Mon
Jul 28 2008
10:14 am

KPD press conference on yesterday's shooting is about to get underway. Watch it live here:

(link...)

UPDATE: KPD chief said killer cites "hatred for liberal movement" as motive, mentions targeting liberals and "gays," TVUU church was specifically chosen.

Recap after the jump...

Police Chief Sterling Owen: Investigation is underway, some information may change as investigation continues.

Tuesday Aug. 5th., preliminary hearing for perpetrator.

Found 76 shotgun shells, including spent rounds. Three rounds fired. 12 gauge #4 shot.

Recovered shotgun. Brought into church inside guitar case, also recovered.

Purchased from a pawn shop. BATF is assisting in trace to determine if it is registered.

Lack of being able to obtain job, frustration, stated hatred for the liberal movement.

Recovered four page letter in which he describes feelings and his reasons.

Indicated he expected to be in there shooting people until police arrived and expected to be killed by police.

Criminal record: two DUIs, one in CA number of years ago, one more recently in Clinton.

Acting alone. No affiliation described in letter, search of residence appears to confirm.

Had it not been for hasty action by people in the sanctuary, there would have been many more deaths.

Not member of any organized group, but investigation is continuing.

Stated he was targeting liberals in general, and gays.

Appears he chose this church intentionally.

Investigating as a hate crime. FBI involved.

Appears he had been plotting action for a week or so.

Letter recovered from his vehicle in the parking lot of the church. Black 2004 Ford Escape.

Church had received publicity regarding its liberal stance, believe this is one of the reasons it was targeted.

Suspect has made a statement.

Have several videos from people at the church, police examining for evidence. Hope to get suspect on tape.

Shotgun purchased approx. one month ago. 12 gauge semi-automatic. Not saying where it was purchased.

Recovered handgun from suspect's house, .38 Rossi.

Police believe suspect was formerly a member of 101st Airborne.

Associates Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Worked in a variety of jobs all over the country. Most recently 2006 in Knoxville, according to his resume.

Suspect says he has no next of kin and no family. Did not state any church affiliation.

Don't know suspect's place of birth. Been in Knoxville for three or four years.

Will be charged with second murder.

Had food stamps reduced or eliminated according to recent letter from state, may have been upset about that as well.

Four page letter found in car, not addressed to anybody, signed by suspect.

Upset that liberals were getting jobs he couldn't get. Being excluded because of age.

Mayor: Thank members of congregation who saved many lives, and KPD for their job.

FBI Agent in Charge, Knoxville also there.

FBI: Use of force to interrupt practice of religion is a civil rights violation. Will work with DA to decide if there will be federal charges.

Police Chief: Letter will be released when introduced into evidence.

Five people in hospital, four critical, one serious.

216
like
GoldnI's picture

The moment I heard

That this was in a Unitarian church, I was afraid that this might be the motive.

Andy Axel's picture

So someone took the

So someone took the eliminationist rhetoric of the wingers to heart, huh?

(But it's just a joke, right?)

____________________________

"It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?"

Anonymous's picture

Killin' for Jesus.

Killing liberals...for Jesus...in a church.

That's as ironic as alleging that you're the party of Jesus and torturing, as Jesus was tortured.

LeftWingCracker's picture

I'm ready to fire up Old

I'm ready to fire up Old Sparky for this SOB, but you know what? The UUs are good enough people that they would be out there protesting it, which makes them far better people than me....

Brian A.'s picture

Shooting random people is a

Shooting random people is a proven means of problem solving, no?

[/sarcasm]

I really don't know what is wrong with some people.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

LeftWingCracker's picture

On second thought, I DON'T

On second thought, I DON'T want this worthless old bastard to die. I want him to spend his remaining years as the 'wife" of a large, preferably Muslim, prisoner who finds him real attractive and shows his affection on a daily basis.

I'm not taking this very well, obviously...

metulj's picture

No. He should spend the rest

No. He should spend the rest of his life in a safe detention facility where he receives humane care for his problems. He should be reminded, regularly, of why he is there and why he'll only leave when he dies of natural causes. He will be a charge of the liberal state that he hates so much.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Hayduke's picture

Metulj, you're just mean.

Metulj, you're just mean.

Hayduke's picture

We're going to have more

We're going to have more misdirected anger events like this as people get left behind by our robber baron economy. Pretty twisted that this guy thinks liberals and gays are responsible for his predicament, but there are a lot more like him.

GoldnI's picture

Oh by the way

Thanks for doing this summary for those of us who are at work and couldn't watch the press conference.

sugarfatpie's picture

Hate mongers, blamers take note

Apparently the guy's letter, found in his car in the parking lot, says that he singled TVUUC out because of its "liberal" stances. On what we still don't know.

Sounds like he was also angry about not finding work and hadn't had a job in two years.
Also, his neighbors mentioned that he had issues with "inconsistencies" in the bible.

So far the most we can say is that the shooter is a mentally unstable person under economic stress who blamed his problems on "liberals".

While I don't want to diminish the responsibility of the shooter for this crime, I also think its important to put his act into cultural and political context.

To those on the right and the left who look for "wedge issues" to divide a complex world into "us" and "them", your words can have real consequences on the mentally unstable.

Something I incorporate into my writing (though admittedly not always my online writing) is the following mental check: "Could my words be misinterpreted to inspire hateful thoughts and actions?" If so, I do some serious rethinking and re-wording.

Its time to tone down the extreme and hateful rhetoric that has become so prevalent in our society. Culture creators, politicians and media people ( including radio personalities, bloggers, print journalists/columnists, and tv news) take note: when you blame liberals or conservatives for complex problems, when you paint the world with a broad brush of right/wrong, black/white, you open the door to misunderstanding, and potentially hatred.

And when you get on a board like this and start throwing around nasty comments about Muslims, you disrespect TVUUC and everything it stands for.

-Sugarfatpie

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

R. Neal's picture

Its time to tone down the

Its time to tone down the extreme and hateful rhetoric that has become so prevalent in our society. Culture creators, politicians and media people ( including radio personalities, bloggers, print journalists/columnists, and tv news) take note: when you blame liberals or conservatives for complex problems, when you paint the world with a broad brush of right/wrong, black/white, you open the door to misunderstanding, and potentially hatred.

Well said. Unfortunately, time and again we see which "side" usually acts on their hatred in a violent or otherwise non-constructive way.

And when you get on a board like this and start throwing around nasty comments about Muslims, you disrespect TVUUC and everything it stands for.

I don't think LWC meant that as a slight against Muslims. He's a good guy. I think his point was the poetic justice of it and maybe it didn't come out right. That said, I have a real problem with prison rape being tolerated, and in fact promoted as a deterrent. But I give LWC a pass on that, too, because as he said, he's not taking this well. I'm pretty pissed off, too.

LeftWingCracker's picture

Thank you, I appreciate

Thank you, I appreciate that. I DID get a little worked up over this...

reform4's picture

It's a natural reaction

Part of the process, but we are better people.

Metulj - thank you SO much for your comments. you hit the nail on the head.

reform4's picture

It's a natural reaction

Part of the process, but we are better people.

Metulj - thank you SO much for your comments. you hit the nail on the head.

metulj's picture

I think the problem is that

I think the problem is that American society is caught in an intellectual trap. Regular readers seen my "It's not tolerant to be intolerant of intolerance" barb. Basically, that's the trap. The identity culture, fomented, nuanced and supported by corporate capitalism, that came about after WWII has left us unable to discuss anything without some formalistic standard to hold each other against. Everyone candles the egg. The defining down to simple statements of what it means to be a true American is the problem. There is nobody who is a true American. There is just the discourse and deliberation that is the experience of living in a place that calls itself "America." Litmus testing everybody is not social interaction; it is not society; it is not citizenship. It's America's riff on Maoism. Everybody in this place is guilty of it, including myself.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

rocketsquirrel's picture

metulj, re your earlier

metulj, re your earlier comment, he already WAS a charge of the liberal state. He had apparently been receiving foodstamps.

< snark...>Conservative welfare queen?<.../ snark>

and no, I'm not taking this well either.

metulj's picture

I guess what I was getting

I guess what I was getting at is that it was probably demeaning to him to be on welfare and that acceptance of such attack some core identity issues within him. If the crime was killing in the name of hatred of "liberals" and what they stand for, then let the punishment fit.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

gttim's picture

He went in to a church to

He went in to a church to perform a cowardly act of violence against the unarmed because of the church's liberal stances. A liberal churchgoer with real courage, took shotgun blasts to save lives while another tackled and unarmed him before he could do the damage he planned. Not only is the guy a failure in this crime, he is a failure in life. I hope he is reminded everyday of how liberals with true courage did indeed cause his failure in this instance.

Formerly a member of 101st Airborne? He must have sucked there as well.

My best thoughts to those affected by this act.

rikki's picture

Limbaugh's army

Great, the 18 hours per day of cheap slander against liberals WNOX pipes into East Tennessee homes is finally paying off. RedDog has himself a hero! All the cowardly halfwits who reflexively call anyone to their left 'socialist' can now mouth condolences while they mutter gleefully under their breath about witchcraft and fags. Should some remnant of civility twitch inside their vacant brains, they can just turn on Boortz or Rush or Phil or Hannity or Levin, whatever the hour of the day, and snap safely back into groupthink. Liberals are out to destroy America.

It has been months, if not years, since Republicans have had the courage to speak honestly about major problems facing our country or about the lawless perverts they put in charge, and now they don't have to! They can just dispense with one of their habitual insults -- "commie pinko fag," "far left whacko" or "liberal elitist" -- and know that the target will no longer mistake it for gamesmanship, but see it as cowardice. Republicans have worked hard to establish that they don't give a damn what anyone else thinks, and now they have sharpened their message to, if not a knifepoint, at least a tight cluster of hot lies.

Commander Limbaugh, the troops are tuned to 100.3 FM awaiting further instructions disregarding liberals.

B Harmon's picture

ON air now Monday till 6 pm

Catherine Howell is sitting in for Phil and talking about where this shooter would have gotten the idea of shooting liberals. This show followed the Rush L. show, and ends just before the Sean Hannity show.

Listen at 100.3, call in at 656 8255.

Rachel's picture

I'm very much afraid

I'm very much afraid Limbaugh etc. will try to spin it as "well, when you take such extremist stands on the gay agenda, you might need to worry....."

I was praying this guy was just a kook who picked a place at random. To hear he deliberately targeted some of the most tolerant, helpful folks in town is just sickening.

James Calloway's picture

Are you people

seriously trying to pin any sort of blame on talk radio ?

This reminds me of a Chris Rock routine when he brought up people questioning what was in Hitler's CD case.

Answer: Who gives a F--- ? Some people are just crazy.

Quite now folks, I'm receiving another transmission from the WNOX mothership..

rikki's picture

old and in the way

Answer: Who gives a F--- ? Some people are just crazy.

Quite now folks, I'm receiving another transmission from the WNOX mothership..

That is exactly the sort of dismissive crap liberals get from conservatives on any subject, exactly the sort of shit that devalues people and ideas to the point where a church full of liberals looks like a shooting gallery to some dillweed whose food stamps got cut off, perverted logic only a conservative could manage. Conservatives routinely talk of liberals as though they are in cahoots with terrorists, eager to see America lose and fail. Now your divisive, vapid bullshit has come home to roost, and if you are not willing to put aside the mockery and do some soul searching in this context, what use are you?

I am becoming increasingly convinced that the Republican party is capable of nothing but obstruction, so I am not surprised you are unwilling to ponder the role years of relentless talk-radio attacks might have played in this tragedy. At least WNOX had the courage to confront that issue, but I'm sure Hannity and Levin will spend the entire evening mocking Obama and firing volley after volley at liberal strawmen.

There will be a lot more tears shed than blood spilled over these shootings, and if all the right is willing to give is a pint, just stay home.

Hayduke's picture

Coulter is off the hook

Well, Coulter is off the hook: she said to use a baseball bat.

Andy Axel's picture

More than you might be able

More than you might be able to stomach here.

____________________________

"It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?"

Anonymous's picture

I'd like to know how a

I'd like to know how a tradegy for all concerned becomes a political issue

Way off base in my opinion

Andy Axel's picture

Hmmm.... the guy says that

Hmmm.... the guy says that he's targeting liberals, and we're supposed to believe that he wasn't politically motivated.

OK then.

____________________________

"It's gettin' so a businessman can't expect no return from a fixed fight. Now, if you can't trust a fix, what can you trust?"

metulj's picture

That "makes sense!" True

That "makes sense!"

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

rikki's picture

Way off base in my opinion I

Way off base in my opinion

I do regret discouraging anyone from giving blood. That's always a good thing to do, whatever your motivation.

R. Neal's picture

"well, when you take such

"well, when you take such extremist stands on the gay agenda, you might need to worry....."

That to me sounds like it would be actionable. Half the crap these morons spew, including the chief moron at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., is actionable. But alas, no action.

Brian A.'s picture

Any chance that some "good"

Any chance that some "good" may come from this tragedy? Perhaps there will be a community backlash or revulsion against intolerance?

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

R. Neal's picture

Latest update

Latest update:

Knoxville News Sentinel

The man who is accused of Sunday’s church shooting was described today by a long-time acquaintance as a loner who hates “blacks, gays and anyone different from him.’’

Also, it turns out there is a connection to the church. The killer's ex-wife is a past member.

Brian A.'s picture

The News-Sentinel has done a

The News-Sentinel has done a good job with its coverage of this incident.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

reform4's picture

hate doesn't exist in a vacuum

The guy was facing unemployment, losing his food stamps, rising food prices, trying to feedan SUV, and problems related to the VA and who knows what. Perhaps he just reached the end of his rope and found something to latch onto as his way out of this life. The hate came out of issues that we as a community and a nation can address.

It's not that random.

Let's not forget to ta abount these other issues.

gttim's picture

Well, he does not have to

Well, he does not have to worry about unemployment, food, gas prices, VA issues or much of anything anymore. Most of this will be taken care of for him. He will have other problems to deal with, however. He does have to worry about hating gay people. That is about to cause him some serious self-hatred issues.

Anonymous's picture

Amen

Amen

Mello's picture

In a time of confusion

In a time of confusion, while waiting to hear from friends as to what we can do to assist these families another friend pointed me to one small yet very positive action we can take. Go give blood.

My friend Lee pointed this out to me. Thanks, Lee.

Mention the TVUUC account and they will be credited

(link...)

gonzone's picture

Hotel Rwanda

This reminds me of Hotel Rwanda and how hate radio was used to stir up people against one another and the massacres that followed.
Real sickness, hate radio. (yeah, you know who you are.)

As Jesus showed, the lovers of peace are often the first victims of violence. This senseless attack reinforces it. May God have mercy on his soul 'cause I don't think the state of TN is gonna have any pity.

My heart goes out to the people who have endured this madness. Real justice might demand that those who stir up such twisted passions in these mentally unbalanced people also pay a penalty. No profit there, eh?

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter S. Thompson

R. Neal's picture

RJ Eskow at Huffington Post:

RJ Eskow at Huffington Post: Monster: Who Really Killed the Knoxville Unitarians?

Jim Adkisson of Powell, Tennessee was the man with his finger on the trigger. He had mental health problems, and a hard and bitter life. He apparently left a letter explaining that he hated the church for its liberal beliefs and opinions. And the church had a sign outside indicating it welcomed gays and lesbians.

Who really killed those Unitarians? Was it the preachers who spread hatred and intolerance? The politicians who court and flatter them instead of condemning their hate speech? The media machine that attacks liberals, calls them "traitors" and suggests you speak to them "with a baseball bat"? The economic system that batters people like Jim Adkinson until they snap, then tells them their real enemies are gays and liberals and secular humanists?

If you ask me, it was all of the above.

gonzone's picture

Darn

I wish I could express myself so well as Eskow.

He gets it exactly right.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter S. Thompson

Factchecker's picture

I'm reluctant to step out of

I'm reluctant to step out of the grief and sorrow of this and into speculating, finger pointing, etc. But such discussions are one of the reasons we're here and we must get our lives back on track however we can.

It does disturb me that the "it takes two sides" claim, also known as being "Fair and Balanced," too often prevails anymore. This is a copout and one of the worst forms of modern political correctness. Very sadly it has effectively replaced the Fairness Doctrine.

I find Rikki's comment to be fairly spot on. Huge, mainstream sections of the right routinely use hate as a tool to fire up their flocks while insisting they aren't just using metaphors. How many times does Rush punctuate with "I'm not kidding, folks!"? Don't forget the GOP woman on Fox who had two successive Freudian slips: one calling OBL "Obama," and then laughing that she or "they" would like him killed off too. Ha ha.

Only when something like this event occurs do they distance themselves from such events. You never hear anything remotely similar coming from the left. To the extent you may, it's not more than an occasional misguided extremist, or just a normal person emotionally overreacting, and who has an audience no bigger than the size of this one, compared to millions who ditto Rush, Coulter, Savage, Hannity, O'Reilly, Liddy, et. al. for many hours every day. And their words are very selective and deliberate.

No doubt this guy is mentally unstable. But how many more of these guys are out there? Many, I fear. And which party's policies are really most responsible for the widespread societal problems that pushed this guy off the deep? And who's encouraging the marginally stable to take the final plunge?

Perhaps it's time again to obtain the sponsor lists of hate radio and organize a boycott campaign. It's something. Maybe a start.

gonzone's picture

Let's Call It

Let's call this what it really is: terrorism.

And from what I can tell, terrorism looks to be distinctively a product of right-wing zealots.
Osama bin Laden, the Al Queda, the Taliban, The Wahabis, and the nuts we have right here in America. The difference is they're mainstream here and not a fringe element. How many stations broadcast the daily message of hate from the "media personalities" mentioned above? Can anyone realistically deny they are mainstream?

And why do they have a voice? Why are they tolerated? Why are they so prolific? One reason: PROFIT

Fear and greed are very profitable indeed. Stop living your life in fear and you've defeated terrorism. Stop coveting your neighbor's goods and you've defeated greed. Stop listening to hate speech from our right wing nut media personalities and you've moved away from cognitive dissonance that requires a daily affirmation from those greed merchants.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter S. Thompson

Factchecker's picture

Common ground

FWIW, I hadn't read the last few comments while I was composing mine.

Also, my thoughts are with all of those who were in attendance, as well as my deepest sympathies and condolences to the victims and their families. I'm having trouble focusing today, but am most concerned for them. Thanks for your statements too, Randy and others.

Anonymous's picture

Shooting

Somehow I knew George Bush was connected to this....

"That to me sounds like it would be actionable. Half the crap these morons spew, including the chief moron at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., is actionable. But alas, no action."

bill young's picture

"The least of these my brethren"

"he will separate them one from the another as a shepard separates the sheep from the goats and he will place the sheep at his right hand but,the goats at the left.Then the King will say to those at his right hand,"Come,O blessed of my Father,inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;

for I was hungry and you gave me food.I was thirsty and you gave me drink,I was a stranger and you welcomed me,I was naked & you clothed me,I was sick & you visited me,I was in prison and you came to me.

Then the righteous will answer him,'Lord,when did we see thee hungry and feed thee,or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee,or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'

And the King will answer them,"Truly,I say to you,as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren,you did it onto me."

A few years back there was song titled "What if God was One of Us."From this passage I gather that the "foundation of the world"
means God is all of us.

The way in which the God in all of us can be served is to work everyday to create a just "foundation of the world" in this transitory life.

However,according to scripture,righteousness alone will not allow us to sit on the right hand.We must truly understand the frailty of the "foundation of the world" & treat the"least of these my brethern." with dignity.

These wonderful people of this peaceful church welcome the "least of these my brethren".

Joe P.'s picture

My deepest sympathies

My deepest sympathies for those many, many folks caught up in this tragic event. Like many, I have friends who attend there or have in the past, and I know we all hate the history of the church has been marked by such a crime.

Thanks for your work to provide info on what happened, too, and for tracking responses to this terrible event.

gonzone's picture

Desired Things

Please allow me to post this poem as a memorial to those lost and as a wish to those injured in one way or another by this tragedy.

"Desiderata" (Latin for "desired things", plural of desideratum)

-- written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s --

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter S. Thompson

Stan G's picture

Give it a Break

new Let's Call It
Submitted by gonzone on Mon, 2008/07/28 - 2:09pm.

Let's call this what it really is: terrorism.

How about we call it what it appears to have been, “Attempted Suicide.”

Perhaps his reasoning was like other indiscriminate shooters before him because he wanted to be known rather than to be a body found against a tree with a shotgun in his mouth and his brain missing; or, in this case, because he retained enough of his Christian upbringing that he feared the possible consequences of suicide or because he feared the repercussions of killing Christians and used the UU’s as what he might have considered a safe congregation to stage his suicide.

While I consider myself to be more liberal than conservative, this is not the time to blame the administration, Republicans, Conservative Christians, gun-nuts, etc. It is a time to come together to support those who were physically and emotionally damaged by this tragic event.

gonzone's picture

Touch a nerve?

I'm afraid I must disagree.

The guy was a hater.

The hate motivated him to go to that specific place and commit murder.

Hate crimes are acts of terrorism.

I agree this is the time to come together and support those affected by this event. I pray for them even now that they might have healing.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
Hunter S. Thompson

Rachel's picture

Not today, and maybe not

Not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but it sure wouldn't hurt this community to have an honest discussion about respect for those who may be different from the local mainstream.

Pam Strickland's picture

This is an excellent idea,

This is an excellent idea, Rachel.

Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

lovable liberal's picture

Calling this terrorism is

Calling this terrorism is not (necessarily, anyway) an accusation against anyone but the shooter. It's just a label rightly applied to violence with a political motivation (even if there appear to have been other motives as well). Given all the other things that have been called terrorism over the past seven years, this clearly qualifies. In fact, many of those have been wild exaggerations, where this isn't.

Liberty and justice for all.

My home

R. Neal's picture

Powerful stuff: (I agree

Powerful stuff:

(I agree with Brian A.'s comment above, the KNS is doing an outstanding job of covering this tragedy.)

ANGRYWOLF's picture

Well this seems to have caused an all out war...

between liberals verses conservatives and believers verses nonbelievers....
I find that sad but not surprising.
Liberals have taken a lot of grief from conservatives for years now and the anger for that is out there and was just looking for an outlet....and this, at least locally here......might be it.

RayCapps's picture

Type O Negative

I went down at lunch today and gave my pint on behalf of the Unitarian congregation. I urge the rest to go down and to the same. As many have said here, this is a time for pulling together, for mourning the losses, and for celebrating the heroes inside that building.

Someday soon maybe I'll be ready to debate the possible and alleged causes of this tragedy, but not today. We've had a rash of murders lately by the mentally troubled. There was the patron at the Kingston Pike Hooters who was shot and killed by that young man who later committed suicide by cop in Bearden. There was that mentally disturbed man in Halls who killed the bar patron who was trying to diffuse a confrontation. And now we have this guy. It's all just very, very sad to me right now.

I feel sad for the victims and their loved ones above all else. But I also feel sad for the afflicted who committed the crimes. I've had enough personal experience with the mentally ill to know it's futile to try to ascribe rational triggers to irrational actions. The need usually precedes the justification and any rationalization for gratifying that need will suffice equally well. So I can't even feel rage against the killer... just sadness. If I believed in a god, I might find solace in the thought this might serve some higher purpose somewhere, somehow. But I don't, so there's only an empty, meaningless sadness. If you must, or if you can, find some sort of meaning or purpose to your own sadness, take it.

RayCapps's picture

Updated:

At the time I posted the above, this guy was being portrayed as a mentally disturbed individual, perhaps with a displaced sense of anger over his divorce. Now, as more and more keeps coming to light, this guy is seeming more and more like a Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph. If it turns out this guy was fueled by obsessive hate rather than a mental disease, I'm disgusted at myself for ever having expended even a moment's pity on him.

R. Neal's picture

I'm concerned that he's

I'm concerned that he's being portrayed as mentally disturbed. Obviously he is, but he needs to spend life in prison without parole. That will be tough with an insanity defense. Maybe they can send him to a mental institution until he's "cured," then prison?

rikki's picture

pity the fool

I'm disgusted at myself for ever having expended even a moment's pity on him.

No, he was suicidal and worthy of some pity. McVeigh and Rudolph had every intention to survive and elude justice. This guy just got desperate and chose a horrendously inappropriate venue for his exit, which of course he failed to make.

His animosity toward churches and religion is an important factor. He may have chosen TVUUC in particular for political reasons, but he also had personal motivations for choosing a church. His gripe about the Bible being contradictory is juvenile, a symptom of intellectual rigidity. Contradictions, paradoxes, koans and the like are not always signs of weakness, but lessons about a world too complex to fit into neat categories. He seems to have never matured past the adolescent rejection stage into a mature view that can hold contradictions in balance.

That is a common weakness exhibited not just by right-wing ideologues, but also by atheists and rationalists. It's an important component of this tragedy. He seems to have actually believed that the liberals would not put up a fight. Intellectual rigidity, meet gullibility.

redmondkr's picture

seriously trying to pin any

seriously trying to pin any sort of blame on talk radio ?

From today's KNS:

Inside the house, officers found "Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder" by radio talk show host Michael Savage, "Let Freedom Ring" by talk show host Sean Hannity, and "The O'Reilly Factor," by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly.

Quite [sic] now folks, I'm receiving another transmission from the WNOX mothership..

You may want to get yourself of an aluminum foil hat.


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Remember Stonewall's picture

Gay and Lesbians at risk

Do not forget, please, that much hate is still directed to the GLBTQ community. Gary Elgin has it right. We need to hear from the mayor and from others too,

(link...)

Anonymous's picture

yeah well that chickenshit

yeah well that chickenshit mayor haslam needs to get in front of a camera and speak to the gay community instead of hiding behind an email response.

he is terrified of pissing off his right wing buddies by actually appearing on camera defending the rights of the "other" Knoxvillians.

He is the Mayor of Wingnutville if he doesn't, not the Mayor of Knoxville. He needs to worry about his constituents being shot and killed by right-wing haters instead of his electability down the road to some other office.

Rachel's picture

Someone at TVUUC told me

Someone at TVUUC told me today that the City's response to this tragedy has been very good. I thought the Mayor's response to Elgin was also good.

I don't think we should sweep discussion of the issues this shooting has brought up under the rug, but I do think we should have said discussion in a thoughtful, respectful manner.

Your post about the Mayor is way out of line on both counts.

B. Paone's picture

The Mayor of Wingnutville...

...is Norman Ball.

Hildegard's picture

Oh Irony, thy name is Anonymous

It is so cool to call the Mayor "chickenshit" and accuse him of hiding and worrying about who he might piss off...anonymously.

Treehouse's picture

Don't dis the mayor

Mayor Haslam asked the city firefighters to clean up the mess in the TVUUC sanctuary and saved our church members and volunteers from that horrible task. He has shown a lot of support in this action and was humble when I thanked him. Please don't contribute to divisiveness at this time. We need all the community to pull together and some need time to learn about tolerance.

MarylandBear's picture

From a former Knoxvillian

I haven't lived in Knoxville for nearly 20 years now, but I still think of it as my hometown, and ever since I heard the news on my way to church Sunday evening, I've been in a state of near shock.

If I was still in Knoxville, I doubt I would have been a member of TVUUC (I've visited a Unitarian church here in Maryland, and, while I found a lot to admire in their beliefs, I prefer a more traditionally Christian church. That's not a criticism of them; its merely a matter of personal preference.), but I can't help but think I would have known people there and called them my friends.

I am working hard to contain my anger at the fact that shooter was apparently motivated by the "its okay to hate your political opponents" that's all too common in today's society.

And I'll grant that kind of rhetoric comes from both sides of the political spectrum. Yes, I perceive more of it coming from the right, but that's a case of my own ox being gored.

But the question that keeps coming to my mind is, "dammit, whatever happened to the idea that 'honest persons disagree'?"

I'm personally swearing off nasty debate. I'll still debate politics, but only if its reasonable and rationed. I want the roundtable on ABC's This Week, not the shouting matches that pass for political conversation all too often in America today. Its a small gesture, I admit, but I want to do something.

On another note, is there any kind of memorial fund set up for the victims? Maybe a scholarship fund for the kids who were there? I was about to pull out my credit card and send flowers to TVUUC yesterday, but I thought cash would be more beneficial.

Factchecker's picture

Just casual everyday Fox Noise

Watched Stewart's clip last night of Faux News where somebody (a "Fox Friend," maybe?) said that the space where Obama chose to speak in Germany was "linked to Hitler." (Well, it was in Germany.) What point could he have possibly been trying to make? Hmmm, I can't imagine.

Hayduke's picture

"Monument linked to Hitler?

"Monument linked to Hitler? He's in Germany! You know how a lot of things in this country can be linked to Kevin Bacon? Well, in Germany, it's Hitler. It doesn't take six steps. Hey, look, Obama's in a Volkswagen. A car linked to Hitler!" -Jimmy Kimmel

tin cup's picture

Hey Ax, then blame this guy......

Hmmm.... the guy says that he's targeting liberals, and we're supposed to believe that he wasn't politically motivated.

He may have had some warped political motivation. The problem is when Libs - as they typically do - want to blame others for this nut's actions (Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, et al....hell, Conservatism and Conservatives in general are all to blame!)

Here's breaking news for all Libs tuned in....It is possible for a white, Southern, Christian, Conservative, male who belongs to the NRA and is a fan of Limbaugh and Hannity and O'Reilly to be appalled and saddened by this act. And I agree that we should do everything we can to nail this kook and do what we can to make sure it doesn't happen again. I'm sad for the victims, their families and this community.

rikki's picture

do what we can to make sure

do what we can to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Would that include distancing yourself from the eliminationist rhetoric of asswipes like Ann Coulter? Would that include recognizing that equating liberals with terrorists, as most of the right spent all of 2002, 2003 and 2004 doing, is grossly dishonest, divisive and reprehensible?

It is patently obvious that Adkisson is responsible for his own actions, but that does not preclude examining contributing factors. Pretending that talking about these contributing factors amounts to "blaming others for this nut's actions" is just another example of the rigid, adolescent thinking that deadens conversation.

I'm waiting for some of you conservatives to grow up and take a stand against the vile bastards among your ranks, whether it is war criminals like Donald Rumsfeld or liars like Rush Limbaugh. I'm not sure any of you have the courage, but maybe if you explain what you can do to make sure this sort of thing does not happen again, you can earn a little respect.

metulj's picture

By pointing this out, you

By pointing this out, you are dancing in the blood. Just ask Edens.

True happiness is knowing you are a hypocrite. -- Ivor Cutler

Anonymous's picture

Just a thought....

As I read through the arguements in this blog today, I am reminded of the following passage:

"1 Corinthians 13

Love

If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

MarylandBear's picture

Scriptures for Comfort

Well, if you want comforting scriptures, I figure you can't go wrong with:

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I recited what I could remember of it on 9/11.

I'm also reminded of what my pastor teaches is the real message of Revelation -- its not the end of the world, the ultimate point is, in the end, God triumphs. Good will win out.

Factchecker's picture

Don't muzzle me, bro

I'd like to know how a tradegy [sic] for all concerned becomes a political issue

Way off base in my opinion

It becomes a political issue when it was revealed that the assailant targeted liberals because he blamed them (i.e., us) for all his problems and hated them (i.e., us). Wherever could he have gotten such notions?

This was a terrorist act against the political beliefs of people on this blog, or hadn't you noticed where you're posting? So I do take personal offense when WE were collectively attacked, and I don't think it's inappropriate to speak out to that. Is it fair in your world that we should feel muzzled?

Oh by the way, I knew Greg and he was a very good person. Kind and caring, he was the embodiment of compassion. Yet I never once talked politics with him. I have no idea what his political views were. So a friend of mine was just slaughtered based on his presumed politics (or social beliefs). The killer didn't even know one way or the other, and yet some of us really are liberal and proudly so. We are all purple too in that we embody many conservative ideals in various ways. If the assailant was just suicidal, he didn't need to target anybody else. Yet he targeted people, OUR people, for their freakin’ politics. Greg died for us. Very many of us.

And some people keep wondering why I post anonymously. Again, I believe there are MANY Jim Adkissons out there. The only difference is the mental stability factor. Who knows where that lies? It only takes one to cause a lot of hurt.

These troubled people should stop being mined by the political right, which extracts blame against the left for all of society's problems.

rikki's picture

risk, not blame

Again, I believe there are MANY Jim Adkissons out there.

That is an important point. I have been listening to Catherine Howell on WNOX. She is doing a great job trying to keep the discussion productive, but many of the callers are hung up on blame. Adkisson is to blame. It is important to talk about the role of politics and hateful radio not to assign blame for Adkisson's actions, but to assess whether this kind of thing will happen again.

It could happen again in Knoxville; it could happen many places. A lot of us thought the probability of a suicide spree in our town was zero, but it wasn't. Did we just go bust on a 10,000 to 1 shot or a 100,000 to 1 shot? How are those odds impacted by Mark Levin screaming condemnation at liberals night after night after night? How are they impacted by economic problems?

There is a background probability in any community of someone becoming desperate enough to go on a suicide spree; does hateful radio increase the number of sprees or just the choice of targets? It is important to talk about the media's role in this tragedy because it speaks to the danger facing other churches, other towns and all of us, and I commend Ms Howell for confronting this issue. That is surely the right thing to do to minimize the odds of further tragedy.

Mark Siegel's picture

How is that discussion going?

That is an important point. I have been listening to Catherine Howell on WNOX. She is doing a great job trying to keep the discussion productive, but many of the callers are hung up on blame.

How is that discussion going? I listened to about an hour of it on Monday, but haven't had time to listen to any more on that station since.

When I listened, I had the impression Ms. Howell was primarily trying to convince herself that her station bore no responsibility for Adkisson's hatreds, and was quite happy to listen to callers spewing generalities about lying, deceptive liberals without questioning them.

Maybe I was wrong, or maybe the discussion progressed. I hope so.

Stan G's picture

Not to defend Adkisson’s

Not to defend Adkisson’s actions, but let’s keep in mind that the public has not read the letter so we really don’t know that his intent was to kill liberals although it seems clear that he had developed an intense hatred of liberals. As someone has suggested, there’s a good chance that had he been employed, he would not have been sitting at home listening to conservative talk radio.

For starters, let’s take the NS subheading, “Suspect’s note cites ‘liberal movement’ for church attack.” Has the NS read the note that according to Owen will not be made public until the trial? The article itself reads, “Owen said it appeared Adkisson targeted the TVUUC because the “church had received some publicity regarding its liberal stance.” Is it not possible that Adkisson mentioned the liberal movement as one of the reasons that he no longer chose to live?

The NS article goes on to state, “While police said Adkisson did not mention his ex-wife in the note, they said she attended the TVUUC years ago. That’s how he selected TVUUC to unleash his frustrations, police said.” That to me does imply that he went to TVUUC specifically to kill liberals. In arrears, we know he went there to kill with the intent of being killed. After he’s gone, who possibly would have to bear the guilt for his actions?

Two ironies in my opinion, the first in Monday’s NS where on the page opposite a story about Sunday’s tragedy there’s an apparently unrelated article about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. As I recall, the local Crisis Hotline closed because it lacked funding.

The second goes back many years to the time when I first attended TVUC (before it became TVUUC). The minister at the time turned me off because he would almost consistently find someway to talk about those people across the street – apparently meaning the members of Calvary Baptist Church – and often he became extremely emotional to the point of tears. After a few sermons, I connected the dots and concluded, right or wrong, that his ex-wife had become a conservative Christian and was raising their daughter in her church.

Again, I’m not condoning Adkisson’s actions. I met Greg many years ago and was a member a social group with his wife, Barbara, before they married. At this time, however, I personally am not willing to judge the reasons for Adkisson’s actions.

Stan G's picture

Type O Negative Submitted by

Type O Negative
Submitted by RayCapps on Mon, 2008/07/28 - 4:57pm.

I went down at lunch today and gave my pint on behalf of the Unitarian congregation. I urge the rest to go down and to the same. As many have said here, this is a time for pulling together, for mourning the losses, and for celebrating the heroes inside that building.

I stopped by MEDIC today and was told that there isn't an organized blood drive for the victims of the UU tragedy. Obviously, blood was used and needs to be replaced so donations as always are needed. If anyone knows of one of the victims who needs a replacement donation, let me know. I'll call the church in the morning.

I expect to die long before my MEDIC membership expires.

Treehouse's picture

What does terrorism look like?

"Here's breaking news for all Libs tuned in....It is possible for a white, Southern, Christian, Conservative, male who belongs to the NRA and is a fan of Limbaugh and Hannity and O'Reilly to be appalled and saddened by this act."

I appreciate your posting this because I, a liberal, didn't know this. To me, the face of terrorism looks like an old white man from East Tennessee who easily got a gun from a pawn shop, was angry about a divorce, had trouble finding a job even with some skills, probably didn't get good care from the VA which he deserved, and probably believed the crap spewed by right-wing radio. There are too many people out there who fit that description and I am scared and my gay friends are scared. I know liberals care for each other, the environment, and the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of each individual. I am not scared among them. Do you care about me?

reform4's picture

If it helps...

Someone told me today that although they would never agree with some tenets of my church "I am with you." Granted, this guy is a WHOLE lot more enlightened than most Hannity followers and Limbots. I guess the question is how many people read those books and actually believe 100% of it?

I've met a lot of Limbaugh listeners that say they don;t believe half of what he says, but they still listen "for the entertainment." Me, I don't see the entertainment value... but the Romans thought feeding Christians to the lions was 'entertainment' too, so I guess there's the irony.

Rachel's picture

"entertainment"

I heard someone today call what Rush et al. do "hatertainment."

Seems appropriate.

RayCapps's picture

I don't know, either...

But I suspect it's closely related to the appeal of the Democratic Underground. It seems to me these are places for people to go to feel support for their own beliefs, to be pumped up, encouraged, recharged, and what not. By their very nature these types of places are completely over the top in both attitude and content. Places like these can have a value, but it doesn't seem like a healthy place to spend all your time. Thoughts and ideas and beliefs and values have to be challenged as well as nurtured. Unless something is regularly exposed to the crucible of serious debate, it can turn into dogma. More dangerous, if you aren't regularly engaged with people who don't view the world the way you do, there's a danger of seeing these people as evil, twisted, terrorists, criminals, or (insert negative identifier here).

I guess it's still way too soon after the tragedy. The winds keep changing as to what motivated this particular individual. Was he torn apart by internal demons and just latching onto something, anything, he could use to justify his pre-existing desires to his already diseased mind? Or was he an over zealous disciple of a right wing ideology, someone who decided he needed to try on the martyr's robes and go strike a terrorist blow for his beliefs? Those are two very different things. Our response to them ought to be different as well. I've already shot my mouth off both one way then the other on this board. I'm now trying to make myself wait and see. But that question is really bothering me. Why? Why did he do this?

reform4's picture

oops double post

bizgrrl's picture

That's what Knoxville is, a consequence

From the Miami Herald by Leonard Pitts Jr.:

...

Unable to say what they [liberals] believe or to frame it any compelling way, they have allowed themselves to be defined instead from without, standing ineffectual in a mudstorm of invective. They are, the propaganda goes, effete, unpatriotic, unstable, un-American, anti-God, evil, and the source of a voter's every problem, down to and including the death of his goldfish and the breakup of his marriage.

It is so over the top, so patently ridiculous, it's almost funny. Until you remember that dehumanizing people inevitably has consequences.

That's what Knoxville is, a consequence.

No, conservatives did not cause this bloodbath. Jim Adkisson allegedly did. But in telling him ''liberals'' were the source of his every disaffection and woe, conservatives certainly validated the hatred and madness that drove him.

It would be a fitting tribute to those who were lost in Knoxville if this tragedy gave the authors of the ongoing morality play cause for pause -- and reflection. Or is accountability yet another lost conservative value?

...

Unable to say what they believe or to frame it any compelling way

Unable. So true. So many times I have to look around before I discuss healthcare, Social Security, Medicare, diversity, education, conservation, global warming, and more. There are so many people who will argue against the government's need to help others. They just look the other way when they see people living on the streets, unable to afford enough food, unable to afford healthcare. They are unable to accept that their neighbor was born elsewhere. I get so tired of the callousness. Some day we [liberals, progressives, whatever] will shout loud enough to be heard. I hope.

lovable liberal's picture

Accountability

Or is accountability yet another lost conservative value?

One look at the Bushists answers this with an emphatic yes.

Liberty and justice for all.

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