WASHINGTON — A man opened fire inside a conservative Christian lobbying group’s headquarters Wednesday, wounding a security guard, and authorities said the gunman was carrying extra ammunition and information related toChick-fil-A, which has become a public symbol of opposition to gay marriage.
The incident began about 10:45 a.m., officials said, when [Floyd Lee Corkins, 28] walked into the lobby of the Family Research Council and muttered something. When a security guard confronted him, the man opened fire with a 9-millimeter pistol and hit the guard in the arm, a senior law enforcement official told The Times. Several people helped the guard wrestle the gunman to the ground and disarm him.
Here’s the part that is causing the most recent shit storm:
Corkins, whose parents said he strongly supported gay rights, had a backpack full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a box of ammunition when he said words to the effect of “I don’t like your politics” and shot a security guard, authorities said.
This is the reason why I really don’t like writing about shooting incidents. Everyone has their own initial reaction about their motivation, and in many cases it’s just flat out wrong. Scott Roeder, Dr. Tiller’s murder? Well, okay, that one was pretty obvious. But if you look at the noise generated after incidents like the Tuscon shooting of 2011, the Aurora shooting, the Sikh temple, and now this … every one falls victim to an instantaneous investigation by media that usually involves jumping on every single detail about their lives and amplifying it until no one can hear anything anymore.
Yet, at the same time, what I do hear doesn’t surprise me. When was the last time you heard of an “atheist extremist” – as in, a person whose non-belief was so passionate that he thought he’s gun down a church to show the world there’s no god? I admit it may have happened somewhere … but I haven’t heard of any, and I suspect it’s rare to say the least. On the other hand, turn on the TV and you’ll see religious fundamentalists blowing each other up and throwing acid on women who dare to go out without the proper “modesty”. Sure, I can see why people can conclude that religion is a motivating factor, while non-belief is generally not.
How about politics? That one’s even easier. One of the implications made these days is that many of these “lone gunmen” are right wing lunatics who have listened to too much Fox News or Rush Limbaugh and become “radicalized” by their rhetoric. The problem is that over the last decade or so, the political position of the right has moved so far over the brink that serious presidential candidates were discussing, among other topics: secession from the Union, a Muslim takeover of the government with the help of its current president, and a plot by the same president to invade everyone’s homes to take away their guns.
What does that sound like to you? It’s the same kind of paranoid crap you’d hear from a guy on a street corner holding a sign saying, “TEH END IS NEAR! REPENT!” I don’t think we should necessarily be thinking about how the politics of these people has been sounding increasingly “right-wing”, but instead how many conservative politicians have tailored their rhetoric to sound almost exactly like these people instead. So, now when some schizophrenic guns down a shopping mall and talks about the government trying to control his mind through fluoridation and vaccines, you can’t help but think of something you might have seen on Glenn Back or Sean Hannity the night before.
Now, take the most recent target of violence, the evangelical Christian group, the Family Research Council. I wrote about them before:
Today’s lesson in logical fallacies comes to you courtesy of the Family “Research” Council. Part of that is in quotes because given some of the things they’ve come up with over the years, like …
… I’m inclined to think they wouldn’t know research if it took a running start, leapt up onto their heads, and danced naked to an extended remix of “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder.
My conclusion is further supported by Tony Perkins of the aforementioned group, who made some interesting parallels during a radio show the other day when he was attempting to defend his constant attacks against the gay community at the expense of doing something useful with his time. This is what his brain was able to cobble together on the fly:
The month of June is Gay Pride Month. Now, I have not yet seen where they have declared Adultery Pride Month, I have not seen where they have declared the Drunkenness Pride Month. Here’s the issue, J.R. [the caller] … it’s not a matter of whether or not someone can do what they want to do with their lives, God gave Adam and Eve a choice, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has gone so far as to label them a hate group … not for their opposition to gay marriage, but for hiding behind “freedom of religion” to fabricate these disturbingly inflammatory and vitriolic claims about homosexuality and its supposed “dangers” to society … none of which is supported by any evidence. They’re a propaganda machine, and it’s that kind of rhetoric that will not only fuel the same hatred and fear of homosexuals that has been going on for centuries, but violence against them as well.
I can see why Floyd Lee Corkins may have felt the way he did about them … but to act on those feelings in a way that bypasses both the rule of law and human decency by attempting to take another person’s life is inexcusable. For their part, dozens of LGBT groups have condemned the shooting, especially in light of additional details that came showing he had connections with one of their organizations. Extremists can have any belief system that could eventually drive them to kill, and it’s rarely ever as simple as saying they’ve watched too much Fox News or had a stack of bibles in his garage. But the fact that such associations are so commonly made should bring attention to where the discourse in this country has been going, and that may be where the root of the problem lies.