Meet The Socialist Behind Colorado School Shooting

Photo credit: zennie62 (Creative Commons)

Coming as it did on the weekend of the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting that killed 26, plus the killer, and wounded two more, it is not surprising that the media downplayed or ignored aspects of the Friday the 13th school shooting in Centennial, Colorado, just miles away from both Columbine and Aurora, the scenes of two other horrific mass shootings.

But this latest incident offered a couple of narratives that the media preferred to ignore. The shooter was Karl Pierson, an 18-year-old, described as very bright and an excellent debater who had had run-ins with his debate coach. Early stories said he had been kicked off the debate team, later that he had only been disciplined. But either way, he was no longer an active participant on the team.

He arrived at the school on Friday well-armed, with what was described as a “bandolier of ammunition,” “a backpack filled with three Molotov cocktails,” and a machete and a shotgun, which he used to shoot two of his classmates at Arapahoe High School. “His intent was evil, and his intent was to injure multiple people,” said Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson on Saturday.

The entire event, from the time he walked into the school, until he shot and killed himself, was estimated to be about 80 seconds. And why did he kill himself? Because an armed deputy who was assigned to the school came running immediately after hearing the first shot. What if there had been an armed deputy at Sandy Hook school in Newtown? How many lives might have been saved? How many injuries prevented?

Sheriff Robinson, who briefed the press, “praised the deputy’s response as ‘a critical element to the shooter’s decision’ to kill himself, and lauded his response to hearing gunshots. ‘He went to the thunder,’ he said. ‘He heard the noise of gunshot and, when many would run away from it, he ran toward it to make other people safe.’” Arapahoe was not a gun-free zone; and, as a result, many lives were likely saved.

NBC News on Saturday called Pierson “someone who voiced strong political opinions,” but failed to say what those opinions were. Some of his views, however, were reported in The Denver Post.

In one Facebook post, Pierson attacks the philosophies of economist Adam Smith, who through his invisible-hand theory pushed the notion that the free market was self-regulating. In another post, he describes himself as ‘Keynesian.’

‘I was wondering to all the neoclassicals and neoliberals, why isn’t the market correcting itself?’ he wrote. ‘If the invisible hand is so strong, shouldn’t it be able to overpower regulations?’

Pierson also appears to mock Republicans on another Facebook post, writing ‘you republicans are so cute’ and posting an image that reads: ‘The Republican Party: Health Care: Let ‘em Die, Climate Change: Let ‘em Die, Gun Violence: Let ‘em Die, Women’s Rights: Let ‘em Die, More War: Let ‘em Die. Is this really the side you want to be on?’

The New York Daily News reported that Pierson was “described by students as having communist views,” and “hinted he felt strongly about curbing gun violence.”

The silence about Pierson’s political views stands in contrast to the liberal media’s immediate reaction to the shooting in Tucson, Arizona in 2011 by Jared Lee Loughner, who shot and killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Many in the media suspected he harbored conservative views, which turned out to be false; and it led, for example, Paul Krugman of The New York Times to write, just hours after the incident:

We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before…You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what hap­pen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.

And there were many other such examples, as I documented at the time. But the fact that this latest shooting in Colorado does not neatly comport to the media’s depiction of such events, and thus to their supposed solutions, will make little difference in terms of lessons learned.


This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: zennie62 (Creative Commons)

Backlash To Pro-Mandela Coverage

Photo credit: Paul Jacobson (Creative Commons)

British comedian Rowan Atkinson makes people laugh as the humorous “Mr. Bean.” But his brother, Rodney Atkinson, a political writer and commentator, isn’t laughing about the attempt by the media to make Nelson Mandela into a savior of South Africa.

He is quoted in the London Daily Telegraph as saying, “Mandela and his ANC [African National Congress] were about to turn South Africa into a Marxist, communist country when they were bought off by the American Democratic Party and big multi-national business who showered the new black rulers with wealth and power, and, above all, with favorable international media coverage, in the lead on which was, of course, the BBC, despite its treatment by that other genocidal racist Marxist, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.”

It’s true that leading Democrats, such as former President Bill Clinton, have been raising money for the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Meanwhile, Jim Allister, who represents a unionist political party in Northern Ireland, said, “I think the uncritical hysteria following the death is verging on propaganda.” He added, “Mandela had been blessed with a long life, drawn to a close only by natural causes—something brutally denied to the victims of his ANC and the victims of the IRA, which his ANC so avidly supported!”

On December 6, he posted this comment: “When Baroness Thatcher died the BBC fell over itself to show balance; Mandela dies and BBC eschews anything approaching balance.”

The British Daily Mail reports that the BBC aired more than 100 programs about Mandela in one week, and that a total of 1,834 viewers and listeners had complained “as the airwaves continue to be flooded with tributes disrupting radio and TV schedules.”

The BBC responded, “Nelson Mandela was one of the most important world leaders of the 20th century whose long and complex life story represents a moment of historical change for people in South Africa and around the world. His death was something we regarded as sufficiently significant both to break into our scheduled coverage and extend our news programs. His political and cultural influence was global and as both a UK and international broadcaster it is important that we reflected that, and the range of reactions to his death, to all our audiences.”

Some complaints are being directed against U.S. media coverage of Mandela, who was depicted even by some conservative commentators as a George Washington-type figure or a freedom fighter.

Going beyond this fawning coverage, NBC’s usually reliable foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, turned in a strangely positive story about a rising South African political figure by the name of Julius Malema, who has singled out white people for racist treatment and confiscation of their property.

Engel reported, “When Julius Malema was a teenager he was in the crowd cheering for Nelson Mandela. Now he’s running for president as champion of the have-nots. His plan is a radical redistribution. White South Africans, just 10% of the population, own most of the land.” Malema told Engel, “They [the whites] must give a portion of their land to black people.”

Malema is the head of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which Engel forgot to mention is openly Marxist-Leninist. He used to run the Youth League of Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC). The group is a self-declared “radical, leftist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement with an internationalist outlook anchored by popular grassroots formations and struggles.”

The EFF manifesto includes “Expropriation of South Africa’s land without compensation for equal redistribution in use.”

A recent EFF event featured banners declaring the “Honeymoon is over for white people in South Africa,” and, “To be a revolutionary you have to be inspired by hatred and bloodshed.”

Rather than portray Malema as a serious threat to the white population, Engel depicted the whites in charge of the “white-owned farms” as backward thinking and fanatical in their determination to protect their land through force. Some were labeled as “white extremists” for training with weapons for self-defense.

The EFF also has a foreign policy that declares, “…we call on the Apartheid state of Israel to end its racist occupation of Palestinian lands, and join on the call for the international isolation of the Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions until they end the occupation. Furthermore, we join the international call on the release of the Cuban Five and lifting of the trade embargo on the Cuba and its people. We also believe that all economic sanctions on Zimbabwe must be lifted and the people of Zimbabwe must be given a chance to enjoy in the wealth of nations.”

The Cuban Five are Castro’s spies imprisoned in the U.S.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, under fire for human rights violations and even accused of genocidereceived “thunderous applause” from thousands of black people who turned out for the Mandela memorial service.

Instead, however, media attention has focused on a sign-language interpreter who was a fraud, and a “selfie” photograph joined in by Obama.

The prospect of “white genocide” in South Africa, however, is a non-story.


This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.


Photo credit: Paul Jacobson (Creative Commons)

Video: David Gregory: Obama Clearly Understands Mandela

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, host David Gregory used the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela to compare Obama’s difficulties to those of Mandela: “Mandela refused to be consumed by hatred and insisted on working toward a common purpose with his political foes.” Gregory continued with “Mandela also faced obstacles. And while Obama only met the South African leader once, Mister Obama clearly understands the meaning of Mandela.” Really? Can anybody cite an example of Obama working toward a common purpose with his political foes?

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