A longtime gun-rights advocate and regular caller to radio talk shows who is running for Springfield Ward 2 alderman in April said on a recent broadcast that he would like to “help with the effort” to eradicate liberals.
TOM SHAFER, 62, told me it was “light-hearted radio banter.”
Shafer had called into the RAY LYTLE Morning Show on WMAY in late October, and Lytle was asking Shafer about his dislike of liberals.
“Who’s the bigger enemy to the United States, Russians or liberals?” Lytle asked.
“At this point here, I’m sure it’s the liberals — there’s no question about it,” Shafer said.
“al-Qaida or liberals?” Lytle asked.
“That one’s probably about a tie,” Shafer said.
The Ebola virus or liberals?
“That’s clearly liberals,” Shafer said. “Ebola’s all over. … Liberals are trying to grow their influence and their pestilence.”
“If we had a choice to either eradicate the world of Isis or liberals, which would you take?” Lytle asked.
“I would take liberals instantaneously,” Shafer said, “and I would help with the effort. Where do I sign? Where do I sign up?”
The comments came just after the weekend that saw a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh where 11 people were killed.
Shafer said last week that Lytle’s show is one he regularly calls, and he and the host have an “ongoing … radio banter.”
That context is important when evaluating talk of eradicating liberals, he said.
“I consider it … on a serious subject, light-hearted banter,” he said.
“On a morning radio drive time show where we’ve had a recent long history of this type of banter, I think that it’s innocuous and appropriate,” Shafer added.
“I don’t know if I’m a uniquely glib individual or if it’s just the times politically, but those types of provocative radio calls, they just play wonderfully on AM radio,” Shafer said.
And, he added, “I’ll quit doing it if the other side quits doing it.”
Asked for an example, he spoke of the man who shot at “a group of Republicans just practicing for a baseball game.” That referred to a 2017 incident where congressional Republicans were targeted at a Virginia ball field by a man from Illinois who was shot and killed after he opened fire, causing some injuries.
Asked if a national incident like that justified what he said on local radio, Shafer said, “Nothing justifies censorship. ….. You realize that Hollywood uses satire, feigned outrage, invented dialogue, invented characters … to get a point across. … If we use the actions of lunatics, radicals and subversives to distort and censor our political speech, I think we’ve reached a sad day in America.”
He challenged the idea of using a single comment out of his “many thousands” of radio calls “as being a defining moment.” And he said the “eradicate” idea was in jest.
In 2017, when Shafer was running for school board, he said in a radio call that the Jerome Police Department was dissolved when in fact the department remained, but the chief had left. The village president said the call “caused a lot of havoc,” and Shafer said at the time that radio talk is “pretty freewheeling.”
Shafer told me last week that he and radio hosts find his calls “hilarious.”
“I like topics that start out with a bold — sometimes false — premise, that all liberals are horrible, all conservatives want grandmothers to die … the liberals want the refugees to flood into, invade our country,” Shafer said. “It’s a hyperbolic environment, and I think most people take it as such. That’s why they tune in. Of course, you’re not required to listen.”
In Ward 2, Shafer is running for alderman against incumbent HERMAN SENOR, former Ald. GAIL SIMPSON, and WILLIE “SHAWN” GREGORY.
In addition to being a regular caller to radio shows, Shafer spent years doing a cable access program called “The Shooting Sport,” which was generally about guns, but sometimes involved Shafer’s political commentary.
In 1997, Shafer was convicted by a jury of aggravated cruelty to an animal, a Class A misdemeanor, for shooting and killing a neighbor’s dog. He was acquitted of a second charge — criminal damage to property.
Prosecutors alleged that Shafer lured the dog into his backyard to give him cause to kill the animal. Shafer said he was attacked by the dog while jogging and had no choice but to shoot it.
Shafer was a firefighter for more than a decade and later ran a tree service. He has run for offices including school board, county board and coroner.
In a 2013 video of Shafer standing near the Abraham Lincoln Statue on the Statehouse grounds, Shafer said “The pro-gun struggle is my life,” and talked of opposing limits on the number of rounds allowed in magazines.
“This is one of my 30-rounders for my AR,” he said in the video, as he drew the clip to his mouth and kissed it. “I’m gonna keep mine.”
Condolences to BETSY DIRKSEN LONDRIGAN of Springfield and her family as her father, LENNY DIRKSEN, died Nov. 25 at age 75.
“He was not in great health, but we really had a perfect Thanksgiving Day with the whole family together,” Londrigan said.
“Dad lived life for every day,” she added. “He was ready with a smile and laugh and a good story. … The thing that really defined him was he was a very proud father and grandpa.”
The elder Dirksen spent time as executive director of the old LPGA Rail Charity Golf Classic, and was a core member of the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast committee.
He was a proud Democrat and he was able to witness Betsy’s recent campaign for Congress. She lost a close race to Rep. RODNEY DAVIS.
A celebration of life will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 6 at J.P. Kelly’s Pub, 300 E. Adams St., Springfield.
Contact Bernard Schoenburg: email@example.com, 788-1540, twitter.com/bschoenburg.
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December 1, 2018 at 02:59PM