[We] believe the TSA is an unconstitutional Gestapo-like manifestation of an out of control police state.
at Alex Jones’ InfoWars
You might read the previous statement and think it could incite someone to violence against the TSA. You might think it was something a nut case right-wing conspiracy theorist would say. What you probably would not think is that the quote is part of a defense by people like Mr. Nimmo against being painted with the same brush as Paul Ciancia, the alleged shooter at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) reported to be carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, and a duffle bag containing a racist, sexist, homophobic note against the New World Order, The Federal Reserve and the TSA. The article ”SPLC and Raw Story Blame ‘Patriots’ for the LAX Shooting” is just such a defense.
The trail starts at the web site of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who published a story yesterday titled: “Alleged LAX Shooter Referenced ‘Patriot’ Conspiracy Theories.” In the story SPLC writer Mark Potok cites a police source for details of a note Ciancia was carrying. The article concluded:
Ciancia’s language and references seemed to put him squarely in the conspiracy-minded world of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement.
So-called Patriots also increasingly see the DHS, which produces intelligence assessments of extremists that are distributed to other law enforcement agencies, as an enemy and even a collaborator in the New World Order conspiracy.
While the SPLC hardly considers Paul Ciancia a patriot, “patriot” in quotes and “so-called” implies that he aligns himself with like-minded groups who consider themselves patriots. In Ciancia’s note he allegedly referred to himself as “p****d-off patriot.”
Rather than trying to appear moderate in contrast with Ciancia, Mr. Nimmo tries to distance himself from Ciancia by demonstrating that they share the same nut-case view of the TSA. He seems to prove the SPLC point by being the example of the so-called patriot embracing crazy right-wing conspiracies about the TSA and DHS.
In a way the SPLC has profiled Ciancia and placed in a category with certain anti-government groups. Profiling can be based on sound statistical methodology, long experience, or it can be a framework for confirmation bias. One can debate whether the SPLC profile in this case is accurate. But that doesn’t get us to the key question:
Is Ciancia a birther?
Remember that another right-wing shooter, James W. von Brunn, had been previously arrested for trying to kidnap members of the Federal Reserve, before he shot and killed a museum guard at the Holocaust Museum in 2009. Brunn was a birther. At that time DHS warned of a resurgence in right-wing extremism.
There are certainly birthers that share conspiracy theorist beliefs about the Obama administration and the New World Order. People who believe conspiracy theories tend to believe more than one. It certainly would not surprise me to find that Ciancia’s a birther too, but I would not jump to that conclusion. Perhaps the full text of the note, not released, would clear the question up.
Before anyone gets too anxious, I would remind readers that an American is more likely to die as the result of being sat on by a cow than shot by a birther trying to eradicate the TSA. The crossed-out portion was based on something I read about 100 deaths a year from cattle sitting on people. In fact, pretty much nobody dies that way. There were 108 deaths between 2003 and 2007 where cattle were the primary or secondary cause, but not from sitting. Details of a survey containing that number appeared in the July 31, 2009 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published by the CDC. If disease and death is your thing, the MMWR is your go-to source.