Tuesday, June 10, 2014

We're the Millers: Racist Cop Killers and Cliven Bundy

As I mentioned previously about the Cliven Bundy situation the thing that most disturbed me was that the United States Government backed down to a few losers with rifles. This was a horribly bad idea because it legitimized the so-called protesters' idea that their threat of violence worked. If you point guns at law enforcement and law enforcement backs down well it's not such a huge leap to the next decision point of pointing guns at law enforcement and actually pulling the trigger. In Las Vegas recently, Jerad and Amanda Miller apparently took that next step, killing two police officers and another man before killing themselves. Somewhat unsurprisingly all sorts of information is coming to light about the married couple's embrace of extremely conservative and white supremacist literature and worldviews. I have a firm belief that ultimately each individual is responsible for his or her own actions. If someone who merely looks like me does something stupid it's not really fair or reasonable for other people who don't look like me to blame me. We make our own individual decisions in this world. But I do find it it well somewhat interesting let's say that anywhere in the world when say a Muslim does something savage that is taken as proof of the inherent savagery of Islam and the inability of its adherents to live peacefully in a modern world. There is no presumption of individual responsibility granted.

"Jerad Miller pulled a handgun out and shot officer Soldo one time in the back of the head," McMahill said. "Officer Beck immediately began to react ... [but] was shot once in the throat area. Amanda Miller [then] removed a handgun from her purse and both Jerad and Amanda fired multiple shots into officer Beck." After shooting the officers, police say the suspects pulled the men out of the booth and laid them on the floor. They then placed a flag – a yellow banner with a coiled snake above the words, "Don't tread on Me" – on top of Beck, along with a swastika. On Soldo, the two placed a note, police said, that read, "This is the start of the revolution." After the shooting, police say the couple took the officers' handguns and ammunition and fled across the street to a nearby Walmart. There, police say, Jerad Miller fired off one round and told everyone to get out of the store. 
At some point he allegedly yelled, "This is a revolution." According to police, Walmart shopper Robert Wilcox, 31, was carrying a concealed weapon and confronted Jerad Miller. Wilcox was apparently unaware of Amanda Miller and when he walked by her to confront her husband, she shot him in the rib area. A shootout with pursuing officers ensued, during which Amanda Miller "took her handgun and fired several rounds into Jerad," McMahill said. "At that point Amanda took her handgun and ended her life with one gunshot to the head."
The video below has a brief clip of Jerad Miller at the Cliven Bundy ranch giving an implied threat of violence against law enforcement. Now we all have free speech of course but just imagine that instead of being a man of European Caucasian ancestry that Miller had been of Middle Eastern, South Asian or African heritage. The response, both from media and most likely law enforcement, would likely have been very different.

Believe it or not, since 9-11 more people have been killed by white right wing terrorists than Al-Quaeda inspired terrorists. Obviously both kinds of incidents are exceedingly rare but one inspires us to invade countries, turn our airports into semi-prison environments, effectively redact swaths of the Bill of Rights while the other inspires us to do.. nothing. If you recall back in 2009 I believe Homeland Security released a report warning about domestic right wing extremists but the report received pushback from right wing extremists and nothing was done. Perhaps nothing can be done. We do after all have the right to own guns, the right to have racist or other bad points of view, the right to hate, the right to associate with whom we choose and so on. But if the NYPD and FBI can run surveillance and sting operations on Muslims and do so constitutionally, perhaps they need to worry a little less about Jabbar and a little more about Jethro. The Millers viewed the Bundy situation as the start of the revolution. There is some dispute about how long they were at the ranch or what their role was there but clearly they were energized by that stand off. Read their tweets, facebook posts and statements.

We all must answer for our own crimes in this world or if you prefer, in the next. Muslims ritually and predictably denounce evil actions of other Muslims. But that denouncement doesn't really matter to some conservative pundits or bloggers. They believe that there is a war of civilizations and that Islam, whether it's practiced by extremists or moderates, is inherently bad. Well when a white conservative acts out does that mean that conservatism or whiteness is irredeemably bad and the only reason we don't say so is because of political correctness? I don't think so. But the double standard is incredibly frustrating. You can, if you so desire, find problematic and downright ugly elements in any group or worldview. But to paraphrase Jesus' reported advice from the Sermon on the Mount perhaps it's time that some conservative elements stopped worrying about the mote in the Muslim eye and became more concerned with the beam in their own. Evil is everywhere. It's not only in the people who don't look "American" or have turbans or beards. We forget that to our peril.


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