07/12/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

What Right Wing Threat?

Right-wing threats in America? Hasn't the media jumped the gun, or shark, so to speak?

James W. Von Brunn wasn't shooting at Jews at the Holocaust Museum because he was anti-Semitic. He was there to try to shoot the actual Holocaust, under the mistaken impression he could stop it still and make up for all the white supremacist mumbo-jumbo he's been known for. The Holocaust started it; this was simply self-defense.

Scott P. Roeder, who gunned down a doctor in his church on a Sunday morning, killing George Tiller after years of personal derision from Bill O'Reilly? He was not there because he was a homicidal maniac obsessed about offing Tiller and winning right-wing approval. He was just hunting. In a church. During Sunday services. Though there were no animals technically present, the stray shot might have knocked late-term abortion instruments out of the doctor's hands while he was passing the collection plate.

When Richard Poplawski was firing his AK-47 at cops in Pittsburgh, he was only trying to impress them with his knowledge of guns, sort of like a fraternity hazing. He was wearing the bullet-proof vest to impress them and make the cops like him, so they would make him an honorary deputy and give him a job. All of Poplawski's rants about Zionist control of the country and Obama's determination to take away his guns and rights, it was just water-cooler talk. Except instead of casually catching up on anti-Semitic, anti-government chit chat around the water cooler, Poplawski was commenting on Stormfront, the biggest white power web site.

The Department of Homeland Security, founded after 9/11 to provide a heads-up on dangerous threats on American soil, recently issued some kind of report or some crap, because government agencies are like that. That report mentioned something about some far-right nuts likely to act out in 2009 and do dangerous things against the government, Jews, and abortion providers. Whatever. That report was just trying to smear the shining conservative movement, and make it easier for illegal immigrants to sneak in to our country and take our jobs at GM.

Or...maybe the DHS report actually was talking about these kinds of lone nuts that we actually have to worry about, in any state across the country. Maybe conservatives and Republicans who rush to attack a security report from the government should reconsider their knee-jerk ownership of the issues and tactics that they rush to defend.

Maybe continually over-simplifying every issue in politics into a siege upon America actually helps bring about a siege mentality in Americans. Perhaps dwelling in the continual context of an election, wherein everything is good for one side or bad for the other, is really simpleminded and stupid, and creates false choices and fallacious imperatives.

And, maybe in attacking a government threat assessment, these right-wing pundits are not just aligning themselves with dangerous supremacist kooks, but even encouraging their impulses, by draping their tattered flag around those that would be singled out for wanting to go kill people they disagree with.

Bill O'Reilly, after his continual on-air assaults against George Tiller contributed to Tiller's actual assault, defiantly went on TV and proclaimed himself a victim of the liberal media for covering what O'Reilly had been saying all along. This lack of accountability in bullies and blowhards is not really surprising, and it furthers a victim branding being desperately pursued by O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, that long-haired douchebag guy on Fox Business Channel, and others.

Our country was founded on revolutionaries, so apparently acting oppressed is the fallback moral high ground. This is a curious acknowledgment and embrace of the polemics from the Left dating back to the Civil Rights Era. At some point, the legitimacy that the Right denied attributing to disenfranchised groups like gays, poor people, minorities, and women in this country became the conservative rallying cry.

We see this in the vitriolic attacks alleging prejudice against Sonia Sotomayer, from old white guys who are experts on racism. And make no mistake: the more Newt Gingrich proclaims that white people are being dethroned and Dick Cheney insists humans only respond to brutality, the more these otherwise lone nuts don't feel so lonely, and believe that they have to take some kind of violent action against, oh, anybody.

I expect that these blowhards will cry out about gun rights and the threat of FEMA camps against the coming tide of rational questions, such as, "Why is it so easy for whacko fuck-ups to get an assault rifle or six?"

In a sense, these commando cowards are doing the work of scores of progressive activists, making their leaders and causes utterly repellent to the rest of the country.

UPDATE: This piece seems to have struck a chord with people who identify with the aforementioned right wing extremist nut jobs, so I think I will just apologize to all of them now and get that out of the way.