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Adkisson pleads guilty, has nothing to say.
February 9, 2009 8:07 PM   Subscribe

"This was a symbolic killing," Adkisson wrote. "Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate and House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I knew these people were inaccessible to me.

Today, Jim D. Adkisson pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder.

Mr. Goldberg's forums return no results for "Adkisson" or "Tenneesee Valley Church."
posted by Optimus Chyme (80 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
(nor do they return any results when you spell Tennessee properly)
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:07 PM on February 9, 2009


I missed this back when it happened. What a horrific crime. I have Unitarian friends and the thought of them or their families being targeted for their religion is terrifying.
posted by Kattullus at 8:11 PM on February 9, 2009


Well, what could this guy say that would benefit society. Nothing, absolutely nothing.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:12 PM on February 9, 2009


mainstream media? I wonder if the insane murder had a blog.
posted by Pants! at 8:14 PM on February 9, 2009


Which guy? Adkisson or Goldberg? Oh never mind.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:14 PM on February 9, 2009


er, maybe the murderer rather than the murder itself.
posted by Pants! at 8:14 PM on February 9, 2009


My last comment relates to hal_c_on's comment. Damn preview.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:14 PM on February 9, 2009


Is there not a rockin' tune for every occasion?
posted by squalor at 8:24 PM on February 9, 2009


....I call bullshit:

"Adkisson devotes one page of his manifesto to the Unitarian Universalist Church itself. The grandfather-turned-killer once attended TVUUC with his now ex-wife."

In other words: his wife left him and he's blaming society for "changing her" and "ruining things." He can make whatever claims he wants, but I have my suspicions about who he's REALLY angry at.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:24 PM on February 9, 2009 [22 favorites]


Mr. Goldberg's forums return no results for "Adkisson" or "Tenneesee Valley Church."

So what? Bernard Goldberg isn't responsible for the actions of some nutcase who reads his book.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:37 PM on February 9, 2009


Mr. Goldberg's forums return no results for "Adkisson" or "Tenneesee Valley Church."

So what? Bernard Goldberg isn't responsible for the actions of some nutcase who reads his book.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:37 PM on February 9 [+] [!]


You sound somewhat defensive, Mr. Hatecraft.

Sorry, sorry, just thought it was eponysterical. I do agree with you, though. As distasteful as Goldberg's writing may be to me, it's a stretch to imagine he has some responsibility to respond to this tragedy.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:47 PM on February 9, 2009


Bernard Goldberg isn't responsible for the actions of some nutcase who reads his book.

This is a faulty premise. Nobody actually reads Bernard Goldberg's books; they're just gibberish. Anyone who claims they did is either lying or crazy enough to shoot up a Unitarian Church.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:47 PM on February 9, 2009 [16 favorites]


This guy is no more representative of conservatives than the arsonists of the Earth Liberation Front are representative of liberals.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:47 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why couldn't he have started with Michael Savage?
posted by klangklangston at 8:57 PM on February 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


Earth Liberation Front doesn't have the likes of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Weiner, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, etc. etc. and a whole media industry speaking for them.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 9:00 PM on February 9, 2009 [24 favorites]


"When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."

-Ann Coulter, January 2002.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:04 PM on February 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


This guy is no more representative of conservatives than the arsonists of the Earth Liberation Front are representative of liberals.

See, you got this backwards. The ELF never killed anyone. This guy is no more representative of conservatives than the pro-lifers who killed OB/GYNs are. Hmm, that doesn't do it. Ok, he's no more representative of conservatives than the thugs who killed Matthew Shepherd. No, that's not it. The racists who killed a Sikh gas station owner because they thought he was behind 9/11? Damnit, why can't I find any vegans who killed a CEO of Monsanto? Wait, you're telling me that all those tree spikings never led to any deaths? Well, certainly the liberals who dragged James Byrd to death. Wait, those were conservatives too? Damn. Well, I'm sure in the anti-pornography movement, someone tried to kill Larry Flynt. Also a conservative? He got shot over an interracial photograph, not over the exploitation of women? Oops. Well, I bet the guys who killed the freedom riders voted Democrat once. And Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. QED traitorous liberals. Go back to Canada.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:18 PM on February 9, 2009 [145 favorites]


The UUA's response to the shooting back in August.

Take your hate and go somewhere else, please.

[I'm a UU. I knew people at that church. This still hurts.]
posted by lunit at 9:31 PM on February 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


On second thought, that first link contains a lot of information. Here's the UUA's Presidents statement following the event.

This crime was the action of one man who clearly must have lost the battle with his personal demons. When I was asked if the shooter would go to hell, I replied that he must have been living in his own private hell for years.
posted by lunit at 9:34 PM on February 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


[Let's try this again without the "am i advocating prison rape or not" derail, please.]
posted by cortex at 9:37 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's amazing, lunit; thanks for the link.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:41 PM on February 9, 2009


I read Bernard Goldberg's first book, and nearly half of it is him babbling about how much he hates Dan Rather and what a jerk Dan Rather is and how stupid CBS is for promoting Dan Rather over Bernard Goldberg and how ugly Dan Rather is and how stupid Dan Rather is and...
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:42 PM on February 9, 2009


This doesn't make me wanna jab hatemongers in the throat any less...
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 9:42 PM on February 9, 2009


Earth Liberation Front doesn't have the likes of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Weiner, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, etc. etc. and a whole media industry speaking for them.

This loony-tune doesn't have that either.

See, you got this backwards. The ELF never killed anyone. (...and a bunch of ranting that amounts to saying that liberal activists never commit murder...)

"A radical animal extremist stunned senators from both sides of the aisle yesterday when he testified that the murder of medical researchers was "morally justified" to save lab animals."
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:45 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


And let's not forget the Weather Underground. (Raving conservatives, the lot of 'em, right?)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:46 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


The UUA president's statement cited by lunit kind of epitomizes what I respect about Unitarians: they understand the true meaning of "not letting the terrorists win."
posted by Graygorey at 9:46 PM on February 9, 2009 [8 favorites]


Umm ok. Thats your opinion. Some people feel that way about the death penalty as well.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:15 PM on February 9 [+] [!]


Really, hal_c_on? Really? You're telling me that the death penalty, which is sentenced legally by a court of law, is on par with illegal sexual assault? That's what you're saying? You're telling me, "It doesn't matter what you do to someone, if they're guilty"?

You are wrong. There is a difference. Even if the United States were a worse nation, a nation that legally condoned the use of cruel and unusual methods of punishment, there would be a difference between legal and illegal recourse to those methods.

But let's set that difference to one side, since it's clear that we live in a nation that takes as a guiding principle that cruel and unusual punishments should not be used. For instance, rape-by-cellmate is not the legal penalty for any crime one could possibly commit. It is instead a byproduct, of two specific things: an inadequate jail system, in which conditions are allowed to devolve to the level of inhumanity that sexual assault becomes the norm; and a bizarrely widespread attitude that such assault is not only acceptable, but morally right -- in other words, your attitude.

I say "bizarrely widespread" because it is literally a mystery to me why a US citizen would ever hold this view, that rape can be morally right, given the background philosophy of the United States regarding crime and punishment. But even more: it is simply false that such punishment is morally right, in any serious theory of morality.

If you believe that what is morally right is promoting the general welfare, this sort of illicit punishment does nothing positive, and in fact harms society by damaging rather than rehabilitating criminals. It is morally wrong.

If you believe that it is morally right to respect some basic, inalienable human rights, in particular a right not to be subjected to torture, this sort of punishment clearly violates such rights. It is morally wrong.

And if you simply believe that it is morally right to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, there is just no question about this sort of punishment. It is morally wrong.

This is not a matter of opinion. Every real moral theory agrees on this score. So the next time you think it would be a good idea to make, or laugh about, a joke regarding the sorry state of our country's jail system, remember this. What has gone wrong with that system is representative of our own moral failures, and laughter just covers that up for a while. The situation should not be funny, nor a source of giddy excitement at the prospect of cruel punishment. No. It is an embarrassment.
posted by voltairemodern at 9:52 PM on February 9, 2009 [44 favorites]


In prison someone will hate his ass. You don't want someone to exercise their hate on your ass in prison.
posted by caddis at 10:00 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's not Bernard Golberg's "fault" that this jackass did what he did, but when you have people like Rush and Goldberg and O'Reilly and Coulter and Hannity et al using hateful rhetoric and calling Democrats "traitors" and "unAmerican" and saying "they hate America/love the terrorists/want the terrorists to win" or whatever other bullshit they spew, is it any surprise that there are fuckups like this guy who not only believe it but decide to act on it? I mean, there is a certain logic to this guy's actions: you think someone is a traitor to his/her country; you want to protect your country; so, you do what you can to take them out.

(And in response to Chocolate Pickle: Dr. Jerry Vlasak is a douche in the fine tradition of Rush et al as well and would bear the same sort of indirect moral responsibility should an ALF member kill someone. And did the WU actually kill anyone?)
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:03 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


And let's not forget the Weather Underground. (Raving conservatives, the lot of 'em, right?)

I'd say we can forget them, because they haven't been active for 28 years. From Wikipedia:

"On October 20, 1981, in Nyack New York, the group robbed a Brinks armored truck containing $1.6 million. The robbery turned violent, resulting in the murders of two police officers and a security guard.[6] Boudin, Clark, and Gilbert were found guilty and sentenced to lengthy terms in prison, considered the “last gasps” of the Weather Underground."
posted by vibrotronica at 10:07 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This loony-tune doesn't have that either.

Ann Coulter has made a career of telling her audience that liberals should be killed.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:20 PM on February 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's not Bernard Golberg's "fault" that this jackass did what he did

What a load of horse manure!
posted by caddis at 10:25 PM on February 9, 2009


scratch that, I got some names a little mixed up here. It isn't the author's fault.
posted by caddis at 10:27 PM on February 9, 2009


Not to exonerate Coulter et. al. who do in fact often preach violence and terror against those across the aisle from them, but yeah, Goldberg just wrote a bad book about people he disagreed with. Al Franken has done the same a number of times, but aside from the fact that I actually like Franken's books, if anyone shot up a Christian church and then cited Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them as his guide for whom he really was going after, I imagine we'd all think he was really just crazy and misguided, and that Franken himself had nothing to do with it, and no responsibility for the killer's actions.

OTOH, FoxNews would of course have a field day with it, but I don't want to sink into their gutter.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:34 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not to make light of this, but its a good thing this guy wasn't more resourceful. He probably could have got some of his actual targets, assuming that was his actual intent. I mean, if Mike Arrington can get spit on at a conference...
posted by SirOmega at 10:37 PM on February 9, 2009


Hmm. This guy lived in Knoxville, I see. They've got a long-standing tradition of senseless killing in those parts. The guy had probably been listening to too much Louvin Brothers:

I met a liitle girl in Knoxville, a town we all know well,
And every Sunday evening, out in her home I'd dwell,
We went to take an evening walk about a mile from town,
I picked a stick up off the ground and knocked that fair girl down.

She fell down on her bended knees for mercy she did cry,
Oh Willy dear don't kill me here, I'm unprepared to die,
She never spoke another word, I only beat her more,
Until the ground around me within her blood did flow.

I took her by her golden curls and I drug her round and around,
Throwing her into the river that flows through Knoxville town,
Go down, go down, you Knoxville girl with the dark and rolling eyes,
Go down, go down, you Knoxville girl, you can never be my bride.

There's no word in the song as to why Willy killed his lover, but it's my guess that she was a Unitarian as well.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:57 PM on February 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hope he lives a long long time now that he has a life sentence.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 10:59 PM on February 9, 2009


the fact that 'respectable' (but honestly: barnes and nobel's front table-worthy) conservatives can routinely get away with death-sentence talk about moderate liberals should remind us all why we must keep fighting. Sanity is in the margins. obama is a tenuous flag propped shittily atop the mountain of american thought. let's foght for old glory, yeah?
posted by es_de_bah at 11:56 PM on February 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


i'll foght any one of you damn liberals!
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 12:28 AM on February 10, 2009


dear voltairemodern & optimus chyme:

Listen, I didn't want to derail from the OP...but since Optimus himself is the engineer of this train, who am I to say "wrong station".

So yeah. "NO". I am NOT for prison rape. I am not for any kind of prison violence. I am not for prison murder. If I was given a choice in choosing if it should be allowed in the prisons, I would say "nope". But I don't have a choice. Its a fact.

Rape, violence, murder CAN be a part of prison life. When you take hardened criminals and put them in cramped conditions, what do you think will happen? Are you against kittens clawing each other when you put them in a pillowcase? If you are, you shouldn't put them in a pillowcase.

So if you don't want Adkisson, or any other convict to be raped you have 2 choices:

1. Reform our system right quick. REALLY QUICK.
2. Don't put them in the care of our penal system.

And yeah, sure we can talk about how the death penalty is legally sanctioned and not cruel and unusual, but do you REALLY believe that the judge and juries involved in criminal trials do not know that the fate of child molesters and dudes like Adkisson will NOT be subject to the worst types of violence (including rape)? Really? REALLY?

Naive or ignorant, which are you?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:42 AM on February 10, 2009


btw, voltairemodern 2 things:

1. When paraphrasing what I said in one sentence, don't use quotes that make it look verbatim. I never said "It doesn't matter what you do to someone, if they're guilty"?

2. And if you simply believe that it is morally right to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, there is just no question about this sort of punishment. It is morally wrong.

This is not a matter of opinion. Every real moral theory agrees on this score.


Well I'm not as well versed in philosophy and claiming to have the high moral ground, but if we are talking about the golden rule, then isn't your philosophy kinda saying that Adkisson deserves to be shot up with a sawed-off shotgun and not put in prison?

Logically you're not correct, but at least you have the high moral ground here. Good job.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:57 AM on February 10, 2009


Stay classy, Republicans.
posted by bardic at 1:06 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I, for one, applaud this new generation of mass murderers for their "symbolic killing". For too long killing has been a base response - a simple animal urge for dominance, power, avoidance of guilt, avoidance of shame, avoidance of fear, love of money, love of self, love of nation, or love of God. Like competent terrorists everywhere, these new killers do it to resonate on some higher semantic plane. They've got a message. They're telling a story when they kill. And it's all the more impressive that they can pull this off while being totally and completely insane.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:24 AM on February 10, 2009


allen.spaulding wins!
posted by jeffburdges at 1:34 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]




I'd say we can forget them, because they haven't been active for 28 years.

Wow. Could you possibly miss a point by a bigger margin?
posted by Hovercraft Eel at 5:29 AM on February 10, 2009


Ok, he's no more representative of conservatives than the thugs who killed Matthew Shepherd.

Matthew Shepard. As somebody that (almost) shares his name, it pisses me off no end that this poor victim of a horrible crime is going to get trotted out for the rest of Eternity as a poster boy for what's wrong with the world by people that can't bother to spell his damn name right.
posted by Shepherd at 5:43 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


[all this while agreeing with everything allen.spaudling says above, incidentally.]
posted by Shepherd at 5:45 AM on February 10, 2009


"Well I'm not as well versed in philosophy and claiming to have the high moral ground, but if we are talking about the golden rule, then isn't your philosophy kinda saying that Adkisson deserves to be shot up with a sawed-off shotgun and not put in prison?"

hal_c_on, the Golden Rule, ur doin it wrong.
posted by HopperFan at 6:25 AM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think everyone agrees this is tragic. In addition, I think everyone can agree that the church's response is heartening. I find it... well, not shocking actually... that a church almost universally attacked as "fake" by Christians is the one that embodies the spirit of Christ's teachings when it's actually hard.

Regarding the 'Liberals are like THIS, and conservatives are like THAT!' stuff, I don't think anyone is arguing that there aren't violent, unhinged people at the extremes of any ideology. The disturbing and unsettling part is that the actual public voices of the conservative movement -- the folks who are listened to by millions of radio listeners, the people who members of our government apologize to when they are not sufficiently deferential -- casually demonize liberals as traitors, evildoers, deserving of exile and even death.

This man is certainly responsible for his own actions; if the conservative movement had never started down the path of demonization and othering, chances are he would have grabbed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or Timecube, or something sufficiently crazy that gave him an "answer" to explain why evil people had wronged him.

I wonder, though, whether it will give any "movement conservatives" pause before they next deploy their rhetoric, before they accuse innocent people of treason on national television, before they tell their millions of followers that all that is wrong with the world can be blamed on the evil and/or mindless liberals. I wonder if they will pause, realizing that there are people out there who will take their message seriously.
posted by verb at 6:40 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's not Bernard Golberg's "fault" that this jackass did what he did


One of my best friends is on his list. Fuck him. If you make a list and sell it as "here are the people ruining everything, here are the top traitors, here are enemies of America," I think you *do* bear a little responsibility if some nut decides to do something. If this guy had actually shot people on Goldberg's list, would Bernie's hands still be as clean?
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:20 AM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Goldberg's list of 100 people who are screwing up America ranks Howard Dean (#20) four slots higher than a man who killed abortion doctors (James Kopp, #24). It's a stretch to say he caused the shooting at the Unitarian church, but he certainly has a major lack of perspective when it comes to right-wing violence.
posted by jonp72 at 7:39 AM on February 10, 2009


Maybe he can hang out with this guy and do some kind of psycho convict McLaughlin pundit show. Of course the fact that neither of them makes much sense would kind of be a handicap.
posted by jonmc at 8:05 AM on February 10, 2009


Naw, see, if one of them made sense that would be a handicap. If neither of them makes sense, then it's a fair debate. The only thing that persuades this kind of crazy is bigger crazy.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:14 AM on February 10, 2009


Don't worry conservatives! It didn't turn out to be this guy, but you'll get the Gavrilo Princep you so desperately want some day!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:21 AM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


If you really think taking Rush Limbaugh or whoever off the air would have kept this choad from shooting up a church, well, I dunno. The vast majority of people who fill their heads with talk radio all day long do not shoot up churches. Or shoot up anybody. Crazy knows no ideology. If it wasn't this jagoff Goldberg and his stupid fucking list, it might have been anything -- because the main thing here is, the shooter is a nutcase. He wasn't inspired by Goldberg; Goldberg inadvertently gave him the only thing he didn't have to begin with, which was a target. But the target could have been anything.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:19 AM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


empress callipygos hit this one on the head.
posted by barrett caulk at 10:46 AM on February 10, 2009


oops . . . not finished. this isn't about ideology. this is about mental illness. when this guy snapped, he would have targeted a pentecostal church, synagogue, or buddhist temple, depending which he associated with his ex-wife.
posted by barrett caulk at 10:51 AM on February 10, 2009


this isn't about ideology. this is about mental illness. when this guy snapped, he would have targeted a pentecostal church, synagogue, or buddhist temple, depending which he associated with his ex-wife.

I'll take the view of church member John Bohstedt, one of those brave enough to tackle him when he was on his murderous rampage, and therefore much closer to assess his state of mind at the time than you or I are in this respect:
John Bohstedt, one of the church members who tackled Adkisson, said he didn't believe Adkisson was insane, but was manipulated by rhetoric aimed at liberals.

"Unbalanced, yes. Bitter, yes. Evil, yes. Insane, not in our ordinary use of the word," Bohstedt said.

"There are a lot of people who hate liberals, and if we stir that around in the pot and on the airwaves, eventually there will be people (like Adkisson) ... who get infected by the violent rhetoric and put it into violent action," he said.

Bohstedt said he was worried about future violence: "Do you think there are other Jim Adkissons out there listening to hate speech? I do."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:43 AM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'll take the view of church member John Bohstedt, one of those brave enough to tackle him when he was on his murderous rampage, and therefore much closer to assess his state of mind at the time than you or I are in this respect...

I mean ABSOLUTELY no disrespect towards Bohstedt, who clearly went through a traumatic experience and is to be commended. But -- it is precisely BECAUSE he has gone through such a traumatic experience that I actually disagree that he IS able to assess Adkisson's state of mind. What Bohstedt went through gives him an unconscious bias as a result.

This is neither good nor bad, mind. It just means that if you want an impartial opinion as to whether or not someone is crazy, or why that person is crazy, you should NOT be asking the opinion of one of that person's victims, because that person is not going to be impartial.

Hell, I could also be wrong about whether or not Akdisson is crazy, or what he's really being driven by. I don't know that I am right, but I am pretty sure that someone who was one of the victims isn't as impartial a judge of character.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:53 AM on February 10, 2009


if we are talking about the golden rule, then isn't your philosophy kinda saying that Adkisson deserves to be shot up with a sawed-off shotgun and not put in prison?

The Golden Rule doesn't say 'Do unto others as others do unto others', it says 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'

Ergo, if you'd expect to be treated with dignity and respect, and a modicum of protection for your physical safety while you're in prison, then logically and morally, you can't reasonably deny those protections to anybody else.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:56 AM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Do unto others as others do unto others
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:18 PM on February 10, 2009


I think Hal_c_on meant the rule that goes "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth". I dunno what color that rule is; is Exodus-ian a colour?
posted by nomisxid at 2:43 PM on February 10, 2009


nomisxid...yeah...i got confused between the golden rule and hammurabi.

but yeah...we can't apply the golden rule to people who break the law. i mean i don't want to be put in jail...does that mean i can't condone puttomg someone in jail for shooting up a church?
posted by hal_c_on at 3:10 PM on February 10, 2009


I don't understand the reluctance to take the man at his word. He was pretty clear as to what his motives were. He took the time to write them down in what he assumed was to be his last statement to the world. He said he wanted to kill Democrats and liberals because of what he read in conservative books.

Maybe it's true that if it wasn't the conservative hatemongers calling liberals "traitors" it would have been something else that sent him over the edge. But that is a hypothetical. The fact is that there were a bunch of hatemongers whispering in his ear, and he did in fact state very clearly that he killed those people because he thought they were liberals, and that he would have killed more liberals if he had the opportunity. This is what he said, in his own words. This is what a guy who was there, who lives in the community with him, who knows him, who subdued him after he committed the crime. I'll take their words for it over somebody Bill Fristing over the internet. This was political violence.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:13 PM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


My problem with the Golden Rule as stated is that it's too activist. "Of course if I weren't a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses I'd want them to visit me ten times per week and try to sell me WatchTower!"

I prefer the way the Greeks formulated it a couple of hundred years before Jesus was born: Don't do to others anything you wouldn't want others to do to you.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:16 PM on February 10, 2009


"but yeah...we can't apply the golden rule to people who break the law. i mean i don't want to be put in jail...does that mean i can't condone puttomg someone in jail for shooting up a church?"

hal_c_on, you're still missing the point. If you did something wrong, according to your value system, and the average value system of your society, you'd expect to be punished, right? And you'd want to be punished fairly?
posted by HopperFan at 4:01 PM on February 10, 2009


Even if the United States were a worse nation, a nation that legally condoned the use of cruel and unusual methods of punishment

ummm...
posted by Hoopo at 6:17 PM on February 10, 2009


Regarding the 'Liberals are like THIS, and conservatives are like THAT!' stuff, I don't think anyone is arguing that there aren't violent, unhinged people at the extremes of any ideology

Can I be the guy that argues that? Last time I checked liberalism was about liberty. The freedom to act and believe. When you start shooting people and/or blowing things up you disagree with, you're kinda not a liberal anymore.

..wait. Is this yesterday's thread? Am in here all by myself? Figures.
posted by Hoopo at 6:45 PM on February 10, 2009


Yeah, I hope someone is returning to this thread at some point, because I'm late and I wanna talk about it, dagnabbit!

This terrorist didn't just want to commit violence, he expected and intended to die while doing so. He expected and intended to become a martyr for the cause of killing evil liberalz and encouraged others to kill in his name and the name of Amurka!

Is that too obvious to bring up? Because I think it's a very important point here.
posted by soundacious at 12:48 PM on February 11, 2009


Maybe it's true that if it wasn't the conservative hatemongers calling liberals "traitors" it would have been something else that sent him over the edge. But that is a hypothetical.

....but something else did send him over the edge -- his wife leaving him. Which is exactly why I think his stated motives are suspect. I was imagining this train of thought:

"what the hell, why did she up and leave me? She never had a problem with me before...at least, I don't THINK she did...that's silly, why WOULD she have had a problem with me? She never minded any of the stuff I did before....did she? Nah, she couldn't have...but she has looked a little shifty ever since she started going to that church...them filling her head with all kinds of crazy feminist ideas...yeah, see, THATS' the problem, them feminists get these women all fired up with crazy ideas about stuff and end up turning them against us men when we didn't do anything wrong...dammit, they turned her against me!"

I was saying that something certainly did send him over the edge, but it was something other than what he said it was.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:51 PM on February 11, 2009


he expected and intended to die while doing so. He expected and intended to become a martyr for the cause

So you're saying.... he wants to die, so life in prison would be cruel and unusual punishment so we have to kill him? Can't argue with that.
posted by msalt at 1:54 PM on February 11, 2009


I was imagining this train of thought:

There's no need to imagine anything. He spelled out his train of thought very clearly. He is a terrorist who committed political violence against his fellow Americans because he thought they were traitors. The reason he thought they were traitors is because there is an entire industry in this country dedicated to calling liberals traitors.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:32 PM on February 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


He wasn't inspired by Goldberg

How can you say that with a straight face?

"This was a symbolic killing," Adkisson wrote. "Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate and House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book..."

You might say he wasn't directly inspired to kill by Goldberg, but c'mon.

I prefer the way the Greeks formulated it a couple of hundred years before Jesus was born: Don't do to others anything you wouldn't want others to do to you.

My Jewish friends like that one too. I prefer my own: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, if you were them." It requires some mental flexibility, however, to empathize with people whom you don't know and/or like.

Mr. Goldberg's forums return no results for "Adkisson" or "Tenneesee Valley Church."

They do now.

posted by mrgrimm at 5:13 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


msalt, that wasn't even remotely what I was saying. I meant that the martyrdom implications hadn't really been addressed in this discussion. But thanks for making me look like an asshole.
posted by soundacious at 7:57 AM on February 12, 2009


There's no need to imagine anything. He spelled out his train of thought very clearly. He is a terrorist who committed political violence against his fellow Americans because he thought they were traitors. The reason he thought they were traitors is because there is an entire industry in this country dedicated to calling liberals traitors.

But he had previously been attending that very church with his ex wife, back when she was still his wife. Then she left him. He was flailing about for an explanation as to why she'd do something like that. This is what he chose to believe was that explanation, and he took it and ran with it into another arena.

MY point is, whether or not there's an "industry dedicated to calling liberals traitors," the thing that actually MAKES someone leap from believing this industry to doing something like shoot up a church is usually something deeper; if he hadn't recently suffered some other kind of unfortunate turn of events, he may have just listened to talk radio or whatever, shook his head over how crazy them damn liberals were, and gone about his business.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:36 AM on February 12, 2009


They do now.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:13 PM on February 11


wooted irl
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:35 PM on February 12, 2009


msalt, that wasn't even remotely what I was saying.

Sorry, wasn't trying to do anything, just work out where you were headed with it. Perhaps you would agree with the complete opposite view, which I tend towards:

that, even if one supports the death penalty, would-be martyrs are best punished and deterred by keeping them in jail for life without parole. Ditto people who want the police to suicide them by pulling a gun on cops.
posted by msalt at 4:43 PM on February 12, 2009


Hey I just remembered this thread. Well, well, well.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:25 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Following Adkisson’s sentencing, [Unitarian Universalist Association President] Sinkford said, “It is a blessing that our congregations will not have to endure the agony of a long public trial.” He added, “Now it is the task of our congregations, and of religious people in general, to work toward healing, and to find a religious voice that can help bring such violence to an end.”
--UU magazine reports on Adkisson's sentencing.
posted by lunit at 7:28 AM on February 23, 2009


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