A man who may be mentally unbalanced has taken his trailer of hanged effigies–including President Barack Obama–has shown up in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention.
A local news story has the following:
The mannequins are all dressed as different people, including President Barack Obama, North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue and Senior Resident Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Parsons.
“You say it’s racism. I say it’s not. Absolutely not,” he [Phipps] insisted in a YouTube video from May 2012 that explains the display. “Had we been hanging people in effigy when George Bush was president, I would have hung him, no problem. It wouldn’t have been a problem at all.”
Phipps says that he took the display to New York City, sans President Obama, two years ago and “people hardly remember, hundreds of thousands of pictures was taken then.”
He says they added the president to the display after a federal case into the murder investigation went nowhere.
“Wouldn’t it have been better for Timothy McVey to do this, than what he done?” he asked at one point in the video. “We have nothing else.”
Phipps says that people don’t understand how long and how hard they have fought before going to this extreme.
“We did not want to do this, ” he said, gesturing to the mannequin display. “Mister Barack Obama can get down, he can get his mannequin down any time he wants to, but it is a federal investigation we are after.”
It appears that his concern is that his brother, a William Henry Phipps, was murdered in suspicious circumstances, and there may have been a cover up regarding the investigation. A pamphlet he was handing out in 2009 and may or may not be still handing out is copied below:
While the fact that his brother was murdered is tragic, is does not give any cause for depicting the president of our nation hanging as he was in no way concerned. Nor is that a reasonable method to gain positive attention on his brother’s case.
The point must be considered, however, that he may be mentally unwell. In the video below, he rambles from talking about his effigies, to his brother, to his political stance. For example, “There is some of you out there that say, ‘Is he a Democrat? Is he a Republican? What is he?’ I am a Republican. A very staunch Republican. My old man, he talks. He said, ‘What makes a Republican is someone that’s been hungry. You go hungry, you turn into a conservative, ’cause you don’t like to go hungry.’ Well, we’ve been hungry. And that’s what makes us conservative. We like to save things. It’s just the way it is.”
The relevance of this has to do with his investigative savvy as well as his possible lack of mental health. There is a good chance he doesn’t understand what happened for one reason or another, and refuses to accept any authoritative report out-of-hand.
The official report of the murder states that “Investigators determined 3 bullets hit the car directly from behind. At the crime scene, they found a 7-foot ladder they say the shooter climbed to get in a tree, where he waited for the Phipps’ car to turn the curve in the road. They determined that the curve put the back of the car directly in line with the shooter,” as reported by a local news agency and NBC affiliate.
However, they report that the family’s story differs substantially:
In their version of the plot, there were three main characters. The alleged motive: property and pay back. The Phipps’ have kept their proof parked in the backyard – the same Chevrolet William Phipps was shot and killed in.
Lacy Phipps took us back to the bridge on Warren Road where he says the shooting actually occurred. He says that right after he drove across the bridge, they heard a loud bang.
Reese Phipps, Lacy’s other son, was also with us. He re-enacted where they believe each shooter was staged.
Reese said there was a man standing on the ground underneath the bridge with his gun level with the road. He believes that shooter shot William through the boot of the car with a 7 millimeter rifle.
Reese then explained that another shooter was standing directly next to him, on top of the bridge. That shooter shot into the driver’s side of the car, grazing Lacy’s head.
Both Lacy and Reese were injured but Lacy said he kept driving. Further down the road, Lacy says that William started to grab the wheel, trying to turn the car into a ditch. He remembers William screaming out the name of the third shooter who was standing up on an embankment. Lacy said William was trying to turn the car to shield them from the gunman.
The car swerved and stopped perpendicular to the road. Lacy said that that’s when the third shooter on the embankment took aim into their backseat, hitting William in the back – killing him.
Which story is true doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to his offensive portrayal of the president, which he insists–believably–has nothing to do with race. The almost unbelievable southern family feud-style killing is only a side note on motive for an extremely offensive act that shocks and amazes everyone who sees. The president has nothing to do with this at all, nor is it his business to solve one murder. There have been at least 271,100 murders in the U.S. since, and a great many of those are unsolved–not just disputed.
What I’m not sure of is whether we should feel angry, or pity him.
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