It’s been a few days since Richard Poplawski shot three cops dead in the middle of a quiet Pittsburgh neighborhood. To recap, the family dog urinated inside the family home early Saturday morning and mom, who apparently had enough of Poplawski, called the cops with the intent to have him evicted. He proceeded to don a bulletproof vest, gather his guns, which included an AK-47, and position himself for the police.
Officers Paul Sciullo II, 37, who was engaged to be married, was first, shot in the head inside the house. Officer Stephen Mayhle, 29, married father of two young daughters, was gunned down on the front stoop as he tried to help Sciullo. The third, Officer Eric Kelly, 41, married father of three, was on his way home having just finished the overnight shift. He was shot trying to save to Officer Mayhle.
It has been reported that Poplawski had a penchant for white supremacy and conspiracy theories. According to the New York Times, “The man charged with killing three police officers here on Saturday was a contributor to racist Web sites, writing about his hatred of race-mixing, the economic collapse, Zionist conspiracies and his fondness for his “AK” rifle.” Also, “The postings support…that he was worried about the election of President Obama and that he had said he would defend himself if anyone ever tried to take his guns.”
The truth is, there is no plan currently in congress to ban guns. In fairness, Obama does want to make changes to the gun laws. Here is the official Obama gun policy:
Address Gun Violence in Cities: Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.
If I were to guess Poplawski was most concerned about “commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.” I take that to mean, AK-47s have no real use in this world other than killing people, therefore, they aren’t necessary and should not be protected under the Second Amendment. I do not take that to mean that the government is going to become the United Kingdom and ban all guns outright. That doesn’t stop the NRA from mailing trash and scaring gun lovers nationwide.
The other side of this equation are the messengers. We all know the players. Fear merchants selling lies and horror, preying on the impressionable and disenfranchised, assuring them that they’re not alone and that they are the ones who are in control. Over at Media Matters, Eric Boehlert writes a good analysis regarding the media’s role in all of this. He highlights two of the right’s loudest, Alex Jones and Glenn Beck.
Jones might be a "freak," but he has recently been embraced -- and mainstreamed -- by Fox News, as part of the news channel's unprecedented drive to push radical propaganda warning of America's democratic demise under the new president.
During a March 18 webcast of FoxNews.com's proudly paranoid "Freedom Watch," Andrew Napolitano introduced a segment about "what the government has done to take your liberty and your property away." And with that, he welcomed onto the show "the one, the only, the great Alex Jones," who began ranting about "exposing" the New World Order and the threat posed by an emerging "global government."
"I appreciate what you're exposing," Napolitano assured his guest.
Waving around a copy of his Obama Deception, Jones warned Fox News webcast viewers about Obama's "agenda" for "gun confiscation" and the new president's plan to "bring in total police-state control" to America.
What Fox News is now programming on a daily (unhinged) basis is unprecedented in the history of American television, especially in the form of Beck's program. Night after night, week after week, Beck rails against the president while denouncing him or his actions, alternately, as Marxist, socialist, or fascist. He felt entirely comfortable pondering whether the federal government, under the auspices of FEMA, was building concentration camps to round up Americans in order to institute totalitarian rule. (It wasn't until this week that Beck was finally able to "debunk" the FEMA conspiracy theory.) And that's when Beck wasn't gaming out bloody scenarios for the coming civil war against Obama-led tyranny. In just a few shorts months, Beck raced to the head of Fox News' militia media movement.
Did Alex Jones or Glenn Beck pull the trigger? No, but they more than likely left an impression on Poplawski, and I’m confident he’s not the only one. It’s bad enough that there are people in this country worrying about making the next mortgage payment or keeping the house lights on. Now we have to worry about guys like Richard Poplawski, who listen, read and believe this venomous hate and fear mongering so strongly that they wind up killing cops.
John Amato at Crooks & Liars put it best:
Beck included a long rant about how "freedoms" always entail "responsibilities" -- and we heartily agree. But he forgot to mention freedom of speech and the responsibilities that come with that. Those responsibilities include not using words that scapegoat and incite fearfulness in the public, especially when there is no actual evidence to support those fears. Those responsibilities are magnified a thousandfold when you hold a major media megaphone like Glenn Beck does.
I do not subscribe to fear mongering and I will not be scared into a hole because of these people. We do live in America and they can feel free to be read all the crazy and be as scared as they want. I’m sure in their eyes, I’m the fool who cannot see what they would call the truth that is right in front of my face. Lucky for me, I know how to find the truth, and it’s not coming from the screaming face on the other side of my TV screen.