Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Killed
August 13, 2008 2:59 PM   Subscribe

Bill Gwatney, Chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, has been killed by an unknown gunman, who himself later died in a shootout with police.

Arkansas House Majority Leader Steve Harrison is updating his blog with information as it comes in.
posted by 235w103 (57 comments total)
 
Although I realize that this is a bit breaking-newsfilter, I believe that both Steve Harrelson's blog (Harrelson, not Harrison) and the Arkansas Times blog will be updating as news comes in.
posted by 235w103 at 3:01 PM on August 13, 2008


RIP, Bill. I hope your family gets some answers, especially to the most important question: why.
posted by middleclasstool at 3:05 PM on August 13, 2008


One of the reports says the shooter was thought to be an employee of one of Gwatney's car dealerships, so it looks like the motive could be personal rather than political.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 3:05 PM on August 13, 2008


Barbaric and senseless. RIP.

I will be all kinds of depressed to read that this was the result of ugly partisan politics sending the killer off into no-man's land.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:08 PM on August 13, 2008


Terrible news. Kraftmatic, I have to admit that my first thought was that this was something akin to the guy who was out to "kill liberals."
posted by punkbitch at 3:09 PM on August 13, 2008


Yes, well, the good news is that people commit murder for a huge variety of reasons, many of which are non-partisan.

The bad news is that people commit murder.

.
posted by GuyZero at 3:12 PM on August 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have to admit that my first thought was that this was something akin to the guy who was out to "kill liberals."

well, you can't be blamed for hoping.
posted by quonsar at 3:12 PM on August 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


from the shootout link [updated]:

"The Little Rock police said...that the shooter, whom they did not identify, was NOT a Gwatney employee and, so far as they knew, never had been."

Motives aside, this is a tragedy.
posted by punkbitch at 3:19 PM on August 13, 2008


indeed. tragedy # 7,653 of the day. but it's only 6:20 pm on the east coast. maybe there will be a real political killing yet.
posted by quonsar at 3:21 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


We read the news. You've done no better. This is a bad post, and you are a bad person for having posted it.
posted by xmutex at 3:21 PM on August 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Man Allegedly Killed Over $3 Debt
posted by quonsar at 3:25 PM on August 13, 2008


Someone has already accused Michelle Malkin of being responsible.
posted by Class Goat at 3:26 PM on August 13, 2008


Man Allegedly Killed Over $3 Debt

Dude, it wasn't about the three dollars. It was about respeck.
posted by billysumday at 3:26 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]




jesus. i concede. people die. somebody stick up some fun flash game we can all play instead.
posted by punkbitch at 3:28 PM on August 13, 2008


quonsar, please tell me you're naked in a bathful of chicken grease as you type.
posted by boo_radley at 3:29 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]




Some International Rescue Committee workers were killed today too. Some guy botched the neutering of his dog, "Pooper." What is meta, and what isn't?

poor pooper
posted by punkbitch at 3:38 PM on August 13, 2008


Man killed in bathful of chicken grease while typing.

That is one well written article.
posted by mazola at 3:46 PM on August 13, 2008


We read the news. You've done no better.

Well, I actually posted this because I hadn't really seen it anywhere else; in addition, I was interested in how the local blogs were reporting things much faster than other sources.
As to whether or not this is a "tragedy" or interesting whatsoever, I find it somewhat alarming whenever people enter office buildings and shoot politicians. Sorry that other people died elsewhere today- perhaps someone could compile an FPP?
posted by 235w103 at 3:46 PM on August 13, 2008


Well, I actually posted this because I hadn't really seen it anywhere else

Do you not traffic any mainstream media, at all, ever?
posted by xmutex at 3:50 PM on August 13, 2008


what crap responses to this....
posted by HuronBob at 3:52 PM on August 13, 2008 [8 favorites]


mazola, you're right!

"After decades of legendry guitarist Jimi Hendrix's death..."
posted by punkbitch at 3:54 PM on August 13, 2008


If people have issue with the FPP start a MeTa thread. If you have comments about the event post here. Sheesh, we have a built in whinge platform, use it already.
posted by edgeways at 3:56 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Little Rock police said, however, at an afternoon news conference that the shooter, whom they did not identify, was NOT a Gwatney employee and, so far as they knew, never had been, contrary to some early reports mentioned here earlier in the day.

I just want to add - after noting that the gunman also stopped off at the state Baptist Convention offices after the shooting, possibly threatening them as well - that I really like the way that Arkansas Times blog uses strike-throughs to make corrections so that you can read both the original statement and the corrected version.
posted by mediareport at 3:58 PM on August 13, 2008


quonsar. "he was a sweet guy, to an extent..."
and though he's been dying for decades, "it's been several years since the guitarist died, but the exact causes of his death are is still unknown."

it might be the greatest piece of journalism of all time.
posted by punkbitch at 4:08 PM on August 13, 2008


i swear that i only now, for the very first time in my metafilter experience read:

note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.
posted by punkbitch at 4:09 PM on August 13, 2008


note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.
posted by punkbitch


Quonsar, are you this much of a dick in real life, or do you tone it down for the internet?

Quite a sad story, but it certainly wouldn't be news, or even posted, but for the election year. That's the bad news, that murder is so mundane that only personality makes it newsworthy.
posted by Eekacat at 4:30 PM on August 13, 2008


.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:35 PM on August 13, 2008


The best part of that article is the Lemmy angle.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:41 PM on August 13, 2008


..hadn't really seen it anywhere else...

No CNN or anything? Not even a feed reader? Google news? Nothing? If he wasn't the party chair in an election year it would be a tiny blip. It's unfortunate but true.
posted by fixedgear at 4:43 PM on August 13, 2008


I was wondering what I could do to add more meat to this post, as well as explain my reasons for posting- my first thought was whether we were at a point in American political history where the politically-motivated murder of state-level politicians could become commonplace. The only other similar event I could think of was Harvey Milk (with the political motivation of that killing up for debate), and while looking into his death on wikipedia, I came across this list, which I find somewhat interesting. The takeaway here being that these sort of killings are not new, and are usually motivated less by politics than by a sense of being personally affronted by the individual.
posted by 235w103 at 4:48 PM on August 13, 2008




[quonsar, please take the night off. Other folks, there's metatalk if you have particular issues with this thread.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:55 PM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Weird how slow the mainstream media is on this.... Nothing yet. A day late etc.
posted by vurnt22 at 5:06 PM on August 13, 2008


"When the secretary tried to put [the soon-to-be shooter] off, by offering him bumper stickers, he walked past her into the office."

I just found this particular tidbit in the story interesting. I was going to make a joke about it, but I felt bad enough about the way this thread somehow turned.

At any rate, it's certainly a shame, and I'm surprised I hadn't heard of it yet.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 5:11 PM on August 13, 2008


No, it's on CNN. That's still MSM, right? It was breaking news this afternoon when it happened.
posted by fixedgear at 5:12 PM on August 13, 2008


I got a feeling that a certain Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, TN might have a lot in common with this poor guy and his family.
posted by localroger at 5:21 PM on August 13, 2008


localroger,
Care to elaborate?
posted by lukemeister at 6:13 PM on August 13, 2008


Church tragedy
posted by fixedgear at 6:18 PM on August 13, 2008


I smell a job opening about to be posted!
posted by a3matrix at 7:06 PM on August 13, 2008


Quonsar Allegedly Pissy Over $5 Membership Fee
posted by joe lisboa at 7:34 PM on August 13, 2008


IOW: Other terrible shit happened today, so please ignore this post AND/OR whatever happens to irrationally set quonsar off his meds. Seriously, dude. You used to be such a maverick.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:35 PM on August 13, 2008


A man with a gun confronted an employee in the Arkansas Baptist State Convention office building a few blocks east of Democratic headquarters around noon and said he'd lost his job.

Wow. Apparently, he blamed the Democrats.

If that was indeed the motive, this is the first death I've heard of that I'd be inclined to chalk up to talk radio.
posted by Malor at 7:43 PM on August 13, 2008


Quonsar Allegedly Pissy Over $5 Membership Fee

Bah. quonsar cares not for fees. quonsar is older than fees. quonsar has always been, and always will be.
posted by homunculus at 8:58 PM on August 13, 2008


If that was indeed the motive, this is the first death I've heard of that I'd be inclined to chalk up to talk radio.

Oh, now where would you get such a stupid and baseless idea that right-wingers would actually encourage killing people just because they disagree with their political views?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:10 PM on August 13, 2008


^ cf. this list of notable Regnery Press books
posted by yort at 9:35 PM on August 13, 2008


If that was indeed the motive, this is the first death I've heard of that I'd be inclined to chalk up to talk radio.

You may be interested in a film titled, oddly enough, Talk Radio.

quonsar has always been, and always will be.

Bah. He's only one of the 900s.
posted by dhartung at 10:03 PM on August 13, 2008


It looks like another example of a "lone nutcase".

New info:
A man recently fired from a Target store barged into the Arkansas Democratic headquarters Wednesday and fatally shot the state party chairman before speeding off in his pickup. Police later shot and killed the suspect after a 30-mile chase.

Police identified the suspect as 50-year-old Timothy Dale Johnson of Searcy, a town about 50 miles northeast of Little Rock. They said that moments after the shooting, Johnson pointed a handgun at a worker at the nearby Arkansas Baptist headquarters. An official there said he told the worker, "I lost my job."
posted by Class Goat at 10:17 PM on August 13, 2008


If that was indeed the motive, this is the first death I've heard of that I'd be inclined to chalk up to talk radio.

Liberal talk radio host Alan Berg was assassinated in 1984.
posted by longsleeves at 11:47 PM on August 13, 2008


Apparently he'd been fired from his job at target after writing some graffiti. This article claims to know what he wrote: "This hall is too *** **** narrow" and "Target is run by dumb jocks and sorority *******."

Maybe "***" is his tag?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:28 AM on August 14, 2008


Someone has already accused Michelle Malkin of being responsible.

She's the real victim in all this.
posted by homunculus at 10:23 AM on August 14, 2008


No no no no no:

Quonsar is the real victim here: his faux contrarian shell can only take so many reality-hits after all.
Oh wait, this thread is dead? So he's not posting anymore? I stand not-corrected. Carry on.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:05 PM on August 14, 2008


Think globally, act locally . . ?
posted by geekyguy at 10:34 PM on August 14, 2008




Maybe "***" is his tag?

Doesn't that mean "asshole asshole asshole"?
posted by mr_roboto at 3:19 PM on August 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


And Westboro Baptist showed up at the funeral. I'm sure all the folks in Hillcrest were happy to see them tromping around their yards.

You stay classy.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:22 AM on August 19, 2008


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