Suspect in officers’ shooting was into conspiracy theories

People…..step away from the conspiracies.

Suspect in officers’ shooting was into conspiracy theories

Sunday, April 05, 2009

By Dennis B. Roddy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Richard Andrew Poplawski was a young man convinced the nation was secretly controlled by a cabal that would eradicate freedom of speech, take away his guns and use the military to enslave the citizenry.

His online profile suggests someone at once lonely and seething. He wrote of burning the backs of both of his hands, the first time with a cigarette, the second time for symmetry. He subscribed to conspiracy theories and, by January 2007, was posting photographs of his tattoos on white supremacist Web site Stormfront. Among his ambitions: “to accumulate enough ‘I punched that [expletive] so hard’ stories to match my old man.”


“He was really into politics and really into the First and Second amendment. One thing he feared was he feared the gun ban because he thought that was going to take away peoples’ right to defend themselves. He never spoke of going out to murder or to kill,” said Edward Perkovic, who described himself as Mr. Poplawski’s lifelong best friend.

Mr. Poplawski’s view of guns and personal freedom took a turn toward the fringes of American politics. With Mr. Perkovic, he appeared to share a belief that the government was controlled from unseen forces, that troops were being shipped home from the Mideast to police the citizenry here, and that Jews secretly ran the country.


“For some time now there has been a pretty good connection between being sucked into this conspiracy world and propagating violence,” said Heidi Beirich, director of research at the Southern Poverty Law Center and an expert on political extremists. She called Mr. Poplawski’s act, “a classic example of what happens when you start buying all this conspiracy stuff.”


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12 Responses to Suspect in officers’ shooting was into conspiracy theories

  1. AliSilver says:

    He will be made into the POSTER CHILD for gun owners everywhere. This will taint all responsible gun owners……… all i can say is

    THANKS DUDE :D !!!!!!

  2. AliSilver says:

    By poster child I dont mean the kind that gun owners WANT to have , but just the one the media and gun controllers HOLD out as the poster child…….. thought i better clear that up :P

  3. 2fewfactsaround says:

    I hate to tell you this, AliSilver, and you may already suspect it: these violence-fueling theories are rampant in this country right now, especially in rural areas. Since Poplawski lived in an urban area, I can guess that he hung out with the same kind of losers that always have time to grouse about how the world is failing to appreciate them but never have time to get more education or new skills for the jobs of the future. In the rural South area where I live, talk about gun rights and the NRA is basically code for hating a world that is quickly leaving them and their neanderthal attitudes behind. In my opinion, in many cases the NRA has become simply a front for the old KKK.

    Ken Reply:

    Front for the KKK? You do know that gun laws, traditionally and today, target minorities, right? Who do you think the gun lobby is standing up for when they oppose gun bans in urban areas, or bans on inexpensive firearms? Clearly, not the people who live far away from the city and buy expensive “tacticool” guns.

    I strongly suggest you actually go to a pro-gun rally and get to know some of these people you call neanderthals. I went to my first just a few weeks ago (IGOLD, Springfield, IL), and the people there were anything but. I didn’t see neanderthals, I saw software engineers, lawyers, business owners, sales reps, mothers, fathers, yuppies, etc. who knew something was wrong in our state and wanted to do something about it. It was actually the women of IGOLD that led the rally…the highlight of our rally was a presentation by the women of IGOLD of a display case to the Governor, containing a hair brush, car keys, and a tongue depressor, which were the “weapons” that the Illinois State Police website recommends women use to defend themselves in case of sexual assault (the tongue depressor is for self-gagging..the ISP suggested vomiting on yourself as a deterrent to assault). They demanded to know why the state would cruelly force them to use these “weapons” to fight off a predator, instead respecting their right to defend themselves with an effective weapon, as 48 other states do.

    I certainly don’t think being anti-rape is neanderthal-ish. I think a better description of the pro-gun crowd is “progressive.”

    2fewfactsaround Reply:

    I am not anti-gun and I have been around guns and gun people my entire life. I have been to gun shows, my brother used to work at them, and I have even taken the course to get a concealed-carry permit. I suggest, Ken, that you keep visiting rallies in all kinds of places and states, and listen to some of the unofficial conversations going on around you. I didn’t say that all gun owners and enthusiasts are neanderthals, as you well know. I did imply that there has been a ratcheting-up of extremist, violence-condoning and violence-encouraging rhetoric among some of the people who spend time at gun shows and shooting ranges. I do think that all of us have a responsibility to promote progressive behavior of mutual respect and non-violence toward all.

    Ken Reply:

    Well, I do appreciate the clarification. That’s a far cry from the NRA being a “front for the KKK,” and much more in tune with reality.

    Sage Reply:

    Ever been to a gun show in the south? Ever talked to NRA supporters in the south? It’s not such a stretch to say it’s a front for the KKK.

    By the way, I’m a gun owner as well and have been around southern gun owners most of my life.

    Ken Reply:

    Reply to Sage:

    Can’t say that I have. Around here in IL, anything south of I-80 is considered hillbilly backwoods areas, and I’ve met and talked to plenty of them. Not much racism going on. It’s a bit worse to our east in IN, enough to be disturbing, but not enough for me to see the connection to the NRA. I was in Biloxi and NOLA after Katrina to do some relief work, which is about all the exposure to the true South that I’ve had. I could definitely see the signs of a “good ol boy” network in place, well enough that I knew I didn’t want to work there. Guns never came up though, conversations about rights/politics were mostly about habitation and allocation of relief funds. I can’t rule out that there is a connection between gun owners there and racism, because I haven’t spend a lot of time there, and when I was, I got the impression that racism was common. But then again, if it’s so common, it doesn’t really say anything that there are a lot of racists NRA members in the South.

    Here’s what I don’t get–and maybe this isn’t completely relevant because ignorant people don’t always make sense, but I’ll say it anyway. The reason why the pro-gun movement is so powerful for the right (and libertarians like myself) is because it represents the fundamental virtues of citizenship, responsibility, and independence. Racism means you don’t believe some of your fellow citizens can live up to those virtues–that they’re too dumb, irresponsible, or even criminal, and can’t be trusted with the rights of citizenship. But, in the post-14th Amendment world, it’s no longer an option to keep the rights of citizenship confined to whites. So if you’re a racist, then the idea of armed minorities terrifies you (especially in former slave states!), and it would make sense for you to support gun laws that severely restrict access. (It’s no surprise that the gun control movement in the US began in the South during Reconstruction.) So why the hell would such a person join the NRA and give their money to causes like stopping laws that would make guns more expensive, require licenses (fees which can increase over time), increase the cost of ammunition, requiring million-dollar insurance to own a gun, banning weapons that are too dangerous because “you don’t know what some crazy might do with it” etc. The NRA supports gun ownership as a Right, not a privilege. That’s not a point of view that should appeal to someone who thinks that only one of humanity’s races is worthy of being trusted with deadly weapons.

  4. AliSilver says:

    Well a loser is a loser, plain and simple. A loser with a gun feels powerful and is WAAAAAAAAAAY more dangerous than just a responsible gun owner. I am super pro gun rights. But this idiot and his kind have gotta be reckoned with. And he’s alive right? Didn’t he get shot in the leg and is about recovered? Nice stuff !

    2fewfactsaround Reply:

    I agree with you, AliSilver, that most gun owners are sane, responsible people. I also agree that ‘this idiot and his kind have gotta be reckoned with.’ I think that’s going to require responsible owners to step away from automatically agreeing with the NRA and gun sellers, no matter what they say. The argument about gun rights vs. no guns is used to stop discussion between thinking, informed adults about responsibilities instead of rights, rights, rights! Both sides are so backed into their respective “I want my way!!” corners, that we need to find a way to approach this dilemma from a new direction that allows people to save face, while moving the discussion to solutions that meet multiple needs, wants, rights, and responsibilities. How do we reframe the conversation?

  5. sus says:

    David Weigel of the Washington Independent went to the “machine gun show” in Kentucky over the weekend. He took some photos. (Birther Lawyer was there getting some plaintiffs for her whacked out cases.) Anyway… look at the photos.

    They tell the story.

    Sage Reply:

    That sends shivers down my spine. And I bet these people think they are morally superior and great patriots.

    Thanks for the link.

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