It may not be what you think.
His web postings reflect “a jumble” of far right views. And some anti-Semitic white nationalists shed no tears over Gabrielle Giffords.
The alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, has links to the far right.
On My Space, he acknowledged he had political motives. “I define terrorist,” he said, adding he was using violence “as a political weapon.” In his rambling messages on the web, he railed about the U.S. currency and the need to return to the gold standard, which are views that often circulate among the tea party crowd and other on the far right. He also, according to the Guardian, was anti-abortion.
And Greta van Susteren of Fox reports that “strong suspicion is being directed at AmRen / American Renaissance. Suspect is possibly linked to this group. (through videos posted on his myspace and YouTube account.). The group’s ideology is anti government, anti immigration, anti ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti Semitic.”
As Chip Berlet, for decades one of the most perceptive analysts of the far right in America, notes:
“The writings of Jared Lee Loughner are an odd jumble of right-wing Patriot and anti-Federal Reserve themes mixed with rhetoric similar to that from people who are mentally unbalanced.” Berlet adds: “Aggressive right-wing rhetoric targeting Democrats as treasonous encourages some unstable people to act out in aggression or violence.”
Rep. Giffords’s father, Spencer Giffords, was asked if his daughter had any enemies. “Yeah,” he told The New York Post. “The whole Tea Party.”
In “Taking Tea Partiers Seriously,” Chip Berlet in the February 2010 issue of The Progressive warned of the risk of violence associated with the tea party contingent. “A few in their midst project their frustration, anger, and rage into acts of violence,” he said.
And in my article, “Is Fascism Coming to America?” (The Progressive, June 2010), Berlet said that “the mentally unstable people act first,” and then some militia or white supremacist group might do a ‘propaganda of the deed’ [a dramatic violent act] to move the tea party into armed revolt.” In spelling out “some things to watch out for” on the road to fascism, I mentioned: “More armed rallies, mob violence, the assassination of a liberal elected official or media star, the celebration of that violence by members of the rightwing mass movement….”
And so I click on the virulently racist website Storefront, which has the slogan “White Pride, World Wide.” And while some on the blog thread express sorrow and sympathy, I also find the following: “I quickly found out that she is jewish” “Never in history of mankind a revolution unfolded without bloodshed.”
“I'd say the Turner Diaries describes it best for us.”
“She was just another Israel-first khazaress working to disarm the White Man, but she did it with a smile on her face. Don't be a sucker.”
“No one is shedding over a dead joo politician, but this kind of behavior is barbaric. She fell victim to her own tribes propaganda.”
“All wars are "barbaric" the zionist war on us whitey globally is gonna be much more "barbaric" when it is finally unleashed on us than anything in history. The opening shots have already been fired in our collective white heads.”
Berlet warned, in the fascism article, that no matter how much revulsion there might be in the society at large to an act of violence, it won’t necessarily dampen the appeal of the far right.
“After Timothy McVeigh,” Berlet said, “the militia movement continued to grow for two years.”
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Shame on Sarah Palin."
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter