Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Political hate crime shootings, now in Arkansas

Today, minutes before noon, a gunman entered the Democratic headquarters in Little Rock Arkansas and asked to speak with Bill Gwatney. (Gwatney is the Arkansas Democratic Party Chair and is a former state senator.) A secretary turned him away; yet, he forced his way into Gwatney's office. He shot Gwatney several times. Gwatney is in critical condition in a nearby hospital, reported. The suspect, a white male in his 40s was shot while fleeing police from the shooting scene.

Less than a month ago, on July 27, there was a mass shooting at a liberal Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Two died and six were wounded as a result of the shooting.

Jim David Adkisson, the Tennessee shooter's rage echoed the themes of hate-filled right-wing talk radio. WBIR-TV obtained a letter in which the shooter targeted the church "because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his [sic] country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets." "The Knoxville News Sentinel" reported in Hayes Hickman and Don Jacobs' "Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity on accused shooter's reading list: 4-page letter outlines frustration, hatred of 'liberal movement'" that Indeed, in his home he possessed copies of books by Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity.


Gwatney died from the gun wounds, at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences hospital at 3:49 PM, "Arkansas Business" reported. Here is "Arkansas Business"'s obituary of Gwatney, "Gwatney A Bright Star in Arkansas Politics, Business" by Jan Cottingham. Apparently, Gwatney was more recently chief executive officer of Gwatney Chevrolet in neighboring Jacksonville. He leaves behind his second wife, two daughters and two step-daughters, "The International Herald Tribune" reports.

Police identified the gunman as Timothy Dale Johnson. News outlets have alternately identified the gunman as 50 years old or 51 years old.

By sheer coincidence "Newsday" (of Long Island, New York) this morning published an opinion piece, "Does shock jock hate speech lead to violence?"
The New York Times reported that politics had no role in the shooting.

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