I was reading the comments in Jingo's diary Chuck Norris Says Right Wing Cells Will Overthrow the American Government This Friday, which is now nearing the bottom of the recent diary list. Although light-hearted in tone, the diary is not a joke. It concerns Chuck Norris' participation in the increasingly desperate and seditious language coming out of the extreme right.
Meanwhile, in a chilling coincidence, my wife called to me from the other room, "Somebody just sent me something weird." A pause. "It's a Bible verse." After a couple of minutes, MsMoo comes in and hands me the photocopied page, saying, in her usual dry way, but not really kidding, "Is somebody going to kill me?"
UPDATE III: This is just guesswork, but I want to report it. I got this comment from jmknapp:
Psalm 94 is a favorite of the terrorist group Right To Life. They cross their eyes and convince themselves that it is about abortion and calls for a holy war.
This jogged my memory of a chat in the comment section of dkos a couple of nights ago. We were discussing IUD's and I mentioned Planned Parenthood. The timing would have been right if the mailing had been sent immediately afterwards. For what it's worth. I need to get a little sleep and have some normal activity now. Thanks everyone.
UPDATE I: Thanks to everyone. And especially thanks for putting this on the rec list. It does make us feel we are surrounded be people who care. Energies such as this, whatever the meaning, thrive in the dark. I can't fully explain it, but I feel so much safer having been seen and heard. Thank you so much.
So many good ideas I would have never considered. The significance of the verse. A blog site quoting the verse. Several ideas of who to contact. How to handle the envelope. Take a photo before giving it to anyone. Contact the SPLC. Talk to the neighbors. Write a LTE. Just great ideas.
I am reassured, and much calmer. I do believe this is not personal to us. I still plan to take it to authorities. But right now, I need to go to bed with my wife. Forgive me for leaving the diary.
I'm writing this mainly for psychological reasons. I want to feel as though I have company right now. Secondarily, I also want us all to bring into the public eye just how dangerous is the extreme paranoia being foisted on many in this country. Those threatening violent overthrow of our government and violence against liberals might be called rightwing, or conservative (an insult to a lot of decent people), or fundamentalist, but I think the most accurate name is authoritarian. I think it is time to insist that they stop. People are calling the POTUS a communist and a monkey, making jokes about his death, and now openly calling for his assassination. Sorry, I'm in no state to define "people" with links to comments on rightwing sites or being read by Roger Ailes.
Literally, I had just read the following quote from Chuck Norris' site, as cited by DHinMI in a comment:
For those losing hope, and others wanting to rekindle the patriotic fires of early America, I encourage you to join Fox News' Glenn Beck, me and millions of people across the country in the live telecast, "We Surround Them," on Friday afternoon (March 13 at 5 p.m. ET, 4 p.m. CT and 2 p.m. PST). Thousands of cell groups will be united around the country in solidarity over the concerns for our nation. You can host or attend a viewing party by going to Glenn's website. My wife Gena and I will be hosting one from our Texas ranch, in which we've invited many family members, friends and law enforcement to join us. It's our way of saying "We're united, we're tired of the corruption, and we're not going to take it anymore!"
Ron Moore has quoted Chuck's threats of violence against the government in Chuck Norris claims thousands of right wing cell groups exist and will rebel against U.S. government.
We view ourselves on the eve of battle.
It was in this context that my wife handed me the piece of mail, postmarked from Santa Clarita. We have no friends or acquaintances in that city. The address was hand-written, scribbly. Inside the envelope was a photocopied page from Psalms, Psalms 93 and 94 were complete. I'm afraid that Psalm 94 is the business end of this bible page.
Lord God to whom vengeance belongs--O God to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth!
Rise up, O Judge of the earth; render punishment to the proud.
Lord, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph?
They utter speech, and speak in????ent things; all the workers of iniquity boast in themselves. [The edge, so I'm not sure of that word. I can't find the exact bible version they used.]
They break in pieces Your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage.
They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.
Yet they say, "The Lord does not see, nor does the God of Jacob understand.
Understand, you senseless among the people; and you fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see?
He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct, he who teaches man knowledge?
The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile.
12 Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, and teach out of your law,
That You may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance.
But judgment will return to righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.
Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?
Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence.
If I say, "My foot slips," Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up.
In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.
Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with You?
They gather together against the life of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood.
But the LORD has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge.
He has brought on them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; the Lord our God shall cut them off.
I'm not one to spook, but this is pretty freaky. And it's interesting how this version, whatever bible it is from, is worded to fit our imagined political situation rather neatly. It's also simplified for the cretin mind.
I can only hope this person is a careful reader. My fear is that he has confused "the Lord" with "me, Joe the Avenger." I fear he may think the Lord-provided "rock of his refuge" is for hitting me over the head. And he may fail to realize that, as a Jew, my wife is more likely to be "His people" than this fellow. But also as a Jew, she finds this sort of thing especially frightening. I'm definitely keeping my eyes peeled for pits of the wicked or facsimiles thereof.
We are low-key folks--hardly go out, never attend parties, very low public profile. We have given generously to Democratic candidates and progressive causes. I can think of no other reason for us to be on anybody's radar.
It is no joke what is happening in our country. A significant minority is being whipped into an unthinking, vicious frenzy, being openly encouraged to commit acts of violence and of treason. In the past, ignoring the crazies seemed the best policy to me. I think we have reached a point where that is no longer the case. At the very least, we need to aggressively demand that our public airwaves not be devoted to calls for overthrowing our democratically elected government.
Update II: No sleep for me tonight, but not from fear. I'm just wound up by all of this. I'm less fearful than deeply concerned for my country. What finally got back out of bed was a wish to respond to some discussion which seemed to me to establish a false equivalency between left wing insulting and even threatening of Bush and what is going on with the right today. While I appreciate, and participate in, our policing ourselves and being honest about our behavior, I believe this view is inaccurate and could serve to blind us to a serious problem. Here are ways in which there is no equivalency. Even if words have been the same--same number of threats of assassination, for example, (which I do not believe) a difference is that there is actual hate crime on the right not balanced by hate crime on the left. I have never heard of a banker being dragged behind a pickup truck by a socialist. I've never heard of a gay man beating up a hunter. I've never come across a CEO having a hammer and sickle being burned in his front yard. Since the 60's and SDS, I have actually heard of no politically motivated violence from the left, but I may have missed some. A glance through the groups being monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center should be enough to convince anyone that there is no equivalency in the United States between the threat of right wing violence and the threat of left wing violence. To me, this fact of behavior gives different weight and meaning to language from the right as opposed to that from the left. Finally, if there were an extreme left demagogue, of whom I can't think of one, we would not see him on television every day all over the country. Let's take Al Sharpton for a weak example of a far left spokesman. Compare his air time with that of Rush, Hannity, Coulter, and a slew of other destructive voices from the right. I see a uniquely right wing threat arising, not balanced by anything on the left, either now or during the administration of George W. Bush.
UPDATE IV: Holy moly. Hasn't there been anything interesting going on around here today? The (not so) little lady and I just got back from LA. I responded to a couple of super caring and helpful emails from kossacks I have never communicated with before, came back here, and I'll be fear-mongered if the diary isn't still up. I hope you have carried on well without me--I'm sorry I wasn't here to correct any errors of thinking that may have crept into the discussion. It's frustrating. Ordinarily, I would give my left...uh, credentials...to have this time on the rec list. So fun to interact with everyone and have a little time in the sun. But I'm exhausted. This has made me subtly uneasy in a way I am surprised by, and I got less than two hours sleep. So I can't wait to read the comments. Please forgive me if I don't respond.
A clearly scanned copy of the material is in official hands, along with my personal data. The rest of the follow-up will happen tomorrow. I'll report in an open thread unless there's anything interesting enough to want a diary. I am following through.
I had an email waiting from a caring, socially responsible person whom I've never met. I felt her interested, supportive presence when this diary first went up. She represented the aspect of this site that is community. She wanted to alert me to the following comment from renfro, which I am taking as the final word on the matter until more is known:
No need to panic. It was probably just part of a mass mailing.
I have gotten half a dozen of those type letters the past several years..these groups will pick neighbohoods or zip codes and use city directories for instance to try and identify sco-economic groups or professions or income stratas and do a mail out every now and then just to see what they can reel in.
There was no way or reason for them to have singled me out and I know other people who get them occasionally also so I wouldn't worry too much about it.Most of these relgo groups aren't that well funded so their mailing efforts are very amateurish as you can tell from their message.
Whatever this individual letter means specificially, the larger question of making our country more decent and safer still looms over us. All the talk about terrorism from without becomes absurd when chanted by those who are creating terrorism from within. It's time to become more proactive about this, imho.