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Two more mass shootings - who is to blame?

A young man in Pittsburgh went berserk after his mother called 911 during an argument with him. He opened fire on the police officers answering the 911 call. Three officers were killed, and two more were injured:

The complaint says Margaret Poplawski called 911 about 7 a.m. Saturday to report that her son was "giving her a hard time."

She told police she awoke to discover that "the dog had urinated on the floor," and awakened her son "to confront him about it."

The two had an argument, and Margaret Poplawski told her son she was calling police to remove him from her home, according to the complaint. When officers Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullo III arrived, she opened the door and let them in.

"Mrs. Poplawski reported that as the officers entered approximately 10 feet into the residence, she heard gunshots, turned and saw her son about six feet away with a long rifle in his hands, at which point she fled downstairs after asking him, 'What the hell have you done?'" the complaint said.

Margaret Poplawski reported she stayed in the basement during the standoff, and heard her son yell, "Yeah, I've been shot," and "I'm standing down, come in and help me," according to the complaint.

Police Chief Nathan Harper identified the dead officers as Eric Kelly, Mayhle and Sciullo. Kelly was a 14-year veteran of the department; the other two had worked there for two years each.

The chief said Sciullo was the first to approach the home, and was shot in the head as he entered the doorway. When Mayhle tried to help his fellow officer, he also was shot in the head. Kelly arrived at the scene and was shot before he could aid the other two officers, Harper said.

Harper said the suspect fired from a bedroom window, shooting at an armored vehicle carrying a SWAT team -- preventing those officers and medics from reaching the wounded policemen.


Margaret Poplawski told police her son had enlisted in the Marine Corps a few years ago, but was discharged for assaulting his drill sergeant in basic training, according to the complaint. Since his discharge, she told police, he had been "stockpiling guns and ammunition, buying and selling the weapons online, because he believed that as a result of the economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society. Mrs. Poplawski reported that her son only liked police when they were not curtailing his constitutional rights, which he was determined to protect," the complaint said.

The suspect, 22 year old Richard Poplawski, was arrested and will be charged with the murder of the three police officers.


Early news reports seized on comments made by Poplawski's friends, who suggested that he feared an Obama-instigated gun ban. So this bunch of hardcore Lefties blames Glenn Beck specifically, and conservative "paranoia" in general. Personally, I find it puzzling that no one on the Left ever points the finger at their own minions, who for eight years screamed and raged about fascism and the Fourth Reich and the destruction of the Constitution and how George W. Bush would suspend elections and order the National Guard into the streets and install himself as dictator-for-life. That's not out-of-control paranoia? That's not derangement?

Twenty years ago, liberals pooh-poohed the efforts of Tipper Gore and others to warn parents about the music that their children were listening to. Nobody listens to the words, they argued. If some kid jumps off a bridge, he's the only one responsible. Don't blame "entertainers" for the way others interpret their work. My, how times change.

In Graham, Washington, 15 miles southeast of Tacoma, a father shot and killed his five children in their home before fatally shooting himself in his car, after driving to a casino 18 miles away. The father, James Harrison, reportedly fought with his wife the previous day, and immediately following their argument she left. Neighbors also reported that Harrison could often be heard yelling at his family, and that sheriff's deputies had been called to the Harrison residence several times.


Perhaps a better question to ask would be, what has robbed these people of the joy of life, and left them with nothing but a wrecked existence nourished only by paranoia and hopelessness? What caused a fear so intense that it could only be resolved by the taking of innocent life? How can anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty even think about tying these events into something as existentially insignificant as partisan politics?

Undoubtedly there were many among us who believed in the promise of a new era of openness, understanding, and hope. Yet today, we seem to be no closer to that promise than we were six months, or a year, or ten years ago. In many respects, politics only poisons the human condition and never cures it. And as long as we use tragedy as a weapon to harm our enemies, it will be too powerful a thing for us to ever willfully abandon.
ADDED: Related linkage --

Little Green Footballs notes that Richard Poplawski was a conspiracy nut with connections to the neo-Nazi group Stormfront. It's pretty obvious that he wasn't playing with a full deck; in other words, his shooting spree was not part of some kind of coordinated right-wing "rebellion."

Confederate Yankee remembers Andrew Mickel, a radical left-winger and early IndyMedia contributor who murdered a police officer in 2002, as well as the Unabomber, who wasn't exactly a conservative. Speaking of left-wing killers and radicals, may I humbly add Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn to the list?

And at The Volokh Conspiracy, Jim Lindgren revisits his Ph.D. research some years ago that linked racism and long-term repressed anger more strongly with progressives and redistributionists, rather than with those who identified themselves as conservatives and supporters of the free market. He also notes the much larger percentage of convicted violent criminals who identify themselves as Democrats, compared to those who identify themselves as Republicans.

Once again we see the Left involved in an outrageous example of speck and beam hypocrisy that would be laughable if not for the tragic nature of the subject. I think Confederate Yankee sums it up nicely:

Anger, is an emotion. It is apolitical and amoral, neither right nor wrong nor identifiable with a party affiliation. It is how a person choses to channel anger into action that defines him as good or evil or benign.

A person could channel his anger and fear of an Administration's clear desire to restrict Constitutional rights in a good way by becoming politically active and working to make sure others know of the infringements the President desires.

Or a person could use his anger and channel them into evil actions, such as murdering police officers... or use the story about those murders, along with willful lies and half truths, to attack others for a momentary political advantage.

Both are evil acts.

It's simply a matter of degree.


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Comments (42)

First, Ms. Poplawski is to ... (Below threshold)

First, Ms. Poplawski is to blame...she opened the door.

Second, people do dumb things. You are about to witness more suicides and serious problems than this country has seen since the "Great Depression".....seriously.

It's sad.

Two more mass shootings ... (Below threshold)

Two more mass shootings - who is to blame?

I'm surpised Michael Laprarie didn't try to blame Obama. The authors on this site are usually so creative when it comes to criticizing Obama, it is suprising Michael did not even try to spin it in that direction.

Perhaps because, Sea, we ca... (Below threshold)

Perhaps because, Sea, we can recognize reality when we see it, and place blame (or credit) accordingly.

JLawson is correct sea. You... (Below threshold)

JLawson is correct sea. You liberals are the ones that look to blame all the time. You love to label people. Put them in a little box to make yourself feel better. Who is to blame for this? Mental illness. ww

"Who is to blame for this? ... (Below threshold)

"Who is to blame for this? Mental illness"


Except for those out to score cheap political points.

Sometimes, tragedies happen... (Below threshold)
James H:

Sometimes, tragedies happen and all you can do is sit there and wonder if there is any order, or, indeed, any justice in the world.

These men are not robot or ... (Below threshold)

These men are not robot or zombies. They are thinking adults who have the capacity to make decisions. Unless it found out that they have real mental issues, the blame rest on the men who pulled the trigger.

Often time we try and find things to excuse evil in the world. We try and blame other factors. The danger in doing this is forgetting that man is an animal that can make good charitable decision and monstrous ones of their own free will.

When we try to forget the monster lies within, it becomes easy to say things like terrorist are not really evil they are victims, or gang members are misunderstood they are only doing it because of their social economic status.

So lets put the blame of these monstrous actions on the monsters unless we find other real factors like they were on anti-psychotic drugs which did not allow them to make decisions.

Blaming this shooting on Ri... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Blaming this shooting on Right Wing radio is like blaming cancer on the nicotine in cigarettes. It's not really provable but common sense says otherwise.

Here is more NON-evidence i... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

Here is more NON-evidence in another case:

Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity on accused shooter's reading list

4-page letter outlines frustration, hatred of 'liberal movement'


AB, hatred for the liberal ... (Below threshold)

AB, hatred for the liberal movement equates with killing cops how? You are usually inane in your comments but that was plain stupid. ww

These fellows turned to vio... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

These fellows turned to violence as well. It appears they are simple racists but that's not really provable:

Final Defendant Pleads Guilty to Anti-Obama Assaults

Ralph Nicoletti Admits Targeting African-Americans in Staten Island, N.Y., After President Obama's Election Victory


10:"hatred for the... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:


"hatred for the liberal movement equates with killing cops how?"

I said (see # 8) you can't prove the connection.

Nicotine does not cause can... (Below threshold)

Nicotine does not cause cancer, AB. Tar, arsenic, lead and a dozen other things in cigarettes can, but not nicotine.

So, you're right. Blaming talk radio is like blaming nicotine.

The blame goes to the perso... (Below threshold)

The blame goes to the person who committed the shooting. There is such a thing as evil and some people just choose to go down that path in life.
However, it is the liberals m.o. for every negative action there is someone to blame. Trying to blame talk radio or anything else is just silly and not worth listening to people who said so.
EX:If a man goes crazy in public because his wife left him, is it is wife's fault...NO!!!!!!

I see where Adrian's simple... (Below threshold)

I see where Adrian's simple mind still looks for simple solutions. Pity.

I don't blame anyone but th... (Below threshold)

I don't blame anyone but the nuts themselves, but the multiple incidents should be addressed by the leaders of the right wing. Tone it down.

The Arkansas Shooter:

This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn't get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It's the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence.

The Dirty Bomber who was murdered by his wife:

Amber Cummings reportedly told police that her husband was "very upset" over Barack Obama being elected president, had been in contact with white supremacist groups, and that he'd been mixing chemicals in their kitchen sink while talking about dirty bombs.

Also, the Free Republic blogger who sent white powder to multiple libruls.

And now this bitter and bitterly misinformed shooter who clung to his guns...

You would think that after McVeigh the tone would be a bit softer, but no, you still here calls for armed revolution (seriously) by popular right wingers. (This includes talk shows and congresspersons like Bachmann)

Evil exist just as good exi... (Below threshold)

Evil exist just as good exist. A person can freely chose to do a beneficial act to another person this is good. Someone can choose to do a harmful act to another person that is evil an evil act. Both choices are done by the person of their own free will and the consequences of both choices should be weighted the same.

In both cases the person who has no mental impairment and has full control of his facilities should be held accountable. If he does good maybe he get some praise. If he does evil then he gets condemnation.

Yes the shooter is to blame... (Below threshold)

Yes the shooter is to blame. However to recognize the situations and events that contribute to discontent has it purposes. There will always going be those few that will go ballistic regardless of situation of the world. However when those numbers start to drastically increase, it would be wise to take notice. It is a tough to determine will to draw the line of when to do something and when not to.

Example slum kids getting involve with crime because they don't see any way else out. Are they responsible for their crimes? Yes and they shouldn't get off easy because they are from a slum. However there is nothing wrong with trying to educate them on other options or coming up with other solutions to improve their situations.

My concern is not with the occasional nutcases that like any crime, you will never be able to prevent but when it does get to a point when the numbers increase because of oppressive government and regulations that many will pass it off as just some nutcases and won't address their concerns.

That's right, let's bash ri... (Below threshold)

That's right, let's bash right wingers for every
shooting. But let us never bring up William
Ayers and his criminal partner Dorhn who were
planning on overthrowing our constitution,
rounding up about 25 million people they
considered unacceptable, committing genocide.
The only person responsible for those killings
are the shooters.

Guilty as hell, and free as a bird
Quote by William Ayers

Blaming this shoot... (Below threshold)
Blaming this shooting on Right Wing radio is like blaming cancer on the nicotine in cigarettes. It's not really provable but common sense says otherwise.

So does this mean I can blame the Unabombings on Al Gore? Cool!

Example slum kids... (Below threshold)
Example slum kids getting involve with crime because they don't see any way else out. Are they responsible for their crimes? Yes and they shouldn't get off easy because they are from a slum. However there is nothing wrong with trying to educate them on other options or coming up with other solutions to improve their situations.

Another example we hear it 1 out of 10 or sometime 1 out of 5. In both case the majority do not turn to the gangs. Which indicates that it is still a choice.

I don't blame anyo... (Below threshold)
I don't blame anyone but the nuts themselves, but the multiple incidents should be addressed by the leaders of the right wing. Tone it down.

So where were your cries of "tone it down" during the last eight years of calls to assassinate President Bush coming from nutbags on the left? Hell, you even had moonbats writing plays about killing Bush and I don't recall hearing a peep of protest from you.

"That's right, let's bash r... (Below threshold)

"That's right, let's bash right wingers for every

Nobody is saying that, but don't let the truth get in the way of your insane persecution complex.

max, Your attempt at... (Below threshold)

Your attempt at using spiel speak is not
effective. Whirled peas maybe.

Stupid pathetic liberal dun... (Below threshold)

Stupid pathetic liberal dunderheads will lay the blame on ether the gun makers or the NRA knowing how stupid and irresponible they are when its stupid blubberheaded liberals that are responible

<a href="http://washingtoni... (Below threshold)


Is this what gun shows are really like? Frightening.

(And apparently this latest shooter posted Glenn Beck videos on Stormfront, a rabid right-wing site)

HcddbzNot sure if yo... (Below threshold)

Not sure if you had a point beyond that everyone has a choice. 1 out of 5 or even 1 out of 10 are not good numbers. The idea that if it doesn't matter unless it matters to the majority is asinine. 1 out of 5 can cause a great deal of problems for the other 4. 1 out of 5 is often enough to rule a neighborhood or a country.
Regardless, I think 1 out of 5 in a neighborhood turning to crime is way too high and shows a problem. It would be worth some time and effort to determine if there are ways to decrease that number. FYI I think many of the liberals ideas are not grounded in reality. Should we let the criminals off the hook? No. Should we try changing some of their attitudes and environment? Yes.

One more point. I have seen many supposedly high morality and confident individuals throw away that morality in a heartbeat when they found themselves in a so call tough situation.

Is this what gun s... (Below threshold)
Is this what gun shows are really like? Frightening.

I don't see that much difference between that, and loony-left protest marches in SF or NY with their big, paper-mache' puppet-heads of George Bush and Condi Rice and the presence of all sorts of loony-left nuts, i.e. commie nuts, green nuts, feminist nuts, hate-israel nuts, etc. Perhaps you'd be more comfortable there.

Adrian!! Stop posting as Yo... (Below threshold)
Bow Before Me Obama:

Adrian!! Stop posting as You are already over the legal limit in record time at -36.

"I don't see that much diff... (Below threshold)

"I don't see that much difference between that, and loony-left protest"

The loony-left protests are usually more violent and have angry screaming people running around causing trouble. The left destroys other people nice cars out of anger and the gun show people used an old junk car for target practice not destroying it out of anger.

I believe society is to bla... (Below threshold)

I believe society is to blame for some of this mess...This guy was into white power. His myspace showed it and i read some of his stuff on stormfront which i assume is right wing online whatever that practices hate towards blacks and jews... Im a republican and a conservative but i am not a right wing nut. This kid was being influenced by these other wacko's and its been going on for awhile. Kids are so influenced today by what they hear and alot of them take it all in and really start believing this stuff. You have alot of left wing nuts that teach colleges and unfluence these kids who are trying to find a place in life and you have these right winged nuts who preach nothing buy hate towards jewish people and african americans. I read some of his stuff and its hateful and im thinking wow i cant even believe this.. I grew up 3 blocks from where he lived and im telling you it was all white back then not like it is now where its mixed but im tellin you if i would of even thought about calling a black person the n word or shouting hate remarks at jewish people my butt would of been sore for a week because my parents would of beat it bad...Thats one of the problems today you take parents out of discipilining their children and raising them correctly and these kids have the rule now. Im a firm believer in showing my child love, guidance and support but my kids ever showed rage like this guy grew up showing id knock the crap out of him quicker than he could say what are you doing. My husband and I have been together for 21 yrs and i thank God we put our children first and have managed to stay together for all those years through good and bad and i realize life isnt like this for everyone but i believe children grow up to be whatever was instilled in them as children and their homelife..most grow up and do what they can to survive in this world and do the best they can but others turn out to be confused and influenced by this crap that these crazy people want them to believe in and this is how it turns out. 3 lives were taken by something as senseless as an arguement over a dog urinating in the house. Im completely at lost as to what society is becoming.

Who is to blame? The Ameri... (Below threshold)
Luisa Da Silva:

Who is to blame? The Americans themselves. It was always a violent nation, a "cowboy nation". Each time they don't like something, they just kill. Bush did the same. Bush and Cheney are the perfect example of violent individuals. Children disappear every day in the U.S. What have they done? Nothing, they become the sole victims to the American violence. Gun control? It will never happen. Americans love their guns as much as they love their junk foods and their 6-pack.

luisa da silva - "Bush ... (Below threshold)

luisa da silva - "Bush did the same. Bush and Cheney are the perfect example of violent individuals."

You forgot to add a few [dems] didn't you?

Like Clinton, FDR (WW2), Truman (Korean war), Johnson (Vietnam) dems one and all.

Not to mention the current War-Monger-in-Chief/ChickenHawk.

Da silvaLay off th... (Below threshold)
Bow Before Me Obama:

Da silva

Lay off the tequilla.

JLawson is correct sea. ... (Below threshold)

JLawson is correct sea. You liberals are the ones that look to blame all the time. You love to label people. Put them in a little box to make yourself feel better. Who is to blame for this? Mental illness. ww


The word liberal is a label!!!!

You are doing exactly what you accuse liberals of doing!!!!

But than, if you truely were not into labeling and blaiming people than you would not visit this site. Virtually every article on this site labels and blames democrats for one thing or another.

There is a new political le... (Below threshold)

There is a new political leader who is going to be in power and he will fix this problem. he came out with a movie to show his plans and it is catching on like wild fire. I agree with everything he says. look and see for yourself www.dictatormovie.com

Go to any prison and ask th... (Below threshold)

Go to any prison and ask the inmates what political party they identify with. Go ahead, do it.

Oyster, go to any KKK meeti... (Below threshold)

Oyster, go to any KKK meeting and ask your comrades what political party they identify with.

"Oyster, go to any KKK m... (Below threshold)

"Oyster, go to any KKK meeting and ask your comrades what political party they identify with."

The answer Would have to be...The democrats in the senate.

The KKK is masonic in origi... (Below threshold)

The KKK is masonic in origin and non-partisan. A familiar ritual would be the cremation of care, which all political affiliations take part in. The costumes, the noose, the flaming cross are all part of the sinister masonic ritual:


I love how the left claims ... (Below threshold)

I love how the left claims the KKK is right wing when they are the party of Robert Byrd. The hypocrisy knows no bounds.

"Oyster, go to any KKK m... (Below threshold)

"Oyster, go to any KKK meeting and ask your comrades what political party they identify with."

That was cute. My comrades, eh?

My point, you moron, was that I think you'll find that they won't identify with any party.






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