Friday, March 05, 2010

taking on the Pentagon with a handgun and other crazy-ass ideas

The Pentagon shooter is dead, but the spin hasn't even begun. In the scramble to figure out who this guy is (Hollister CA? Austin?* Pot conviction? Truther? Avenging comrade to a murdered soldier? Fan of Austrian liberterian economists? Techno-geek?) the intertubes are going nuts.  Evidence so far also suggests that Bedell believed the assassination of JFK was a coup that culminated in September 11, that market creativity could change the world for the better, and that pot should be legal (even a broken clock is right twice a day I guess, and this guy's actions, opening fire on guards at the Pentagon, seem irredeemably broken).

If this is John Patrick Bedell's Amazon wish list, it says certain things about what he was thinking over the past decade, but then again, it says inconclusive and often paradoxical things. It includes Hitchens' case against Kissinger and the Black Book of Communism. Our character (which is all he is so far, and coulda been created anywhere, by anything, like a hologram) comments that the Black Book chronicles "the crimes of governments." Bedell's alleged profile at Amazon says "I'm interested in a lot of things, including: photons, molecules, and their interaction; biomolecular analysis and manipulation; microfabrication; CMOS integrated circuit design; DNA and quantum computing; economics; history; and biography." No word yet on whether the FBI will start rounding up sad, boring people.

My guess is that, still desperate to pin a crazed shooting on the democratic, progressive left, conservatives will find more ammunition here than they did in their ridiculous attempt to make the crimes of Amy Bishop political terrorism.  The conclusion of, however, is that Bedell is more blatantly libertarian than Austin suicide flyer Joe Stack:
The views implied and expressed by this John Patrick Bedell so far are almost doctrinaire libertarian, if there is such a thing. Libertarians have long championed the decriminalization of drugs, focusing closely on marijuana in part because it has long seemed the “drug most likely to” achieve decriminalization first. A J.P. Bedell found on Facebook who strongly resembles the man in the photo posted with Bedell’s arrest documents was at one point part of a Ludwig von Mises Facebook group – which is only indicative of a passing interest in Mises at best, but it’s worth noting that Mises, an Austrian philosopher and economist who died in 1973 is considered a major influence on modern libertarianism.
I don't know that this makes him the "crazy teabag offshoot" Mediaelites implies he is in the title of the piece, but it's likely he saw himself as fighting for a cause. What he didn't see is what the psychotic political terrorist never sees: the futility of fighting the system violently and individually (in this case invading the Pentagon with a handgun) rather than taking the infinitely more ethical, effective, and intelligent leap of establishing dialogue and solidarity with the millions of others frustrated and hungry for change.

*The Underview should get credit for raising the Austin question...  He's listed as living in Austin in that cryptic, alleged Amazon profile... ooh! Connection to Joe Stack? Probably not, but hey, we can start the meme!

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