Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits Lead Him to Kill?

July 30, 2008 -

Jim Adkisson, the man who carried out a horrific church shooting in Knoxville on Sunday, is apparently a fan of conservative pundits Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and Sean Hannity.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that investigators found books written by all three while searching Adkisson's home. The 58-year-old killer told police that his rampage was sparked by feelings of outrage over liberalism.

So, did the conservative writings whip him into a killing frenzy?

It's a stupid question, of course. But if Adkisson was 40 years younger and the cops found Grand Theft Auto 4 and Halo 3 in his room, would some conservative pundits - or perhaps their game-hatin' guests - be speculating that the killer "trained" on video games?

You bet they would.

Overcompensating has a great comic on this...


Comments

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

The median age of a core gamer is 26.  You're right, he could have been a gamer, but it seems unlikely.

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Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Irony department: The man was pissed at liberals for ruining the country, but he probably was also pissed that his public assistance was cut. 

I think that this is less "right-wing" fervor, and more being stupid, broke and angry.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Can you imagine if Jack's book had been found with the others?  Of course that would require someone actually purchasing it.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Maybe reading conservative books blurs the line between fantasy and reality...

Reminds me of that "1/2 Hour News Hour" where they joked "thank God we killed off all those damn Liberals", and you're supposed to laugh. But only the right-wing extremists laughed, while everyone else glances around all embarassed, wondering who thought this was funny...

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Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Anyone can take an ideology to fanatical levels.  I don't think it is conservatism or even the pundits that can be actually blamed, at least not directly.  It is just as possible that someone could take liberal ideology too far and start killing a bunch of people based on conservative beliefs.  Samy crazy, different flavor.

What I am really disheartened by this whole tragedy is that the fringes of both sides of the political spectrum are exploiting it.  Far-left wingers are pointing at this event as "proof" that conservatives are violent and that their rhetoric leads to events such as this.  Far-right wingers are acting just shy of applauding the guy for what he's done and are implying idiotic ideas like "if they weren't so liberal, they wouldn't have been killed".  And some people wonder why I'm a moderate.  It's because both sidea are @#$%ing nuts.

As for how this relates to the gaming issue...well, I'd say that there may be a little more solid evidence in this case that the far-right wing rhetoric lead to the violence than any of the video game cases.  In the video game cases, at the most, the only link they can provide is that "so-and-so played Counter-strike".  When one looks at the evidence of these cases it becomes clear that the individual was often some form of outcast, usually pushed into such a position by his peers, and that the violent outburst was the result of these social factors.  (In some cases, also family factors.)  When all of this evidence is considered, the video game argument holds no water.

In this case, there is a little more of a link.  The guy read and apparently believed in the ultra-conservative rhetoric that liberals are the source of all of societies ills.  He's a rampant homophobe and an apparent raciest, so he's got a whole lot of hate to give around.  Combine this with his frustration for finding a job and he wanted to lash out at the precieved problem, in this case liberals.  So he targeted a UU Church that is known to have rather liberal views.  He left a manifesto in his car that pretty much admits as much.  His ex-wife also use to attend this church so I wouldn't be surprised if he somehow blamed them for his failed marriage.

Still, even with this percieved link, freedom of speech is still freedom of speech.  While I despise some of the crap that comes out of fools like Hannity, I'll defend their right to say it. 

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

"Far-left wingers are pointing at this event as "proof" that conservatives are violent and that their rhetoric leads to events such as this.  Far-right wingers are acting just shy of applauding the guy for what he's done and are implying idiotic ideas like "if they weren't so liberal, they wouldn't have been killed"."

I can imagine the far left doing what you suggested but the far right?

I would think that they would do what we always do.

Distance ourselves from the guy, insult him, call him nuts, remind everyone that there are insane individuals in every large group etc.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Still, even with this percieved link, freedom of speech is still freedom of speech.  While I despise some of the crap that comes out of fools like Hannity, I'll defend their right to say it.

It's a shame people like Hannity/O'Reilly don't share that point of view...

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Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Though i DO see exactly the point you guys are getting at in comparing this to game-bashing. Yet there has already been a time in our history where idiots gathered a ton of books they hated a burned them all. People gathered and complained about newspapers printing the wrong news (yellow press). People eventually realized freedom of speech and press, express what they want and print what they want.

This guy just went insane and happened to had a gun nearby. walked to a church and started shooting. very terrible thing. something needed to provoke him to do it. reading those books just might have done it. complaining that ALL conservative press be gone from the tv is just retarded. Fox news is the ONLY channel that is any thing close to fair, it does go more towards right. there are still alot of liberal reporters on that channel though.

- Azhrarn
  you DO realize that CONGRESS controls the budget, right? right NOW democrats control congress by, hmm, 70%? while Clinton was president republicans controlled congress. learn about the government first before saying something stupid...

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

You want Fair and Balance its simple watch the Colbert Show and Daily Show =) ....

 

In truth the only way to get Fair and Balance is to watch CNN (a leftist) and Fox (a rightist) and divide by 2.  I would call Fox as Fair and Balance as CNN or any other news show.  Most of them after three minutes of watching have thrown so many of their own personal opinions in instead of just reporting that I have to change channels.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

CNN marches to the same deathmarch drum as the rest of them. Left-wing my ass.

 

The problem is, Americans live in this little news microcosm that is completely different from anywhere else in the world.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Fox?  Fair and balanced?  Man...what are you smoking and where can I get some? 

All American news is rather terrible.  Some are left-wing, some are right-wing, all if it is garbage.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Yes, Fox is fair and balanced.

 

Just goes to show how imbalanced our network news coverage is.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

When the news about that pregnancy pact first hit the waves Fox New's first reaction was to blame Juno and the 'media saying pregnanacy is OK' and 'the school encouraged pregnancy by having a day care center inside' or some crap like that. Yeah blame Hollywood, blame the rest of the media and blame some social programs for the actions of some random people.

Fox News really isn't fair and balanced.

That's not to say the other news stations are picture perfect.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Terrorist Fist Jab anyone?

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

I don't think that anyone here is seriously advocating censorship of conservative voices on the airwaves. It's just that, after years of hearing "video games: are they to blame for everything?" whenever a teenager or twentysomething goes crazy with a gun, it's cathartic to be able to lash back at the people who've been beating that particular drum by mimicking their own calls for "protective" censorship. It's ironic mockery, not a call to arms.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

But I think liberals are BAWWING about video games much more than conservatives....from what I've seen

It doesn't matter what kind of political side a person is on, if they want censorship, they should be kicked out of the US, and if they don't, then maybe they can stay.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Fox news is the ONLY channel that is any thing close to fair, it does go more towards right. there are still alot of liberal reporters on that channel though.

Name one left or center talk show on Fox. No, it's ok, I'll wait.

Bill flipping out on a teenager is not news, nor is it even good editorializing. It's just plain "old-man-bitching". It ceased to be entertaining after 5 minutes. He's like a tantruming 10-year-old. "No YOU shut up! Waaaaah! Cut off his mike!"

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Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Alan Colmes

Greta van Susteren

Geraldo Rivera

And... (not mine, but copied from Conservapedia): "Liberal commentators go in and out of the Fox studios all over America, every day — some of them, like host Alan Colmes and news analyst Marvin Kalb, and Eleanor Clift [are] affiliated with the channel."

Nearly every show on the network that presents a conservative point of view also presents the liberal piont of view. Hell, Brit Hume's Panel includes Juan Williams, and Mara Liasson. Although they are not employed by Fox, they are on there every day getting out the good liberal word. Hardly imbalanced.

 

And... "A recent comprehensive study by UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose and University of Missouri-Columbia economics professor Jeffrey Milyo found Brit Hume's Special Report — Fox's most straightforward news show — more centrist than any of the three major networks' evening newscasts, all of which are left leaning. [2] The program is a model of smart news television.

And although it's true that the Fox's opinion shows (as opposed to its news shows) are, as they're supposed to be, frequently bombastic and opinionated, it's equally true that Fox's biggest super-star, Bill O'Reilly, is not a mainstream Republican, but a registered Independent. He regularly charges the oil companies with price-gouging and attacks big business for squashing the little guy. Who can say what host Greta Van Susteren's politics are? She mostly covers the crime-of-the-day stories. Geraldo Rivera has always been liberal on most issues, with the exception of being a strong supporter of the military and stiff penalties for sex offenders."

 

So, while I enjoy your opinions, Jabrwock, you should not generalize too much.  Points can be made on either side of the argument.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

The fact you took that off of conservapedia just rendered your entire post as biased and invalid.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Alan Colmes isn't a liberal. He's a mummy, and like most mummies, his politics are centrist at best.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Great list. Notice how none of them answered my query about "non-right-leaning talk shows".

Colmes has been criticized for being a "Fox News Liberal" (aka a fall guy who's only job is to weakly fail at countering Hannity's arguments while pretending to be a good debater), van Susteren's show is merely a "what do you think about this court case" blither fest, and Rivera... well, let's call him a "Jerry Springer wannabe".

The mere presence of "liberal" counter-point on Fox shows means nothing. Watch any "liberal" who gets on O'Reilly's or any other style of show. They get shouted down, cut off, personally attacked, derailed, etc. That's not presenting an opposing view, that's inviting an opponent over so you can get your "2 minutes of hate" session over with.

-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

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Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

No, his inability to cope with reality, and his misplaced anger lead him to kill.

He was also suicidal, as he wanted to be killed by the police.

He was crazy, nothing more nothing less.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

I'd like to take a moment to give a bit more background on this story.

The church in question was a Unitarian Universalist fellowship, which is less an organized religion and more a humanist philosophical group.  They are well known for hosting political and social debates in their halls and being unusually open to alternative religions and lifestyle choices.  This particular fellowship, if I recall correctly, was a member of the "Hate Free Zone" project to provide welcoming and understanding communities for homosexuals.  Targeting such a group of people cannot be seen as anything but the vilest of hate crimes.

The thing I wish people would focus on more is the noble act of Greg McKendry.  This man, according to witnesses, saw the shooter, stood calmly up and stepped in front of the shotgun.  He used his own body to shield the rest of the people there and buy time for others to tackle the gunman.  I cannot say if I could ever be as brave and self sacrificing as this man, or as quick thinking and courageous as the men who tackled the shooter.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Greg McKendry, hmm?

 

Even a conservative pundit would have to conceed that we've seen the highest ideals of good and evil at work here, and 'their' guy is undeniably on the side of evil.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

I just wanna take this time to say that in my honest opinion, there is no such thing as a "hate crime." Or rather, all crimes are either hate crimes or selfish crimes. Example: I kill a guy because he fucked me over at my job or something. That is just as equal as killing someone because they are black or gay or religious or liberal, because you hate them. Selfish crimes are of course robberies, stealings, etc where it's because you need/want something.

I really do hate this whole "hate crime" crap, where if I kill a guy because he's black, that's somehow worse than if I kill some guy because I really hate him for personal reasons....

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Hear hear

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

What's especially ironic about this case is that the gunman attacked a group of people he saw as weak and cowardly with a shotgun, and they were able to disarm and restrain him with their bare hands after he'd killed two of them.

Also ironic is that the letter he left for police allegedly said that he was angry at liberals for what he saw as a weak stance against terrorism - and he responded by becoming a terrorist himself. (terrorism - noun - the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.)

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Well, he fired 3 shots, reloading a single shotgun shell is  not something that can be done quickly except on a doublebarrel/break open.  Some shotguns only load 3 shells, some 4. He was out of ammo.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Oh, well then. I guess rushing an armed man while he's reloading his gun with one of the 76 shells in his fanny pack isn't brave, after all. You sure showed me.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Where did I say it wasn't brave? He still had a rather effective bludgeon.

Not nearly as heroic as the guy who used himself as a shield.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

True.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Now that is a side of the story I had not heard before.
(being from Europe, that's no surprise, it was barely covered at all)

I can give nothing but praise to mr. McKendry possibly saving a lot of people by sacrificing himself.
Without his bravery this could have been even worse, if there is a heaven that act alone earned him an express ticket.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

The irony is that in comparison to supposed game violence, there is a stronger direct link in this case completely, the man had been reading tons of right wing litreture, anti liberal anti gay anti tolerance, and he took those ideas and directly stated that was why he did what he did.

hell you never get "game-violence" criminals ever saying "well i playing GTA and i thought it would be fun to do in real life" except when they're blatently using it as a defense >.>

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Police found right-wing political books, brass knuckles, empty shotgun shell boxes and a handgun in the Powell home of a man who said he attacked a church in order to kill liberals "who are ruining the country," court records show.

Last time I checked the current conservative administration left the US facing a 500 billion deficit on the budget, while the last democratic government left the country with a reasonably healthy surplus?
So how can liberals be ruining the country?
They left a fairly healthy economy behind which the conservative administration then promptly started ruining. If you have to blame someone, blame them.... (but don't go around killing anyone, that's just bad)

But I guess that's just me...

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

 A "healthy surplus" that was created by drasticaly cutting military spending to the point that now that the military is being used we had to use PMC's because the military lacks the infustructure needed to function on its own costing us billions. Go figure.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

You're just another ignorant American.

 

Here's how ignorant you are:

 

Every year forever, US military spending has been greater than the next 20 top countries COMBINED.

 

Not just this year, not just last year, not just the past 8 years. It's pretty much been like this since before many of us were born.

 

 

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Just because our spending is higher then any other country doesn't make my statement any less true. Look at all the things we have done around the world with our military especially when it comes to humanitarian services. When we cut military spending it was done in the wrong ways and crippled our military strength. If we are going to cut military spending there are ways to do it, by consolidation and pooling resources rather then just cutting their budget. Then we can get the most "bang for our buck"

For me to be ignorant I would use a fact that does not disprove my opponents statement and call him ignorant while doing so.

 

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Don't forget we had to also spend millions to get proper body armor and such for the boys and girls over there because good old Bill had cut the military so much.  Granted the war in Iraq is pointless but last time I check we still have a war in Afghan that would require a military and proper military gear.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Simple, George Bush is NOT a conservative. No matter what, whatever supporters he has left claim.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

To be fair, and please keep in mind I'm not a fan of the current administration, it's more that the Republicans screwed everything up because their conservative base is looking more and more at the libertarian candidate. They rightly feel betrayed by the party they supported.

Just wanted to clear that up.

I agree that it's fairly stupid to ask "did this book or game cause a person to murder a guy". There are just some evil people in the world.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

There will always be fringe portions of every school of thought. And, the deficit is a black eye for this administration, certainly, but this 14% approval rating Congress isn't doing much to help the situation.  And all the Pork good ole Murtha keeps trying to pass isn't helping to define fiscal responsibility either.

Hell, Congress' approval rating is lower than the President's! 

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

I always find it funny that everyone points out Bush's low approval rating yet no one seems to point out that Congress's (who by the way has plenty of time to turn it around) approval rating is lower.  Personally says to me that the old guard on both side need to be ousted and we need a new group to come on. (We may actually get some not to old guard for a president but good luck getting rid of the old guard in Congress).

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

I'd agree with your comment, but the president woudl just veto it, so I'll say you're wrong.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Actually, that is hilarious!!!

 

More people approve of the job Bush is doing than approve of the job the Democrat-controlled Congress is doing!  Oh, I couldn't have scripted a funnier ending to the Bush administration!

 

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

The democrat controlled congress only took over recently.. What was it, 2 years ago? Either way, by the time they got the reigns, it was already in a freefall.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Which they could have stopped, but like republicans, instead of taking a hard stance and drawing the line, they wheel and deal, and trade votes, and get there pet projects passed.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

there's no worship like Bush-worship

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

And try to force unpopular legislation through, like that illegal immigrant bill.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

No one is saying ban these books. All we want is for them to carry a clear age rating describing their content, and for them to be behind the counter items. Also we want to fine the ^%&* out of anyone selling them to minors, with the possibility of jail time for repeat offenders.

Re: Did Church Shooter's Obsession with Conservative Pundits

Which is an ironic statement when you consider that most of the extremists who commit crimes, as well as most of the people who commit crimes that get blamed on video games, aren't minors.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.
 
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