Newsbusters' Sheppard fans the flamesApril 9, 2009 12:29 PM EDT ››› JAMISON FOSER
In the wake of a string of shootings, including last weekend's slaying of three Pittsburgh police officers by Richard Poplawski, a conspiracy theorist who worried the government would take away his guns, Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard is rather unsubtly invoking Waco, under the guise of adding a new acronym to the paranoid Right's vocabulary.
Forgive the lengthy excerpt, but it is important to see exactly how Sheppard is using the term:
SHEPPARD: The War Against Conservative Opinion (WACO) took an interesting turn on Saturday when liberal bloggers blamed right-leaning media members -- in particular, Fox News's Glenn Beck -- for the shooting deaths of three police officers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In the end, what's important here is that a new strategy in the WACO has clearly begun, and people better sit up and take notice for the very folks attacking those defending the Second Amendment are disgracefully trying to restrict the First.
Sensing their dream of all radio stations resembling Air America was fading away, the Left concocted a new scare tactic: conservative talkers are a security risk because they are inciting violence. People like Beck aren't just opposing the new President's ideas; they're making America a more dangerous place for law-abiding citizens to walk the streets.
Less than 24 hours later, the aforementioned cop killings took place in Oakland, but they couldn't act as an anti-conservative rallying point because the assailant was an African American that ended up being hailed as a hero by the Marxists in his community.
Enter Poplawski stage right whose rampage the very next day by a man apparently clinging to his guns if not his religion perfectly fit the bill.
And the war was on.
As a result, for the foreseeable future, a conservative talker will likely be blamed for every criminal act that can be somehow connected to anything uttered by a right-leaning media member until such individual is fired.
Though the accusers innocently claim this is not their intention, this is EXACTLY what this new WACO strategy is about - getting rid of all the voices in America that don't agree with the direction the far-left and the President they got elected are taking this nation.
So, to sum up:
Despite the fact that neither President Obama nor the Democratic Congress has announced any plans to pursue gun control legislation, right-wing media and activists have been warning ominously that the government is going to come to take away from freedom-loving citizens.
They have resurrected the insane anti-government rhetoric of the 1990s, ranting about an emerging "global government" and the government "tak[ing] your liberty and your property away" and even speculating that the government, via FEMA, is building concentration camps in order to impose totalitarian rule on its citizens.
Meanwhile, Richard Poplawski hears these dark warnings, worries the government is going to take away his guns, and shoots three cops.
Against this backdrop, Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard decides, just in case people haven't gotten the point, to begin bringing up Waco - er, "WACO."
Now, when most people think of Waco, they think of a tragic standoff that began when agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian compound, and ended when 76 people died in a fire nearly two months later.
But far-right extremists have a rather more ... excited view of what happened at Waco. They view it as a battle in a war between an oppressive federal government bent on taking away its citizens' liberty, religious freedoms, and guns, and the freedom-loving patriots who must protect their families from enslavement by the government.
When radio host Gordon Liddy offered listeners advice about how to kill federal government agents in the 1990s, he was motivated by Waco, and he was talking about ATF agents, whom he described as "thugs" coming "to kill your wife and children, to try to disarm you."
After Barack Obama was elected last November, Liddy instructed listeners:
LIDDY: The first thing you do is, no matter what law they pass, do not -- repeat, not -- ever register any of your firearms. ... Because that's where they get the list of where to go first to confiscate. So, you don't ever register a firearm, anywhere. ... [W]hat's gonna happen is, if you register your firearms, you're handing them a list of where to go to confiscate the firearms. So don't do it. ... [D]epending upon the intensity of the repression by the government, the way they're, you know, seeking firearms and so forth, then I would say, yes, with respect to Cosmoline and, you know, proper wrapping and storage, and then putting them where they will not be findable by metal detectors and things of that sort. I'll leave that up to your imagination, and because it differs from location to location, but that would be the thing to do.
Liddy has only championed violence against the government; he hasn't committed it himself, as far as we know.
Others motivated by their view of the events at Waco have not stopped at angry rants.
On the second anniversary of Waco, Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people including 19 children. McVeigh was motivated by anger over things like the Brady Bill and the ban on assualt weapons. And he was motivated by Waco, saying after the bombing:
McVEIGH: I didn't define the rules of engagement in this conflict. The rules, if not written down, are defined by the aggressor. It was brutal, no holds barred. Women and kids were killed at Waco and Ruby Ridge. You put back in the government's faces exactly what they're giving out.
That's what happens when dangerous lunatics become convinced - in part by right-wing media - that the government is coming to take their guns and liberty, and become motivated by the memory of (what they think happened at) Waco.
That's the context in which Noel Sheppard is warning of a "war" on conservatives, sounding alarms about an assault on the Second Amendment, and yelling "WACO" over and over again.