Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Flower of American Youth

I'm sure you've all heard about the plot that the feds busted...the plot that a couple of fine young skinheads devised, in which their goal was to kill a bunch of black high school students and then kill Barack Obama.

Daniel Cowart (pictured here) and Paul Schlesselman were arrested a week ago on numerous charges, including possession of an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threatening a candidate for president. This is a picture of Coward Cowart. Notice how he is so proud of his large gun, and cradles it in his arms. I guess the bigger the gun, the smaller the...

But I digress. Be sure to check out his handsome swastika tattoo!

I'm waffling between horror and laughter on this, and if you think I'm crazy for finding any of it in any way humorous, I present to you their plan.

They had a few firearms with which they planned to rob more gun shops to get more weapons, and they were going to do a few home invasions to get some easy cash. They bought nylon rope and ski masks to aid them in what was planned to be a state-to-state spree. And here's where their plan really comes together, and we see the sheer genius of these two. As the culmination of their plan, the two white supremacists were going to drive really fast towards Obama while shooting at him from the windows. Oh...and when they did this, they were going to be clad in white tuxedos and white tops hats. I guess they had to add "Rob Louie's Tux Shoppe" to their to-do list.

Hey...I suppose you have to give them credit for having a little bit of a sartorial flair, or at least the aspiration to it. I'm sure they would have been playing David Lee Roth's "Just a Gigolo" on the cassette player in their monster truck as they put the pedal to the medal.

It might surprise you to know that the 20-year-old Cowart did not graduate from high school, and was living with his grandparents. Astonishing!

I suppose I'm focusing on the absurdity of it all, because the reality is almost too painful to confront. But I'll get there in a moment. Hannah Arendt spoke of the "banality of evil" when writing about the trial of Adolf Eichmann. I think we need to add to that the "complete and utter idiocy of evil." I wonder if the combined IQ's of these two bozos breaks 100? When part of your plan consists of "driving really fast," you'd think you'd realize that you've got a little more planning to do. Not only were these guys filled with hate, they were also dumber than a box of rocks.

And you know what? I'd be willing to bet that Barack Obama would be the first person to say, "We, as a nation, have failed these young men." What sort of atmosphere did they live in that fostered so much hatred towards another race that they planned on killing dozens of innocent high school students, some of them by decapitation? What kind of extremism led them to believe that killing a man with a wife and two young children was a solution? Knowledge and education can help nurture a tolerance and acceptance of other cultures, races, and religions; why were these kids not given that opportunity for the education and encouragement that might have resulted in a tolerant, productive member of society rather than another life wasted?

I'm big on personal responsibility, too, don't get me wrong. These kids made a decision to go to the dark side rather than break out of whatever noxious atmosphere they were living in. But ignorance and hatred had to have been part of their surroundings, and I am disgusted and appalled that there are people out there that would happily kill multiple people because of whatever twisted dogma with which they've been indoctrinated.

Ken wrote a great entry the other day about change. He wasn't talking Obama change, and neither am I. We need a fundamental change within each of us, a core values system that tells us that every person is valuable, that we are part of the world at large, the "family of man." Part of the solution is for each of us to stand up to such hatred and condemn it. Condemn it for the narrow-minded ignorance that it is.

Every person deserves a chance at a life of happiness, rather than one of murder, disease, and starvation. These two would-be assassins were unable to see beyond their own narrow scope of vision, to understand that the lives of those who they were planning to murder were precious, that they were people with parents, siblings, and friends who loved them. It's incomprehensible to me.

As Marge Gunderson said in "Fargo," as she was driving one of the kidnappers off to jail, "And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it."


  1. This behavior does not surprise me in the least. I actually expected to see it show it's ugly head early on.
    Extremists are here and they are everywhere. Scary, very scary.


  2. Its a mad mad mad world. :( I still try to see the good side, but it gets harder and harder.

  3. It's so sad the choices some are making these days not realizing how it will effect the lives of many - Thank you for sharing this! Take care,

  4. I am not surprised, so much violence and hate in this world.
    I do not see color when I look at people, I see the person inside.
    I am hoping Obama wins, but am afraid of him getting killed because of those like these skinhead people.
    Yes, they are in our state too..everwhere it seems.

  5. What amazes me is not that this happened (oh so predicatable) but that US citizens can obtain guns so easily. I doubt if most folk in the UK have even seen a gun in real life

  6. Sad... sad and a great example of the rampant ignorance and intolerance in this country.

  7. I think If Barack gets into office and enjoys some early success, some of this will die down. Racism seems slow to fade. And there will always be nuts out there. It's my hope that secret service is up to the challenge and that the president plays it smart every step of the way.

  8. Its strange how mankind can be so intolerant to one another. Much as I uphold the right to express our individual thoughts they must be kept within reason. It is also so very easy to tag people with labels such as skinhead. Years ago I was a skinhead and for one reason only- I fell in love with a skinhead girl who would do anything for anybody, from getting shopping for pensioners to sitting and talking to sick people. Its so very wrong to assume that people are not individuals and lump them in a group.

  9. What these people need... is to turn their lives over to Jesus Christ!

  10. If you examine the psychology of goons and extremists everywhere, the ideology is completely secondary. I knew guys like this in prison. They feel so powerless, so afraid, so hurt, at a very young age, the rest of their life is just one endless reaction to that endless loop of "I'm nobody." They can't empathize because they can't imagine past their own experience. And once the damage is done, they are largely irretrievable.

  11. I'm so glad they caught them in time but how many more are out there cooking up evil. So sad.

  12. Beth, you sum up all the thoughts running through my mind about these young men so very well. There is a part of me that did find a sort of perverse humor in the utter stupidity of their plan, but I also feel a sadness. Like you, I don't think that these very young men, really still boys, got to this stage all by themselves. What a waste of life and youth.

  13. Smaller the...........IQ !!!!!!


  14. This is just a general thank you for always having something important to say, and saying it so well. In the short time I've been reading your blog, I've felt validated in so many of my own personal feelings about current events. We definitely think alike (except I don't like horror movies...). :-)

  15. I had not heard about this ~ I don't even know what to say, you have said it so well I don't think I can really add anything. Sad sign of the times.

  16. Thanks for the link honey :o)

    It is tragic that there are people out there that still think like this, and even worse, that there are parents that did not prevent it.

  17. Okay I'm just going to blurt it out:
    when you vote this year, vote for VP, not for president. Neither one of them will survive.
    McCain gets puffier and puffier every time you see him TV. The man is like an oompa loompa and as soon as he is elected president he will pop and leave (ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!) Sarah Palin as president. (Call me as soon as you get to Canada!)
    And there is no way the first black president of the US will survive a 4 year term. Believe me, I grew up in the south and I live in Texas. THe Secret Service is just not good enough to keep him from being assasinated.
    I'll take Biden over Palin any day!

  18. Hi Beth,
    As ridiculous as this "plot" was -- like something out of "Dumb and Dumber" -- I can't help worrying that there are other crazies out there with a little more street smarts ...

  19. Beth:

    I guess they didn't like their coffee black, even if it has a little cream in it! Ha Ha

    For anybody who does not know me, I'm just goofin! I think people like that should have a heart, and know right from wrong! Unless they just have hate inside them, they should not express their dislike of any person in a violent way!


  20. It has been one of the greatest fears of Black Americans, whether you support Mr. Obama or not. Mr.Obama stands a greater chance of being killed before or while in office because they are still a few folks who cannot stomach the thought of a man of colour as President.
    As far as we have come as a nation and a people, we still have a long way to go

  21. someone, somewhere lost faith in those kids and they must have found a "community" with the white supremists and came to believe that garbage. You'd be surprised at the crazy stuff i hear nightly come out of others mouths and they mean and believe in what they are saying and i sit and think damn, where did THEY go wrong? Thank God these boneheads did not hurt anyone!! XO


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