The Other Tragedy of the Tennessee Church Shootings
July 27, 2008, 58-year-old Jim Adkisson walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church during a children's show and opened fire with a shotgun he had concealed in a guitar case. Adkisson killed two people and wounded six others before being wrestled to the ground.
He had hoped to be killed himself, being distraught over being unable to find a job, but he was subdued before the police could arrive. The motive behind the method of his death wish, however, is just as disturbing. From Huffington Post:
"Adkisson 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 country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.'
"Adkisson told (Police Officer) Still that 'he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.'"
Ironically, he was also angered that his food stamps ran out, a public assistance program that most liberals support and conservatives abhor.
Adkisson targeted this church because he knew that he would find liberals there. The Unitarian Universalist (UU) churches across the nation are known for welcoming all kinds of people. What particularly upset Adkisson is that they welcome gays into their church. UU President William G. Sinkford said, “It will take time for Unitarian Universalists to mourn and to heal. But let me assure you that we will not change our beliefs or compromise our demands for social justice. Fear will not prevent us from standing on the side of love, and we will continue to open our doors and our hearts to all people.
Were Adkisson’s actions those of a deranged man? Perhaps the better question is; Who pushed him to this? Where did he get these ideas?
You don’t have to look far to find out. He purposely left his house unlocked and certain books in clear view to make it clear what his message was. Again, from Huffington Post:
Inside [Adkisson’s] house, officers found "Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder" by radio talk show host Michael Savage, "Let Freedom Ring" by talk show host Sean Hannity, and "The O'Reilly Factor," by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly.
I think it’s a safe bet that Adkisson is also a fan of Rush Limbaugh and other radio talk show personalities like him. They are part of a group of far right wing talk show hosts and political pundits who dominate AM radio and Fox News. Here’s a sample of some the venomous rhetoric directed at liberals that’s standard fare in a typical show for one of these very popular talk show hosts.
"I’ll tell you who should be tortured and killed at Guantanamo — every filthy Democrat in the U.S. Congress." — Sean Hannity
"To fight only the al-Qaeda scum is to miss the terrorist network operating within our own borders... Who are these traitors? Every rotten radical left-winger in this country, that's who." — Michael Savage
"Liberalism is the greatest threat this country faces." — Rush Limbaugh
"I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could." — Glenn Beck
"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too." — Ann Coulter