Alex Blaze

Tennessee church shooter Jim David Atkinsson's manifesto

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 11, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Jim David Atkisson, murder, religion, right-wing rhetoric, shooting, unitarian universalist church

The manifesto of Jim David Atkisson is going around the internet, and it's after the jump. Atkinsson just pled guilty to murdering two people and injuring six others after he entered a Unitarian Universalist Church in Tennessee and opened fire. His goal was to kill liberals.

It turns out that authoritarianism, racism, homophobia, and right-wing ideology can turn violent. And I'd expect to see more of this. Republicans have substantially less political power than they did just four years ago, the economy is getting worse, the right thinks violence can solve most of their problems, conservatives were arming themselves during the transition period, and there's something about a black man being in charge that literally causes some white people's minds to break. I think we're in for a pretty violent few years.

After reading the manifesto and his specific hatred of gay people ("How is a man sticking his dick up another man's ass progress? It's an abomination."), and after months of the right complaining about how gays in California are attacking Prop 8 supporters with sternly-worded postcards, verbal christ-bashing, and christophobia that manifests itself in people peaceably expressing what they think, this situation is a reminder about which side of the ideological spectrum is the one that's actually willing to take a gun and destroy the other side by any means necessary.

Also, this man went into a church and started shooting, intent on killing everyone he could. No LGBT person did that in the wake of Prop 8. Who's really a threat to religion in America?

To whom it may concern:

I guess you're wondering why I did this. Well, let me explain in detail.
Over the years I've had some good jobs, but I always got layed off. Now I'm 58 years old & I can't get a decent job. I'm told I'm "overqualified," which is a code word for "too damned old." Like I'm expected to age gracefully into poverty. No thanks! I'm done!
I've always wondered why I was put on the earth. For years I thought I was put here to die as cannon fodder in VietNam but somehow cheated the devil out of it. Lately I've been feeling helpess in our war on Terrorizm. But I realized I could engage the terrorists allies here in America. The best allies they've got.
The Democrates! The democrates have done everything they can do to tie our hands in this War on Terror. They're all abunch of traitors. They want America to loose this war for reasons I can not understand. It makes me soooo mad!
In a parallel train of thought; It saddens me to think back on all the bad things that Liberalism has done to this country. The worst problem America faces today is Liberalism. They have dumbed down education. They have defined deviancy down. Liberals have attacked every major institution that made America great. From the Boy Scouts to the military, from education to Religion. The major news outlets have become the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party. Liberals are evil, they embrace the tenets of Karl Marx, they're Marxist, socialist, communists.

The Unitarian Universalist Church

Don't let the word church mislead you. This isn't a church, it's a cult. They don't even believe in God. They worship the God of Secularizm. These sick people aren't Liberals, they're Ultra-Liberals. This is a collection of sicko's, weirdo's, & homo's. The UU church is the fountainhead, the veritable wellspring of anti-American organizations like, Code Pink, and other un-American groups.
These people are absolute Hypocrits. They embrace every pervert that comes down the pike, but if they find out your a conservative, they absolutely hate you.
I know. I experienced it.
I can't for the life of me understand why these people would embrace Marxism like they do.
I'd like someone to do an exposé on this church, it's a den of un-American Vipers.
They call themselves "Progressive." How is a white woman having a niger baby progress? How is a man sticking his dick up another man's ass progress?
It's an abomination.
It takes a warped mind to hate America.
It makes me so angry. I can't live with it anymore!
The environmental nuts have to be stopped.

Know This If Nothing Else

I. This was a hate crime:
I hate the damn left-wing liberals. There is a vast left-wing conspiracy in this country & these liberals are working together to attack every decent & honorable institution in the nation, trying to turn this country into a communist state. Shame on them.

II. This was a Political Protest:
I'm protesting the liberal Supreme Court Justices for give the terrorists at GITMO constitutional rights. I'm protesting the major News outlets, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS for being the propaganda wing of the Democrat Party. It's criminal what they're getting away with. They're traitors! They must be stopped!
I'm protesting the DNC running such a radical leftist candidate, Osama Hussein OBama, yo Mama. No experience, no brains, a joke. Dangerous to America. Hell, he looks like Curious George!
III. 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 knew these 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 chicken shit 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 cancer, this pestilence.

In Conclusion:

No one gets out of this world alive so I've chosen to skip the bad years of poverty. I know my life is going downhill fast from here. The future looks bleak. I'm sick & tired of being sick & tired. I'm absolutely fed up. So I thought I'd do something good for this Country. Kill Democrats til the cops kill me. If decent patriotic Americans could vote 3 times in every election we couldn't stem this tide of liberalism that's destroying America. Liberals are a pest like termites. Millions of them. Each little bite contributes to the downfall of this great nation. The only way we can rid ourselves of this evil is kill them in the streets. Kill them where they gather. I'd like to encourage like-minded people to do what I've done. If life ain't worth living anymore, don't just kill yourself, do something for your Country before you go. Go Kill Liberals. Tell the cop that killed me that I said, "Thanks, I needed that."

I have no next of kin, no living relatives. If you would take my sorry carcass to the body farm or donate it to science, or just throw me in the Tennessee River.

Jim David Atkisson

[SOURCE (links to pdf)]

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This is madness propagated by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and other "conservative" pundits/journalists. They fed this man hate and he responded in the only way that hate ever truly leads to: violence. The truth does not matter to these folks, only ratings and how much vitriol they can spew and hear regurgitated back at them from their core constituency. It's disgusting.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | February 11, 2009 12:54 PM


You know this sort of madness exists, but seeing it starkly in black and white like this stuns me.

Beneath his madness and distortion, the man has a point I actually agree with him on: poor people in this country are being thrown to the dogs. Instead of blaming those who are actually responsible, however, he turns reality complete on its head, falls for the authoritarian myth, and blames allegedly all-powerful liberals.

I sincerely hope you're wrong, Alex, about more of this down the road. But I fear you're right.

That is way crazy ! What kind of person of God goes around killing people in the Name of God ? Its soo intriguing to me how its a sin to use Gods name in vain .. and yet people are constantly portraying god as a hate filled entity hell bent on revenge. if thats not blasphemy then I dont know what is If we want love to unite we have to come together and get organized. The churches, trust me, are doing it The Advocate Click here to see it ran a story recently on how Church attendees are donating millions to repel Prop 8 and god knows who else's rights. Funny how hatred and misunderstanding are the one thing uniting religious groups instead of peace, love and oh maybe helping out the community.

What kind of person of God goes around killing people in the Name of God ?

A lot of society's "leaders" throughout history, that's who... Remember the Crusades? The Inquisition? The Holocaust? There's three quick examples.

This doesn't surprise me at all. Nor does any other post or article which suggests republicans and "christians" might really be a violence bunch after all.

Remember, this is the same group of people who were pushing for the execution of gays in America, twice in the past 30 years: the first time in the 1970's, suggested by Bryant/Falwell, and the second time more loudly pushed in the early 1980's by Falwell, the Moral Majority group, James Dobson, Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins, Beverly and Tim LaHaye and RJ Rushdoony.

And how many of these above-mentioned people are running the current "christian" circus?

steve tabarez | February 11, 2009 4:30 PM

Yeah. Quite a manifesto, there. And yet, alls I can feel is an overwhelming sadness. It's clear that the real demons he was trying to kill were his own. Hateful rantings aside, it is clear that the man was terribly ill. That in his illness, he saw his world falling apart, he made that final leap of blaming those that are unlike YOU. Something that Reagan used to become president, and has been a republican staple ever since. He obviously drank that kool-aid. The republicans should be ashamed of themselves. And, should try helping the poor instead of preying on them for political purposes. And so should we.

Here is a notation on a new book out about AUTHORTARIANISM:
The writer...who posted on PHB noted remarks from it referring to Religions Fundamentalists: (I keep wanting to say extremists, because that is the way we are headed..wonder if I shoud also send this reference, carefully, to the Secret Service?)

Religious Folk and Authoritarianism (+)
by: Christine Johnson
Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 22:39:29 PM CST

Yesterday I came across a most interesting book, available on-line at The Authoritarians, which provides a significant body of scientific research that goes a long way to explaining why religious followers (and leaders) have such a hard time with us GLBT folk. The author is a professor of psychology at the University of Manitoba and has been studying authoritarian people for decades as a psychological researcher. His results are very pertinent to issues relating to GLBT liberation, and I highly recommend the book, especially since it's free :)
I took some notes, and a few really important paragraphs are instructive:
p. 139-140: This chapter has presented my main research findings on religious fundamentalists. The first thing I want to emphasize, in light of the rest of this book, is that they are highly likely to be authoritarian followers. They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority, and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide. They are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility in them that they readily direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason, and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times, and are often hypocrites.

But they are also Teflon-coated when it comes to guilt. They are blind to themselves, ethnocentric and prejudiced, and as closed-minded as they are narrowminded. They can be woefully uninformed about things they oppose, but they prefer ignorance and want to make others become as ignorant as they. They are also surprisingly uninformed about the things they say they believe in, and deep, deep, deep down inside many of them have secret doubts about their core belief. But they are very happy, highly giving, and quite zealous. In fact, they are about the only zealous people around nowadays in North America, which explains a lot of their success in their endless (and necessary) pursuit of converts.

He then goes on to examine "social dominators" or people who attempt to use whatever methods necessary to achieve their goals, which often involve manipulating the right wing authoritarians (RWA's) to do their bidding.
But beyond the social dominators, there is another smaller group, which he calls the "Double Highs," who are both social dominators and right-wing authoritarians. These people, not surprisingly, rise to the top of the political world. It is not difficult to surmise that people like James Dobson, and Kenneth Zucker fall into this category.He says (p. 178) that:

So who are these Double Highs? Simply put, they are “religious” social dominators. They usually had much more religious upbringings than social dominators typically had, or they may have “got religion” as adults. As a group their fervor does not quite reach the levels found among ordinary right-wing authoritarians. But they go to church much more than most people in my samples do. Ditto for being religious fundamentalists. Ditto for being religiously ethnocentric. They thus respond to the religious content on the RWA scale, which ordinary social dominators do not, and that helps make them Double Highs.

Dr. Altemeyer provides some suggestions at the end of the book to counter the effects of authoritarianism, and the consequent impact on our society, but I think it would be better if folks here read the book and drew their own conclusions. Still, I think the scientific evidence would be most useful for those fighting for LGBT rights. As Autumn has said: "Know your enemy."
That seems to me wise advice.

He comes off like a redneck Unabomber.

This makes me wonder how prevalent his sort of thinking is among "angry white men." The Hitlers of history have often preyed upon people who are economically desperate yet lack the sophistication to find the root causes of their problems and instead seek out scapegoats.

Woah. My Grammar Ninja powers are just about to knock me out of my chair. It's nauseating.

If this man is a typical example of a product of the Midwest (and not just grammatically), or indeed any part of the country, we are all in trouble. I live in the Midwest, though, and although I do see quite a lot of racism and homophobia (and sexism and stereotypical thinking, etc), I don't think the day-to-day indescrepancies I see are strong enough or engrained enough into the minds of the people to result in violence. I, like Alex, am quite afraid that some of the more conservative citizens of the U.S. will use violence to suit their opinions, but I highly doubt they will escalate into something resembling a mass killing spree. That's the beauty of having a Democrat in the Oval Office! With luck he'll make sure people don't get off easily for premeditated, unregretted hate crimes. Or will he?