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Opinion

Opinion

Right-wing terrorists attacking U.S.

August 15, 2012

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Can we finally say the thing we have not said so far?

Last week, a white supremacist shot up a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, killing six people and wounding three. It is considered likely that the shooter mistook the Sikhs, whose men wear beards and turbans, for Muslims. The massacre came a few weeks after a characteristically baseless charge by Michele Bachmann and several other conservative legislators that a Muslim aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ties to Islamic extremism.

The juxtaposition of those two events is emphatically not meant to suggest Bachmann somehow “caused” the Wisconsin rampage. No, the point is that we are looking for terror in all the wrong places. Or, perhaps more accurately, that we are not looking for it in all the right places.

In the almost 20 years since the first attack by Muslim extremists on the World Trade Center, the following things have happened: the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City leaves 168 dead and 500 injured; one person is killed, over 100 wounded, in a bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta; seven people are arrested for plotting to attack U.S. military bases; Dr. Barnett Slepian is shot and killed in Amherst, N.Y.; five people die in a shooting spree near Pittsburgh; the FBI arrests a man who tried to buy ingredients for sarin, the deadly nerve gas, from an undercover agent; Dr. George Tiller is shot and killed in Wichita, Kan.; a man and his daughter are killed in their home in Arivaca, Ariz.; a man flies a small plane into a building in Austin, killing himself and one other. And now, this.

These incidents and dozens more comprise a list maintained by the Southern Poverty Law Center. What they all have in common is that they spring from motivations (i.e., opposition to taxation, government, immigrants, blacks, gays, abortion and Muslims) that more or less define modern, mainstream, conservatism. So yes, it is time to say the obvious thing no one seems to be saying:

America is under attack by right-wing terrorists.

And here, again, it is necessary to say what the point is not. Namely, it is not that conservatism equals terrorism. These criminals are fanatics, and fanaticism is restricted to no particular ideology. Ironically, that’s an argument to which conservatives often turn deaf ears when it is made on behalf of Muslims, but that doesn’t make it any less true — or applicable here

That said, what’s telling is that we won’t even call this what it is. When the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Weather Underground were committing violence in the 1970s, we were not slow in decrying left-wing terrorism and requiring progressives to disown it. When al-Qaida kills and maims, we are not shy about branding it Islamic terrorism and requiring moderate Muslims to disown it.

For some reason, though, we are reluctant to call right-wing terror by name. And you can forget requiring conservatives to distance themselves from it.

Rather than see a pattern that grows more glaring every day, we see a series of discrete events — this individual tragedy here, that one there, regrettable certainly, but surely not suggestive of any larger picture.

Maybe this is because the perpetrators of these crimes are overwhelmingly white Christian men and thus, invisible in a nation where danger is routinely defined as Them, not Us. Maybe it’s because media have become cowed and self-censoring, reflexively flinching from that which might bring accusations of anti-conservative bias.

Either way, one wonders how we can confront what we won’t even name. These plots hatched in the fetid backwaters of conservative paranoia ought to be called what they are. The blood of victims demands an honest accounting.

We have given them a dishonest silence instead.

— Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. CDT each Wednesday on www.MiamiHerald.com.

Comments

jaywalker 2 years, 4 months ago

"Maybe it’s because media have become cowed and self-censoring, reflexively flinching from that which might bring accusations of anti-conservative bias."

That's a rib tickler there, that is.

"Either way, one wonders how we can confront what we won’t even name."

Like Jimmy the Saint said, give it a name. Can't see that making it any easier to "confront." You're talking about a bunch of anonymous acts of violence by a bunch of whackado's. Unless their profile includes membership in a known hate-group or they've exhibited extreme mental problems that have already involved the police, these people aren't going to be on anyone's radar. Even if they have been on someone's radar, it would seem nearly impossible to keep tabs on them unless there's a proven imminent threat. Horrible situation for sure, but giving it a "name" ain't changin' jack.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone recall if das lennypitts spoke out when Minister King Samir Shabazz was telling his followers to kill some cracker babies?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 4 months ago

Hey Leonard, how about doing a story on Black on Black violence in Chicago. How about the tie ins to the New Black Panther Party?

paulveer 2 years, 4 months ago

Because this one hits too close to home for you?

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

It seems to me that there are often indications that these folks are likely to become dangerous, and somehow we don't do anything about it until it's too late.

One recent shooter was described after the fact as a "ticking time bomb" by his stepfather.

The movie theater guy had been seen by a psychologist at his school and she was so concerned she notified the school's "threat assessment" organization, or something like that.

If I remember right, there were similar indications about the Virginia Tech shooter.

Why aren't we doing more to prevent these sorts of tragedies, given that there's information available like that?

jaywalker 2 years, 4 months ago

My guess is there are too many of them to monitor, jafs. Have you ever been to NYC? On a given day you can easily come across a number of people acting/speaking nuts that'll make you wanna cross the street. And trying to keep tabs on every single asswipe supremacist in case they pull a temple shooting would require an entire new agency I'd have to think. I imagine it's as much a needle in the haystack as trying to figure who's friendly and who's foe in Iraq or Afghanistan.

jaywalker 2 years, 4 months ago

It's not like "angry young white men" is something new.

hedshrinker 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, we've managed to hear fr the usual libertarian and right wing commentators; on the other hand, I think Pitts called it like it is; the nature of most terrorism whether it comes from right, left or other political persuasions is that the actual acts of violence are typically carried out by unhinged, isolated people who have been inspired by the outrageous rhetoric of leaders who then can claim free speech and plausible deniability. Our dilemma is how to create a civil discourse which stops demonizing the Other and creates a safer world which allows for expression of different opinions but focuses on collaboration and community rather than scorched earth/ ethnic cleansing style solutions. Certainly a tall task if the nasty disparaging tone of many commentators on this board is any example, where writers like Pitts routinely are excoriated for supposedly divisive views.

verity 2 years, 4 months ago

Pretty much.

My observation has been that some people just like a fight and they will stir one up whenever possible. Quite a few like that post here and are given what they want so they continue. At least, as far as we know, their violence is only in their heads. It's when that imaginary violence takes material form that these things happen.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

"outrageous rhetoric of leaders who then can claim free speech and plausible deniability"

Anybody have a match and some lighter fluid this guy can take to the constitution?

"Our dilemma is how to create a civil discourse"

Actually, our dilemma is creating discourse. It need not be civil. Not everyone wants to speak platitudes.

"allows for expression of different opinions"

People should be muzzled so the opinion you like can get some traction. How about... no.

"focuses on collaboration and community"

Not everyone wants to focus on collaboration and community because they value their own liberty, privacy and self-reliance.

msezdsit 2 years, 4 months ago

"America is under attack by right-wing terrorists."

While these radical right wing murderers are just that, the somewhat lesser versions are the right wing radicals that are ever so slowly taking over our state government and have literally shut down congress by terrorizing people with their rhetoric and threats. Bachman is a good example and the notion that we could just fly over and shoot immigrants like a wild pig shoot is a local example. They are a coup d'état that is vying to take over our country with their guns safely concealed away just incase they need to use them on you. It will swing back and we will take our country back but it is just a matter of how much damage these radical right wing extremest cause before their carnage is stopped.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

Do you need to incessantly insult drugs?

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

And every left-wing idiot will be posting their heartfelt agreement with the most holy reverend Pitts that it's only white middle class Christian conservatives that commit terrorist acts. Thanks for getting the ball rollong, observant.

voevoda 2 years, 4 months ago

And I see that you emulated Leonard Pitts' technique, Liberty_One. A great improvement.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure you are supposed to capitalize verbs,

Katara 2 years, 4 months ago

Pitt's what takes great glee in incident like this?

Racism and nativism is separate from the political spectrum. Is our children learning this?

Getaroom 2 years, 4 months ago

Wonderful article Pitts, just look at what a flurry it stirred up!! It even aroused Liberty_One to write an astute and intellectual critique of what he thinks you really said, without really saying anything specific! And even better - it was branded propaganda.

Great going Mr. Pitts, you were spot on once again!

When Conservatism joins together with Extremism what do you find - Terrorism perhaps? Looking for terrorists in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood within the Whitehouse, where there are none is at a minimum paranoid and Michele Bachmann fits that to a T! But better to look right into the face of home grown terror, in the form of skin heads in the military. Well, at least they are hiding in plain sight and being trained as professional killers by our own military, where we can keep an eye on them - right? "You betcha", home grown angst right here in America. The hypocrisy is ripe for the picking.
Thanks Leonard, for all the cannon fodder!

jaywalker 2 years, 4 months ago

"When Conservatism joins together with Extremism what do you find - Terrorism perhaps? "

Pretty sure you can combine anything w/ "Extremism" and find "Terrorism."

notaubermime 2 years, 4 months ago

I combined "Extremism" with flour the other day and got yellow cake.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

That's just you. On the scale that matters, extremism gets mixed with flour and soon enough we are using our food to power our cars.

headdoctor 2 years, 4 months ago

Intellectual critique? I think pseudo-intellectual would have been a more accurate description.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 4 months ago

And some of them are running for office. Some have been elected in Kansas. Nuff said.

notajayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

"Can we finally say the thing we have not said so far?"

You mean that being white, conservative, and/or Christian is akin to being Hitler/Khadaffi/Satan?

Have you ever written a column where you HAVEN'T said that, Lenny?

jaywalker 2 years, 4 months ago

nota!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where the hell have you been?

Fossick 2 years, 4 months ago

Agreed. If terrorism means anything, it has to mean more than "bad guy from the other side of the political spectrum." It has to mean cases where people were using terror/violence to bring about a political result. Of course, it's the fault of the political right just as much as the political left that the terrorism label is used on people who are not properly terrorists. They do precisely what Pitts does here and have for years.

What Pitts is doing is simply saying "These people are malcontents" and "Conservatives are malcontents," therefore these people are conservatives, which are, coincidentally I'm sure, his political opponents. Plus, he's ignoring a whole bunch of actual terrorism, like ultra-lefty ELF attacks, because that doesn't fit his little fairy tale.

meggers 2 years, 4 months ago

The Texas shooter was a Tea Party kind of guy:

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2012/08/the_disturbing_facebook_page_o.php

'And so the year ended, but not before he had liked both Bristol and Sarah Palin, pistol-makers Beretta, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, the Tea Party Patriots, and a group battling for repeal of Obamacare. (He later shifted his presidential allegiance to Michelle Bachmann; coincidentally, the cop he killed shared that last name.'

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 4 months ago

There is too much hate mongering coming from the right wing and too much misinformation. I don't know how they can expect this not to make Americans upset.

That being said, the lock step way that left wing Democrats jump on the anti-gun wagon is very disappointing and I think stupid for a variety of reasons.

Americans are not going to let a government they do not trust come and take their guns away because some mad man went berserk somewhere.

geekin_topekan 2 years, 4 months ago

Another brilliant piece that clearly makes the rightwing uneasy.

The Taliban (Ronnie's investment) stands for no women's rights, dictating who you devote yourself to, anti-freedom FROM religion, zero tolerance for opposing pov's.

We get 3 hour-long preachers on a.m. radio and 24 hours of propagated TV with an enormous coach potato following (no reading involved). Say it loud over and over, just like N. korea, maybe it will come true. Truth requires no such thing-just why Air America failed. no audience because truth speaks for itself.

voevoda 2 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps you need to study the literature on fascism, tenneseerader, in order to understand how it fits within the political spectrum. Not left-wing, but extreme right wing. Socialists don't advocate "minimal personal liberty" or "government run businesses," tenneseerader. Certainly both those concepts are completely alien to the Democratic Party. Best that you educate yourself about these things before posting, tenneseerader.

pizzapete 2 years, 4 months ago

How soon we forget that the Communist and Socialist Parties were America's allies against the Nazi and Fascist Parties during World War II. Although they were allied with Hitler early on, it was the Communists who were the first to put together an international force to fight Nazi and Fascist fundamentalism in Europe. We shouldn't forget or underestimate the Communist's pivotal role in the ultimate defeat of Hitler and Fascism in Europe.

heygary 2 years, 4 months ago

Pitts is getting entirely too predictable. Time to cut him loose!

Mixolydian 2 years, 4 months ago

Interesting that this article comes out the same day a shooter attacks and wounds a man at the conservative Family Reseach Council shouting his anger over their policies.

meggers 2 years, 4 months ago

Fox News jumped the gun on that one:

'While Fox News claimed “sources” said the gunman “expressed disagreement with the conservative group’s policy positions,” two FBI officials cautioned reporters that early eyewitness accounts are often inaccurate and said it was too early to speak to the suspect’s motivation.'

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/family_research_council_shooting.php?ref=fpb

Fossick 2 years, 4 months ago

Or not: "Corkins had been volunteering for about the past six months at The DC Center for the LGBT Community, said David Mariner, executive director of the community center, which is in Northwest Washington. He usually staffed the center's front desk on Saturdays, and his most recent shift was about two weeks ago." http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/08/chinatown-shooting-leaves-two-wounded-78851.html

Obviously a GOP committeeman driven off the deep end by a campaign map with a target. Or something.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

Somebody else will argue your numbers. I'll go elsewhere.

So you have one shooter and the right has 50? The left should take responsibility for groups like ELF and their clones for spiking trees, burning down housing developments and torching car lots. There's a lot more of that than Tiller killing.

While burning a hummer is not as horrible as killing a human, it's still a violation of another person's rights and is just as illegal, and committed in the name of a social or political agenda. That makes them domestic terrorists, or are they freedom fighters?

Fossick 2 years, 4 months ago

50 shooters? Not only is your comment redundant, it's not even close to accurate. If we take the list of US terrorist attacks since 2008 form the hyper-accurate Wikipedia, the numbers tell a different story:

2008 February: In the first reported incident of animal-rights extremists physically assaulting the family members of animal researchers... that one's left wing.

2008 March 3: Four multimillion-dollar show homes place in Woodinville, Washington, are torched. The Earth Liberation Front is suspected.... Left wing.

2008 March 6: A homemade bomb damaged a Recruiting Office in Times Square... that one's probably lefty.

2008 May 4: Multiple pipe bombs exploded at 1:40 am at the Edward J. Schwartz United States Courthouse in San Diego causing "considerable damage" to the entrance and lobby and sending shrapnel two blocks away, but causing no injuries... could be either.

2008 July 27: Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting... right wing.

2008 August 2, August 3 University of California-Santa Cruz molecular biologist David Feldheim's home was firebombed...FBI is investigating incidents as domestic terrorism related to animal rights groups. Probably lefty.

2009 April 8: According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, intruders left malware in power grids, water, and sewage systems that could be activated at a later date.. could be either.

2009 May 31: Assassination of George Tiller. Righty

2009 May 25: 17-year old Kyle Shaw sets off a crude explosive device at a Starbucks ... Neither

2009 June 1: Arkansas recruiting office shooting: Islamic

2009 June 10: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting: 88-year-old James Wenneker von Brunn, a white supremacist and neo-Nazi... righty.

2010 February 18: 2010 Austin suicide attack: Joseph Stack deliberately flew a small Piper Dakota aircraft into a government building in Austin, Texas, killing himself and an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee in an attack aimed at the U.S. government. Lefty, despite Pitts' protestations.

2010 September 1: Discovery Communications headquarters hostage crisis: James J. Lee, ... lefty

2011 January 6: Three packages detonate in the mail rooms of two Maryland state government buildings.. unknown.

2012 August 5 Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting 6 killed... righty

2012, Aug 15, FRC shooting, Lefty.

Looks like the score's pretty even to me.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

Former DHS Analyst Daryl Johnson on How He Was Silenced for Warning of Far-Right Militants in U.S.

While many were shocked by the massacre at the Sikh temple, our guest, Daryl Johnson, had warned years ago that such an attack was imminent.

While working as a senior analyst in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2009, Johnson authored a report warning about the increasing dangers of violent right-wing extremism in the United States, sparking a political firestorm in the process.

Under pressure from Republican lawmakers and popular talk show hosts, DHS ultimately repudiated Johnson’s paper. Johnson drew his conclusion on his 15 years of experience studying domestic terrorist groups — particularly white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

"Leading up to this report … we received numerous accolades from law enforcement [and] intelligence officials, talking about the great work we were doing in the fight against domestic terrorism," Johnson says.

"And then in lieu of the political backlash, the Department not only decided to stop all of our work, but they also disbanded the unit, reassigned us to other areas within the office, and then made life increasingly difficult for us."

Johnson, now the owner of a private consultancy firm, has authored a new book, "Right Wing Resurgence: How a Domestic Terrorist Threat is Being Ignored."

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/9/former_dhs_analyst_daryl_johnson_on

Flap Doodle 2 years, 4 months ago

Maybe if the officials over at DHS weren't spending so much time playing grab-#ss, we'd all be safer.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 4 months ago

Dude, if you use up all the hyperbole now, you won't have any when you might really need it. (from a source)

tomatogrower 2 years, 4 months ago

This white supremacist was said to have complained that white men couldn't get promoted in the army. His problem is he didn't have the skills and education to get promoted, and wanted to blame it on others. I mean, he was stupid enough to think Sikhs and Muslims were the same. Maybe if he had gotten off his lazy behind, gotten an education, taken leadership classes, and sought out mental assistance for his other problems, he might have been a captain by now. But no, it's easier to get drunk and blame your lack of success on muslims and blacks. Wimp.

jonas_opines 2 years, 4 months ago

"They can not run on a record so all they do is lie, attack and lie some more."

I suppose they're just following your example. Since that post was pretty much just misrepresentation and attacks.

jonas_opines 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm perfectly comfortable with facts. Such as the fact that the Republican base shifted immensely after the Civil Rights movements, one might say in response the Civil Rights movement. This has been well documented, and brought up in these threads many, many times, each time that some fool has come around trying to lay claim to the actions of sweeping, shifting demographics and their representatives, to prove how great the name Republican is.

I assume that the rest of that stuff you decided to bring up because, since I criticized you, that I must be a liberal that believes in the greatness of all of that stuff. Trouble is, I don't. Don't agree with a living wage, don't agree with the City's fight against Wal-Mart, or pretty much anything else that they've done. Thankfully, it ain't my problem anymore, which is why I don't tend to comment that often on local politics.

I would agree, Democrats have trouble running on their record. Trouble is, Republicans can't really do that either. I'm guessing that's why you're trying to take credit for actions of Republicans past rather than Republicans present, and spending the rest of your time attacking Democrats.

Much like them, it merely makes you look foolish.

Mike Ford 2 years, 4 months ago

I love american dunces who calle themselves liberals sarcastically. You are oblivious to the fact that when said Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964 that white southern racist males left the Democratic Party in droves and waited for George Wallace and later Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to tie together religion, fascism, and patriotism to create the tea partiers and the current gop in the south still carrying on the states rights mantra of their racist Dixiecrat past leading back to Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and George Wallace. Fox network must leave out the important parts to defend their nonsense. I grew up in MS and LA in the 1970's. I've seen these people in the flesh.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

Turn-of-the-century-before-last liberals were what are now libertarians. We were liberal when it meant something other than "Hey buddy, can you spare a dime?".

verity 2 years, 4 months ago

I love it when I actually understand what you're saying.

Fossick 2 years, 4 months ago

"a man flies a small plane into a building in Austin..."

Leaving a suicide note that ends, "The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed." Obviously right-wing terrorism.

Oh, Leonard. Find a way for today's FRC shooting to be the act of a Tea Party leader and we shall all sleep soundly in the throes of progressive bliss.

camper 2 years, 4 months ago

We used to say "never again" when studying 20th century history. When I look at the right wing today I say to myself "This can happen again, right here, not overseas".

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

Bad timing Leonard.

"(AP) WASHINGTON - A man suspected of shooting and wounding a security guard in the lobby of a Christian lobbying group had been volunteering at a community center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people."

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57493780/cops-lgbt-volunteer-shoots-conservative-groups-guard/

Is he a left-wing terrorist or a freedom fighter?

Fossick 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't disagree with a word of yours. But if I understand Liberty275 correctly, the question is how this guy will fit into Leonard's fairy tale. Will he, like the IRS suicide pilot, be posthumously turned into a conservative? Or will he be proclaimed "not a terrorist"? Or will he be ignored? My money's on the latter. Your mileage may vary.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

If he walked into a planned parenthood office and started shooting, would he be a domestic terrorist or a freedom fighter?

If he walked into a planned parenthood office and started shooting, would your answer had been as long?

On the honor system here, did you consider underlying mental issues the wrongs (equating, for a moment, one's opinion of killing human fetuses with another perception of not supporting gay marriage) perceived by the guy that shot Tiller? I bet you were a little more certain and a little less given to eloquent cynicism.

Both are domestic terrorists if the currently accused is found guilty.

Fossick 2 years, 4 months ago

Apparently we all need another good talking-to from the New York Times.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

Pot, castro, chavez, hussein, il, etc. Socialism is mankind's enemy. Socialism is the enemy.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 4 months ago

We can be glad that most of the terrorists on the sinister side of the aisle in America seem to be as incompetent as Bill Ayers buddies.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

People getting free stuff don't care where it comes from.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

"What does that even mean?"

Buy a dictionary.

"That the war contractors don't care where their free money comes from?"

Don't care? They buy politicians to award it to them. They not only care, they pay MSRP.

beatrice 2 years, 4 months ago

Oops, from the headline I just figured this was another story about Romney / Ryan.

Never mind.

werekoala 2 years, 4 months ago

I doubt anyone will hear me at this point, but you Usual Suspects are exhaustively proving Mr. Pitts' point.

Surely, in your own personal lives, you sometimes have to work things out with another person with whom you very much disagree. And for the sake of your families, I hope you at least occasionally can settle differences without raised voices and hysteria.

No one (who is taken seriously) seriously suggests muzzling public discourse. That is a cure far worse than the disease.

But one's environment definitely influences one's behavior. We all know that a kid who grows up watching his dad beat his mom is much more likely to get in fights himself.

Deranged people will always exist, and there is sadly little a free society can do to restrain people who are "creepy" but have not yet done anything wrong. And most mentally ill people are no threat to anyone but themselves.

That said, we have to realize that inflamed rhetoric has an effect, and while shouting about traitors and sleeper cells and the impending death of America might be box office gold, it does have a real world effect, especially on suggestible minds.

So if we want our society to endure and outlast ourselves, we have to act like goddamn adults. That doesn't mean platitudes and fuzzy feelings, it means civility and an underlying bond between us. I may not approve of my brother's decision, but he is not my enemy, he is still family. In the same way, you and I may disagree on the appropriate top marginal tax rate, but that doesn't mean one of us is Hitler, we are still Americans.

The difficulty is that this is not something that can be solved with new laws or tax cuts. Fringe fanatics will only grow more shrill and get more air time, until we, the people, get sick of their apocalyptic rhetoric and get down to the business of solving our nation's problems.

It takes each of us saying, "hey, talking heads, take it down a notch." We have to demand adult speech from our leaders instead of childish platitudes. The irony is that Mr. Pitts is being attacked for calling for increased personal responsibility, generally thought to be a conservative value.

So it goes...

werekoala 2 years, 4 months ago

By definition, all terrorism is a crime (unjust damage to life or property).

The difference is, a mugger only cares about his victims, and whether they have money. A terrorist cares more about the effects of his actions on people other than his victim. If you burn dog poo in a bag on someone's porch, you're just harming them. If you burn a cross in a black family's yard, you are intimidating not just them, but every other black family in the area. See the difference?

And the point that you are soooo insistent on ignoring is that, while crazy people always exist, crazy rhetoric from leaders who damn well ought to know better can precipitate crazy acts of terrorism.

Columbine was two kids angry at the world who wanted to go out in style. No helping that, and also no agenda. The cold-blooded murder of Dr. Tiller was an act of a madman, but one who had been inflamed by right-wing media. If you at all pride yourself on an ability to face hard truths without flinching, you have to own that.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 4 months ago

The folks on the sinister side of the aisle are trying everything to stave off the preference cascade.

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