Defense contractor kills self, family over prospect of Obama's re-election
The Washington Post, Daily Mail and Alternet.com are reporting this morning that a Washington, D.C. defense contractor, upset at the prospect of a second term for President Obama, has killed himself and his entire family. Albert Peterson shot his wife of 25 years, Kathleen and their two sons, Christopher and Matthew, in their Herndon, Va., home on this past Sunday. (See links to full stories at the end of this article).
Peterson had a long history of mental illness, and was despondent over the recent death of an uncle. But a longtime family friend (who wished to remain anonymous) said that it was the prospect of a second term for Obama that sent Peterson over the edge. “He just did not want his kids inheriting this mess,” Maggie L. said. “Sometimes we thought he might take his own life when he was so depressed. We never thought he would take Kathie's.”
Maggie had known the Petersons for 30 years, she said. “I've known Kathie since I was 21. She's been like a sister to me. If she knew her husband would have done this to her, she would have protected those boys till the end.”
Peterson was 57, Kathleen, 52, Matthew, 16, and Christopher, 13. All four bodies were discovered after co-workers expressed concern to police that neither of the Petersons had come to work for two days.
Peterson was a defense contractor and Mrs. Peterson worked at Blackbird Technologies, a defense, law enforcement and intelligence firm, also headquarted in Washington.
The police report shows that all of them died of gunshot wounds to the upper body.
Albert Peterson and Kathleen Ortiz were both fitness buffs. They met, fell in love, and married after literally "running" into each other. Mrs. Peterson was a "firey" Puerto Rican Latina. "That girl had such a zest for life," Maggie said. "She was a consummate planner. She never wanted to waste an ounce of life."
She added that, “If I was having a crappy day, she would come. If I needed advice, I said, ‘Kathie, what do I do? What do I say?’ and she always set me straight. She always had advice. She was always there."
Mr. Peterson apparently suffered from a severe form of paranoia. “He's had difficulty his whole life. He had a rough time with paranoia.”
Both his father and his uncle committed suicide.
“His dad suffered from alopecia and it was something he couldn't live with,'” Maggie said.
As a result of his depression and paranoia, Peterson gained weight and fell into constant self-pity. His wife tried to help him. “Kathie was a strong person and she probably put her foot down, like she did five years ago," Maggie said. “Kathie couldn't believe the way he was acting and how he thought.”
Maggie said that this spring, Peterson’s Uncle Bill died of an infection. Uncle Bill had been the leader of the entire family. His unexpected death pushed Peterson deeper into depression. “He felt like there was no one left in his family,” Maggie said.
On the other side, Mrs. Peterson’s family did not care much for Albert Peterson or his family.
“I know that Kathie's brother hates him right now. Kathie's brother didn't speak to Al,” Maggie said. “He saw something in Al that probably didn't sit well with him.”
Maggie said that Peterson had begun writing vitriolic emails about politics lately.
“I got emails and the emails stopped all of a sudden last week,” Maggie said. “He felt that our God-given rights were being taken away. He didn't like where the country was going.”
Peterson also believed that he was being forced to support Obama; that if Obama was not re-elected, he would lose his job.
“When Al was here last time, he was pretty worked up,” Maggie said. “They were very well off people and they saved a lot of money. He couldn't understand how the government could be so irresponsible and he thought it would be on the backs of his boys.”
Police agreed that Peterson was especially passionate about politics, but would not confirm his hatred or paranoia about Obama as a possible motive for his actions.
“We don’t know the motive in this tragic case," said Lucy Caldwell of the Fairfax Police Department. "We are aware that the father had strong political opinions but cannot speculate as to how those opinions related to this case. We will, most likely, never know exactly why this occurred.”
One place the police, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Communications Commission might look for a motive (or motivating factor) is the constant drumbeat of the Republican Party’s right wing media echo chamber including especially Fox News host Sean Hannity. Each day for three hours on radio and another one hour at night on television Hannity issues some form of this statement -- over...and over...and over....and over....and over: "If Obama is re-elected, it's the end of America as we know it."
As the titular head of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh is in a class by himself. He has been leading the charge against the very idea of Obama since at least 2004 when Obama first came to national prominence. Limbaugh's also daily, never ending diatribes have been blamed in the past for similar and even more destructive acts of mentally unstable and/or borderline people.
The Rev. John Hagee, has recently called for 40 days of prayer for Mitt Romney. He says that, "Four more years of Obama will bring absolute socialism to America. Our children and grandchildren will never know the greatness of America that we have experienced."
And, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has published a full-page ad ("editorial"), arguing that Obama will "force employers to give illegal immigrants the jobs of U.S. citizens," "force courts to accept Sharia law" and "force doctors to assist homosexuals in buying surrogate babies."
And let us not forget the just released movie, “2016: Obama's America." This so-called "documentary" asserts that America is being bled dry by Obama's obsession with not just American but worldwide wealth redistribution -- from the rich nations of the global North (North America and the European Union) to the impoverished poor countries of the global south (Africa, especially).
The really frightening possibility that this horrible tragedy brings into full view now, however, is that after Obama wins, all stops will be pulled from the right wing's media hate operations. Their fevered followers may actually attempt to bring about civil war, insurrection or rebellion against any and all things “government.”
If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.