Lead us not into a communitarian climate of road rage

Back in 1995, Bill Clinton blamed conservative radio talk show hosts for the horrific act of terrorism committed by Timothy McVeigh. I will never forget how he singled out G. Gordon Liddy by name, and his argument back then was not much different than it is now.

These people created a climate that led to this.

The difference this time is there has not been an Oklahoma City type of incident (and I pray that there won't be). But there are Tea Parties, and even though they are well-mannered and non-violent, the left-wing ideologues simply cannot stand what they say, so in desperation they are now trotting out the old "they're creating a climate" line of bullshit.

Byron York does a great job of demolishing the shabby logic behind Bill Clinton's latest climate reincarnation job:

There's a new narrative taking hold in the wake of the recent Tea Party protests and the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing: The Tea Partiers' intense opposition to the Obama administration has led to overheated political rhetoric, which could in turn lead to violence, perhaps as devastating as Oklahoma City.

Former President Clinton is the leading voice of this new narrative. In newspaper interviews, television appearances and a widely discussed speech Friday, Clinton said it's "legitimate" to draw "parallels to the time running up to Oklahoma City and a lot of the political discord that exists in our country today."

"Watch your words," warned ABC News, reporting that Clinton "weighed in on the angry anti-government rhetoric, ringing out from talk radio to Tea Party rallies."

It is beyond obvious to me that the individuals themselves -- not climates -- are responsible for the acts they commit. It's one of the annoyances that caused me to start this blog, and it has fueled many a blog post over the years.

I wish I could say that this "blame the climate" mentality was limited to the left, but it's not. It is a form of communitarian thinking as old as the idea that "I am my brother's keeper." While conservatives tend to be individualists and are therefore much less likely to succumb to it than liberals, partisan ideology has a way of causing "I blame the climate created by [fill-in-the-blank]" to creep into the thinking of otherwise reasonable people, especially in the heat of ideological battles. Blaming "climates" lies at the heart of both sides of the "traditional" Culture War, and has caused people to do things like blame Columbine on certain forms of music (even the wearing of trenchcoats), or blame Howard Stern and the "homosexual agenda" for Abu Ghraib. (Similarly, films like Brokeback Mountain threaten Western civilization because of the climates they create. Throw in a little more climate theory, and sex, drugs, rock and roll, and yoga all become "Marxist." Throw in a hurricane and watch human climates conflate with natural climates into perfect storms of divine retribution. I blame voodoo!)

I find all of it maddening, and it is one of the reasons I persist in calling myself a libertarian and not a conservative, because I don't want to be associated with it. But not wanting to be associated with it does not make it go away. Merely by going to the Tea Parties, I am now helping to encourage terrorists.

This reminds me of something I wasn't going to blog about at all (because I thought it might be "irresponsible," but I'm so sick of the climate lectures that I might as well.

But maybe I shouldn't. After all, it involves a road rage incident in which a man with a concealed carry permit (who has been called a "Tea Partier," btw) shot another driver who had tailgated him and then got out of his car to confront him.

I researched the whole squalid thing and in one of my innumerable but invisible acts of self-censorship, I refrained from publishing the post, as I didn't want to be inflammatory or supply fuel for the other side. I still have reservations about this, and as the fruits of my research are lengthy, I'll do something I don't normally do, and I'll hide it so it won't be staring at readers who are easily upset.

Consider yourselves warned if you read on.

And please bear in mind that my goal is to anticipate a "climate" I oppose, not create one.

Over the weekend I read about a road rage incident in Mitch Albom's column. Replete with countless "we's" he repeatedly asks his readers why "we" lose our temper over annoyances on the highway:

What makes us slam on the horn and scream through glass, as if the other driver insulted our family name? What makes us speed up, brake, weave in front -- any of the crazy acts that are now referred to as road rage?

What makes us so ... enraged?

OK, so far it's a rather mundane, if gratuitously communitarian argument against road rage. But what came next made me suspect that there was more to the incident than was being reported:
What makes a 20-year-old man, driving behind another man who was hitting the brakes in an attempt to test them, get out of his car and confront that driver? What makes them argue?

And what makes that confronted driver pull out a gun and shoot the other guy? This is reportedly what happened last week at a heavily trafficked intersection in Farmington Hills, surrounded by gas stations, convenience stores and small restaurants.

One guy didn't like the way the other guy was driving. He got out to argue. The other guy shot him.

One went to the hospital, the other to the police station.

What a storyline, huh?

Not an isolated case

Time -- and the courts -- will tell who was wrong in the Farmington Hills case. If you ask me, both were wrong. One was crazy enough to pull a trigger. The other was crazy enough to leave his car to argue over driving -- and wound up with a bullet in his arm. The debate over why the shooter had a gun in the first place -- legally allowed with our carrying concealed weapons law -- is for another day.

We we we we we -- all the way home to his conclusion that we need more laws. Against temper.
But when we reach the point where we'll shoot somebody over it, we need to reexamine ourselves -- and maybe our laws.

Perhaps road rage ought to be its own crime. We don't let drunks drive cars. Maybe we should block people who can't control their temper.

I was tantalized by what I thought might be just a whiff of an appearance of a deliberately dangled subtext in "the debate over why the shooter had a gun in the first place -- legally allowed with our carrying concealed weapons law -- is for another day."

Perhaps I should have followed that ancient childhood lesson I have repeatedly failed to learn -- "Curiosity killed the cat" but curiosity has long been one of my weaknesses, it has led me into a lot of places I'd have been better off not going.

So against my better judgment, I Googled "Farmington Hills road rage shooting."

Wow. I soon learned that the alleged shooter is the Michigan Chairman of the Jewish Defense League, and he's an outspoken conspiracy theorist.

Some background in his own words:

About Me:

Hi! My name is Carl and I'm back from before. If I know you, I'll tell you who I was previously. Some of you may figure it out. Anyways, I'm a Conservative/Republican and a Sephardic Jew. I love Israel just as much as the US. I also love the South, southern history and the Rebel Flag. I consider myself a Rebel Jew.

The reason for this new page is for unification between Jews and Christians. We have one common enemy and that's Islam. Islam hates both of our religions and if nothing is done to stop the spread of Islam throughout the USA, Israel and Europe, we'll be having a second Holocaust and World War 3. We need to stick together and stop trying to fight amongst one another, prove who's the better religion, or try to convert one another. We must be friends and keep both of our true G-d loving religions around forever.

My new videos you'll find on here will be serious, informative and funny too. I want to be funny and show my lighter side too. Also, if you're Jews for Jesus/Messianic Jews, I have a real problem with you trying to convert me and tell me to believe in Jesus. I don't and if you don't like what I have to say, get off my page now! I like my Christian friends because that's what they are, Christian. If you're a Messianic Jew, there's no such thing. You should just call yourself a Christian and respect me for what I believe and don't try to convert me. This goes for any religion. I'm not interested in converting to anything but I am interested in talking religion. That's fine. Like I said, I want unity between Jews and Christians because we both love Israel and fear Islam.

In regards to comments, I'm leaving them open for anyone to comment on my videos. You can disagree but any anti-Jewish/Zionist comments made will get you blocked. I'm not putting up with that crap anymore. If you're a Arab/Muslim kook, a Neo-Nazi/Aryan National, a Liberal/Democrat, or a Fascist/Socialist/Nationalist/Communist, get off here at once!If you agree, great and keep on commenting. If you disagree, don't be an ass about it. By the way, I made a change on here. Only friends can comment on my channel. I'm keeping the idiots off.
I am a chapter leader of the JDL, Jewish Defense League too. I run the Michigan chapter. The Jewish Defense League is a great organization to be involved in if you are upset with Jew hatred and really want something done about it. Our group is the most aggressive Jewish rights group and we do our best to inform the public on issues about Neo-Nazi's, KKK, and Arab/Muslim fanatics. Christians are welcome to join too.

Otherwise, enjoy my Judeo-Christian brothers/sisters!


..._...|..__________ __________, , )
....../ `---___________---- _____|] ......
...../_==o;;;;;;;;__ _____.:/
.....), ---.(_(__) /
....// (..) ), ------/
...//___// Take The Gun And Kill A Terrorist
..//___// Put This On Your Page If You
.//___// Support Israel, the IDF and the U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan!

------------------------------ ----------4-,,
|........\........... `---___-- __--______|___
|____\____/_==o;;;;;;;_______o ::|------
...................\\ ,------.((__) /
.....................\\____/ -----
......................||___!
-....................||___!
-...................//___!! Take the Uzi and kill an nazi/fanatical terrorist, put this on your channel if you support the IDF and a blitzkreig against Islamic Jihad bent on destruction!

|* * * * * * * * * *|-----------|Put
|* * * * * * * * * *|-----------|This
|* * * * * * * * * *|-----------|On
|* * * * * * * * * *|-----------|Your
|* * * * * * * * * *|-----------|Page
|----------------------------- -----|If
|----------------------------- -----|You
|----------------------------- -----|Support
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America!
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_____________♥____ Put this in your profile _________________if you support Israel


--[][][]--[][][]--Put this
--[][][]--[][][]--on your
--[][][]--[][][]--profile in
--[][][]--[][][]--memory of
--[][][]--[][][]--all those
--[][][]--[][][]--who died
--[][][]--[][][]--in 9/11
Hometown:
Michigan (the joke of the US. I want to get the hell outta here!).
Country:
United States
Occupation:
Delivery Driver, Ebay seller, chauffer.
Companies:
I am a chapter leader of the JDL, Jewish Defense League too. I run the Michigan chapter. The Jewish Defense League is a great organization to be involved in if you are upset with Jew hatred and really want something done about it. Our group is the most aggressive Jewish rights group and we do our best to inform the public on issues about Neo-Nazi's, KKK, and Arab/Muslim fanatics. Christians are welcome to join too.
Hobbies:
Guns (shows & shooting), movies, cigars, wine, current events, bowling, shooting pool, surfing the internet, and combating: anti-Judaism, anti-Zionism, Muslim fanaticism, Neo-Nazis/Aryan Nations, KKK, Liberals/Socialists/Communists/Nationalists/Fascists.
Movies:
I like Comedies, Dramas, Wars, Organized Crime, and Historical ones too.
Music:
Rock, alternative, heavy metal, punk rock, classic rock, country rock and some country.

Here's an argument between him and someone else in the form of comments to a YouTube video:
• judeochristianunity Of all people, Barack Obama is picked to speak. He's so anti-Jewish, he could have cared less about the Holocaust. He's against Israel and probably would love to see it overrun by Arabs and then disappear. 8 months ago
• HaroldHHard Too bad Obama didnt take the time to kick Elie Wiesel in the groin while Elie went on and on w his lies 1 month ago
• judeochristianunity Go fuck yourself asshole! 1 month ago
• HaroldHHard no time, I've got an appointment to burn a cross on elie wiesel's yard. 1 month ago
• judeochristianunity Do that and I'll burn your place down. 1 month ago
• HaroldHHard @judeochristianunity you'll have to find it first. And if you do i'll gun you down like I wd any wild hog. But mr emanuels' cross will burn bright. what a son of a terrorist. what kind of yid evil brouth him into the white house 1 month ago
• judeochristianunity @HaroldHHard You wouldn't do shit. You're nothing but white trash and us Yids will not be taking your white trash shit anymore. Why don't you try and gun me down. You'd be surprised to know I have one too. 1 month ago
• HaroldHHard @judeochristianunity That's strange, cuz I just dropped a load of it on the yard of the local porn shop owner, a jew. He sure took it. Got mad, but what the hell, he's a scheming jew. You have one too? Oh a porn shop? Dsnt surprise me. 1 month ago
• judeochristianunity @HaroldHHard I'm sure you're a Nazi/Klansman who loves his trailer. Next time I see a trailer park full of you guys I'll make sure I trash it. 1 month ago
• HaroldHHard @judeochristianunity Rather live in a trailer than be a porn shop owner 1 month ago
A FoxNews video features some of his anti-Obama ranting:

The man is being discussed all over the Internet, and at Democratic Underground, he is (naturally!) being called a Tea Partier. Fox News has another piece featuring his long video rant against Islam.

The usually vociferous Freepers see this as a lesson that what you say online can and will be used against you.

I could go on and on with links to the endless stuff that's floating around about this guy.

I strongly suspect Mitch Albom knew all about this man he mentioned in his column. Considering his position as a leading columnist for the Detroit Free Press, I think he had to know. So why play games?

Is he supplying bait for leftie gun grabbers and Tea Party bashers? Fuel for Bill Clinton's argument? Then why not say so?

As things stand now, I am forced to play the game of "anticipate the climate." My very tired libertarian argument of course is that this man speaks for no one but himself (and possibly the JDL chapter he leads). He is not an argument against concealed carry, or Tea Parties, or people who support Israel, or people who worry about Islamic terrorism. Nor was his overheated rhetoric caused by Rush Limbaugh.

Individuals are responsible for their own actions.

Oh yeah?

And since when has that stopped people from saying they're not?

posted by Eric on 04.20.10 at 11:31 AM










Comments

Two old cave men discussing the bad weather " We never had storms like this before those young fellows started using bows and arrows."
Nothing has changed!!

Hugh   ·  April 20, 2010 2:20 PM

You are all wet about this. What some call a "climate" can be much more. Whether it's Rev. Wright, some Muslim cleric, a demagogic politician, or a radio talk show host that vilifies and demonizes, the end result is that followers & true believers can be worked up into committing violent acts and even terrorism. And the demagogue keeps his hands clean, one step removed.

You're right that Clinton and the Democrats are using this charge to try and shut up their opponents. They look ridiculous at this point because all the violence has been from union thugs on their side. But that doesn't make Limbaugh a saint. In his frustration he's sounding more & more like a rabble-rouser. That the conservatives in his audience are individualists has saved his ass, so far.

I agree with you that people are individually responsible for their actions. But, I also believe that an atmosphere can be created that will foster violence. Have you listened to Rush lately?
He's convinced that Obama is purposely trying to destroy this country. In fact that seems to be his only theme - that and his assertion: "This man MUST BE STOPPED!" And how does he think an unhinged listener will "stop" Obama? Of course should something dreadful like that happen, Limbaugh will say he was only calling for action at the ballot box. His hands will be clean, he thinks.

(I didn't read beyond the jump, on purpose.)

Frank   ·  April 21, 2010 2:09 AM

(I didn't read beyond the jump, on purpose.)

That made me laugh.

Veeshir   ·  April 21, 2010 11:48 AM

Well, I don't want to see it, which is why I hid it. I also have mixed feelings about sharing it, but I figure the lefties will get around to it sooner or later, and then I can say "I TOLD YOU SO."

Eric Scheie   ·  April 21, 2010 6:20 PM

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