Richard Poplawski: Was Pittsburgh Shooter Driven By Right-wing Gun Paranoia About Obama?

[media id=7766] Some of the early reports out of Pittsburgh indicate the man who shot three cops today was fearful that the Obama administration was

Some of the early reports out of Pittsburgh indicate the man who shot three cops today was fearful that the Obama administration was going to "take away his guns."

A man opened fire on officers during a domestic disturbance call Saturday morning, killing three of them, a police official said. Friends said he feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.

Three officers were killed, said a police official at the scene who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Police spokeswoman Diane Richard would only say that at least five officers were wounded, but wouldn't give any other details.

... One friend, Edward Perkovic, said the gunman feared "the Obama gun ban that's on the way" and "didn't like our rights being infringed upon." Another longtime friend, Aaron Vire, said he feared that President Obama was going to take away his rights, though he said he "wasn't violently against Obama."

Perkovic, a 22-year-old who said he was the gunman's best friend, said he got a call at work from him in which he said, "Eddie, I am going to die today. ... Tell your family I love them and I love you."

He feared an Obama gun grab? Gee, I wonder where he could have heard that.

Indeed, a story replete with NRA-style fearmongering about the looming "grab" -- which has been fueling a run on guns at local shops -- ran just three days ago in the Pittsburgh Tribune.

We've been reporting for awhile on the surge in gun sales, and how the paranoia around guns is making the more unstable elements of the right particularly edgy. Inevitably, that edginess is going to break out into actual violence -- as it appears to have done today.

Ironically, this is exactly the kind of incident that law-enforcement intelligence-gathering is supposed to help prevent -- intelligence like the Missouri State Patrol report so hysterically attacked by these same paranoid right-wingers. I tried to explain at the time that these kinds of extremists are in fact a very real danger to people in law enforcement, but all anyone on the right wanted to talk about was Ron Paul bumper stickers. Well, there you go.

My new book is looking more timely all the time. We'll have an announcement about it Monday.

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