8:10 AM on October 28, 2008


rokusan : People have plotted to kill Presidents as long as there have been Presidents. It's never been called terrorism. Let's not fall for that catch-all boogeyman term, okay?

Fair enough. But can we call their plan on executing 88 people (including children, some by beheading) terrorism?

Because that shit really feels like terrorism to me.
posted by quin at 8:11 AM on October 28, 2008 [25 favorites]


Neonazis need some new significant numbers, 88 and 14 are so overplayed.

Also just so we're clear there isn't actually a gatling gun following the president, just a few SUVs full of heavily armed secret service agents. The point of a motorcade isn't to win a shootout it's to get away from the shootout.

/me waves to the FBI/NSA/Secret Service.
posted by Skorgu at 8:11 AM on October 28, 2008


Top hat, white tie and tails
posted by fixedgear at 8:12 AM on October 28, 2008


Thanks for the "14" summary...like I said I'm (overly?) careful about what I click at work.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:13 AM on October 28, 2008


Contrast with the recent Palin motorcade protest, described in one Youtube posting as Obama-thugs.

Of course, I think the best video of that incident is the one from inside the motorcade, which shows one of the cycle officers dropping his bike so that it almost blocks the motorcade in. If it had been an attempt on Palin's life, seems like he would have been making it worse.
posted by nomisxid at 8:13 AM on October 28, 2008


I don't understand what you mean, hermitosis.

Also, I have always wanted an opportunity to use my particular race and gender profile... As an Aryanesque blonde woman, the 14 words refer to me, I guess, and it seems true that white women have some kind of cultural judgmental power primacy in this culture, as the embodied ideal objects. So I enthusiastically volunteer to squash these guys on the weiners with my pointy shoes and call them names until they reform. Let's not doubt the power of liberal neo-fascist psychosexual therapy till my studies are complete.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:14 AM on October 28, 2008 [7 favorites]


Miko, here in Philadelphia the sky is falling right now. Falling in big fat cold white pieces. And I'm glad these guys were picked up. This was not a serious threat to Obama, but these fiends could have caused great pain to the school and community they were targeting.
posted by Mister_A at 8:15 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Guys like that make me want all sorts of bad things I shouldn't want. I'm glad there was enough sneaky federal surveillance to catch them, and I'm not really too worried about whether their rights were violated as long as it doesn't threaten to overturn their convictions. I'm glad there are crazy security procedures controlling everything within a million miles of Obama, and I can't stand to think what might have come of the schoolchildren part of the plan -- driving past a school is easy. Send those two directly to solitary, please, and for at least eight years. Don't let them hang with all the other I. R. Wite dolts that have been dumb enough to land there. They need to be left for a long time with nothing but BET on cable.
posted by pracowity at 8:16 AM on October 28, 2008


Yeah non-story yawn just another bunch of effeminate Nazis plotting to behead school-children and kill presidential candidates while wearing tuxedos.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:16 AM on October 28, 2008 [13 favorites]


It's actually the ATF(E) now. The E stands for excitement (actually explosives).
Damn. Didn't think they could make it more awesome. But they did. Bravo.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:17 AM on October 28, 2008


I know it's a funny story in some respects, because these people were obviously idiots, but - are you all on crack? The core of their plan is "kill black people to get at Obama." Presumably at some point they would have realized that killing Obama was unlikely, but killing random black people would work just fine from their point of view and be a lot easier - and from the description of their plan they were already a long way along the realization path there.

Obama being assassinated is the nightmare scenario, but as many have noted, the Secret Service is going to be on overdrive for the next four to eight years so we can hope nobody gets lucky (and let's be honest - they only need to get lucky once).

But far more plausible and easier to manage? Hey, I'm a racist asshole who doesn't care about his own life. Let's go on a shooting rampage in a majority black neighborhood. Or at a majority black public school. Or at a black church. You think Seung-Hui Cho was some brilliant planner to do what he did at Virginia Tech?

Want something worse? How about racists kidnapping black women (or black kids), and sending out statements to the effect of "give yourself up, President Negro, or these "innocent" dirt-bloods get it instead of you?"

The Secret Service can't guard the entire black population of America. Once the white supremacist fringe realizes that, and realizes that A) they are crazy enough to want to kill the President but can't, and B) killing a lot of black people is very nearly as good? It's going to get bad before it gets better.
posted by mightygodking at 8:19 AM on October 28, 2008 [17 favorites]


How many “pizza vans” should I expect outside my apartment for favoriting comments in this thread?
posted by sidesh0w at 8:21 AM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


I’m going to start my own space program. I’ve already got a bunch of hydrogen molecules in my house (granted they’re bound to oxygen molecules just now).

Yeah, terrorism, yeah yeah. I suppose they’re wannabe terrorists. I wish actual terrorists (ok, Buford Furrow came to mind, yes) were this half assed and stupid. But ok, their aims were terror.

So I’ve been thinking about these stories. I mean - the one thing terrorists crave, the element they need, is media attention. Ever wonder why counterterrorism unit folks dislike the spotlight (the GSG9 guys who dominate the shoot out tourneys aside)? In part, reprisals, sure, but also exactly because if you give them attention, their opponents get attention.

So why do asshats like these and the meth brothers and so forth - why are they getting media attention right now?

On the one hand, maybe it’s the liberal jew run media showing how racist ‘merica is to drum up sympathy for Obama.
On the other - pretty much any salacious or vituperate bit of news gets big play, ‘cause it’s the election and it will sell papers.

The practical upshot however - is that it makes Obama appear vulnerable. I don’t know that this is by design. But I do know how stuff works regarding power politics. If you look touchable, if it looks like anyone would dare lay a finger on you, you appear weak.

Unstated is the implicit threat. Which is what terrorism intends. That violence will be the order of the day if Obama were elected, etc.

It’s unfortunate that this stuff breeds in an idle atmosphere. I mean if these kinds of people had jobs and a future it’s doubtful they would be extremists.
(On the other hand - because they are extremists....)

But more unfortunate is the media atmosphere where dolts this inept and foolish can make an impact of any kind.

I don’t know, maybe it’s the DHS attitude (generally speaking) where they want to crow over an arrest of a couple of knuckleheads like this.
Not that it wasn’t well done.
They were competently investigated and properly arrested and their screwball fantasy was halted in its tracks. But we shouldn’t even know their names.
It’s like they threw the counterterrorism playbook out the window after 9/11 because they need constant boogeymen or something.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:21 AM on October 28, 2008 [10 favorites]


It's going to get bad before it gets better.

Oh cripes.

posted by mightygodking

I don't suppose prayer would help, your Majesty?
posted by DU at 8:22 AM on October 28, 2008


Inside Palin's motorcade video btw. As much as I dislike Palin, stupid stunts like that just piss off the local cops.
posted by Skorgu at 8:22 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


How many “pizza vans” should I expect outside my apartment for favoriting comments in this thread?

My street is clear, other than that Flowers By Irene truck.
posted by rokusan at 8:24 AM on October 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


This is the reason why I wish he picked Russ Feingold as his VP.
posted by any major dude at 8:29 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I've been friends for years with a bunch of "traditional skinheads", and I cringe for them every time that a news story like this comes out.

I'm not talking about explicitly anti-racist skins, who can be a little much sometimes. My trad skin friends are anglophiles with excellent taste in music, beer drinkers and American soccer hooligans, most of whom look damn sharp in trad skin style. There's a pretty strong argument for abandoning the look because of all the negative press, but I admire my friends for not letting a bunch of assholes ruin the thing that the love.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:31 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think possibly these guys were over-reaching a little.
posted by Artw at 8:31 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I am really really really getting sick and tired of these racist assholes coming out of the woodwork. I am also sick and tired of hearing from poor white rednecks how violent black people are. (Can you feel the irony here?) I read things like this and want to laugh and cry at the same time. Bunch of lizard brained, hate filled, cowards. They are afraid of change. They are afraid that a black man will make the country better for all of us and their time honored traditions of being a bunch of racist country bumpkins will have no validity and they will loose all basis for the grounds that they currently stand on. I am an open minded person and if you explain your views to me I will more than likely try to see it your way. But these people do not deserve that approach. Their minds are so narrow they barely fit in them. I truly and completely hate them and what they stand for.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 8:31 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


You think Seung-Hui Cho was some brilliant planner to do what he did at Virginia Tech?

Not to defend his cowardly rampage, but he actually had the sense to legally purchase the weapons he used. These guys were caught stealing guns, thus tripping themselves up before they could even start to walk.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:32 AM on October 28, 2008


Geez, people, punch 'em in the dick and let's move on already!
posted by tommasz at 8:34 AM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's going to get bad before it gets better.

These men are cowards. Nothing to be afraid of.

/ Walter Sobchak
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:37 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Very very very very very off-topic aside:

What happened to your site mightygodking?
posted by The Whelk at 8:37 AM on October 28, 2008


The white-tuxedo thing just makes me think of the fucking Insane Clown Posse.

And for that reason alone, I hate these guys.
posted by greenie2600 at 8:39 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why couldn't one of them been names Joe? "Joe the White Supremacist."
posted by cjorgensen at 8:40 AM on October 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


Supposedly the numbers 88 and 14 mean something special to neo-nazis, anybody have a clue what?
posted by sfts2 at 8:46 AM on October 28, 2008


sfts2, you're trolling, right?
posted by greenie2600 at 8:47 AM on October 28, 2008


Jeez, two posts down from where I left off reading to post the above. Sorry.

*slinks away*
posted by sfts2 at 8:47 AM on October 28, 2008


The number of attempts a person makes toward robbing a gun store would tend to negatively correlate with intelligence were it not for a fact that so few people survive the first attempt.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:47 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


This makes me sad. It's really stupid, and maybe common too, but it still makes me sad.
posted by lunit at 8:51 AM on October 28, 2008


This 88th comment is used to express a desire for peace and harmony among all races. Top that, racist twerps.
posted by ardgedee at 8:52 AM on October 28, 2008 [13 favorites]


Fair enough. But can we call their plan on executing 88 people (including children, some by beheading) terrorism?

No, if they're right-wing, we have to call them something else. Like freedom fighters or something. Sandinistas? Let's check the Reagan playbook.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:54 AM on October 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


It seems to me that this is probably a case of "they ran their mouths about planning to rob a gun store, plus said some fantasy crap about schools and Obama" more than anything else. Even the conspiracy charge seems a bit tacked-on -- the only thing these guys appear to have actually done (as opposed to bragged about maybe eventually planning to do) is cut the barrel off a shotgun, something they might have done two years ago for all we know. Of course, you do get arrested for bragging about maybe eventually planning to rob gun stores and/or shoot presidential candidates, but describing this as a "plan", much less a realistic one, may be a lot more than is warranted. As is media attention of any sort.

As for this:
I'm glad there was enough sneaky federal surveillance to catch them, I'm not really too worried about whether their rights were violated as long as it doesn't threaten to overturn their convictions

Wow, classy. Guess that's what makes us better than them, right?

And this:
Presumably at some point they would have realized that killing Obama was unlikely, but killing random black people would work just fine from their point of view and be a lot easier - and from the description of their plan they were already a long way along the realization path there.

Except that they could easily have already done that. As could just about any White Power types in the country. The fact that it didn't some anywhere close to happening, and generally doesn't happen, would seem to refute the idea that these kinds of "plans" lead to massacres. There are probably ten thousand guys like this across the States, nearly all of whom are demonstrably more interested in talking big on Youtube and at the local bar about their "plans" than they are in shooting up somebody's school.

As Miko points out, it usually isn't ideology which sends people into the streets on killing sprees, it's the crazy and the desperate. Crazy and desperate people kill despite the consequences; ideological people would rather spread their ideology, an act which is generally not furthered by ending up arrested or dead... at least, in the absence of media who will gladly spread it further than they ever could. This sort of article undeservedly gives these guys the only reward they were ever going to get out of this sort of behavior: credibility and exposure. I'm with Smedleyman -- the media ought not to release the details in cases like this. Maybe then "killing random black people" wouldn't be such an effective idea.
posted by vorfeed at 8:55 AM on October 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


No, if they're right-wing, we have to call them something else. Like freedom fighters or something.

WOLVERINES!
posted by Artw at 8:55 AM on October 28, 2008 [10 favorites]


it isn't racism which causes assassination attempts (all targets until now have obviously been white)

Huh? All presidents have been white. And if you didn't mean just presidents, what about MLK?
posted by Manhasset at 8:56 AM on October 28, 2008


"Just a couple of gay boys sharing their fantasies!
posted by Yer-Ol-Pal at 3:33 PM on October 28 "

off-topic, and perhaps I'm missing the irony, sorry. But you know thats just the kind of stupid homophobic crap that I loathed to see after seeing this awful huffington post piece about the fascist problem beeing a gay problem. As if it would matter one bit who these guys were fucking.
The same lame attacks as in Weimar Germany, where the left thought they could gain by ridiculing the nazis for Röhm and his boys. Maxim Gorki even called to eradicate fascism by eradicating the homosexuals in the Prawda.
It's just not relevant for the criticism of fascist ideology to expose their alledgedly deviant sexuality and poke fun at their effeminate looks. It angers me that this old, tiresome reflex is that persistent.
/wrong thread
posted by kolophon at 8:56 AM on October 28, 2008 [23 favorites]


The thought of anyone trying to kill Obama makes me shudder.
posted by orange swan at 8:57 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I mean, really? This is the best that Tennessee's finest can offer? I expected more in an assassination plan from the nation's bigoted lunatics.

As a lifelong Tennessean who has had many run-ins with small-town bigoted lunatics, the answer is yes.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:57 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


From this link from the FPP: how is it that most people concerned about maintaining the purity and superiority of the "White Race" also happen to be the fugliest troglodytes out there?

Man, if that's racial purity, water that #$@ down (I'm not volunteering to help, though).
posted by availablelight at 8:59 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


My trad skin friends are anglophiles with excellent taste in music , beer drinkers and American soccer hooligans

They go out with Stanley Knives to fight with fans of the opposing team? Or is this some peculiarly American variant of soccer hooliganism that involves sneering loudly at the soccer moms sitting on the sidelines?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:59 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


These men are cowards. Nothing to be afraid of.

Actually it's spelled Cowart, but the irony is delicious!
posted by Pollomacho at 9:00 AM on October 28, 2008


How is it that most people concerned about maintaining the purity and superiority of the "White Race" also happen to be the fugliest troglodytes out there?

Um, inbreeding? Check out the Royal Family sometime.
posted by rokusan at 9:03 AM on October 28, 2008


Meth.
posted by yhbc at 9:04 AM on October 28, 2008


does anyone know what "14" signifies?

N as in Nazi?
posted by zippy at 9:04 AM on October 28, 2008


Meth.

and Red? Is it like White Chicks II: White Guys?
posted by cashman at 9:08 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


how did they possibly think that was going to WORK?

Cocaine Meth is a helluva drug.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:11 AM on October 28, 2008


It may be fun to mock these guys, but imbecility and a willingness to kill have never been a good combination in the past.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:12 AM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


The two men “planned to drive their vehicle, the General Lee, as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows,”
posted by chlorus at 9:14 AM on October 28, 2008


Also, the appeal of plans like these to Neo-Nazis that is that a successful attempt on Obama's life would be seen as a way to ignite a race war, and, honestly, probably would lead to mass race rioting. These guys crave that, so expect them to keep making their vicious, murderous plan. We can hope they are all as stupid as these two, but they aren't. We must instead hope the Secret Service is smarter.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:14 AM on October 28, 2008


People have plotted to kill Presidents as long as there have been Presidents. It's never been called terrorism. Let's not fall for that catch-all boogeyman term, okay?

People have been plotting to burn down and destroy buildings for about as long as there have been buildings. Most people seem okay with calling that terrorism.

In any event, the terrorism part is the targeting of people because of the colour of their skin (or is that racial profiling? I forget.)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:16 AM on October 28, 2008


That first link, your 88, is a fascinating education about the symbols, numbers and language of the White Supremacy nutcases.

A dear friend called from Washington DC yesterday, in tears about this assassination attempt. She told me how many of the doctors she works with are grossly inconsiderate McCain supporters and she was stuck in a car with one the other day with him hammering on, saying "You're not going to vote for this Obama guy are you?", while she sat there grim and pissed off, not wanting to lose her job for rocking the boat.

I told her that it's hard enough to rock the boat to a single person, to confront just one person, imagine what courage it takes to stand up to millions of haters. It take huge cojones to be a politician, facing the opposition. Politicians or anybody who is a truth speaker is in the line of fire, it's part of the risk. I urged her not to buy into the assassination prophesying hysteria and dread, the Republican Party forte since 911 but to wish Obama courage and that he's voted in.
posted by nickyskye at 9:22 AM on October 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


They go out with Stanley Knives to fight with fans of the opposing team? Or is this some peculiarly American variant of soccer hooliganism that involves sneering loudly at the soccer moms sitting on the sidelines?

American pro soccer turnout is so low I thing they mostly have to headbutt themselves.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:28 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


The white-tuxedo thing just makes me think of the fucking Insane Clown Posse.

Twelve-state Faygo spree!

"Just a couple of gay boys sharing their fantasies!

This sort of thing is pretty obnoxious.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:29 AM on October 28, 2008


Black man dragged to death 200 miles from site of Byrd murder 10 years ago.
posted by homunculus at 9:34 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


They aren't the first to attempt to keep him out of the White House.

I'm pretty sure that McCain has been attempting to keep him out of the White House for a while now.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:40 AM on October 28, 2008


I have a friend whose brother became an FBI agent in the late 90's and he said that he's amazed at the number of plots the FBI thwarts on a regular basis. But he also said that what he sees on a daily basis makes him realize that there are a lot more crazy, dangerous people out there than he ever imagined. He insisted that you'll sleep a lot better not knowing the volume of hate out there and those willing to act on it.

There are always going to be nutjobs, and some of them smarter and better organized than others, but I put my faith in the hope that in their hateful frenzy they'll make a mistake and their plot(s) will be foiled. It's not the best thing to hang hope on, but it seems to be the best I can come up with. That and my naive notion that the good guys (eventually) win. And of course thinking that I am, in fact, on the side of the good guys.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:42 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Black man dragged to death 200 miles from site of Byrd murder 10 years ago.

Don't mess with Texas.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:42 AM on October 28, 2008


Why couldn't one of them been names Joe? "Joe the White Supremacist."

Joe The Brother.
posted by gman at 9:53 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I were a lazy Secret Service Agent, I would definitely be pulling for McCain right now, because with Palin as Veep ain't nobody taking a shot at that guy!

A dear friend called from Washington DC yesterday, in tears about this assassination attempt. She told me how many of the doctors she works with are grossly inconsiderate McCain supporters

Goddamn suburbs. No way those Doctors lived in DC. We don't allow those types around here after sundown (except for on Capitol Hill for two or six year terms, renewable by mandate of their constituents).

It may be fun to mock these guys, but imbecility and a willingness to kill have never been a good combination in the past.

Agreed, but it makes it so easy to mock them.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:53 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


But he also said that what he sees on a daily basis makes him realize that there are a lot more crazy, dangerous people out there than he ever imagined.

I can only hope this is as much as anything an expression of being a specialist—you dig into anything and you discover how much more it there is than you'd have imagined beforehand. But it's a big, big country with an awful lot of people in it; I'd guess that the sheer yearly volume of scary weirdness we can produce as a nation is impressive, yeah.
posted by cortex at 9:56 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is that lipstick?

Yeah, but he's still a pig.
posted by The Bellman at 9:59 AM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that McCain has been attempting to keep him out of the White House for a while now.

And doing about as good a job as the freaks I posted about.
posted by gman at 10:00 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Frankly, I've been amazed at the lack of public display on the part of our local white-supremacy groups or the Klan. Yes, the Klan still exists in this neck of the woods. I would have thought that Obama's candidacy would have brought them out of the woodwork by now.

I have to wonder if the local GOP hasn't gotten the word out that the sight of white sheets just might hurt McCain's candidacy in our little battleground state, rather than help...so please stay the fuck away.

Oh...the missus and I voted early yesterday. It was a 50-minute wait in line to get to one of the 4 measly voting machines available for Delaware county.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:03 AM on October 28, 2008


Hate Groups Mostly Quiet in Election
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:04 AM on October 28, 2008


Article with video by James Ridgeway author of Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads and the Rise of a New White Culture.
posted by adamvasco at 10:05 AM on October 28, 2008


If I were a lazy Secret Service Agent, I would definitely be pulling for McCain right now, because with Palin as Veep ain't nobody taking a shot at that guy!

Really? Don't you think President Palin would mean we're that much closer to the rapture?

That'd inspire about thirty million evangelicals, who are already certifiable, to help McCain meet his maker.
posted by cjets at 10:06 AM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


People have been plotting to burn down and destroy buildings for about as long as there have been buildings. Most people seem okay with calling that terrorism.

In any event, the terrorism part is the targeting of people because of the colour of their skin.

No, no, no. Has this word lost all meaning?

Astro Zombie's astuteness above has made me change my mind on this particular case: if the goal of Bo and David Duke here was to incite some kind of mass panic / race war (and now that you say that, okay, that does sound likely), then yes, let's call it a terrorist plot because it fits the definition. I see why such a label is a wise idea in a broader sense, too, and the media shouldn't shy away from that label when discussing the deeper aspects here.

But assassinating a President, in and of itself, is certainly not terrorism. Killing someone for racial reasons is not terrorism. And while we're getting closer to hair-splitting, neither is blowing up a building, necessarily, unless the goal (not just one of the side effects) is to impose terror upon and thereby coerce or control a civilian population in the service of a greater political or ideological goal.

That's what terrorism is, and to slide lazily into using it to describe any violent or horrible act, or every criminal or enemy military, is to ride down the same slope that calls every enemy of the US a "terrist evil doer". How long until we expand "Muslim" the same way?

Terrorism is not mass murder or assassination or asymmetric warfare or insurgency. Not every enemy of the US government is by definition a "terrorist". But if the Vietnam War were still being waged right now, you can bet your ass that's how the White House would be referring to the VC. The word is a brand now, and it's being used as marketing.

How many of the people throwing this word around so easily now would have done so ten years ago? We had other words then, didn't we? The acts have not changed. We are not obliged to fall for this GWOT us-vs-them bullcrap.

And please, please understand: I am not defending these ridiculous nazi-loving assholes.
posted by rokusan at 10:06 AM on October 28, 2008 [15 favorites]


I wonder, despite all of their rhetoric and hate, quite how many of the Aryan supremacists currently in the prison system are there for attempting to rob a shop?

I'm not trying to make a funny, it's just that over the years it seems that so many fuckups like these two have their nefarious plans go wrong at "Stage 1: rob shop".
posted by mandal at 10:08 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


rokusan - Why are you defending these ridiculous nazi-loving assholes?
posted by gman at 10:09 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


rokusan is a ridiculous nazi-loving asshole defender!!!
posted by yhbc at 10:13 AM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


But assassinating a President, in and of itself, is certainly not terrorism. Killing someone for racial reasons is not terrorism

Killing and beheading 102 — specifically black — men, women and children, and then going after a Presidential candidate — so as to ultimately provoke violent civil strife — is most certainly terrorism. Or do you think the idea was to stop at 103?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:14 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Really? Don't you think President Palin would mean we're that much closer to the rapture?

No, no, see even they know the difference between the end times and hell on earth.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:15 AM on October 28, 2008


"Guess that's what makes us better than them, right?"

I always see this sort of comment in a thread about some scumbag du jour, and it always puzzles me.
I am better than them, and I'd wager so are most of the people commenting in this thread, even the ones I strongly disagree with.
I'm better than some tribal pinhead in pakistan that thinks it's ok to stone a woman for "honor", and I'm better than some corrupt, genocidal maniac in Darfur that kidnaps children and turns them into soldiers.
If one can't strive to be better than the worst criminal scum in existence and extend a hand to those people do join civilized society, then what's the point, really?
posted by 2sheets at 10:16 AM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


rokusan and these ridiculous nazi-loving assholes, sitting in a tree...

Nothing more dangerous than a straight line delivered gamely.
posted by cortex at 10:17 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Blazecock, did you read the paragraph right before the one you quoted? It says exactly what you say. This case.
posted by rokusan at 10:17 AM on October 28, 2008


out of curiosity, how were these shitheads caught? the article says they "talked about" assassinating obama, but it doesn't say where or when someone heard them talking or whatever it was that lead to their arrest. were they drunk at a bar? was it in a chat log? were they caught in a secret warehouse base with blueprints? what the fuck is the story, here?
posted by shmegegge at 10:18 AM on October 28, 2008


rokusan, their goal is White Supremacy, that's why they are called White Supremacists. To acomplish the goal of establishing White Supremacy they need to establish dominance over those they view as inferior. They aimed to do this through murder and assasination. The race war, in their minds, is already going on.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:19 AM on October 28, 2008


I wonder, despite all of their rhetoric and hate, quite how many of the Aryan supremacists currently in the prison system are there for attempting to rob a shop?

I keep picturing the pickup truck crashing into a tree on the way to rob a shop.
posted by rokusan at 10:21 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


How many of the people throwing this word around so easily now would have done so ten years ago? We had other words then, didn't we?

The meanings of words change. By declaring a Global War On Terror and then labeling any enemy of the US as a Terrorist, the Bush administration has in a very real way changed the definition of the term. I think looking at how terrorism and terrorist are used today versus how they were used in the past is an interesting topic, but trying to put the genie back in the bottle and get rid of all of the extra baggage that come along with the terms now is a futile effort.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:22 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's just hope that all would-be Presidential assassins and/or race-war-inciting terrorists are as skillful and effective as these ones.
posted by rokusan at 10:25 AM on October 28, 2008


The meanings of words change. By declaring a Global War On Terror and then labeling any enemy of the US as a Terrorist, the Bush administration has in a very real way changed the definition of the term. I think looking at how terrorism and terrorist are used today versus how they were used in the past is an interesting topic, but trying to put the genie back in the bottle and get rid of all of the extra baggage that come along with the terms now is a futile effort.

waitwaitwait. you're saying Bush makes you use terrorism as the word for any enemy of the US? or that Bush makes you actually believe any enemy of the US is a terrorist?
posted by shmegegge at 10:26 AM on October 28, 2008


rokusan: Killing someone for racial reasons is not terrorism.

it most certainly CAN be.

indeed, your effort to define what is and is not terrorism falls quite short. terrorism is -- or, can be -- a complicated concept. discussion of the subject deserves nuanced consideration. just saying "this is terrorism" and/or "this is not terrorism" is not enough.
posted by CitizenD at 10:27 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


The two men “planned to drive their vehicle, the General Lee, as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows,”

Looking back, I don't remember a single black person in Dukes of Hazzard. This was supposed to be Georgia, yes?

People have plotted to kill Presidents as long as there have been Presidents. It's never been called terrorism. Let's not fall for that catch-all boogeyman term, okay?

Somewhere along the line, people started calling ethnically targeted mass killing genocide, or "ethnic cleansing". Somewhere along the line, people started calling the publishing of materials tending to incite revolt against the authorities sedition.

The "definition" of terrorism is currently fluid (to put it mildly). Let's force those who would use the word for their own agendas to at least apply it even-handedly, whether this means a broader or narrower scope in the end.

As for assassination and "teh crazy", it was asserted in that previous thread that Hillary was as much a target as Obama. I guess she will continue to be, even after O gets into office, no? Because it's not about ideology; it's about the crazy. Hell, I guess I'm equally a target. About the crazy.

There is something to be said about exposure and playing on a paranoid person's particular fears. Yes, the crazy is out there. The crazy does not focus on everything, everywhere. Repeating it does not make it so.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:29 AM on October 28, 2008


Hate Groups Mostly Quiet in Election
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:04 AM on October 28 [+] [!]


I'm totally having a mind blank here. Which major fantasy series is based around the idea that evil always ultimately turns upon itself, causing its failure? That's what that article brings to mind.
posted by Caduceus at 10:31 AM on October 28, 2008


rokusan, I totally agree.

One of the worst things that has happened in what passes for public debate lately is the willingness by everyone, Obama and the left included, to treat the "War on terror" as a literal war.

WHAT??

People are going around saying "we are at war." The two occupations aside, what country did we declare war on? Terrorstan? It's absurd and incredibly harmful to hear smart, allegedly liberal people referring to a metaphor as a literal conflict.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:31 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


A good friend just texted me and told me rokusan was a nazi-loving asshole. Good grief, rokusan, what's your deal?!

On the real tip, I continue to be impressed by the professionalism and dedication of our law enforcement officials. Every time I see a picture of Senator Obama surrounded by his security detail, I'm amazed by how calm and prepared they look. If I were a USS agent, any time I was captured in a photo with the Senator the caption would have to read, "A bug-eyed, scared shitless, paranoid Secret Service agent wets his pants as he scans the crowd while guarding Senator Obama." I've heard some people say the USS is treating Senator Obama as their Super Bowl, and my hat's off to them as well as the local law enforcement they recruit at each stop on the campaign trail.

On the other hand, I was surprised to read this in an ABC News article: "The officials say Obama has been the target of well over 500 threats, most of which are not taken seriously." I'd always been told they take every threat seriously, so that's strange to me.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:33 AM on October 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


The two occupations aside, what country did we declare war on? Terrorstan?

It's really more of a military action against terror, since war was never formally declared.

Properly, I think we're also engaged in a police action against drugs as well.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:35 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


"A bug-eyed, scared shitless, paranoid Secret Service agent wets his pants as he scans the crowd while guarding Senator Obama."

Heh. Yeah. If I were a Secret Service agent, I would look like this.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:38 AM on October 28, 2008


The officials say Obama has been the target of well over 500 threats, most of which are not taken seriously.

I bet that is a poorly thought out way of saying "Most of which were not considered to be serious."
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:41 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


“Just a couple of gay boys sharing their fantasies”

I’m no expert here. But I presume gay boy fantasies would involve more with the male genitalia. Cocks and such.
Less with the shooting people because of their skin tone.

“I put my faith in the hope that in their hateful frenzy they'll make a mistake and their plot(s) will be foiled. It's not the best thing to hang hope on, but it seems to be the best I can come up with.”

No, it’s worthwhile. That sort of thing is always self-defeating. Even in ‘success.’
Not that one can just lay back and let them shoot themselves in the feet. They might miss and hit someone.


I dunno, if I were a lazy Secret Service Agent, I’d want Obama. If only because we know he cleans up after himself. Last thing I’d want to be doing is hoofing Palin’s crap all over the place like some courtier.
On the other hand, I’d take a bullet for Obama, so...

“rokusan - Why are you defending these ridiculous nazi-loving assholes?”

Fortunately we have artw’s comment.

Someone finally said that perhaps Hitler, and by extension the folks who follow him and do this sort of thing, maybe aren’t very pleasant individuals.

“I am better than them,”

No. You’re not. Only your acts define you. Your acts are better only when they support and uphold a principle better than stoning a woman to death for honor. That principle must hold for everyone at all times. Not for one group of people or another because of some intrinsic trait.
The law exists not only to punish the guilty but to protect them from lawlessness as well.
One’s acts might be superior morally, but as no one is above the law, no one is beneath its protection. So we do not violate *anyone’s* rights simply because of who we percieve them to be. Nazis, mass murderers, no one.
Indeed, its because of their lawlessness that we must assert the superiority and equity of law.
Otherwise we’re simply using force for different reasons. That those reasons are morally superior is not enough.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:42 AM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:44 AM on October 28, 2008 [7 favorites]


How is it that most people concerned about maintaining the purity and superiority of the "White Race" also happen to be the fugliest troglodytes out there?

Who know who else was concerned with racial purity and happened to be a fugly troglodyte?
posted by DU at 10:49 AM on October 28, 2008


unless the goal (not just one of the side effects) is to impose terror upon and thereby coerce or control a civilian population in the service of a greater political or ideological goal.

In this context of a black guy having an imminent and more than reasonable chance of becoming POTUS, I think that targeting a lot of black kids would qualify as coercion (reminder: don't get uppity) of a civilian population (specifically, one marked by skin colour: don't get uppity, you black people) in the service of a greater political goal (don't you ever dare get so uppity you think you can be god-damned President of the United States, because if you do, we'll fuck you up, you and/or people who look like you).
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:50 AM on October 28, 2008


Well, you lot have been doing the mental juggling to make the IRA not Terrorists for years, so it's not much of a stretch.

Of course getting all OMG! Terrorism! over crazy shit that crazy people say they're going to do is a bit of a slippery slope anyway.
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on October 28, 2008


Who know who else was concerned with racial purity and happened to be a fugly troglodyte?

Who Made Who
posted by gman at 10:56 AM on October 28, 2008


Man, I hate goddamn myspace nazis.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:57 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


So...how long before this becomes a Gus Van Sant movie, anyway?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:57 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


waitwaitwait. you're saying Bush makes you use terrorism as the word for any enemy of the US? or that Bush makes you actually believe any enemy of the US is a terrorist?

Neither. In my opinion, the Bush administration has used the term terrorist more loosely than anyone else has in recent memory. Doing so helps them furthur their agenda, in the same way that they benefit from saying "The US does not torture" and then claiming that torture methods such as waterboarding are not actually torture. It is also my opinion that collectively as a society we now use the term terrorism to describe more groups and people than we used to.

My point is not that everyone has to start using the word the same way that they do, but that when a person or group of people starts using a word in a non-standard way, it changes the meaning of the word. For example, the gay and lesbian community reclaimed the term queer as a self-identifying label, which has changed the meaning of the word. That doesn't mean that everyone has to agree with that meaning, or use it in that sense, or suddenly misinterpret lines from Alice In Wonderland, but it does mean no one can reasonably expect everyone to continue using it in exactly the same sense that it was used before.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:00 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


White privilege is being able to go to work everyday without the assassination attempts that "should be expected" for your black opponent.

Tell it to Reagan, Kennedy, and Lincoln.
posted by rodgerd at 11:05 AM on October 28, 2008


Well, you lot have been doing the mental juggling to make the IRA not Terrorists for years, so it's not much of a stretch.

'You lot' meaning who exactly? I thought they rather deliberately were using terrorism as a tool, and that's coming from someone who sympathized with their cause.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:06 AM on October 28, 2008


Of course, I also consider the two greatest acts of terrorism to be Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so perhaps my perspective is a bit different than the baseline.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:07 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


To augment Astro Zombie’s point, there were riots after MLK was assassinated.
That act was not (excluding the state involvement thing re: the Coretta Scott King case against Jowers) terrorism.
The riots weren’t the focus, killing King was.
Here there appeared to be a coercive element (albeit vaguely defined - but these guys were idiots anyway, so).
And they are connected to an organization (again...), so I’d fight them like I fight terrorists.
Understand, terrorists rob places, banks, stores, etc. They sell drugs, they do a wide variety of things to build funding for their cause.
That is exactly what these guys were doing. That they were morans doesn’t change that.
The IRA had some flatheads as well. They just didn’t live very long.

It’s not the individual act that matters, it’s the context and connectedness of that or those acts to the broader ideology, message, struggle, whatever.
So (loosely put) robbing a bank ‘for the cause’ = terrorism.
Robbing a bank ‘because that’s where the money is’ = John Dillinger.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:10 AM on October 28, 2008


I betcha won’t catch me, man, Fox News, C-Span.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:10 AM on October 28, 2008


Tell it to Reagan, Kennedy, and Lincoln.

And McKinley and Garfield.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 11:12 AM on October 28, 2008


So I was watching The West Wing last night, and Josh says something that seems a bit relevant here.

"Anyway, 20,000 specific threats made against U.S. targets every year, and with all that, it's still the ones who don't give you advance notice that you're worried about."
posted by lullaby at 11:12 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


“I am better than them,”

No. You’re not. Only your acts define you. Your acts are better only when they support and uphold a principle better than stoning a woman to death for honor. That principle must hold for everyone at all times.


Look, man, I'm all for withholding judgments and all, but this one's not that bad. Anyone's acts are better if they uphold the principle of not stoning a woman to death. When I go and get drunk at a bar and then stumble home to pass out on the couch, that's still a better principle than stoning a woman to death for any reason. When I take a nasty shit in the toilet, I'm upholding a better principle than people who plan to kill black children, because I'm not planning to kill black children. Frankly, the very fact of not doing these things, and specifically of not wanting to do these things, makes me better. Not because they're just born bad, but because for whatever reasons the end result is that they're the person who stoned a woman or planned to kill a shitload of black kids. Maybe if I were in their shoes I would have, too. I don't know. But I'm not in their shoes and they are, so there you go. They're shitheads and I'm not quite as bad a shithead. It serves no purpose to withhold judgment on racism, especially violent racism. I judge the shit out of that, and fuck all racists who don't like it. Out and out unaplogetic racism is one of the worst things in the world, and these fuckers who were arrested are worse people than I am. Maybe one day they can be better. I have no doubt that most people have the potential to be better than a fucking worthless racist motherfucker. But right now they're fucking worthless racist motherfuckers, and I have no problem letting people know that that shit's not fucking okay with me. In fact, I feel good doing it, because maybe one time I'll say "those racist fuckers are bad people, and i'm better than them" and somebody who didn't know will be all like "oh shit! i did not know that some people were not cool with racism. maybe i should stop being a racist," and then i'll be like "hey, that's cool. you did not know, but now you know so you can stop." and they'll be like "okay, then i'll stop" and i'll be like "word, homes."
posted by shmegegge at 11:15 AM on October 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


These guys are just proof that there really are two "ass"es in assassination.
posted by Muddler at 11:19 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I maintain that I am an inherently better man than that comedian, Gallagher.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:21 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just a couple of gay boys sharing their fantasies!

I just fagged your comment.
posted by gman at 11:22 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Look, I don't want to be seen as defending a ridiculous nazi-loving asshole like rokusan, but I can better see his point now, the word "terrorism" certainly has become overused to the point of making it's use to describe a tactic nearly useless, and I can totally agree with his assessment that it would not be appropriate to use in the context of an assassination which already has a perfectly good word to describe it.

The thing is, I think that in this particular case, the word terrorism is actually appropriate. These two were planning (however poorly) to target black people for execution. This was clearly designed to be a message regarding their feelings towards the black community, and specifically designed to generate fear, anger, and outrage. These are all the hallmarks of a terrorist act in that they are less about the actual killing and more about the affect it will have on those targeted.



I obviously don't actually believe rokusan is a nazi-lover or an asshole, but I'm going to defend my accusation of ridiculousness. Just because it's charming.
posted by quin at 11:25 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


White Tuxedos!?! I would have guessed that these two rejects would have gone this way.
posted by paddysat at 11:26 AM on October 28, 2008


I've always been of the opinion that I'm not better than anyone. Nothing a person can do can make them better than anyone. However, there are a lot of things a person can do to make themselves worse than other people, and lots of people revel in doing those very things. Those people are assclowns.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:27 AM on October 28, 2008


What the fuck? The number 88 has been my favorite number from childhood and now I find out it's some neo-nazi pseudo-numerological crap symbol? That really ruins my day.
posted by mrmojoflying at 11:29 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of course, I also consider the two greatest acts of terrorism to be Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so perhaps my perspective is a bit different than the baseline.

More people died in the March 9 firebombing of Tokyo than at Nagasaki; but then, the Nanjing massacre dwarfs all three.

posted by kid ichorous at 11:29 AM on October 28, 2008


I really have a hard time with adults who don't understand that color doesn't make the man.
I grew up with a white plastic Jesus.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:34 AM on October 28, 2008


What are the implications for Eric Lindros?
posted by Mister_A at 11:34 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I obviously don't actually believe rokusan is a nazi-lover or an asshole.

I think my bona fides on the second part of that slur are beyond dispute, so I'll thank you to retract your slander.
posted by rokusan at 11:36 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


What are the implications for Eric Lindros?

He'll never play another game.
posted by gman at 11:38 AM on October 28, 2008


"So he says to me, 'You gotta do something smart, baby. Something BIG! He says, 'You wanna be a super villain, right?' And I go yeah, baby, YEAH! YEAH! WHAT DO I GOTTA DO? He says, 'You got bombs, blow up the comet club, it's packed with super heroes, you'll go down in SUPER VILLAIN HISTORY!' And I go yeah, baby, 'cause I'm the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight! Aaaaaa-hahahahaha!"
posted by brevator at 11:40 AM on October 28, 2008 [10 favorites]


So...how long before this becomes a Gus Van Sant movie, anyway?

I heard Michael Cera and Jonah Hill are already attached to this project. It'll be better than Watchmen, at least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:42 AM on October 28, 2008


No, no, no. Has this word lost all meaning?

Yes, yes, yes, and no it has not (although I could have amplified my point more, I grant you).

The point of terrorism is not to kill this group of people or knock down those buildings: that is incidental damage. The point is to cow a much larger group into fear and submission and irrational behaviour.

I began to expand this further, but this point has been made in better words by others in the thread above.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:42 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Evil Bomber What Bombs At Midnight has his own circa-1990s website, which makes me a bit happy.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:50 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm exhausted from all the sincere and passionate linguistic outrage in here, so if anyone needs me, I'll be drooling at the boobies in the thread next door, because, well... boobies!
posted by rokusan at 11:53 AM on October 28, 2008


Authorities pulled them over because they had shot out the window of a church and used sidewalk chalk to draw racially motivated words, the numbers 14 and 88 and a swastika on Cowart's car...

A.P.
Surprise is not their greatest weapon.
posted by mandal at 11:53 AM on October 28, 2008


“But right now they're fucking worthless racist motherfuckers, and I have no problem letting people know that that shit's not fucking okay with me.”

I’ve actually pulled the trigger on those types of folks, so I’d go a little futher than saying it’s not ok. That’s more or less the end result of what your talking about here. Maybe one time you’ll say "those racist fuckers are bad people, and i'm better than them" and somebody will put a gun to your head because they think they know they’re better than you are.
Happens all the time. The real fun starts when both sides hate each other because of superficial traits like skin color or religion or historic ethnicity. The “dude, this isn’t cool” folks die off really, really quickly then.

But this is not the point.
The point is pracowity said he didn’t care much whether these two had their rights violated with sneaky federal surveillance.

vorfeed said “ Guess that's what makes us better than them, right?” - implying the same equity under the law argument I made.

2sheets however made the point that he is better - somewhat diverging from vorfeed’s implication to a more literal interpretation of his words.

So I restated vorfeed’s implicit point and augmented it by saying even in 2sheets’ literal take on vorfeed’s statement, it is still the case that we must be equal under the law even if we are ethically superior.

Your position shmegegge reinterprets all this to mean withholding judgement on racism. Which I do not mean. But in fact was willing to address.
Your other point, apparently that you are better - meaning morally superior - to murderous racists, I don’t contest.

But let’s keep in mind where this “I’m better” stuff can lead. In the case of racists, they think they’re better because of some superficial trait, etc. But it is very much the case that in religion, indeed, in some secular ideologies, one’s inherent superiority forms the basis of exclusion, oppression and violence.

So let’s recognize what’s wrong here, and point it out, sure, but let’s not ascribe to ourselves some sort of right to act based on anything other than behavior in the interest of justice.

That said, your comment ends with acceptance and reengagement and I agree with that, and as it sets (retroactively) the tone for it, I don’t think we’re too far apart in our thinking.

Just wanted to clarify where the thing came from and so illustrate the term ‘better’ and how it’s meant.

(Of course, all that falls to the side as it concerns Gallagher. Screw that guy)

Plus I would have thought ‘flesh tuxedos’ ...given the large women and such... that y’know, the rustics are wont to have... and the, and the pop culture reference there, with the rock and roll music, that the kids love, you see... *smashes watermelon* ThenkewI’llbehereallweektrytheveal.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:54 AM on October 28, 2008


Consider that if these guys were classified as terrorists, it could lead to classifying domestic white power organizations as terrorist groups, and acting accordingly. I wouldn't be so sad to see our domestic Taliban addressed.

also, dresden, anyone?
posted by kaibutsu at 11:54 AM on October 28, 2008


> White Tuxedos!?! I would have guessed that these two rejects would have gone this way.

I was picturing something like this myself.
posted by xbonesgt at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2008


I wonder, despite all of their rhetoric and hate, quite how many of the Aryan supremacists currently in the prison system are there for attempting to rob a shop?

That's an interesting question. Remember that, in many circumstances, falling in with gangs is more a matter of survival than of political sympathy, and that most prison gangs are already overwhelmingly race-based. My guess is that the racial or political affiliations of gangs will show very little correlation with crimes committed prior to membership. After membership, however, it's certain that the gang will influence future criminal activities.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2008


mrmojoflying said: What the fuck? The number 88 has been my favorite number from childhood and now I find out it's some neo-nazi pseudo-numerological crap symbol? That really ruins my day.

When my son was in 4th grade he made a slab pottery bowl in art class. He decorated it with a black swastika, which is among other things a buddhist symbol. Being part of a buddhist family, that's how he came across it, and he liked it for its symmetry. Of course he wasn't allowed to fire it like that, and on Christmas morning I opened a handmade gift from my son, a slab pottery bowl decorated with a big splotch of smeared black glaze in the center of the bowl. I love that bowl and the innocence it represents.
posted by headnsouth at 11:57 AM on October 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'll never forget when my best friend and I had gotten our respective Journalism degrees. We were both working as young reporters; I was covering a custody case over a python (true story, we were way out in the country) and my friend had the unfortunate task of covering a local KKK rally.

She called me later that afternoon, laughing.

"What exactly is so funny about a bunch of racists, exactly?" I said.

"Oh, just wait," said my friend. She insisted that I needed to hear this interview to believe it.

30 minutes later, there we were, at my grandmother's house, all huddled up in the kitchen.

"Unicorn," she said. "My only concern is that they won't let me publish this as-is." And then she hit the PLAY button on her mini-recorder.

"Sir," her voice echoed out. "It appears you're in charge here. Can I get your name?"

(Southern drawly man's voice): "Uh. I think it's obvious why I'd rather not identify myself."

"But you are in charge here, correct?"

"Yep. I'm what they call the Grand Cyclops."

(silence for a beat)

"That's your TITLE, sir? Grand Cyclops?"

"Yep. I don't mind you takin' a photo as long as my hood's on. I got children."

(I hear a small click and know that my friend has snapped the Cyclops)

"Oh no, that's fine, that's fine. I understand. You're fighting for your cause, but you don't want any retribution to come back on your family, is that correct?"

"Uh, young lady, my family is behind me one hunnerd percent. Just like these fine upstanding white men here. We have a right to our beliefs and public assembly, I know my rights."

"I see," said my friend. I could hear her get out a pen and click it open. "Well, I want to get your title correct. You said 'Grand Cyclops,' is that correct?"

"Yep."

"Sir, can you spell that for me?"

(silence)

"Um, sir?"

(silence)

"Yeah that's not something you need to write down either, missy."

(sounds of a man shambling off, a stifled giggle and then a click)

My friend eyeballs me across the table, grinning widely. I look back at her and cover my mouth, trying not to giggle.

"Oh no," I said. "Seriously?"

"Seriously," she said, breaking out into a full, gut-busting laugh. "THE DUMBASS DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO SPELL IT."

"What, don't they print cards? You know, for networking and stuff?" I said, laughing.

Now, this was years ago, and I can only dream of a world where racism is a mythical as the creatures these people seem keen on titling themselves after... thank goodness they still seem to be a pretty ignorant lot, although I'd be happier if none existed at all.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:59 AM on October 28, 2008 [10 favorites]


More people died in the March 9 firebombing of Tokyo than at Nagasaki; but then, the Nanjing massacre dwarfs all three.

Granted, and Dresden was horrific as well. But the qualifiers weren't just a mean body count, but the purpose and methodology of the attacks. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were specifically targeting civilian populations to make a point about the terrible power we could wield, in order to demoralize the Japanese population and coerce them out of continuing the war (specific arguments as to whether or not that was necessary, aside). The targets could have just as arbitrarily been military in nature (altho increasing the risk to the pilots on the bombing run, due to a higher chance of interception), or even just an open demonstration on the sea, if you were merely trying to demonstrate the power of a weapon and logically show that resistance would have a terrible cost. Instead, the demonstration was designed to terrify a non-military population group with our power, and coerce them into submission. Pure, primal terror at the thought of utter annihilation was the entire point of The Bomb's design, and was the core of the 'Mutually Assured Destruction' ethos throughout the Cold War.

There's a reason that "regular" bombing runs against cities have continued to be gleefully used in most large-scale conflicts, and atomic weaponry hasn't been - because atomic weapons are fucking terrifying, to everyone involved.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:00 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nothing more dangerous than a straight line delivered gamely.

Funny, that's what your mom was saying to me just last night.
posted by loquacious at 12:07 PM on October 28, 2008


...but then I find Hanging Palin amusing. Something is wrong here.
posted by gman at 12:12 PM on October 28, 2008


What's the point in reporting this? It just encourages other gay neo Nazi kids.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:13 PM on October 28, 2008


The point is pracowity said he didn’t care much whether these two had their rights violated with sneaky federal surveillance.
...
So I restated vorfeed’s implicit point and augmented it by saying even in 2sheets’ literal take on vorfeed’s statement, it is still the case that we must be equal under the law even if we are ethically superior.


oh hey, i missed that whole part of things. pardon me for totally misinterpreting. you're way right, and I'm actually on your side of things, there. so uh, yeah.
posted by shmegegge at 12:13 PM on October 28, 2008


You know there are 88 keys (both black and white) on a standard piano keyboard.

What. Just sayin'.
posted by RussHy at 12:15 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, Paris Texas sure does come up a lot when it comes to racial incidents.
posted by delmoi at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2008


The point is to cow a much larger group into fear and submission and irrational behaviour.

So does this mean America's already lost the War on Terror?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:16 PM on October 28, 2008


I always see this sort of comment in a thread about some scumbag du jour, and it always puzzles me.
I am better than them, and I'd wager so are most of the people commenting in this thread, even the ones I strongly disagree with.
I'm better than some tribal pinhead in pakistan that thinks it's ok to stone a woman for "honor", and I'm better than some corrupt, genocidal maniac in Darfur that kidnaps children and turns them into soldiers. If one can't strive to be better than the worst criminal scum in existence and extend a hand to those people do join civilized society, then what's the point, really?


The problem is, saying things like "I'm not really too worried about whether their rights were violated as long as it doesn't threaten to overturn their convictions" has nothing to do with "extend[ing] a hand to those people do join civilized society". In fact, it does the opposite, and (assuming one believes in civil rights) weakens one's claim to moral consistency, much less moral supremacy. Civil rights belong to everyone; that's sort of the point of them. Being OK with violating civil rights against [insert group here] weakens civil rights for all groups.

Honor, however one defines it, cannot just be tossed aside when it's convenient to do so, even if the end goal itself is honorable. Doing so devalues one's honor more than any amount of dishonorable behavior ever can, because it denies the very idea of honor: that there are some things which must be done, and others which must not be done, full stop, no excuses accepted. When one's honor is real, no amount of personal gain nor convenience can turn a dishonorable act into an acceptable one. Falling short of one's standard of honor is one thing, but this kind of ends-justify-the-means behavior devalues honor itself.

So, if you really want to be "better than" all those people who happen to have other definitions of honor, start with demonstrating your superiority by actually walking your own talk. Civil rights are an empty concept if they only apply to people you like, and moral superiority is equally empty when it's based not on comparing one's own behavior to one's own morals, but on a bunch of baseless "I'm better than this and that" assertions.

You must behave better, not just be better -- the latter is only a meaningless statement, until and unless the former demonstrates its truth. And I hate to break it to you, but no one is going to hand you the Medal of Moral Superiority for being a first-world citizen who doesn't take part in honor killings or child soldiery, as difficult as not doing those things must be for you. Maybe you should move the bar a smidge higher...?
posted by vorfeed at 12:26 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


You must behave better, not just be better

Nah, I'm lazy. I'll just be better than Nazis and let the behavior take care of itself.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:28 PM on October 28, 2008


What are the implications for Eric Lindros?

Dunno, he got a concussion scrolling down the page here, and can't comment.
posted by inigo2 at 12:29 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know there are 88 keys (both black and white) on a standard piano keyboard.

What. Just sayin'.


We all know that people are the same wherever you go. There is good and bad in everyone.
posted by Spatch at 12:37 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


What troubles me is the McCain Campaign Rhetoric As An Invitation To Violence that gives these 2 the 'ok' to spread their hate.

I have no idea why US doesn't have Hate Crimes, like Canada. Criminal Code of Canada...
Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code make it a criminal offence to:
* advocate genocide
* publicly incite hatred
* wilfully promote hatred against an "identifiable group."
An identifiable group is defined as any section of the public distinguished by:
* colour
* race
* religion
* ethnic origin
More:
Section 319(1): Public Incitement of Hatred
The crime of "publicly inciting hatred" has four main elements. To contravene the Code, a person must:
* communicate statements,
* in a public place,
* incite hatred against an identifiable group,
* in such a way that there will likely be a breach of the peace.
Under section 319, "communicating" includes communicating by telephone, broadcasting or other audible or visible means; a "public place" is one to which the public has access by right or invitation, express or implied; and "statements" means words (spoken, written or recorded), gestures, and signs or other visible representations.
All the above elements must be proven for a court to find an accused guilty of either:
* an indictable offence, for which the punishment is imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
* an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Canada has sent one Ernest Zundel packing to Germany, where he received a 5 year prison sentence.
posted by alicesshoe at 12:46 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have no idea why US doesn't have Hate Crimes, like Canada.

I have no idea why Canada doesn't have the right to freedom of speech, like the US.
posted by vorfeed at 12:49 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have no idea why US doesn't have Hate Crimes, like Canada.

Recent Mefi thread.
posted by Tehanu at 12:49 PM on October 28, 2008


Look for any number, and you'll find it. The fact that some racist group uses a few numbers amongst their coded signals shouldn't make you like those numbers less. I'm sure you'll find most numbers under 100 associated with something you disagree with, or are disturbed by.

With that, I'll revise Spatch's post: We all know that numbers are the same wherever you go. Sometimes they're just numbers.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:55 PM on October 28, 2008


...but then I find Hanging Palin amusing.

Why? Besides being mean, as a message Hanging Palin is incoherent, as politics she's ineffective, as humor just not that funny. Probably an effective way to piss-off Palin fans, if that's the goal, but I can't see much of a return on the effort.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:58 PM on October 28, 2008


I have no idea why Canada doesn't have the right to freedom of speech, like the US.

It does. The constitutional provision that guarantees Freedom of expression in Canada is section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: ... (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.

The Canadians, however, argue that Freedom of Speech is not absolute:

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. (emphasis added)

But I suppose that means that the US somehow has more or better freedom of speech than Canada. Of course, we do regulate speech in advertising, regulate obsenity, regulate imminent lawless action, regulate slander, and regulate fighting words. So we already regulate speech that we see as violating the common good, as does Canada.

You know, with freedom of speech comes additional responsibility, and one of those responsibilities is to not simply spit out knee-jerk aphorisms without bothering to do any research into the subject.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:01 PM on October 28, 2008 [9 favorites]


We all know that people are the same wherever you go. There is good and bad in everyone.

Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh lord, why dont we STFU?
posted by MikeMc at 1:02 PM on October 28, 2008


I have no idea why US doesn't have Hate Crimes, like Canada.

Slippery slope and all that. When does "unpopular" turn to "hate" and who gets to decide who goes to prison for expressing their beliefs?
posted by MikeMc at 1:05 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


“pardon me for totally misinterpreting”

No sweat. Done it myself.

Just numbers? 58008 is not just a number.
...unless you don’t have that sort of calculator.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:06 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


In debate or rhetoric, the slippery slope is one of the classical informal fallacies.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:06 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was just reading the report on Ashley Todd and noticed the picture in the corner...

Now I know this is off topic but dose this picture look weired to any one else?
posted by SheMulp AKA Plus 1 at 1:08 PM on October 28, 2008


That is weired. Looks like Prince halftime at the Superbowl. ‘Cept with less dragon.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:12 PM on October 28, 2008


alicesshoe, thanks for that Scoop link: Words have consequences beyond their original meaning, however unintended. The venom directed at Obama is exactly the type that touches the nerve of extremist elements in the American polity. Neo-Nazis, xenophobes, anti-communists, Christian fundamentalists, assorted right-wing militia groups, anti-abortionists, Klansmen and racists of various stripes . . . Such people have proven records of murderous violence against those they despise. To pour fuel on the fires of their visceral hatred is to encourage someone to take matters into their own hands in order to prevent Obama from winning the presidency or, if he does, prevent him from either assuming office or serving out his term.

I'm reading Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear right now (after seeing Mefites recommend it countless times in AskMe relationship threads about stalkers and potentially violent co-workers or ex-spouses, so thank you! Required reading for women and any employer, I think). Some strands in his analysis remind me of McCain/Palin fear/hatemongering rhetoric, so much so that last night I googled his name and "McCain" to see if he had anything to say about this election. Voila: "McCain really is a fighter . . . I've got whole chapters in my books [on preventing violence] about guys who behave like McCain. I'm not joking."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:15 PM on October 28, 2008


Metafilter: I judge the shit out of that
posted by zarah at 1:38 PM on October 28, 2008


Voila: "McCain really is a fighter . . . I've got whole chapters in my books [on preventing violence] about guys who behave like McCain. I'm not joking."

In this context McCain is SOOOOOO much like a PTSD Dwight Schrute it's scary.
posted by tkchrist at 1:47 PM on October 28, 2008


You know, with freedom of speech comes additional responsibility, and one of those responsibilities is to not simply spit out knee-jerk aphorisms without bothering to do any research into the subject.

I'm aware of all those issues, actually. I am well aware that the reality in America falls short of our stated principles on this issue, and particularly so in recent years, but as I said earlier: "falling short of one's standard of honor is one thing, but this kind of ends-justify-the-means behavior devalues honor itself." Unlike Canada, our charter document does not limit free speech "only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society". The constitution says our speech is Free, not Free*.

We may tolerate some restrictions on speech -- and I personally believe that these restrictions are unconstitutional, harmful, and should be overturned -- but our principle of free speech is still the reason why Americans are offended by hate crimes laws. Hate crimes laws restrict the content of political speech, which is exactly the sort of thing the First Amendment was meant to prevent. Sorry, but the short answer to "why doesn't America have hate crimes laws" is "because we have freedom of speech, which in modern America expressly includes unpopular political speech", whether you consider that answer to be a "knee-jerk aphorism" or not. If you doubt it, take a glance at the thread Tehanu linked to, in which many Americans made this very argument.

And with regards to political speech, I'd absolutely argue that the US absolutely does "have more or better freedom of speech than Canada". IMHO, the argument that regulating advertising, obscenity, imminent lawless action, fighting words, and slander is the same as banning an entire category of political speech, based on content alone, is a knee-jerk aphorism of the first order. There are a few times in which we've come close to this sort of thing in our history -- the Sedition Act and the Smith Act come to mind -- but they were not positive, and I've no wish to revisit them via a Hate Crimes Act any more than I did with the Patriot Act.

Also, if "I have no idea why Canada doesn't have the right to freedom of speech, like the US" is "spitting out knee-jerk aphorisms", then so is "nah, I'm lazy. I'll just be better than Nazis and let the behavior take care of itself". I find it pretty funny that you're all upset about laziness and aphorisms all of a sudden, not more than an hour after coming up with that... well, sorry, but I was too lazy to bother re-hashing at length the same thread we just had a couple weeks ago. Guess you insist, so here you go.
posted by vorfeed at 1:56 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I realize I'm late to the party here, but after reading the comments I'm still confused as to why there's a dispute over whether or not this was a terrorist plot. Terrorism, according to the Federal Criminal Code, is defined as such:
"activities that involve violent… or life-threatening acts… that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State and… appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and… (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States… [or]… (C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States…" *
That would seem to fit these two guys to a T. That said, I emphatically disagree with the sentiment that it would be OK if their civil or constitutional rights were violated in the process of their apprehension, and not just because their violation could lead to an acquittal. Those rights aren't just legal techincalities; they are the fabric of our society. They make us who and what we are. Without strict adherence to them, we might as well call ourselves Belarus and get it over with.

And the white tuxedos baffle me. If they were ICP fans, all I can say is, Shazaam, Bam! Shaka laka lokey, couple of brain-dead hicks in the pokey!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:01 PM on October 28, 2008


I find it pretty funny that you're all upset about laziness and aphorisms all of a sudden, not more than an hour after coming up with that... well, sorry, but I was too lazy to bother re-hashing at length the same thread we just had a couple weeks ago. Guess you insist, so here you go.

I was making a joke, not a political point, but okay. Nonetheless, your apohorism that we somehow have free speech and Canada doesn't -- because we have free speech the way you define it, and Canda doesn't -- doesn't quite seem to fit into your aphorism as neatly as you seem to think it does.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:07 PM on October 28, 2008


OMG some nazi in Austria has no free speaches!!!!
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on October 28, 2008


I realize I'm late to the party here, but after reading the comments I'm still confused as to why there's a dispute over whether or not this was a terrorist plot.

Well, I think 'plot' may be lending it a little more dignity that it perhaps deserves.
posted by rodgerd at 2:18 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


In debate or rhetoric, the slippery slope is one of the classical informal fallacies.

How is it a fallacy to argue that ability to throw people in jail for what you consider to be hate speech could eventually be used to jail for what others, but not you, consider to be hatespeech? One of the founding ideas of the freedom of speech (and indeed many of our freedoms) is that if we don't preserve it for people we disagree with, it might not be preserved for us when others disagree with us.

You can't just link to a general wikipedia article and say, ARGUMENT WON!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:24 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I can't see how attempted assassination of a likely-world-leader-to-be doesn't count as terrorism. If assassination isn't terrorism, what is?
posted by Maias at 2:25 PM on October 28, 2008


Burhanistan writes "Not to defend his cowardly rampage, but he actually had the sense to legally purchase the weapons he used. These guys were caught stealing guns, thus tripping themselves up before they could even start to walk."

Considering anyone with even a mediocre machine shop can turn out AK-47s and Gatling guns it is amazing these twits always need to resort to stealing guns.

Durn Bronzefist writes "Looking back, I don't remember a single black person in Dukes of Hazzard. This was supposed to be Georgia, yes?"

The Sheriff of Chickasaw County was black. Drove the small B - body Fury patrol. Hated the Dukes, Rosco and Boss in equal measure.
posted by Mitheral at 2:52 PM on October 28, 2008


I hope someone reads this far down, because I finally found the words that are missing from this article: "small town values".

Or was it "anti american"?
posted by dirty lies at 2:52 PM on October 28, 2008


I was making a joke, not a political point, but okay.

And I wasn't being entirely serious with my one-line free speech comment, myself, mainly because I didn't want this to turn into a repeat of the other free speech/hate crimes thread.

Nonetheless, your apohorism that we somehow have free speech and Canada doesn't -- because we have free speech the way you define it, and Canda doesn't -- doesn't quite seem to fit into your aphorism as neatly as you seem to think it does.

No, my argument is that we have free speech and Canada doesn't -- because we have free speech, and Canada doesn't. You yourself pointed out that there is a very significant difference between the American and Canadian charters in this regard, so I'm not sure why this seems to bother you. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not claim that its citizens have any absolute rights whatsoever. In fact, it states that they don't, quite clearly, even before it enumerates their rights under said limitations, so you'd think this wouldn't be all that controversial. You can claim that the question hinges on what the definition of "free" is, but I think that most people would agree that "free" doesn't mean "subject to reasonable limits". Canada isn't even really making a claim to the same right, either in practice or in principle.

So what? Different countries have different priorities, and Canada's charter clearly and openly states that freedom of speech is secondary to the ability to set reasonable laws limiting speech. That's fine, but it's equally important to accept that the American law doesn't agree, and that the reason is not because "OMG some nazi in Austria has no free speaches!!!!", but because we are not OK with banning political speech based on content.

Historically (and currently, for that matter), many of our "silenced minorities" were people we tend to respect and cherish today -- we've been down this slippery slope already, and I for one do not like what we found there.
posted by vorfeed at 2:54 PM on October 28, 2008 [6 favorites]


Sometimes they're just numbers.
Two Fat Ladies, Valentines Day.
posted by tellurian at 3:04 PM on October 28, 2008


Considering anyone with even a mediocre machine shop can turn out AK-47s and Gatling guns it is amazing these twits always need to resort to stealing guns.

Look out! It;s the nazi A-Team! And they've got a cabbage cannon!
posted by Artw at 3:08 PM on October 28, 2008


Historically (and currently, for that matter), many of our "silenced minorities" were people we tend to respect and cherish today -- we've been down this slippery slope already, and I for one do not like what we found there.

So what slope has Canada descended into, metaphorically and literally? They seem to have managed the grey areas pretty fairly, with their credo of human rights more or less intact.

I don't necessarily agree that hate crimes necessarily fall under the protection of free speech, but granting that for the sake of argument, it's not obvious that the lack of free-speech-at-all-costs has hurt Canadian society -- for that matter, allowing violent hate crimes to go unpunished (beyond any trivial judgment of other unrelated crimes) has hardly been a benefit to the United States and its citizens.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:11 PM on October 28, 2008


we are not OK with banning political speech based on content

*references Secret Service investigating people yelling words at recent political rallies*
posted by stinkycheese at 3:12 PM on October 28, 2008


"why doesn't America have hate crimes laws"

I think we're really talking about hate-speech laws. We have hate-crime laws; murder is not covered under the First Amendment.

If you make (for example) anti-Semitic remarks in public, and you're pilloried in the press for doing so, you may be in a country that guarantees freedom of expression. If you make anti-Semitic remarks and are subsequently put on trial and subjected to court-ordered punishment, that guarantee is unquestionably absent.
posted by oaf at 3:22 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


So what slope has Canada descended into, metaphorically and literally? They seem to have managed the grey areas pretty fairly, with their credo of human rights more or less intact.

There is nothing "fair" about banning the open expression of one entire side of the political arguments about racism, sexism, and religion. Canada's "credo of human rights is more or less intact" only with regards to people who do not hold certain political views.

As for "granting that for the sake of argument, it's not obvious that the lack of free-speech-at-all-costs has hurt Canadian society", that depends entirely on one's point of view. I'd say that banning certain political views does indeed hurt society a great deal -- these groups thrive on oppression, and on the perception that their "truth" is being suppressed, and I have personally seen guys like Zundel, Möbus, etc. held up as martyrs. Someone linked above to an article which claims "faced with an open election in which a black man maybe become president, these groups don't know what the hell to do" -- do you think they'd have remained equally passive if we'd tried to lock them up before the election? I don't.

And again, I am not saying that hate crimes laws are wrong for Canada. I am saying that they would be wrong for America.

*references Secret Service investigating people yelling words at recent political rallies*

As I said above, I think those laws are bullshit, as well. Even so, it seems obvious that this behavior is not just prohibited based on content alone, but also on context.
posted by vorfeed at 3:30 PM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Whereas Austrian nazis get locked up for NO REASON AT ALL.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on October 28, 2008


You can't just link to a general wikipedia article and say, ARGUMENT WON!

I'm not making an argument. I'm just pointing out that if your argument is based in "we're gonna slide down a slope into something terrible," you're participating in a fallacy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:46 PM on October 28, 2008


There is nothing "fair" about banning the open expression of one entire side of the political arguments about racism, sexism, and religion.

You argued that you've seen the effects of this: "we've been down this slippery slope already, and I for one do not like what we found there."

So, generally complex notions of fairness aside, what did we find that has hurt Canada?

This slippery slope language gets invoked so often when hate crime discussions come up, I am genuinely curious exactly how far Canada has gone down this rhetorically vague slippery slope over the last 100-150 years of so of its Constitution, and what specific and tangible damage has been done to its society, in the law's empirically narrow historical application with respect to Canadian neo-Nazi and fascist elements.

And again, I am not saying that hate crimes laws are wrong for Canada. I am saying that they would be wrong for America.

Accent aside, perhaps, Americans are not all that different from Canadians, societally speaking. Americans and Canadians share many of the same values, despite what rabble-rousing propaganda from private health insurance companies may suggest. It's not self-evident why hate crime legislation is necessarily wrong for American society, in that light.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:54 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thank you Astro Zombie, I was going to let 'our friend's' 'freedom of speech' *ahem* comment pass.

If your 'freedom of speech' includes :
* advocating genocide
* publicly incite hatred
* wilfully promote hatred against an "identifiable group."....
Need I go on?
Big difference between freedom of speech and just plain 'ole small town/group of haters making a party of it. It means because of your misguided 'beliefs' [ie:racism], not only can you not shove it down my throat, but you won't shove it down others throats while holding a rifle to my temple and freedoming others to pick up a pitchfork and inciting the same in the name of your 'beliefs'.

USA Patriot Act, seems to take away a lot of that 'freedom' you speak of.

Some haven't forgotten 1933 Germany... "synagogue burning only if there is no fire-danger to the surroundings."
You remember Kristallnacht, right?

Now tell me McCain's campaign isn't blaming demonizing whomever suits him in his march to the Whitehouse along with his 'Headless of the Apocalypse' minions.

cybercoitus interruptus - a good read by Gavin de Becker. I believe it all starts with self esteem.

"Direct expressions of inadequate self-esteem [eg: feelings of worthlessness, or extreme passivity, or a sense of futility] or else as defenses against inadequate self-esteem [eg:grandiose bragging and boasting, compulsive sexual 'acting out' or overcontrolling social behaviour]"— Nathaniel Branden, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem.

I bring this up because of a post I read discussing Narcissistic Personality Disorder and politicians. [via]
posted by alicesshoe at 3:57 PM on October 28, 2008


It's quite scary to think that a lucky moment by nutcases like these guys could turn around so much of what's been building for the last year or so. It's the complete opposite of Obama's message- instead of many people working together to make change for the better, it's a couple of isolated loners trying to make it worse for everyone else.
posted by twirlypen at 3:58 PM on October 28, 2008


I am not saying that hate crimes laws are wrong for Canada. I am saying that they would be wrong for America.

Why?
posted by chugg at 3:59 PM on October 28, 2008


Skorgu - A Gatling gun will for damn sure allow you to leave a shootout on your terms. It would also be useful if there were some type of human wave attack so its application is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Also, that video is damn cool.
posted by Horatius at 4:04 PM on October 28, 2008


This is what happens when skinheads shave their heads too close.
posted by bwg at 4:15 PM on October 28, 2008


They seem to have managed the grey areas pretty fairly, with their credo of human rights more or less intact.

Well, there's a ringing endorsement. That's like saying that the Patriot Act is just fine because it left the U.S. Constitution more or less intact. I am in favor of fewer restrictions on our civil liberties and frankly I'm baffled by people who endorse greater restrictions on the right of people to express their beliefs.
posted by MikeMc at 4:17 PM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


*references Secret Service investigating people yelling words at recent political rallies*

I’m not ok with that. I don’t think a lot of other Americans are either. In fact I’m pretty sure the constitution isn’t ok with that either.

Artw - I could probably turn out a nice series of autoshotguns that would terrify the ATF. I could outfit a squad pretty easily in fact.
The nifty thing about racism is that it tends to be predicated on willful ignorance. The same sort of willful ignorance that inhibits, say, technical knowlege. Like armory skills. And willful ignorance of things like, say, stealth. Common sense. Self-discipline. Attention to detail and precision. Rudimentary legal understanding. Manners, a sense of decorum, basic toiletry and hygene...but I digress.
Point being - it is in fact fairly easy to build or modify firearms. The technical end is not at all insurmountable. In fact its easier than learning another language. Hell, you can mill stuff to spec out of a manual.
But it is ironic that it’s the impediment for these kinds of people who fetishize firearms.
‘Cos they’re so durn stupid! But I mean, yeah, they are.

I’ve been in (very very short) fights with guys who’ve said “I don’t need no damn karate to kick your ass” - same kinda mindset. Doesn’t mean studying physical combat arts is softcore action t.v. level implausible.


S’funny. We have an (engineering) professor out here at Northwestern who’s a big Holocaust revisionist. If he were somewhere else he might have gotten life in prison.
Were he prosecuted by the state I have no doubt he could have become a very dangerous man.
As it is, although understandably reviled, he can live his life however he wishes and teach his classes (not related to history) as he likes and post his nutty ideas on the internet if he wants.

And even if he didn’t ultimately turn out to be dangerous, that’s one less social asset we have. One less professor.

(A similar argument could be made on behalf of Ayers. Albiet from a different standpoint. But he was an extremist, and now he’s a productive member of society. Granted his particular flavor of extremism was different. But then - who gets to decide what rhetoric is forgivable?)

I suspect people like these two idiots are ineffectual precisely because we allow engagement and free expression.
So that, unless you intentionally isolate yourself, you’ll probably reevaluate your viewpoint.

If you remain otherwise isolated, you have such little aptitude in dealing with reality you, for example, can’t spell the terms you yourself use to express your hatred, or drive down the street like an idiot with extremist regailia chalked onto your car after you shoot out the window of a church before putting into operation your master plan of killing 88 people (who will apparently just stand there) while in tuxedos and top hats before driving a speeding car at some vaguely defined point where a presidential candidate might be.

Now I myself can think of 5 plausible ways to kill Obama (2 ways in which I might live) and a number of others to kill McCain.
But I could never imagine doing such a thing because of how many other things I was exposed to while gaining that kind of (otherwise useless) knowlege.

I mean, there’s secret service guys with guns standing right next to either one of them, why don’t they kill them?

Clearly then, something is gained in aquisition of the means beyond simply the means.

If people like this were willing to entertain anything beyond the scope of their own rhetoric, they might learn something.
And I think a great deal of effort is spent by hate groups and such in preventing that.
I see no reason to mirror them.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:24 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


In debate or rhetoric, the slippery slope is one of the classical informal fallacies.

With sufficient rigor, though, it's called induction and is an important logical tool.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:32 PM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


That's like saying that the Patriot Act is just fine because it left the U.S. Constitution more or less intact.

This is not at all a useful comparison, of course, because the empirical damage to the US Constitution in six short years of the PATRIOT Act's widespread and abusive application has been evident and devastating. For what has been a narrow and restrained application of hate crime laws in Canada, comparing those laws with the PATRIOT Act is, well, for lack of a better word: senseless.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:40 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama is assasin-heaven

Nonsense. Alamut is assassin heaven.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:41 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also, the number 14 represents "Ad", short for Adolf.

It's abbreviated because they can't count high enough to work out the number for o.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:46 PM on October 28, 2008


comparing those laws with the PATRIOT Act is, well, for lack of a better word: senseless.

It wasn't meant to be a direct comparison, it was more of a comment on "more or less intact". Since when is "more or less intact" a good thing when it comes to civil liberties?
posted by MikeMc at 4:59 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The three (legal) things wackos tend to enjoy

a lot of sane people like them, too.
posted by jonmc at 5:01 PM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


alicesshoe: Some haven't forgotten 1933 Germany... "synagogue burning only if there is no fire-danger to the surroundings." You remember Kristallnacht, right?

In your argument I read the implicit idea that hate crime legislation might act as a bulwark against mass-murders of the sort that took place in Germany or Yugoslavia. I disagree with this for one reason: that such acts of genocide occurred with the complicity of government, or in the absence of it. These circumstances had already stepped well outside the bounds of law itself; it's not as if one more law could restrain them. (No constitution could restrain them, for that matter.) A surer defense against that sort of breakdown would be to oppose the implosion of power into a very small number of agents and agencies, or the fragmentation of it into a state of civil warfare, and I'm not sure that hate crime laws really do this on either side.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:03 PM on October 28, 2008


I wonder, despite all of their rhetoric and hate, quite how many of the Aryan supremacists currently in the prison system are there for attempting to rob a shop?

the overwhelming majority. and by all accounts any sort of racial crusades are secondary to criminal profits, which is illustrated by their alliances with the Mexican Mafia and Asian drug cartels.
posted by jonmc at 5:19 PM on October 28, 2008


Since when is "more or less intact" a good thing when it comes to civil liberties?

I don't want to support a law out of blind, thoughtless boosterism. I'd like to support it because it benefits human beings, at the end of the day. It's not clear that the application of Canada's hate crime legislation has hurt Canadians, whereas the damage done by the PATRIOT Act is heinous and long-lasting. Just because something is Legal does not necessarily make it a Good, and it pays to think carefully about blanket morality.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:26 PM on October 28, 2008


Maybe thirty years from now these two will have an opportunity to be college professors.

The Weathermen only accidentally killed their own members, and (supposedly) never intended to ever physically harm anyone.

Specious comparison. That's right, I said it. SPECIOUS!
posted by mrgrimm at 5:31 PM on October 28, 2008


It's not clear that the application of Canada's hate crime legislation has hurt Canadians, whereas the damage done by the PATRIOT Act is heinous and long-lasting.

Well, I thought it was pretty sucky that we used a security certificate to deport Zundel. I mean, yeah, not a nice guy, but a national security threat? That seems like an abuse of power to me.

That being said, yeah, we take a broader view of free speech than, say, Germany, but a narrower view than some Latin American states (whose history has taught them that any government meddling in free expression is usually worse than none). I personally think we've gone too far into the protection mindset. Not everything is "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. That being said, I like a human rights regime that recognizes vulnerabilities and isn't afraid to work through a difficult grey area in order to arrive at a just result.

As for the "reasonable limits..." stuff. That isn't anything to get too worked up over (or righteous about). It's an invitation to judicial review along circumscribed lines, rather than leaving it a constitutional exercise the judiciary would engage in anyway. The Oakes test is pretty predictable, right down to whether or not a given infringement will be justified or not, and even on what ground if not (minimal impairment more often than not -- that is, it's a worthwhile goal, rationally connected to the means, but the authorities have limited freedoms more than necessary to achieve it -- often used; they take this shit seriously).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:39 PM on October 28, 2008


I'm totally having a mind blank here. Which major fantasy series is based around the idea that evil always ultimately turns upon itself, causing its failure? That's what that article brings to mind.

All of them. Fantasy authors aren't the most creative of individuals.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:03 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


These bozos have only succeeded in one way: by providing me and my bud with a really cool Halloween costume idea.

[makes lemonade]
posted by HyperBlue at 7:16 PM on October 28, 2008


I am in favor of fewer restrictions on our civil liberties and frankly I'm baffled by people who endorse greater restrictions on the right of people to express their beliefs.

Not to pick on McMike: it's just that he said succinctly what seems to be behind a lot of the argument.

Canada's laws do not restrict the right of people to express their beliefs. You are perfectly free to say you hate Insert Minority Here.

What you are not allowed to do is say those things in such a way that there will likely be a breach of the peace.

This is a far, far cry from what a lot of you seem to imagine the law to be.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:19 PM on October 28, 2008


Well, "likely" depends on the particulars of the hate mongering.

"Advocating genocide" (s.318) only requires that you "advocate" or "promote" genocide.

But yes, "Public incitement of hatred" (s.319(1)) punishes communication of statements in a public place that incite hatred against an identifiable group "where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace".

Wilful promotion of hatred (s.319(2)) only requires what the title says, but contains a raft of defences, including truth and good faith argument.

Really, if you're going to get up in arms over infringements of freedom of expression in Canada, you probably want to start with pornography. I can't recall the last time I saw the courts endorsing restraints on genuine political speech. If you can, by all means, name the case(s).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:29 PM on October 28, 2008


Skinhead

by Patricia Smith

(reprinted from AGNI 36)


They call me skinhead, and I got my own beauty.
It is knife-scrawled across my back in sore, jagged letters,
it’s in the way my eyes snap away from the obvious.
I sit in my dim matchbox,
on the edge of a bed tousled with my ragged smell,
slide razors across my hair,
count how many ways
I can bring blood closer to the surface of my skin.
These are the duties of the righteous,
the ways of the anointed.

The face that moves in my mirror is huge and pockmarked,
scraped pink and brilliant, apple-cheeked,
I am filled with my own spit.
Two years ago, a machine that slices leather
sucked in my hand and held it,
whacking off three fingers at the root.
I didn’t feel nothing till I looked down
and saw one of them on the floor
next to my boot heel,
and I ain’t worked since then.

I sit here and watch niggers take over my TV set,
walking like kings up and down the sidewalks in my head,
walking like their fat black mamas named them freedom.
My shoulders tell me that ain’t right.
So I move out into the sun
where my beauty makes them lower their heads,
or into the night
with a lead pipe up my sleeve,
a razor tucked in my boot.
I was born to make things right.

It’s easy now to move my big body into shadows,
to move from a place where there was nothing
into the stark circle of a streetlight,
the pipe raised up high over my head.
It’s a kick to watch their eyes get big,
round and gleaming like cartoon jungle boys,
right in that second when they know
the pipe’s gonna come down, and I got this thing
I like to say, listen to this, I like to say
“Hey, nigger, Abe Lincoln’s been dead a long time.”

I get hard listening to their skin burst.
I was born to make things right.

Then this newspaper guy comes around,
seems I was a little sloppy kicking some fag’s ass
and he opened his hole and screamed about it.
This reporter finds me curled up in my bed,
those TV flashes licking my face clean.
Same ol’ shit.
Ain’t got no job, the coloreds and spics got ’em all.
Why ain’t I working? Look at my hand, asshole.
No, I ain’t part of no organized group,
I’m just a white boy who loves his race,
fighting for a pure country.
Sometimes it’s just me. Sometimes three. Sometimes 30.
AIDS will take care of the faggots,
then it’s gon’ be white on black in the streets.
Then there’ll be three million.
I tell him that.

So he writes it up
and I come off looking like some kind of freak,
like I’m Hitler himself. I ain’t that lucky,
but I got my own beauty.
It is in my steel-toed boots,
in the hard corners of my shaved head.

I look in the mirror and hold up my mangled hand,
only the baby finger left, sticking straight up,
I know it’s the wrong goddamned finger,
but fuck you all anyway.
I’m riding the top rung of the perfect race,
my face scraped pink and brilliant.
I’m your baby, America, your boy,
drunk on my own spit, I am goddamned fuckin’ beautiful.

And I was born

and raised

right here.
posted by exlotuseater at 7:36 PM on October 28, 2008


I’m just a white boy who loves his race,

On behalf of all the other white boys: save your 'love.' We don't want it.
posted by jonmc at 8:02 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


these two geniuses will be enjoying the company of their cellmates for some time to come...
posted by jcworth at 8:03 PM on October 28, 2008


Really, if you're going to get up in arms over infringements of freedom of expression in Canada, you probably want to start with pornography.


On one hand I believe that consenting adults should be able to perform, record and view whatever sex acts they damn well please but, on the other hand I would like a job with Canada Customs getting paid to view pornography all day to try and determine what is, or is not, "obscene". I've run out of hands, so much for self-abuse.
posted by MikeMc at 8:07 PM on October 28, 2008


these two geniuses will be enjoying the company of their cellmates for some time to come...

Say, you've given me a new idea for NaNoWriMo..."Deliverance meets Oz". It has potential...
posted by MikeMc at 8:15 PM on October 28, 2008


Apparently there is a part of the brain now identified as a hate circuit. These Neo Nazis guys probably would light up like a cop car siren.
posted by nickyskye at 8:17 PM on October 28, 2008


(more on the author of the poem above: Patricia Smith)
posted by exlotuseater at 8:28 PM on October 28, 2008


If these guys could count to 17, they could have written haikus and stayed out of a lot of trouble.

Please don't tell me that 88 Lines about 44 Women is a Nazi anthem.
posted by lukemeister at 8:38 PM on October 28, 2008


The Joy Division version is.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:32 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Speaking of white supremacists and their number codes, let's not so easily forget the time Cortex (aka Mefi's Secret Grand Cyclops) showed his True Colors.
posted by rokusan at 3:00 AM on October 29, 2008


Canada's laws do not restrict the right of people to express their beliefs.

It took me less than thirty seconds to find two words that prove you wrong: David Ahenakew.
posted by oaf at 12:05 PM on October 29, 2008


(And that's only because I didn't know the guy's name.)
posted by oaf at 12:07 PM on October 29, 2008


This is a delayed response:
The Whelk: Very very very very very off-topic aside: What happened to your site mightygodking?

I just went looking, because I've been worried & wondering the same thing. His photoshopped science fiction book covers got some decent coverage, putting him over the bandwidth limit. He commented on this in a Boingboing thread.

posted by Pronoiac at 12:34 PM on October 29, 2008


I bet Austrian TV has tits.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on October 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


But Ahenakew appealed, and the appeal dismissed the court findings. He shot off his mouth in 2002. He was charged in 2003. Convicted in 2005, appealed immediately, conviction overturned within the year. The Crown appealed the appeal, and this year their appeal was tossed out.

Which means as it stands, the law does not restrict the right of people to express their batshitinsane racist beliefs.

The prosecution was at a provincial level. Had the Crown succeeded in appealing the appeal, and succeeded in convicting him, Ahenakew would have taken it to the Supreme Court. I have not the slightest doubt that the Supreme Court would have tossed this hypothetical conviction. Provincial courts can be a bit loopy. The Supreme Court seldom is.

Also, our legal system moves excruitiatingly slowly. My gods. Ahenakew would have died of natural causes long before he'd exhausted all his avenues. Crazy.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:15 PM on October 29, 2008


Come and see the violence inherent in the system!
posted by Artw at 4:52 PM on October 29, 2008


as it stands, the law does not restrict the right of people to express their batshitinsane racist beliefs

Right, but the fact that this ever saw the inside of a courtroom (even without the initial conviction) is what I take issue with. Presumably, he had to pay for his own attorneys. It's the same sort of chilling effect that big companies get away with all the time.

No government should be in that business.
posted by oaf at 5:44 PM on October 29, 2008


Governments should be in the business of protecting their citizens. The hate speech laws in Canada do that.

Unfortunately and inevitably, the law can be abused. That does not make it a bad law. It makes it a law that needs to be refined. What will eventually happen is that a case like this will make it to the Supreme Court, and we'll find the limits of this law's applicability. "Incitement" will likely be a key term.

Ahenakew's court costs were probably covered by legal aid and the Cdn Free Speech Assoc.

What I find most surprising is that the newspaper that published Ahenakew's spew was not named co-defendant. They were under no obligation to promulgate his hate speech. I can not fathom why they were not called to task. It's not like Ahenakew was self-publishing hate flyers and leaving them under wipers: he shot off his mouth during an interview, and the idiot reporter decided the foul language needed to be printed in full. Classless and dumb, that.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:51 PM on October 29, 2008


I wrote the ATF a letter once:
May 1, 2008

Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001


Dear ATF,

I understand alcohol and tobacco going together, and I understand firearms and explosives going together, but I don't get how all four of these things go together. Why are these things regulated under one agency?

And shouldn't your name be the ATFE if you also deal with explosives?

And my last comment, aren't you the one agency that really doesn't need a kids' section on its website? Besides, it's not very good.

Thanks,


Christopher L. Jorgensen
Sadly, they did not respond.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:59 AM on October 30, 2008


Ahenakew appealed, and the appeal dismissed the court findings. He shot off his mouth in 2002. He was charged in 2003. Convicted in 2005, appealed immediately, conviction overturned within the year. The Crown appealed the appeal, and this year their appeal was tossed out.

Second verse, same as the first.
posted by oaf at 12:40 PM on November 24, 2008


so far, at least
posted by oaf at 12:40 PM on November 24, 2008


Man, someone sure has a bug up his ass about Ahenakew. WTF, Saskatchewan?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:32 PM on November 24, 2008


He commented on this in a Boingboing thread.

Boingboing has decent commentary?! Excuse me for a bit.

Also: Ahenakew?? What f***in thread am I in?!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:53 PM on November 24, 2008


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