Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Cop Killers, Ideology, and Blame

Written by  Ralph R. Reiland

pittsburg shootingSix days before Richard Poplawski, 22, was arrested on April 4 after a shootout in Pittsburgh that left three police officers dead, he posted this message on the Infowars website: “For being such huge players in the endgame, too many ‘infowarriors’ are surprisingly unfamiliar with the Zionists.” Among others, Poplawski blamed Jews and government for America's travails, and he took it upon himself to try to destroy those he vilified. But as Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” Poplawski tread the dark path by narrow-mindedly despising, hating, and accusing those different from himself, nurturing a poisonous ill will until it led to irrationality.

Poplawski was saying that "infowarriors" were giving short shrift to what he saw as the destructive role that Jews were playing in the current economic crisis in the United States. “Poplawski believed that the federal government, the media, and the banking system were all largely or completely controlled by Jews,” reports the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization founded in 1913 to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people.”

Further, reports ADL, Poplawski “believed that a conspiracy led by ‘evil Zionists’ and ‘greedy traitorous  goyim’ was ‘ramping up’ a police state in the United States for malign purposes.”

It was that “police state,” Poplawski believed, that would inevitably come and try to confiscate his AK-47, a gun he described in his Web postings as an ideal weapon. His “AK,” he wrote, was “nice because it doesn’t have to fall from the sky — it’s in a case within arm’s reach.”

It was websites like the “neo-Nazi Stormfront forums and the anti-government conspiracy Infowars site,” charges ADL, that “fueled Poplawski’s racist, anti-Semitic and conspiratorial mindset.”

On April 4, “just hours before the fatal shootout would begin,” reports ADL, Poplawski’s account shows that he was logged on at Stormfront, described by ADL as “the world’s largest white supremacist on-line discussion group.”

In a 2007 posting on Stormfront, Poplawski wrote, “Negroes especially have disgusting facial features. The fat nosed flaring nostrils look putrid. Nappy hair makes me want to gag.” Last month, Poplawski posted a Stormfront message warning that the collapse of the “economic and social order” of America was unavoidable, a direct result of the “moral decadence” of the nation’s Jewish overlords, a collapse of an entire system that was “poisoned by design.”

Poplawski wasn’t breaking new ground. Ira Stoll, author of Samuel Adams: A Life, in a recent Wall Street Journal article (“Anti-Semitism and the Economic Crisis,” April 6) quotes Benzion Netanyahu, the father of Israel’s new prime minister: “It is an iron-clad rule in the history of group relations:  the majority’s toleration of every minority lessens with the worsening of the majority’s condition.”

Our societal problem, in short, is larger and more serious than Barack Obama’s position on assault rifles. Still, thinking smaller and seeking to score political points, the Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan, seemingly taking the advice of Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel — i.e., “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste” — named Fox News and Obama’s critics and the National Rifle Association as co-conspirators in Poplawski’s cop-killing spree:  “Many of us have worried that the heated, apocalyptic rhetoric of the anti-Obama forces might spill over at some point into violence in the hands of individuals prone to lashing out. One wonders whether Fox News or the Second Amendment fanatics will chill out a little. And then one realizes who we’re talking about.”

I don’t remember Sullivan telling anyone to chill out during the recent anti-cop marches and demonstrations pittsburg threethat occurred after four police officers were murdered by Lovell Mixon in Oakland, California. Mixon, a fugitive parolee and a suspect in several rapes, including that of a 12-yer-old girl, gunned down two motorcycle officers who had pulled him over in a traffic stop. He killed two more officers who tried to arrest him where he was hiding in his sister’s apartment.

Carrying “Lovell Is a Hero” posters, demonstrators marched in Oakland in support of cop-killer Lovell Mixon on the eve of the four officers’ funerals. Spokesmen for the marchers said that Mixon took a “righteous stand” and “symbolized the resistance to the colonial system that occupies Oakland.”
             
The Uhuru Movement, a community group promoting “economic justice” in Oakland, issued a “Statement on the Killing of Four Oakland Officers and Lovell Mixon.”  The police, said Uhuru,  are “a military force with the assignment to carry out a violent containment policy,” a force to hold down the poor, protect the rich and “facilitate” the “crack-cocaine plague in African communities.” And Uhuru's position on Lovell Mixon?  Simple. “Mixon’s actions were the result of years of oppression.”

And from Andrew Sullivan? No comment about how years of Marxist propaganda and victimology studies can make people crazy.

Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.

— Photo: AP Images