Cross-posted at BigJournalism.
Already, the media has jumped on the John Patrick Bedell story, claiming that he was a raving right winger “with virulent antigovernment feelings,” as the Christian Science Monitor puts it. And, just as they did with the Joseph Stack case, they’re ignoring the evidence in order to come to that conclusion.
John Patrick Bedell, whom authorities identified as the gunman in the Pentagon shooting on Thursday, appears to have been a right-wing extremist with virulent antigovernment feelings.
If so, that would make the Pentagon shooting the second violent extremist attack on a federal building within the past month. On Feb. 18, Joseph Stack flew a small aircraft into an IRS building in Austin, Texas. Mr. Stack left behind a disjointed screed in which, among other things, he expressed his hatred of the government.
“If so…” That’s a pretty big “if.”
Let’s start by noting that Bedell was a registered Democrat. The media has completely and conveniently ignored that little fact.
They’ve also ignored that he was anti-military; he believed the military murdered Marine Colonel James Sabow. This is a conspiracy theory popular among left-wingers, who believe that Sabow, whose death was ruled a suicide by official investigators, was killed because he knew too much about drug- and weapons-smuggling activities at his military base.
He was anti-Bush; his amazon.com reading list included left wing tomes like The Immaculate Deception: The Bush Crime Family Exposed, and Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces that Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America.
He thought that the Bush Administration had staged 9/11 in order to centralize government power:
This organization, like so many murderous governments throughout history, sacrifice of thousands of its citizens in an event such as the September 11th attacks, as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control. This collection of gangsters would find it in their interests to foment conflict and initiate wars throughout the world in order to divert attention from their misconduct and criminality. The true nature of such a regime would find its clearest expression in Satanic violence currently ongoing in Iraq.
This mirrors Noam Chomsky far more than Rush Limbaugh; meanwhile, the media is attempting to play it off as some sort of legitimate “right-wing” perspective. Real conservatives look at the 9/11 truthers as complete dolts, and complete left-wing dolts at that. This guy was more Van Jones (a fellow 9/11 truther) than John Boehner or Sarah Palin.
He supported legalization of marijuana, as the media reported immediately. That’s not in the Republican or Tea Party program.
He was a 36-year-old man going to school full time at San Jose State University – not exactly the hallmark of a right-winger.
Basically, the media is hanging its hat on a rant that Bedell posted at archive.org, in which he made several arguments for less government intrusion and for private property. Here’s a sampling:
The most basic principle of economic justice is the protection of private property and the protection of the right to freely exchange that property. Modern governments, however, consistently and routinely violate the rights of property owners with the assumption – the incorrect assumption – that government can utilize property more efficiently than its lawful owners can. As institutionalized theft by property violation becomes increasingly routine and accepted, it has far-reaching consequences for the character and morality of society as a whole. The injustice of that permeates society and creates disrespect for the law. On the part of ruling elites, the perception is created that society is to be exploited for the benefit of the rulers. Incentives are created to generate and promote ignorance throughout society to conceal the injustice of that. As the institutionalized violence of government is used to violate the rights of individuals to keep and trade their own property, the violation of economic justice inevitably results in the undermining of justice in every other part of society.
So far, this is standard fare. If the media wants to label this “right wing,” that’s at least relatively accurate. But then he runs off the rails:
A criminal organization able to conduct its activities from within the center of power of the United States government would have powerful advantages over other criminal groups. … Such an organization would be able to protect its shipments of illicit drugs into the United States while using the power of law enforcement organization to imprison their would-be competitors, and would subsequently be able to distribute those illicit drugs and launder the enormous profits in the huge and minutely-regulated financial markets of the United States. This criminal organization would use its powers to convert military, intelligence and law enforcement bureaucracies into instruments for political control and the domination and subjection of society while discrediting, destroying and murdering honest individuals within those services that work to root out corruption and faithfully serve their fellow citizens.
This, plainly put, is crazy talk. The media wants to ignore the crazy talk in favor of the intelligible argument, but you simply can’t do that – they’re both part of his comprehensive psychotic worldview which meshes paranoia with leftist hatred of the Bushes and love for pot. He’s half Ron Paul follower, half Lyndon LaRouche delusional. Pillorying him as a typical Tea Partier simply demonstrates the lengths the media will go to destroy the mainstream conservative movement in this country. And that is scurrilous.
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