Mark Potok Lays Out Potential Motives Behind Giffords Assassination Attempt

Keith Olbermann talked to the SPLC's Mark Potok about what the possible motivation behind the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Griffords may have been. OLBERMANN: Loughner's Internet trail, does it tell us anything about his politics? Does
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Keith Olbermann talked to the SPLC's Mark Potok about what the possible motivation behind the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Griffords may have been.

OLBERMANN: Loughner's Internet trail, does it tell us anything about his politics? Does that specific reference to the 8th District, the Congresswoman's district, does that step out of the incoherence or just part of the incoherence?

POTOK: Well you're right that reading through all of his materials or the materials that are purported to be his he sounds quite mad... out of his mind. But there is a thread through the material that really seems pretty clear and that thread has to do with seeing the government as an enemy. The books you mentioned, there's a theme that runs through all of them, particularly the Ayn Rand book; the idea of the individual against the state, but there are ideas, like the idea of the only legitimate currency being backed by gold instead of silver; that's a core idea of the radical right in this country.

The idea weirdly enough of controlling grammar, of somehow the government using grammar to control the people is an idea that exists on the radical right. There's a particular person, a man named David Wynn Miller who has plugged this idea for years. This man also talked quite a lot in these strange videos of his about what he called conscience dreaming but I think it's almost certainly meant to be conscious dreaming which is an idea that also has been kind of tossed around on the radical right, in particular by a kind of British conspiracy theorist by the name of David Icke. So a lot of these ideas, his burning of the flag, his talking about the government as treasonous and using mind control to control the rest of us and so on, these are all ideas or kind of shards of ideas that exist very much on the radical right.

And then of course as the Pima sheriff said so dramatically and so truly I think, you know you add those kinds of ideas to just the amazing level of vitriol out there on the air waves and also in addition to what the sheriff said, coming from politicians, and it is not entirely surprising, you know, that someone like this acts out.

Keith asked Mark Potok if in fact Jared Loughner is just one extremely disturbed individual, does that “exonerate those that put the cross-hairs on Ms. Giffords” and “those who use language demonizing liberals, or Democrats or just leaving the party out of it, people in office, incumbents, or does it simply underscore why such language, no matter what direction it's pointed in is so ill advised.”

POTOK: I think the latter. I think there's no exoneration for the people who talk about... who make these... who will repeat these kind of falsehoods on the air and in public squares all over this country. You know, the people who say it's not about health care, it's about the president wanting to kill your grandmother. It's not about immigration reform, it's about a secret plot on the part of Mexico to reconquer the Southwestern United States, and on and on and on.

Thank you Mark Potok for that. It's a sad day for Democracy as Keith Olbermann expressed in his special comment when one of our political parties has turned to terrorism as a political tactic, and that's exactly what the right wing and the Republicans have done while being given a free pass from our useless corporate media.

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