Reporters' lives don't matter to a double-minority shooter trying to foment racial violence.
Hoping to start a bloody "race war," a black, gay, in-your-face Obama-supporting former TV reporter horrified Southwest Virginia TV viewers yesterday when he stalked and coolly murdered two white former TV station colleagues and wounded a white interview subject during a live broadcast.
The shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, apparently a registered Democrat and former prostitute, said he attacked the three white people during the "standup" report about local tourism from the marina at Smith Mountain Lake as racial payback for white-supremacist Dylann Storm Roof's June 17 attack in Charleston, S.C. that left nine black churchgoers dead. Roof, who reportedly confessed, also said he wanted to start a race war by committing acts of violence.
Flanagan, who used the name Bryce Williams professionally, left behind a lengthy, rambling, written rant explaining his explicitly race-based motive for the murders. Although the full document was sent to ABC News, it has not yet found its way online. Media outlets have provided highlights. ABC News reports that "A man claiming to be Bryce Williams called ABC News over the last few weeks, saying he wanted to pitch a story and wanted to fax information. He never told ABC News what the story was."
Well, now we know.
Using online accounts created only recently, Flanagan promoted the political murders he committed as well as any team of seasoned, high-priced publicists could have. In the process he demonstrated his diabolical mastery of social media for the world to see. He shot his victims early in the morning and made the morning news. He sent out a horrifying video of the cold-blooded killings and caught the noonday news. He died in the afternoon in time to make the evening news. All the saturation coverage on cable TV news and news-on-dead-tree exposure is a bonus, a sort of contribution-in-kind that media outlets are providing to his cause.
Emulating the cost-conscious Muslim terrorists who flew airplanes into buildings on 9/11, Flanagan got perhaps tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in free media worldwide for his evil cause on what must have been a shoestring budget. Perhaps radical leftist public relations outfits Fenton Communications or SKDKnickerbocker of Anita Dunn fame will teach Flanagan's techniques to incoming employees.
In the empowering age of the Internet, fomenting civil unrest and violent revolution is becoming more affordable. Not that the George Soros-funded Black Lives Matter movement needs the money.
The black-nationalist mobs and leftover Occupy Wall Street goons wreaking havoc in Baltimore and other big cities with the encouragement of the Obama administration believe now is the time for decisive action against the country they hate. The desire to concoct a massive racial conflagration in America has been on the Left's laundry list for decades.
Starting a race war in which blacks violently rise up against whites has long been the goal of unrepentant terrorist and Obama pal Bill Ayers and was the reason mass-murderer Charles Manson and his followers went on a homicidal rampage in 1969. Leaders of the racist and increasingly violent Black Lives Matter movement nowadays are also calling for "war." President Obama hasn't called for race-based hostilities specifically but he has helped to craft the Left's false narrative that racist whites kill innocent blacks all the time. Obama, a Marxist community organizer by profession, wants racial groups and everyone else to be at each other's throats because, as the familiar leftist adage goes, "you never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
Flanagan can be seen in his own homemade video he later posted online holding a handgun in front of him as he walked unnoticed towards reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, and interviewee Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Ward's video camera recorded the 6:45 a.m. attack and captured the shooter's image after Ward dropped the still-functioning machine and the live feed from it made it to the airwaves. The perpetrator's hand can be seen in his own video as he takes his time aiming at Parker and then opening fire. Parker, who can be heard screaming in both videos, and Ward succumbed to their wounds at the site of the shooting. Ward was engaged to be married and yesterday was to be his final day at Roanoke-based WDBJ-7 before he started a new job in Charlotte, N.C. Parker had recently moved in with her boyfriend, an anchor at the station. Gardner was in stable condition in hospital at press time.
Flanagan fled the scene and shortly before 8:30 a.m. reportedly faxed a hateful 23-page manifesto to ABC News. He reportedly told ABC that the police are “after me” and “all over the place,” before hurriedly ending the telephone call. Tweeting as Bryce Williams, Flanagan complained "Adam went to hr [human resources] on me after working with me one time!!!" and "Alison made racist comments[.]" He also boasted "I filmed the shooting see Facebook[.]"
His rental vehicle was later spotted by Virginia State Police who gave chase. Flanagan's car ran off the road on Interstate 66 in Fauquier County and he shot himself at 11:30 a.m. He died in hospital about two hours later.
NBC-4 in the national's capital reports that employees of WDBJ-7 were cautioned about Flanagan two years ago when his employment was terminated. Management was so concerned about his behavior that employees were reportedly made to clear the room as he cleaned out his desk. After he left workers were instructed to "call 911 immediately" if they spotted the former employee on company property.
Flanagan, Parker, and Ward had worked together at the CBS affiliate "[b]ut when Flanagan was fired in February 2013, a 911 call summoned police to remove him from the premises." The report continues:
According to WDBJ documents, Flanagan said, "You better call police because I'm going to make a big stink. This is not right." According to station files, he had to be physically lifted by his chair by management and threw a ball cap at a station employee. The 2013 incident was recorded by Adam Ward, one of the victims.
Evidence suggests that he was a grievance-junkie who blamed his own personal failures on others. In his manifesto Flanagan complained about experiencing "racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work." He also wrote that “he has been attacked by black men and white females” because he was “a gay, black man.”
But station general manager Jeff Marks said Flanagan was fired for bad behavior. Although Flanagan had some talent he was "an unhappy man" who "quickly gathered a reputation somewhat of being difficult to work with."
"He was sort of looking out for people to say things that he could take offense to," Marks said on WDBJ-7. "And eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. And he did not take that well. We had to call the police to escort him from the building."
The litigious Flanagan filed a complaint seeking $15,000 in damages with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after WDBJ-7 gave him the boot. The case was dismissed.
He also sued WTWC in Tallahassee, Fla., in 2000 alleging his co-workers and supervisors discriminated against him. Flanagan claimed a producer called him a "monkey" and that a black colleague was told to “stop talking ebonics.” TMZ reports that he also claimed "an 'official' joked about a black murder suspect with gold and green grillz, saying he had 'collared [sic] greens' stuck in his teeth[.]" Flanagan claimed he was fired for complaining about this behavior. "WTWC adamantly DENIED race had anything to do with his termination -- claiming he was a crappy employee who often used profanity in the workplace." That case was settled out of court in 2001.
Flanagan also seemed to brag about being a prostitute in a social media post. He claimed to have worked as a model and "high-paid companion" and posted photos of earlier days when he was in top physical shape.
In his manifesto Flanagan admitted he had been planning the assault for more than two months.
"Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15,” Flanagan wrote. “What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”
“As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE (deleted)!!!” [Redactions in news report.]
Continuing to describe the contents of Flanagan's lengthy diatribe, NBC-4 reports:
"The church shooting was the tipping point ... but my anger has been building steadily ... I've been a human powder keg for a while ... just waiting to go BOOM!!!!" the document said in part, according to ABC News.
Flanagan hailed other mass-murderers. He expressed satisfaction at the body count that Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho generated in 2007, which far surpassed the number of dead victims from the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre.
"Also, I was influenced by Seung-Hui Cho. That's my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got... just sayin," he wrote. "Yes, it will sound like I am angry ... I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace ...
Oddly, Black Lives Matter wasn't on the agenda yesterday in the corridors of power.
On cue the ghouls of the Left, who want law-abiding Americans to be vulnerable to violent criminals, a significant Democratic Party constituency, immediately seized on the double-murder as an opportunity to advance their ongoing assault on Americans' Second Amendment rights.
Instead of discussing the racist killer's stated desire to foment race-based civil unrest, while the broken bodies of Alison Parker and Adam Ward were still warm left-wingers predictably reverted to their tired old talking points, cliches, and lies about guns.
President Obama said "it breaks my heart every time you read or hear about these kinds of incidents." The man who is salivating at the prospect of helping the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, acquire nuclear weapons, added "What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism."
Obama White House press secretary Josh Earnest complained "this is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small all across the United States." He admitted "there is no piece of legislation that will end all violence in this country" but urged Congress to do something anyway. Earnest said Congress should pass "some common sense things" to "have a tangible impact in reducing gun violence in this country."
Ignoring the fact that Virginia already has strict laws governing the purchase of firearms, including mandatory background checks, the unfailingly corrupt Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) grandstanded about how the Republican-controlled General Assembly has refused to launch a crackdown on lawful gun ownership. "I will continue to push [gun control] as I have in two legislative sessions so far. I put it up again last year. It never sees the light of day."
McAuliffe's longtime puppet-master, Hillary Clinton, said on the presidential campaign trail in Iowa yesterday, "we have got to do something about gun violence in America and I will take it on." Clinton said "I hope ... that this is, -- maybe for the media, for the public, for elected officials, for every American, what it hopefully will finally take for us to act."
Last year Clinton characterized lawful gun owners as terrorists. "We cannot let a minority of people -- and that's what it is, it is a minority of people -- hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people."
Like Obama, McAuliffe, and Clinton, Flanagan was also apparently a man of the Left.
During his tenure at WDBJ-7 in Roanoke, the social justice warrior "was written up in November 2012 for wearing a Barack Obama sticker," the Huffington Post reported late yesterday.
A Nexis search showed a "Vester Lee Flanagan" was registered as a Democrat as of Aug. 29, 2002, in Greenville, N.C. Flanagan's LinkedIn profile, now offline, indicated he worked as a news anchor and reporter at WNCT in Greenville from August 2002 to November 2004. A "Vester L. Flanagan" was also registered as a Democrat in Tallahassee, Fla., as of March 6, 2000. At stated above, Flanagan previously worked at WTWC in Tallahassee. The voter registrations have not been independently verified.
It seems the Democratic politicians weighing in on Flanagan's crimes found it politically inconvenient to acknowledge the blunt, eloquent message he sought to send to Americans.
Instead they want to take guns away from Americans who need them to defend against people like Flanagan and those he sought to inspire.