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McGinnis: To the extreme
Politically charged individuals take matters into own hands
Many times I have laughingly described these days as the Last Stand of the Old White Men.
Frustrated by the growing number of women and minorities in upper management, elected office and other positions of authority, some members of world’s longest ruling class seem troubled.
With an African-American in the running for President of the United States they must feel the very earth beneath them shaking. Change is coming that the good ol’ boys club cannot stop with a back slap and a secret handshake.
They sense that old school social entitlement slipping.
There isn’t a newsroom in the country where reporters and editors haven’t speculated about whether an assassination attempt on Barak Obama is and “if” or “when” situation. There’s already been an arrest of a Georgia man who openly offered to hit Obama.
While threats against a presidential candidate are not rare, the idea that someone would literally take the liberal cause as a target jarred the nation three weeks ago.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning when 58-year-old old Jim Adkisson walked into services at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., and pulled a shotgun from a guitar case. Firing at random, Linda Kraeger and Greg McKendry were killed and six more people were injured; McKendry died shielding other church members.
Adkisson later told investigators he targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and “his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country.” An acquaintance told reporters he “hated blacks and gays and anybody who was different from him.”
The Unitarian-Universalist Church advocates women’s rights and gay rights, feeds the homeless and has provided sanctuary for political refugees.
We can’t be so sure what exactly was on Timothy Dale Johnson’s mind last week when he walked into Arkansas Democratic Party headquarters and killed chairman Bill Gwatney.
Johnson, 50, had just been fired from his job at a Conway, Ark. Target for writing obscenity-laced graffiti on the stockroom wall. The scribbling was so offensive management immediately painted over it but bloggers say it was at the least anti-woman.
Investigators are still sorting out the details but they believe Johnson drove 30 miles to Little Rock and walked into the ADP office, claiming he wanted to volunteer.
After a brief, calm exchange with Gwatney, he shot and killed him. Johnson then sped seven blocks away, stopped and waved his gun at the business manager of the Arkansas State Baptist Convention offices saying “I lost my job.”
He again drove away and led police on high speed chase before he stopped and shot at officers; they returned fire and Johnson was killed.
Somebody finally pried Timothy Johnson’s gun out of his cold dead fingers.
No one would attempt to gauge social change based on the acts of two obviously mentally ill individuals. But even middle-of-the-road progressives hear increasingly surly wise cracks from neo-cons. From talk radio to the barber shop, rhetoric is getting hateful. Arch conservatives are predicting everything right up to and including race wars if Democrats take the White House this fall.
It goes back to something I heard a liberal activist say.
“Why is it, there’s always some guy willing to kill John Kennedy or Martin Luther King, but no matter how much liberals despise somebody like Richard Nixon or George Bush, it would never occur to them to pick up a gun.”