Sunday, January 09, 2011

Victims of Vitriol

Nine-year-old Christina Green, Congresswoman Garbrielle Giffords, and U.S. Judge John Roll

There are unfortunately in almost every community in the United States, and not just in Arizona, paranoid, drug-addicted individuals who are potential killers, capable of gunning down innocent people, such as a Federal judge, a nine-year-old girl, and an Arizona Congresswoman. They gun down the innocent in the name of god, country, family, race, the Constitution—you name it. The easy availability of guns enabled a mentally ill person like Jared Lee Loughner to fatally act out his paranoid delusions of persecution, revenge, and redemption. In a statement likely to be long remembered, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said in Tucson yesterday, “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.” Judging by his ramblings on the internet, among the vitriolic items that sent Loughner over the edge was the ignorant rantings of the Republicans about the Constitution. The Republicans have turned the Constitution into a sacred document that infidel Democrats violate at their peril. In America, the line between politics and religion has been virtually erased, as has the Constitutional separation between church and state, and, as Loughner illustrates, between the states of sanity and insanity.
In Portsmouth, not too long ago, I had occasion to criticize the local so-called  “Irish Mafia” and a self-proclaimed “underground” Portsmouth website for allowing people to anonymously and electronically intimidate and threaten “concerned citizens” and so-called “C.A.V.E. People” with guns. C.A.V.E. People” is WNXT’s Steve Hayes’ acronym for Citizens Against Virtually Everything. (To read that posting, click here.) Did Portsmouth's Chief of Police Charles Horner express concern about this underground website? No, he expressed concern about "domestic terrorists," i.e., the Concerned Citizens, a group of aging community activists, and expressed concern about Bob and Teresa Mollette's websites, because Horner was one of the public officials whose incompetence and crookedness the Mollette websites documented. 

Portsmouth is  the city, remember, where the pothead mayor James Kalb, smoking whatever he was smoking,  in an official Saturday night special email to me, written at about 2 AM on September 27, 2009, vilified me so vitriolically that in the 48 hours after I posted his email (click here) on my website River Vices I got well over four hundred thousand  hits from incredulous readers both in this country and abroad. Was this the way an American mayor responds to a constituent’s formal request for a public document under Ohio’s open records law?  I was reminded of Kalb’s vitriolic  email just the other day when a woman who has been stalking me for several years drove up near Front Street, where I was walking, rolled down her window, and soon began accusing me of telling stories about her and that I was a worthless scumbag just as Mayor  Kalb had accused me of being.

It occurred to me more than once in the  recent vitriolic campaign to recall Portsmouth’s Mayor Jane Murray that some putatively pious patriot, or some Facebook Appalachian he-man, or some unbalanced biker might shoot her. Instead of take back America, the recall campaign urged voters to take back Portsmouth, take it back from the outsiders, the strangers, the crazy ones, who threaten our values and way of life. Murray was often referred to as “Crazy Jane.” Talk about the kettle calling the pot black! When she was finally recalled, it also occurred to me she was better off out of office and perhaps out of politics altogether. Portsmouth’s Mayor could have ended up as Arizona’s Congresswoman, and not just because Murray, like Giffords, is a female, is intelligent, and is a Democrat. Although she is Appalachian  born and bred, Murray was cast in the recall campaign as an outsider, a bitch, and a witch. She was one of  the C.A.V.E. people WNXT's Steve Hayes targeted. She was vilified as a menacing candidate, one of those "strangers" that the tongue-in-cheek campaign lawn sign (shown above) warned were trying to "screw" us. 

With the complicity of the National Rifle Association, the politically, religiously, ethnically, sexually, and culturally unorthodox are in the crosshairs of both the totally and marginally insane not just in Arizona but everywhere in this country every day of the year, and this Sunday, January 9th provides those of us in Portsmouth, dubbed the Oxycontin Capital  of America, with a tragic reminder of that cruel fact of life. As Sheriff  Dupnik warned, vitriol, in the minds of the mentally disturbed, is potentially lethal.