Well, one of us who clearly had a few mental problems — and I’m not talking about James Lee’s manifestoed belief that the world is overpopulated by “filthy” humans. That part’s true, as is the part about war being incredibly damaging.
But just because you’re right about some things doesn’t mean you’re right about everything. Lee’s chosen methods to get his point across … more than that, really. The delusional Lee wasn’t really trying to his point across to the Discovery Channel. He wanted the Discovery Channel to get his point across to everybody else for him. Bottom line, James Lee wasn’t interested in dialog or debate. He wanted absolute change.
And that is Difference No. 1 between Lee and, say, Richard Poplawski, the Pittsburgh nutcase who holed himself up in the house he shared with his mother and killed three cops. Poplawski wasn’t looking for change. He believed Barack Obama was coming for his guns because Glenn beck told him so. Poplawski wanted things to stay the same.
It’s truly disheartening when One of Us adopts the tactics of the conservatives, who generally have no internal prohibitions on using violence, physical or verbal, when they don’t get their way. We’re supposed to be better than that, aren’t we?
But alas, leftists have a history of violent outbursts too, although, as noted above, it’s generally employed in the service of change to an unbearable system. Sometimes it works for the better (the American revolution) and sometimes it doesn’t (the Bolshevik revolution in Russia).
Still … why would a guy who holds a lot of the same ideals we hold arm himself to the teeth and barge into Discovery Communications? Frustration, maybe. We filthy humans appear to have no clue what we’re doing to the planet with our pollution and unsustainable population growth. The latter, in fact, is the elephant in the room that nobody, and I do mean nobody, wants to talk about. “Be fruitful and multiply” made sense back when earth’s entire human population was maybe about 4 million widely-spread people. Now? Not so much.
Frustration, though — that shouldn’t spark violence.Iif it should, there’d be even more violence in the world than there already is.
Some of my esteemed colleagues, particularly those with progressive tendencies, are pointing to some apparently anti-immigrant lines in Lee’s screed — filthy anchor babies, etc. — in an attempt to portray him as a right-winger. But what he writes in that section reads more like an add-on — he heard this stuff on the television in the background of his delusions and thought it fit with his general “humans stop breeding” campaign, so he added it.
He wasn’t a right-winger though. They don’t come in an atheist, Darwin-loving variety, although, frankly the Darwin-loving part is a little skewed. He seems to be more interested in returning to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle pre-dating the invention of farming, and I can’t quite figure if he wants us to shrink the population or eliminate it. It was certainly more sustainable then. But he is quite right about modern life messing up Darwin’s theories a bit. Natural selection has become very unnatural selection — ain’t nothin natural about having more money than god or the ability to build and deploy the nastiest weapons.But neither is wrapping yourself in bombs and bringing guns into a television network, although now we approach Difference No. 2 between our man Lee and, say, Jim David Adkisson, who charged into a Tennessee church during a children’s performance and started shooting, killing 2. In fact, Lee wouldn’t have done any damage even if he had stormed in with guns a-blazin. He was carrying a pair of starter pistols.
Adkisson, like Lee, left a manifesto — and the latest books by Fox personalities Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly — although his manifesto was handwritten and not posted on the interwebz. In it, he complained that liberalism was America’s worst problem and that liberals are “a bunch of traitors.” Oh, and liberals are evil too. That’s why he picked a Unitarian Universalist church for his attack and clearly declared it to be “a hate crime,” “a political protest” and “a symbolic killing.”
Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them. Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of them is kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather.
Adkisson fully expected to be killed by a police officer, but instead the evil liberals wrestled him to the floor, holding him there until the police arrived.
James Lee didn’t go in shooting. He did go in wired with explosives. The cops are not yet sure how much damage his homemade bombs would have done, but apparently they were not very powerful. They almost certainly would have killed him, but the hostages were likely safe unless they were very close to him. Very close.
And here we are, at Difference No. 3 between James Lee and say, Timothy McVeigh, who meticulously planned and carried out the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Cuilding in Oklahoma city, which killed 168 people, some of them children at the building’s day care center.
Despite his anti-human rant (“The planet does not need humans”), James Lee didn’t kill a soul, and likely never even planned to harm a single living human, with the probable exception of himself.
McVeigh’s body count was much higher than Lee’s, which was zero. In fact, McVeigh’s was the worst act of terrorism on American soil until September 11, 2001. And while some on the right have hailed him as a hero, he was the last American my colleagues have easily called a terrorist. “Home grown” terrorist no longer means people like McVeigh, Poplawski, Adkisson or Eric Robert Rudolph — now it just means American Muslims, because “terrorist” only applies to Muslims.
I have a funny feeling they may change their tune a bit about Lee. He wasn’t white, you know.
Lee was, clearly, a sick puppy, like, say white supremacist James von Brunn, who believed a Jewish conspiracy was afoot to “destroy the white gene pool.” To keep that from happening, von Brunn spent months planning an assault on the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. He walked into the museum in June 2009 firing a .22-caliber rifle and killed the security guard who opened the door for him.
But James Lee, he wanted a fundamental change in the way we live. His delusion led him to believe the Discovery Channel was the perfect outlet to get his message out. He spent years trying to get the network to change its message, to warn the world’s people that they are the root of the world’s problems. Finally, when Discovery wouldn’t listen, he armed himself and marched into the network’s headquarters to force the network to do his bidding. He didn’t go in shooting — in fact, his guns weren’t even real. His bombs were, of course, and regardless of his beliefs and intentions or lack thereof, his actions were wrong.
Some on the right have unbelievably tried to pin Lee’s assault on Al Gore, apparently the only environmentalist they know by name. But Al Gore has never advocated anything remotely similar to what Lee did. The same can’t be said for the right-wingers who fed lies and other bullshit ideas to von Brunn, McVeigh, Adkisson and Poplawski.
If Lee had only actually been a right-winger. Then we wouldn’t have to fret for one little moment about what happened, why and how. We’d just chalk it up to Second amendment remedies and go on with our lives.
On the other hand, we all really ought to be better than that.