Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh with an assist from three others. That bombing was carried out in part as retaliation by McVeigh for a percieved slight at Ruby Ridge in 1992. That bombing is an example of the material outcome of hate speech of the kind we are seeing increasingly today by Republicans, Teabaggers and the like. One hundred and sixty eight people were killed by McVeigh and his right-wing conspirators, including 19 little children (there was a day care center at the facility).
On this day, it is important to remember that acts of aggression are not all acts of violence, but acts of violence are often preceded by acts of aggression. It is possible that those spreading hate speech in the United States today are protected in doing so by the Constitution. But they are not ‘protected’ from severe criticism and social ostracization. They are also not protected from our efforts to teach and engage in reasonable dialog.
Some related blogging:
A man from Rogers, Minnesota…a small town in the Sixth Congressional District represented by Michele Bachmann…went through the trouble of strapping on his Glock .40 caliber handgun and dropping his Kel Tec 380 in his pocket before visiting the site of President Obama’s talk last Saturday in Minneapolis. His name is Josh Hendrickson and both handguns were loaded.
…The phone message from John’s father simply implied that something really bad had happened. So I tried to contact him but was only able to leave a message. Eventually, I got an email back that gave me nothing more than a cypher. According to the cypher, if I followed a certain procedure, all would become clear, and once that happened, would I please write a letter of support….
…a gentleman who at that time frequented the Black Forest and still frequents the neighborhood pulled a .357 magnum pistol out of his pistol-hiding place and put one bullet into the forehead of one of the ladies and another bullet into another lady’s chest. Bam. Bam. He double tapped the Avedon.
It’s time for another one of those posts in which I take an argument that’s been getting repetitive (very repetitive) and put the whole thing in one place in the hopes of moving forward instead of arguing in parallel.