Now we know what the Virginia killer alleged were the racist words that had supposedly been uttered three years earlier by Alison Parker, whom he decided to finally murder:
The 24-year-old white reporter, who was murdered on live TV along with her cameraman, used the phrases as an intern at WDBJ TV in Roanoke in 2012, according to an internal complaint filed by Flanagan, who was black.
“One was something about ‘swinging’ by some place; the other was out in the ‘field,’ ” said the Jan. 21 report by assistant news director Greg Baldwin, which refers to Parker as Alison Bailey (her middle name).
Parker was never disciplined over the remarks, but Flanagan never forgot them.
On this and other blogs on the right, you know how we sometimes joke about the fact that during the Obama era every other word seems to have drawn an accusation of “racist!!”? (I’ve written posts on the subject, such as for example this one back in 2008 where I talk about allegations that “socialist” is just a code word for “black.”) The left has been overreacting—and encouraging people to overreact like this—for years, even before Obama became became president but even more during his candidacy and presidency. It got to the point where literally any criticism of Obama was racist by definition.
So although Flanagan’s allegations read like a Saturday Night Live script or something out of The Onion, they were not. His starting point was the program set by the left in their definition of what’s racist, and in his anger and paranoia he took it many steps further. “Swing,” “field,” racism? No wonder he was making accusations of racism virtually everywhere he went. No wonder he felt angrier and angrier, if he had defined provocation down to that extent.
So, was Flanagan “crazy”? I haven’t a clue, really, but it doesn’t sound it to me. He was angry and paranoid (although there’s no evidence that he was a paranoid schizophrenic), and certainly violent at the end. Would treatment have helped him? Again, I haven’t a clue, but my guess would be “no.” And although everybody knew that he was the first two (angry and paranoid), and he had threatened people in various ways, I don’t think it was fully appreciated that he would become murderously violent. But even had it been foreseen, what could anyone have done? The rules for civil commitment in Virginia don’t seem to cover a case such as his, and in any event the police who witnessed what was previously his worst outburst (years prior to the murders) didn’t seem to think further action was needed.
People can rail all they like about how this guy was an explosion waiting to happen, and it’s obviously true. But that doesn’t mean there’s a solution. You can’t lock him up when he hasn’t committed a crime and is merely weird and angry rather than obviously crazy.
As I wrote yesterday, I think that people at the station who had been threatened should have taken out a restraining order against him, and that should (if still active) have kept him from the legal purchase of a gun for the duration of the protective order (although in Virgina it seems it wouldn’t have, because non-domestic restraining orders don’t seem to be covered). However (and it’s a big “however”), even all of that, if working smoothly, wouldn’t have kept him from getting an illegal gun or from using a different sort of weapon to hurt or kill, and any restraining order would have expired and needed to be renewed indefinitely to be effective. Restraining orders are a very weak tool, and I don’t know that we have another one.
[NOTE: The story of the victim who lived, Vicki Gardner, here:
“Then he shot three times at my wife, and she was trying to dodge everything,” Tim Gardner said, recalling what his wife told him. “He missed twice, and then she dove to the ground and curled up in a ball, and that’s when he shot her in the back.”
Vicki Gardner was unlucky, and then she was very very lucky. Unlucky to be there in the first place. Lucky that Flanagan missed twice (I heard on some news station that she was purposely ducking and moving around in order to avoid being shot in the head, where he was aiming), and then lucky that the shot in the back was no worse than it was.]
[ADDENDUM: Much more here, from Ace.]