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Posts for September, 2009

LaBarbera Award: Dan Riehl

Jim Burroway

September 28th, 2009

Bill Sparkman’s decomposing naked body was found hanging from a tree in eastern rural Kentucky with the word “Fed” scrawled on his body. He’s a part-time census worker, leading many to believe he fell victim to some of the more virulent anti-government rhetoric emanating from the extreme right-wing. (Rhetoric which, I might note, coming from people who would be screaming “treason!” if others had said it just a year ago. What a difference an election makes — but I digress.) I grew up in Appalachia, and can say that there are many other possible reasons for Bill’s murder. This is a part of the country where people are extremely suspicious at outsiders poking around, especially in places with very few jobs and pot is a lucrative cash crop. A friend of his, a retired state trooper, warned Sparkman to “be careful.

Dan RiehlRight-wing extremist Dan Riehl has another theory about what’s happened, but he’s not about to even contemplate blaming the murderers. He goes after the dead man himself, and accuses him (okay, technically he’s ‘”simply speculating”) of being a child molester — and a gay one at that. And what is his evidence for this accusation?

Nothing but thin air and a wild imagination. Both of which make up the entire contents of his frontal lobe:

The executive functions of the frontal lobes involve the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions (or better and best), override and suppress unacceptable social responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events. Therefore, it is involved in higher mental functions

A man is dead — someone whom neither Riehl nor anyone else has ever heard of before — his family is grieving, and Riehl tries to score political points by calling him the worst of the worst kind of criminal. And then when others call out on his despicable, he celebrates his renewed burst of  notoriety while simultaneously shutting down comments on his original post.

When the truth comes out about this murder, don’t count on Riehl apologizing for this. Non-humans, sociopaths and people with thin air for frontal lobes are incapable of remorse.