And then another rampage happens. And dozens upon dozens of youth are murdered viciously by another raving lunatic who has been inspired by some crazy manifestos. Including The Unabomber.
And anti-Muslim blogs not unlike Pam Geller's and Robert Spencer's.
If you've not had a chance to check out Atlas Shrugged, please don't. It's full of vile hatred and conspiracies against Muslims and any people group associated with them. The type that spew outrage about the so-called Ground Zero Mosque and that allege that every evil committed on God's green earth is done by Muslims or their sympathizers.
And the mass murderer linked to her site fifteen times in his "manifesto".
Of course, she is very defensive about this. And now every time another suicide bomber goes off, she wonders what liberal blogger inspired him/her.
Sadly, she doesn't really seem to understand that the policies of First World nations in Yemen, Gaza, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq are more responsible for pulling the triggers than possibly any other direct or indirect influence. Poverty is and breeds violence.
But Geller, like most relatively wealthy Americans, doesn't understand this. Glenn Beck obviously doesn't get this. And so he blames the victims - again - calling their political camp an indoctrination space just like the Hitler youth. (Yes, we all know he says Hitler like Rudy says 9/11, like fish need water, etc.)
The scary part? I saw some people criticize it, and then, out of the woodwork, others were coming out and saying what an inspiration he is. Not apologizing. Not stepping away from. But just short of deifying.
And those that were criticizing him? Apparently, they were actively seeking to censor the voice of reason and dissent on behalf of their Dear Leader, Barack Obama.
I really have no interest in a "debate" with Beck, Limbaugh, Geller or any of their uber-paranoid ditto-heads. There's no point trying to dialogue with blinders. And the mainstream has never really fallen for their claptrap either way. Besides, my heart can only take so much pressure. Rather, I want to look at some take-away lessons:
1) It's not worth engaging with people who fail basic logic. Unless you are good friends with them. And then you have no choice but to do so.
2) The vast majority of the American people are not crazy. They may, for a short period of time, buy into a crazy notion. They may believe that it's high time for the US to default on its loans, if convinced by what's seen as "common sense." Most people are too busy working and living their lives to think deeply and passionately about policies and the parlor games of politics. Those of us who tend to spend our free time doing exactly that (and have wasted innumerable hours both in face and online doing exactly that)
3) Bullying should never be tolerated. Yet, it is generally championed in American society, where Competition is King and the loudest and most explosive voice usually triumphs. To defeat the crazies, we do not need a louder voice, we just need a clearer voice. The marathon of public opinion goes to the one who is calm, reasonable, and clear (cf. McCain V Obama)
4) Take notes from those who call out bullying clearly (like Rachel Held Evans did when addressing Mark Driscoll, and then Grace from Are Women Human did in RHE's defense after she was attacked for taking on the boys club), and from those who speak gracefully when under fire (I also think that Rachel does this well, too).