Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sparks in a Tinderbox

Story of Stuff graphic showing a cartoon person carrying lots of shopping bagsRemember the animated video The Story of Stuff? As I noted last March, it had attracted the attention of Fox News's Glenn Beck, who decried it for being anti-capitalist and generally in opposition to his world view.

Well, I guess Beck has regularly been railing against the video's sponsor, the Tides Foundation, for about a year. He's called it a conspiratorial network of "bullies" and "thugs" trying to "infiltrate and gain control of corporate America," among many other things.

Ten days ago, a man named Byron Williams took inspiration from Glenn Beck and headed across California with guns, ammunition and body armor on his way to shoot up the Tides Foundation office (San Francisco Chronicle news article here).

As noted in the Media Matters link above, a Nexis search of the Tides name turns up 31 instances on Fox News programs, 29 of which were on Beck's show. Beck talked about Tides twice the week before Williams took his guns on the road. No one else in the media has been talking about the Tides Foundation, so it seems pretty clear that Beck's rants are the inspiration.

Police tape and four patrol cars surrounding a white pickup truck

Williams was stopped by the California Highway Patrol before he reached his target, but two CHPs were injured in the confrontation when Williams "opened fire at the officers as one approached his truck. He continued firing as eight additional officers arrived. More than 60 rounds were reportedly fired during the five to eight minute shootout" (from Media Matters).

An unemployed carpenter/handyman still on parole from a felony conviction, Williams "was angry about his unemployment and about 'what's happening to our country' " as the Chronicle quoted his mother. The Chronicle continues, "Williams watched the news on television and was upset by 'the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items,' his mother said."

The guns were all legally purchased by Williams's mother. The Chronicle again: "Janice Williams said she kept the guns because 'eventually, I think we're going to be caught up in a revolution.' "

The Tides Foundation has called for a return to civil discourse. What an old-fashioned, American idea.

1 comment:

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

This makes me so angry.... Glenn Beck makes me so angry.... A return to civil discourse would be a wonderful thing.