Public Service Announcement: Fantasizing About Murder For Political Gain Is A Bad Idea

Today, I ran across a post written by blogger Mark Byron that can best be described as a murder fantasy. Of course, Byron — who says that he’s an Assistant Professor of Business at Warner Southern College — says that isn’t what he’s trying to get across at all. But just read what he wrote and I think you’ll see what I’m talking about. Take note of the parts that I emphasized along with the psychopathic scenario that he’s putting forward…

“[Update 6:30AM 11-14 —– I do not support the scenario that follows. I was expressing a sentiment that we can fall prey to IF we let the combating evil rhetoric go too far. Peaceful civil disobedience can often lead to violent civil disobedience. I think the rhetoric of Operation Rescue types can help lead to Paul Hill type assassins (or for those of you on the left, Greenpeace leading to ELF); I’m trying to nip that impulse in the bud in me and in others….

…For those of you on the left who want to label me a typically sick Christian, it’s your legal right to do so, even if it doesn’t reflect reality well. I’ve had to take down some profane comments. I will admit to having occasional violent thought come through my mind, but I do not physically act on them (at least since coming to the Lord two decades ago), and repent of them when those thoughts do happen.]

Note-I am NOT advocating the following fantasy episode, but it has a following in the darker parts of my mind.

WASHINGTON-January 6, 2004. A paramilitary organization calling itself the Christian Liberation Front changed the balance of power in Washington by a pair of brutal attacks this afternoon. A force estimated at about 200 CLF commandos stormed the Supreme Court building, killing 35 people, including five Supreme Court Justices. At the same time, a contingent of 1,000 CLF paramilitaries attacked the Hart Senate Office Building, where a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting was being held. Approximately 50 people were killed in the attack. Once the commandos had seized the building, they systematically killed Democratic senators from states with Republican governors. Here is a list of the 21 senators killed

Daniel Akaka – Byron Dorgan – Mary Landrieu
John Breaux – Bob Graham – Blanche Lincoln
Hillary Clinton – Ernest Hollings – Barbara Mikulski
Kent Conrad – Daniel Inouyye – David Pryor
Tom Daschle – Tim Johnson – Harry Reid
Mark Dayton – Ted Kennedy – Paul Sarbanes
Chris Dodd – John Kerry – Chuch Schumer

Joe Lieberman was campaigning in South Carolina, and missed the assassins. The attackers turned themselves in to police, and are proudly confessing their crimes, cooperating with authorities.

If the governors appoint Republican replacements, there will be 72 Republicans in the US Senate until replacement elections can be held. Even if a few Democrats are named, there will be likely at least 60 votes to vote for cloture and appoint replacements for the slain Supreme Court justices, changing the balance of power on the court.

OK, I’m ignoring Vermont, where the governor is a RINO, IIRC, and sparing Ben Nelson and Zell Miller as well. I’m also assuming that Bobby Jindal wins Saturday.

I’m also assuming that such bloodshed would be a good idea; I don’t think it would. Would five extra conservatives on the Supreme Court and a filibuster-free Senate be worth the bloodshed? It is opposing evil, given some of the less-than-biblical decisions that have emanated from the court.

If we want to use the Nuremberg approach of opposing evil government, would that be a valid American version of the generals plot on Hitler? Most people don’t give Bonhoffer grief for being part of that plot. Germany would have been a better place without him and thousands of lives would have been saved had they succeeded.”…

Byron, who admits to having an “occasional violent thought come through my mind,” seems to be suggesting that someone assassinate a large group of Democrats so that the GOP can gain an overwhelming political advantage. Why else would Byron even post this plan that “has a following in the darker parts of (his) mind” and suggest that it wouldn’t be so terrible if it happened?

While Byron also asserts that he does “not support the scenario that follows” multiple times, that simply doesn’t cut it as an excuse. It’s no different than if a liberal blogger were to say, “If someone were to shoot Bush now, it would practically guarantee that we’d get the White House…and guess what? On Thursday of next week, Bush will be driving down main street in Dallas and there will be a dozen prime spots someone could shoot him from. The shooter could probably get away in the confusion if he were quick enough, but even if he didn’t, wouldn’t it be worth it to go to jail if we could put a Democrat in office? Of course, I don’t support that scenario, but wouldn’t it be something if it happened?” Would anybody just shrug that off as harmless speculation? I certainly wouldn’t.

In short, Byron’s post isn’t a joke and it doesn’t appear to be a “just off the top of his head,” controversialist quip either. To the contrary, this sinister post looks to be something Byron spent a lot of time thinking about & planning which makes me suspect that he’s a deeply troubled individual. Political opinions are one thing, but not so subtly suggesting that your political enemies be annihilated is another indeed.

***Update #1***: Now that Glenn Reynolds has actually linked to Byron’s post, it’s getting a lot of attention. Most of them seem to agree with the take that Glenn and I have on it, but there are certainly more than a few people who disagree. Let me give you a couple of examples of their thinking…

Here’s Kevin Holtsberry from A Nickel’s Worth of Free Advice responding to what I had to say and including another quote from Byron…

“Hawkins simply insists that Mark was suggesting someone carry out the hypothetical scenario even though he has clearly denied doing any such thing. Here is what Mark says:

However, as much as I don’t like them, Justice Ginsberg and Senator Clinton aren’t Hitlers. We have a flawed but functional democracy and a legal system that generally protects our rights. Were we to advocate the creation of the CLF, we’d start down the road to anarchy, with militant liberals looking to kill off George Allen so that Mark Warner can name a replacement. It might be a short-term victory for judicial conservatism, but a long term loss for our society and the cause of Christ.

I will admit, given the emotional nature of the issue and the times, Mark should have clearly and unequivocally denounced any such actions. But just because he is sloppy doesn’t mean you can accuse him of wanting something to happen that he has specifically denied advocating. Hawkins calls Mark’s post a “murder fantasy.” That is straight out not true.”

First off, if Byron had simply posted his scenario and said, “Go, do it,” the Secret Service would have been knocking on his door by now if they were doing their jobs. Byron knows that, just like the rest of us do.

So what does he do? He puts out a scenario like this and subtly tries to get across the idea that he thinks it wouldn’t be bad idea. Even the quote Kevin uses as evidence of his good intentions is doing that. Look at it…

“Were we to advocate the creation of the CLF, we’d start down the road to anarchy, with militant liberals looking to kill off George Allen so that Mark Warner can name a replacement. It might be a short-term victory for judicial conservatism, but a long term loss for our society and the cause of Christ.”

Notice that he’s not saying no one should do this because it’s treasonous, insane, evil, and monstrous. No, we shouldn’t do it because the liberals would do it too. So what is that supposed to mean? That we should go for that, “short-term victory for judicial conservatism” if we could get away it? See, that’s EXACTLY what I think Byron was trying to get across here.

On the other hand, John Cole at Balloon Juice compares Byron’s writing to a John Grisham novel…

“You guys have read the Pelican Brief, or at least seen the movie? You know the one, where Big Oil assassinates several Supreme Court Justices. Should Grisham be ashamed (other than letting them cast Julia Roberts, I think not)?”

John Grisham is novelist who comes up with scenarios like this for his books. But, you know what? If John Grisham had a blog and wrote a post talking about how great it would be if one of his fans would kill his neighbor who he’s angry at and then described how isolated the neighbor’s house, gave the address, suggested that they could probably get away with it, & then said, “Oh, but don’t do that,” I wouldn’t just write that off as harmless speculation.

In Byron’s case, we have a guy who says he is a conservative Christian, who punches up a detailed a scenario in which other “conservative Christians” murder Byron’s political enemies to give “his side” an unassailable advantage. Then while he does add the obligatory “don’t do this,” he doesn’t condemn the idea as loathsome at all. To be frank, it reminds me of the bloodless way that Palestinian officials often “condemn” terrorism against Israel. You know, “don’t do this because it’ll hurt us politically,” instead of “only a sick piece of human garbage who should be damned by every decent human being on the planet would blow themselves up on an Israeli bus”.

I wouldn’t laugh off a liberal blogger fantasizing about left-wing guerrillas murdering Republican pols & tacitly suggesting it wouldn’t be a bad idea, so I’m sure not going cut Byron any slack just because he’s supposed to be “on my side”.

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