Hate Groups a Threat We Can't Ignore
by Bob Herbert
Even with the murders that have already occurred, Americans are not paying enough attention to the frightening connection between the right-wing hate-mongers who continue to slither among us and the gun crazies who believe a well-aimed bullet is the ticket to all their dreams.
I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t help feeling as if the murder at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and the assassination of the abortion doctor in Wichita, Kan., and the slaying of three police officers in Pittsburgh — all of them right-wing, hate-driven attacks — were just the beginning and that worse is to come.
As if the wackos weren’t dangerous enough to begin with, the fuel to further inflame them is available in the over-the-top rhetoric of the National Rifle Association, which has relentlessly pounded the bogus theme that Barack Obama is planning to take away people’s guns. The group’s anti-Obama Web site is called gunbanobama.com.
While the N.R.A. is not advocating violence, it shouldn’t take more than a glance at the newspapers to understand why this is a message that the country could do without. James von Brunn, the man accused of using a rifle to shoot a guard to death at the Holocaust museum last week, was described by relatives, associates and the police as a virulent racist and anti-Semite.
Investigators said they found a note that had been signed by von Brunn in the car that he double-parked outside the museum. The note said, “You want my weapons — this is how you’ll get them.”
Richard Poplawski, who, according to authorities, used a high-powered rifle to kill three Pittsburgh police officers in April, reportedly believed that Zionists were running the world and that, yes, Obama was planning to crack down on gun ownership. A friend said of Poplawski, he “feared the Obama gun ban that’s on the way.”
There is no Obama gun ban on the way. Gun control advocates are, frankly, disappointed in the president’s unwillingness to move ahead on even the mildest of gun control measures.
What’s important to grasp here is that this madness has nothing to do with hunting, which the politicians always claim to be defending, and everything to do with the use of firearms to resist policies and lawful government actions that some gun owners don’t like.
In a speech in February to the Conservative Political Action Conference, the executive vice president of the N.R.A., Wayne LaPierre, said: “Our founding fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules.”For the full story, click here.