Yesterday we noted reports that Richard Poplawski, charged with murdering three police officers in Pittsburgh, was obsessed with the idea that Barack Obama wanted to take away his guns. Today more of Poplawski’s story is coming out, and it’s much worse than it first appeared.
Poplawski was a follower of conspiracy freak Alex Jones (recently promoted by Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News as “the great Alex Jones”), a member of the revolting neo-Nazi website Stormfront, and an antisemite who believed that Jews secretly control America.
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.”
“Crazy to me is going through the motions,” he wrote on his MySpace profile three years ago. “Crazy to me is letting each day slip past you. Crazy is being insignificant. Crazy is being obscure, pointless.”
No longer obscure, the 22-year-old is charged in the worst police shooting in the modern history of Pittsburgh. No one is calling his actions anything but pointless.
“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.
Believing most media were covering up important events, Mr. Poplawski turned to a far-right conspiracy Web site run by Alex Jones, a self-described documentarian with roots going back to the extremist militia movement of the early 1990s.
Around the same time, he joined Florida-based Stormfront, which has long been a clearinghouse Web site for far-right groups. He posted photographs of his tattoo, an eagle spread across his chest.
“I was considering gettin’ life runes on the outside of my calfs,” he wrote. Life runes are a common symbol among white supremacists, notably followers of The National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group linked to an array of violent organizations.
(Hat tip: Thanos.)