by Max Brantley
Last week, hanging up on one of the angry right-wingers who call here periodically to curse the Times for its politics, I wondered briefly about the threat such people might pose. It would be foolish to think they are all bluster, particularly given their general penchant for guns, though the anonymous phone caller is one of the world's lowest life forms.
A sobering real-life example of the dangers of the politically deranged came yesterday in Knoxville, Tenn. where a man with a shotgun opened fire on a Unitarian church service.
Jim D. Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he described his feelings and why he committed the shooting, Owen said.
Adkisson said he was frustrated about not being able to obtain a job and how much he hated the liberal movement, Owen said.
Said another report based on a morning police news conference:
Owen targeted TVUUC because of some “recent publicity” the church had received regarding its “liberal stance on things,” but he would not provide any further details. They are investigating the crime as a possible hate crime.
The church had recently put up a sign welcoming gays into the church. One of the goals of the church’s long range plan is to “Increase congregational participation in human rights programs for gay/lesbian/transgendered persons.” The church hosts Knoxville’s Spectrum Café, a safe harbor for area high school youth who “self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender; who may be questioning their sexual or gender identity; who feel left out because of who they are, what they believe, or where they come from.” The church also hosts the Knoxville Monday Gay Men’s Group. There is some speculation among congregation members that this may have been a motivation.
UPDATE: From the Knoxville paper. The shooter had a history, as they say, including a protective order entered for his former wife, once a member of the congregation he shot up. Acquaintance described him: a loner who hates "blacks, gays and anyone different from him.''