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During the recent 2010 campaign in Montana, an ultra-right-wing state legislative candidate Derek Skees and his gang were accused of extremism because they appeared at Tea Party rallies wearing masks of Guy Fawkes. Fawkes, you will recall, was an English revolutionary and terrorist who tried to blow up the British parliament.

It wasn't just Skees in Montana.

The Fawkes fad was a nationwide phenomenon among the far-right, and even the Republican party got into the action. TheRepublican Governor's Association, in its fundraising material, featured Fawkes-mask wearers, like in this scary video named "Remember November" by the RGA, the title being a dual reference to election day and to the November 1605 plot by Fawkes to assassinate every member of Parliament.

Throughout 2010, Fawkes masks were popping up around the right-wing circuit, on Youtube, and at Tea Party rallies. Time Magazine ran a brief snippet on the whole Fawkes business, but that was about it as far as media coverage.

When confronted about this apparent endorsement of anti-government violence (which is a sensitive subject in the Flathead Valley of northwestern Montana, where some militia members reside in the deep countryside), Skees brushed off the criticism and provided a clever answer: he and his right-wing pals who pay homage to Fawkes are not extremists, and don't condone revolutionary upheaval such as Fawkes practiced.  Rather, they are just big fans of the movie "V for Vendetta," in which the protagonist freedom-fighter wears a Fawkes mask himself (and blows things up, but as a good guy).

So what shall we make, then, of the deranged and angry gunman who walked into a school board meeting in Panama City, Florida, spray painted a giant red V with a circle around it (the logo for the movie) on the wall, ranted briefly about taxes and his wife losing her job, and then opened fire on the school board members?  Police later found hard-core anti-government propaganda at the gunman's house, and also discovered that his entire Facebook page was devoted to "V for Vendetta".

In the immediate reporting after the shooting, virtually no major news sites made the connection between the Movie, the Masks, the Right Wing and the shooter, but it is very real.

Time and again, whether at abortion clinics or in Oklahoma City or now at a school board meeting, we see the end results of the right-wing's number one reason for existence: make ignorant, simple people as enraged at the government as possible.

Of course, when someone acts violently out of his anti-government fever as this man did, and a liberal blogger makes the claim that the Right Wing’s constant efforts at incitement are partially to blame, conservatives will promptly declare outrage not at the shooter, but at the Left.

This diary is cross-posted at MtCowgirl.com for those who wish to discuss the matter directly with Montanans.

Originally posted to Montana Cowgirl on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 12:03 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  The problem with this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ActivistGuy, JesseCW

      idea is the guy in Panama City wasn't a right wing nut.  Did you bother to go to his Facebook page?  I did a diary on it the night it happened.  I live here.  He describes himself as a humanist and has several liberal websites under his favorite links including media matters.  The right is already howling about him being a left wing nut.

      ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

      by Kristina40 on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 01:04:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  An important point, Kristina40. While I see (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, Kristina40

        the connections the diarist is making, and while the gunman was clearly unhinged, a glance through his rambling Facebook suicide note adds a bit more depth of detail. Here's the first part:

        My Testament: Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V)… no… I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95% of the population. Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats… same-same… rich… they take turns fleecing us… our few dollars… pyramiding the wealth for themselves. The 95%… the us, in US of A, are the neo slaves of the Global South. Our Masters, the Wealthy, do, as they like to us…

        http://gawker.com/...

        This guy's brain broke. The economy sucks, his wife just got fired, insane levels of layoffs, and a pervasive attitude that judges the poor and blames them for their economic status.

        Throw into that caustic mix the fact that, particularly this time of year, people are encouraged to consume, consume, consume, for ourselves and our families, and how many people who cannot afford to do so are going to lose it?

        The overwhelming consensus of 2,000+ scientific experts from the IPCC& 18 US scientific assns: climate change is happening and is a growing threat to our wo

        by Cenobyte on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 02:20:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He had mental health problems (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cenobyte, JesseCW

          and had gone through court ordered treatment.  He was bi polar.  His problem wasn't his politics.  He was on our side, his problem was despair, unemployment, and mental illness.

          ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

          by Kristina40 on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 02:28:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I hadn't heard the bipolar bit. That goes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kristina40

            a long way toward explaining the degree of, to use your excellent choice of words, despair.

            The overwhelming consensus of 2,000+ scientific experts from the IPCC& 18 US scientific assns: climate change is happening and is a growing threat to our wo

            by Cenobyte on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 02:34:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cenobyte, JesseCW

              I put a diary up that night after I researched him because I was sure Fox and the gang was going to use him to bludgeon the left.  That's why I wish she would remove the part about him from her diary.  I went to her website and asked her to fix it there as well.  

              ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

              by Kristina40 on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 02:35:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for that - (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kristina40

                I'm afraid the temptation to link this guy and the whole Teabagging, "Second-Amendment remedies" crowd is drowning out a more complicated truth.

                The overwhelming consensus of 2,000+ scientific experts from the IPCC& 18 US scientific assns: climate change is happening and is a growing threat to our wo

                by Cenobyte on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 02:58:54 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm thinking of doing a diary (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Cenobyte

                  on that topic.  The discontent in this country runs deep and there is no special demographic that owns it.  The left is just as angry as the right.  The problem is they don't focus their anger on the people that are causing their pain.  The Oligarchy can never be toppled with us fighting amongst ourselves...of course they know that and provoke the bickering.

                  ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

                  by Kristina40 on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 03:02:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  pin the nut on the party (0+ / 0-)

    The practice of attributing the actions of a bad actor / nut to others, whether party or media personalities, is a disingenuous exercise.

    The bad actor / nut is responsible.

    Many Democrats usually recognize this point when some Republicans attempt to attribute the actions of some Muslims to all Muslims.

    Or to take an example this year from the news:

    Man sentenced to prison for threatening congresswoman

    By Jordan Fabian - 09/16/10 11:16 AM ET

    A 66-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to more than two years in federal prison for threatening Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.) in the aftermath of the healthcare debate.

    The Tampa Tribune reported that Erik Lawrence Pidrman was given a 27-month sentence by a U.S. district judge in Florida. He also must serve three years' probation following his release, have no contact with Brown-Waite and refrain from consuming alcohol. * * * *

    The Tribune reported that when agents questioned Pidrman in April following his arrest, he expressed frustration over threats made against Democrats and said he probably thought, "Let me scare one of those righties." * * * *

    "I'm terribly sorry that it ever happened," Pidrman said before his sentencing Thursday morning, according to the Tribune. "I very often watch the recycled news shows on MSNBC," at the time at which he made the call, he said.

    http://thehill.com/...

    What inferences should be taken from this example? That MSNBC and Democrats incite violence? That Mr. Pidrman's threats are representative of all or a vast majority of MSNBC viewers and Democrats?

  •  I get the Guy Fawkes anti-gov't connection (6+ / 0-)

    with the rightwing militia-types, but in V for Vendetta (one of my favorite movies BTW) the gov't that V is fighting against is a hard rightwing one.  Seems a little ironic to me that they would be big V for Vendetta fans.

  •  he was mad at the rich (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, Kristina40, zqxj

    and his wife losing her school job. read hisFB page rants, :

    My Testament: Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V)… no… I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95% of the population. Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats… same-same… rich… they take turns fleecing us… our few dollars… pyramiding the wealth for themselves. The 95%… the us, in US of A, are the neo slaves of the Global South. Our Masters, the Wealthy, do, as they like to us…

    A lot of nutjobs register with D or R...

  •  Good Job (0+ / 0-)

    Wasn't aware of the Guy Fawkes connection, only the Vendetta obsession.

    Is Facebook becoming less a place for social networking and more a place for anti-social ranting?

    "ingratiation and access . . . are not corruption." -- Justice Kennedy (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 2010)

    by Limelite on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 12:59:53 PM PST

  •  links to media matters and progressive mind (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, Kristina40

    Clay Duke's facebook page, now taken down, also included links to his favorite websites including theprogressivemind.info and mediamatters.org.

    Duke wrote in his about me section:

    "My testament: Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V) ... no ... I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95 percent of the population. Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats ... same-same ... rich ... they take turns fleecing us ... our few dollars ... pyramiding the wealth for themselves."

    I think it is not wise to try to attribute the actions of single person to the views of many others.

  •  the creater of v for vendetta is a lefty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trumpeter
    that would never want anything to do with the right wing freaks in the montana militia.  The right coopts everything.
  •  His wife said he was bipolar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kristina40

    I'm not sure whether his politics are all that relevant.

    "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Nespolo on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 02:20:08 PM PST

    •  He was and he had gone (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nespolo, JesseCW

      court ordered treatment for mental health issues.  He did five years in jail for shooting into a building and also shot out his ex wifes tires.  He was not trying to hit any of those people or they'd be dead.  He wanted to die.  If you can shoot the tires out of a moving vehicle you can hit someone at point blank range.  Trying to say he was right wing nut is asinine.  He was mentally ill, in dire straights and a leftie.  Everyone has their breaking point.

      ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

      by Kristina40 on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 02:25:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that he didn't really want to kill anyone (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kristina40

        except himself.  Otherwise he surely would have shot the lady who whacked him with her purse.  It was basically suicide by cop.

        "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

        by Nespolo on Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 02:31:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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