The news that a plot has been uncovered to assassinate Barack Obama is, unfortunately, not at all surprising. Back in the spring, newspapers were running stories about how some people were worried about voting for Obama because they thought he would be assassinated if he got the nomination. When I was taking my bow-hunting certificate class last month the election was a hot topic of conversation, and the general opinion of the other people there (most of whom could be considered pretty right wing) was that if Obama got elected he wouldn’t live to inauguration day. So it comes as no surprise. There are plenty of people all over this country who would be happy to go out and shoot black people, and who can’t stomach the idea of a black president (worse yet, as both Lewis Farrakhan and David Duke would point out, a president of mixed race).
That it was a skinhead plot is to be expected. Many skinheads identify as white supremacists and even as Nazis, whether here in the US or abroad. They are probably a more potent hate group than either the American Nazi Party or the KKK. And they attract more youth, who are more likely to go out and plan something this moronic. Less impulse control.
No, what I found interesting about the plot that was announced today was that the two suspects, 20 year old Daniel Cowart of Tennessee and 18 year old Paul Schlesselman of Arkansas, “stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt.” (AP). Now that’s interesting. That is a flair for the theatrical. These are guys who have seen a lot of movies. Real *Clockwork Orange* stuff. They’d be like The Ex Presidents from *Point Break* or a street gang from *The Warriors.* How they expected to get close to a presidential candidate while dressed like they were ushers at a Long Island Mob wedding I don’t know, but it shows they had a sense of style. What was it John Malkovich said in *In The Line of Fire?* “Booth had flair, panache: a leap to the stage after he shot Lincoln.” That’s these guys. White tuxes and top hats (probably black top hats, which would show panache along with a terrible fashion sense). I don’t believe in the purported causal link between movie violence and actual violence, but for those who make that argument this dash of theatricality topping of what was a very intricate, Hollywood-like plan for a killing spree (in addition to Senator Obama they were planning to shoot 88 black people and decapitate 14—exact numbers; are these guys anal retentive or what?) has to be seen as the influence of movies on some susceptible and, lets face it, extremely stupid minds.
Hell hath no fury like a bored suburbanite.