April 05, 2009

The Right Wing Paranoia That Drove Richard Polawski To Commit Murder

The best minds progressive politics has to offer have apparently met on their little list and determined that—eureka!—it is the fault of the evil right wing neocon media that an unemployed sociopath ambushed and killed three police officers in Pittsburgh that were responding to a domestic violence call placed by his mother.

Explains the Neiwert:

We're gathering more information about Richard Polawski, the 23-year-old man who decided to kill three Pittsburgh police officers and wound three others because it appears he was afraid they -- at the behest of the Obama administration -- were going to take his guns away. (Dude, they definitely are now.)

Seems he was laying in wait in a carefully planned ambush:

Richard Poplawski, 23, met officers at the doorway and shot two of them in the head immediately, Harper said. An officer who tried to help the two also was killed.

Poplawski, armed with an assault rifle and two other guns, then held police at bay for four hours as the fallen officers were left bleeding nearby, their colleagues unable to reach them, according to police and witnesses. More than 100 rounds were fired by the SWAT teams and Poplawski, Harper said.

And he was paranoid about the Obama administration taking people's guns away -- even though, of course, there have been no indications of any such plans beyond NRA rantings:

Of course there have been no indications that the Administration wants to put in place additional restrictions or bans.

Not here, at

Address Gun Violence in Cities: Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.

All of those plans to further restrict the rights of Americans—and threaten the safety of police officers— on President Obama's official Presidential agenda have been previously been debunked. Police groups are against the repeal of Tiahrt Amendment, the gun show loophole is a myth, and the net result of the Assault Weapons Ban was to create and entirely new class of ultra-compact centerfire handguns, with no measurable impact on crime and an increase in gun availability and popularity.

The only reason to favor any of the measures Obama does above is the incremental encroachment of the Second Amendment, which has been a constant theme of his entire political career.

More of those "NRA rantings" have come from Attorney General Eric Holder, who said:

"As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons," Holder told reporters.

Holder said that putting the ban back in place would not only be a positive move by the United States, it would help cut down on the flow of guns going across the border into Mexico, which is struggling with heavy violence among drug cartels along the border.

Holder's statement was immediately downplayed by the White House, but it was never disavowed, as it an accurate reflection of Obama's official policy.

As for the story being spread by the Administration—including President Obama, AG Holder, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—that 90% of guns recovered from the Mexican cartels had their origins in the United States and therefore justify more gun control, that has also been exposed as a total lie.

The Mexican government only turns over to the U.S. government guns that they think had the possibility of being traced to America. The vast majority of the weapons they've recovered from the cartels in the past two years—more than 20,000—were from other sources including the Mexican military, and included weapons not available on the U.S. gun market at any price.

None of this, of course, is an excuse for this thug's ambush of police officers trying to uphold the peace. Not his job loss, nor his dishonorable discharge in Marine Corps boot camp, nor his Klannish (nearly progressive) hatred of Zionism, nor his psychological defects or fears.

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.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 5, 2009 10:22 AM

Poor misdirected guy - the anger should be toward Congress & the rest of this administration, not the poor cops (& other LEO's)!! Turn your guns, letters, whatever else that way. Not the poor guy doing yoeman's work for little pay!!

Posted by: pops1911 at April 5, 2009 04:05 PM

Appears the shooting was the result of dog piss.

Fight over urinating dog got police to Pa. ambush
By JOE MANDAK – 2 hours ago

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A 911 call that brought two police officers to a home where they were ambushed, and where a third was also later killed during a four-hour siege, was precipitated by a fight between the gunman and his mother over a dog urinating in the house.

The Saturday argument between Margaret and Richard Poplawski escalated to the point that she threatened to kick him out and she called police to do it, according to a 12-page criminal complaint and affidavit filed late Saturday.

When officers Paul Sciullo III and Stephen Mayhle arrived, Margaret Poplawski opened the door and told them to come in and take her 23-year-old son, apparently unaware he was standing behind her with a rifle, the affidavit said. Hearing gunshots, she spun around to see her son with the gun and ran to the basement.

"What the hell have you done?" she shouted.

The mother told police her son had been stockpiling guns and ammunition "because he believed that as a result of economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society," the affidavit said.

Friends have said Poplawski was concerned about his weapons being seized during Barack Obama's presidency, and friends said he owned several handguns and an AK-47 assault rifle. Police have not said, specifically, what weapons were used to kill the officers.

Posted by: edh at April 5, 2009 05:25 PM

I'm probably wrong but I thought dishonorable discharge disqualified you from voting, owning firearms, etc. because it is awarded at a Court-Martial. Is this right?

Posted by: CRScott at April 5, 2009 05:34 PM

For as little as we know so far I'd throw out that his mom sounds like a terrible person, really.

Posted by: happyfeet at April 5, 2009 05:38 PM

Awfully chatty lady, leastways.

Posted by: happyfeet at April 5, 2009 05:51 PM

It is extremely unlikely that this individual had a Dishonorable Discharge, which is a punitive discharge awarded by a general court-martial for serious, felony-grade offenses, such as murder and rape, or weighty military offenses such as espionage. Reports indicate that he washed out of boot camp after some act of insubordination. He might have gotten a Bad Conduct Discharge, more comparable to a misdemeanor conviction, but I doubt that. An administrative Other Than
Honorable discharge is most likely.

These are terms of art, set forth in military law and regulations.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 5, 2009 06:09 PM

Of course, the fact that the vast majority of police officers are conservative means nothing to them. How would they know? The only one the ever met arrested them for dope, and they pled out so they never saw that cop again.

I was a cop for 12 years. Crazy people do crazy things and if they allow themselves to be taken alive they are far more likely to play the victim card handed out en masse by the left than to quote Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan or Newt Gingrich.

Posted by: karlj at April 5, 2009 07:39 PM

Dishonorable Discharge and Bad Conduct Discharge can only be awarded after a court-martial. Every court-martial (even a Summary Court) resulting in a guilty verdict counts as a felony conviction, but individual state laws govern which felonies abrogate which civil rights.

Posted by: Rex at April 5, 2009 07:54 PM

Today, it's a bit of domestic violence that got way out of control. She has conflict resolution issues, while he may have been a section 8.

Two years from now, men who stand up against government in such a fashion will be called 'heroes' and 'patriots' by one the other, they'll be called 'traitors' and 'criminals.'

Which will you be called...and by whom?

Posted by: Warren Bonesteel at April 5, 2009 08:01 PM

I absolutely agree that using these horrific incidents to slander an entire group of people or a political ideology is repulsive. However, it is important to look at the way a message is being delivered and the kind of impact it can have on unstable people, especially now that heightened unemployment seems to be the subtext for a lot of these incidents.

In this very thread you have comments calling for "standing up to government in such a fashion", or turning guns on congress. More frightening, however, have been the pronouncements of side-stream conservative voices like RedState or Glenn Beck tacitly approving of this behavior (Erikson: beating your state legislator to a bloody pulp, cleaning his gun for the impending riots) and calling for armed revolution. Or the main-stream calls of republican congressmen for their constituents to be "armed and dangerous," or to adopt the practices of the Taliban.

You and I gloss over this as hyperbole or sensationalism, but is it absurd to suggest that these incitements can light the fuse under a deranged individual? Is it justified because the left has similar outbursts?

Posted by: trizzlor at April 5, 2009 09:12 PM

Unfortunately for you right-wingers, it's accurate. You have blatantly appealed to paranoia and weak minds, and you knew damned well that some folks would take your most over-the-top pronouncement seriously, and would act on them.

This is part of your pattern.

And for too long we’ve accepted your verbal diarrhea and your incitements to violence as though it was something other than the total insanity and the ravings of violent minds that it obviously is.

Posted by: Ignatz at April 5, 2009 09:35 PM

Me I think I will be called that guy what don't shoot cops. It's just a.) really hard to see what that would accomplish and b.) not how my mama brought me up.

Posted by: happyefeet at April 5, 2009 11:14 PM

What are you going to be called, Mr. Bonesteel?

Posted by: happyfeet at April 5, 2009 11:15 PM

"You have blatantly appealed to paranoia and weak minds, and you knew damned well that some folks would take your most over-the-top pronouncement seriously, and would act on them."

You mean like the left's endless declarations of the eminent End of Life on Earth because of economic activity? Or is the left utterly innocent of the political violence committed by environmentalist terrorists while the right is utterly responsible for the spur-of-the-moment, emotional violence of people like Powlaski?

How about the left's endless excuse-making for race riots when committed by the "right" races?

Or the stoking of anger towards the AIG executives, bankers, investors, and anyone else considered part of the "moneyed" classes?

Or the near immunity organized labor has for "strike-related" violence?

Or the utter blindness the left has towards race-based crime when committed by certain races?

Posted by: Rob Crawford at April 5, 2009 11:37 PM

Dear Ignatz: Which wingnut talking head told Jiverly Wong to kill those people?

Posted by: Jim Treacher at April 6, 2009 05:02 AM

Since when do liberals care if cops get killed? last time I checked they were marching in the streets to support them. From the San Fransisco Chronicle:

"Oakland -- About 60 people marched and rallied in Oakland tonight to condemn the police and honor Lovelle Mixon, who was killed by Oakland police after he fatally shot four officers Saturday.

'OPD you can't hide - we charge you with genocide,' chanted the demonstrators as they marched along MacArthur Blvd., near the intersection with 74th Avenue where Mixon, 26, a fugitive parolee, gunned down two motorcycle officers who had pulled him over in a traffic stop. He then killed two more officers who had tried to capture him where he was hiding in sister's apartment nearby.

The protest was organized by the Oakland branch of the radical Uhuru Movement, whose flyers for the march declared, "Stop Police Terror." Many marchers wore t-shirts featuring Mixon's photo, including a woman identified by march organizers as Mixon's mother. The woman declined to comment and gave her name only as Athena."

Posted by: Jack Savage at April 6, 2009 09:51 AM

Huh. So that's the way the game is played now? RFK was shot and killed by a Palestinian. Progressives fall all over themselves supporting the Palestinians no matter what. The question must be asked. Why do Progressives support and encourage the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy?

Posted by: buzz at April 6, 2009 12:07 PM

Your first comment suggested that the shooter's rage and GUNS should have been pointed toward congress?? Do you agree with this?? Better scrub your comments because if anyone in congress is harmed it won't look real good for you guys.

Posted by: calm down at April 6, 2009 12:09 PM

I think it was pretty clear that the anger against Congress should be turned into letters to Congress, not into violence against police officers who don't make the laws.

I think that any attempt to find reason behind the crazy acts of a crazy person will tell you more about the speaker than about the crazy person.

Posted by: Don Meaker at April 6, 2009 10:51 PM