This Too Is Terrorism

by dday

A man in Knoxville, Tennessee walked into the Tennessee Valley Universalist Unitarian Church, which had a newly hung sign up welcoming gays and lesbians into their congregation, and opened fire, killing two before being wrestled to the ground by congregants. Earlier, he wrote a letter explaining his motives:

The shotgun-wielding suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was motivated by a hatred of “the liberal movement,” and he planned to shoot until police shot him, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV said this morning.

Jim D. Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.” [...]

Owen said Adkisson specifically targeted the church for its beliefs, rather than a particular member of the congregation.

“It appears that church had received some publicity regarding its liberal stance,” the chief said. The church has a “gays welcome” sign and regularly runs announcements in the News Sentinel about meetings of the Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays meetings at the church.

The church’s Web site states that it has worked for “desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights” since the 1950s. Current ministries involve emergency aid for the needy, school tutoring and support for the homeless, as well as a cafe that provides a gathering place for gay and lesbian high-schoolers.

As the terror alert level has just been raised (it is, after all, an election year, and the Federal Election-year Antiterror Repsonse, or F.E.A.R. Unit, has to justify its budget), I suspect we're going to hear a whole lot about how the Bush Administration has kept us safe from attacks on US soil. Except that this is also terrorism, designed to terrorize and intimidate a particular sect or group, and instead of paying attention to right-wing domestic extremists, the White House has directed its homeland security efforts at peace groups and Quakers. So they once again have failed at protecting the nation from acts of terror. In fact, given that the conservative movement's amping up of violent rhetoric has been so obvious to many, this failure is either a dereliction of duty or a complicit action. To wit:

Inside the house, officers found "Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder" by radio talk show host Michael Savage, "Let Freedom Ring" by talk show host Sean Hannity, and "The O'Reilly Factor," by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly.

Assuming causation may be an imperfect science, but these are the same folks who blamed Marilyn Manson for Columbine so I don't have much sympathy.

So we can all debate whether Adkisson's murders were a function of a lack of guns in the hands of church members (although they got him to the ground in 15 seconds without firearms), but we should not forget that this was a terrorist attack from a committed right-wing fundamentalist. The conservative movement has created an ideology of hate, and while the vast majority of its adherents are not inspired to actual violence, just one murder is too many.

Somehow I don't think this will be inserted into the discussion of terrorism.

Update: from digby

From the you can't make this shit up files, here's Crooks and Liars with a right wing rationale:

You know what I think? He didn’t hate liberals. He hated Christians. He wanted to leave the impression that he is conservative who hates liberals, however, to discredit conservatives.