Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Target of Opportunity
What I find fascinating and disturbing is the commentary and the philosophy underlying the site. The site is careful to never explicitly direct specific violence against the listed "enemies." However it is difficult to miss the meaning of the site's name: Target of Opportunity. In case you're not familiar with the term, target of opportunity is a military term meaning "A target visible to a surface or air sensor or observer, which is within range of available weapons and against which fire has not been scheduled or requested." My understanding is that such a target can and should be fired upon if the gunner has no other direct orders or objectives. The implication is obvious. Photographs of individuals are posted, helping to identify them. In several instances, information on the individual's children is also included.
The rhetoric certainly skirts the edge but the implication is relatively clear: Any American ultraconservative patriot who has the means and the inclination should take it on themselves to at least harass these "enemies" of America. Kill them? Probably not but, hey, that's up to the particular patriot's individual conscience and skill level.
How influential is this website? The webcounter reads around 2,200 hits but it is a part of a conservative webring. Am I giving it free publicity by listing it here? Maybe, but I think it is very important to be aware of this sort of site. It isn't unique. I think it's a rather dangerous tactic and obviously patterned after the sites that list specific doctors who perform abortions. Those listings also provide information and urge people to attack the doctors. Some doctors listed on such sites have been killed and wounded from gunshots.
Disguised as protecting America from subversives and revolutionaries, this sort of thing is aimed at inciting violence against specific people and groups. It's a nasty tactic, a form of brownshirt intimidation.