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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/1/12

Paranoia Takes Four Lives In Family Tragedy. How Much Of It Was Fueled By The Right's Hatred Of Obama?

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Family Tragedy Fueled By Right's Rhetoric
Family Tragedy Fueled By Right's Rhetoric
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Most (reasonable) people know that if President Obama wins the election, the world will not end and the country will survive.  

But not all of us.

Albert Peterson shot dead his wife and two sons hours after going to church because he dreaded the thought of Obama winning the election, a family friend has revealed.

Albert Peterson was indeed mentally ill. He suffered from a paranoia so severe that it led to suicidal depressions. He also stated that he hated to leave his kids "with this mess" (meaning the state of America today and its future under Obama). He also believed in conspiracy theories and felt that fellow employees at work would vote for Obama out of fear of losing their jobs (in defense contracting). 

A valid point   from Alternet.org:

"The Right has painted a potential second term under Obama in apocalyptic terms. Fox News host Sean Hannity   said   that 'if Obama is re-elected, it's the end of America as we know it.' Pastor John Hagee, calling for 40 days of prayer for Mitt Romney,insisted   that 'Four more years of Obama will bring absolute socialism to America. Our children and grandchildren will never know the greatness of America that we have experienced.' A   full-page ad   that ran in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune blared that Obama would 'force employers to give illegal immigrants the jobs of U.S. citizens,' 'force courts to accept Sharia law' and 'force doctors to assist homosexuals in buying surrogate babies,' among other outrages."

And outrageous as those claims were, Albert Peterson believed them - and acted accordingly. 

Righteous Suicide?

There is a legal term that has been recently minted in the wake of people acting on what they hear from the media and the pulpits: righteous assassination. It was most prominently demonstrated when Byron Williams was caught before attempting to assassinated people at the ACLU and the Tides Foundation upon the conspiracy theories proposed by Glenn Beck. Albert Peterson's actions reacted from similar influences but turned them inwardly - to himself and his family. It may not be a term used in law, but there might be a cause to add it: righteous suicide has actually been around for a very long time, mostly in the form of suicide pacts that hold to the world coming to an end or some other catastrophe. 

Conspiracy theories contribute to righteous suicide: Peterson was known to send two emails per day expounding upon them. And righteous arrogance coming from the pulpit often fuels fears and paranoia: Peterson's elder son, Matthew, was said to have aspirations of going to Liberty University, the severely Fundamentalist school founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell. 

An Ounce of Prevention - Toning Down The Rhetoric

"He was mentally ill" will be the defining factor in this case for people who think it ridiculous to question the Right-wing conspiracy buffs and Christian Right ministers such as John Hagee. Case closed. But is it? Who were the enablers? And more pointedly: why did they do nothing to stop Peterson? 

People like Hagee, Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Bryan Fischer (American Family Association), and pseudo historian David Barton have all prophesied doom and gloom from a second-term Obama administration while some preachers have literally called Obama the Anti-Christ. They inflame para-military groups and militias, but take absolutely no responsibility for any consequences. They peddle fear with bravado and acquire politicians like Michele Bachmann (ala Frank Gaffney, the Islamophobia specialist) so that they can legitimize their claims. The possibility of toning down their rhetoric for the sake of saving lives never seems to occur to them. They dismiss "crazies" like Jared Laughner as having no relation to reality and therefore are acting on isolated, unprompted, unabetted influences. 

All their "crazies" live in a vacuum.

Albert Peterson did not live in a vacuum: he went to church and to work. He interacted with people on a daily basis. His group of friends feared for his sanity, but never "dreamed" that he would take the lives of his loving wife and two beautiful sons. Among those people in Albert's life were the outside media and the (closer) church. 

With all those "friends" and enablers, maybe the true conspiracy was against Albert Peterson: he was a sick person who never   really   had a chance of getting better.   

The rhetoric was just too much.

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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books éČ" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)
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