Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The other kinds of terrorists

Speaking of the Aryan Nations, it turns out that the shooter who went on a rampage this past weekend, killing four people and wounding two before killing himself in Moscow, Idaho (where my alma mater is) was a longtime member:
Jason Kenneth Hamilton, the man responsible for the deadly shooting spree in Moscow, Idaho, was a card-carrying Aryan Nations member licensed by the federal government to possess fully automatic weapons, including a military-style machine gun, sources confirmed Tuesday.

"How he got one, I have no idea," Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch said Tuesday of Hamilton’s license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Rausch confirmed that Hamilton also had a concealed weapons permit in Latah County, despite a domestic violence conviction that should have barred him from owning guns.

The 36-year-old janitor moved to North Idaho from the Boise area in 1998 or 1999, and shortly thereafter became a member of the Aryan Nations, which was based in Hayden.

About that same time, Hamilton was arrested in Latah County for shooting at a building or a car, but the charge was reduced through a plea bargain, incomplete court records show.

Hamilton committed suicide in a Presbyterian church after killing his wife, a police officer and a church sexton and wounding three other men Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

The report is by my old friend and colleague Bill Morlin, and is worth reading in full, just to get a complete picture of what a piece of work Hamilton was.

What's clear is that Hamilton fully intended to take as many people with him as possible; that's why he began by targeting the dispatcher's office, where he knew he would get police response. And considering his extremist background, it is certain this was intended as some kind of political statement. It was, by most definitions, an act of domestic terrorism.

As it happens, this news emerges on the same day that, across the country, we read (via Atrios) of the arrest of a group of young white men who apparently intended to set off bombs outside Jerry Falwell's funeral targeting protesters:
Campbell County authorities arrested a Liberty University student for having several homemade bombs in his car.

The student, 19-year-old Mark D. Uhl of Amissville, Va., reportedly told authorities that he was making the bombs to stop protesters from disrupting the funeral service. The devices were made of a combination of gasoline and detergent, a law enforcement official told ABC News' Pierre Thomas. They were "slow burn," according to the official, and would not have been very destructive.

"There were indications that there were others involved in the manufacturing of these devices and we are still investigating these individuals with the assistance of ATF [Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms], Virginia State Police and FBI. At this time it is not believed that these devices were going to be used to interrupt the funeral services at Liberty University," the Campbell County Sheriff's Office said in a release.

Three other suspects are being sought, one of whom is a soldier from Fort Benning, Ga., and another is a high school student. No information was available on the third suspect.

Authorities were alerted to the potential bomb plot after relative of Uhl called to say that he had homemade bombs in his possession. Officials searched Uhl's car where they found five incendiary devices in the trunk.

Here's a reality check: Terrorism comes in all shapes, ideologies, and colors. In this country, in fact, as we've remarked often, you're far more likely to be harmed in an attack by a right-wing domestic terrorist than anyone from Al Qaeda.

This has not, of course, prevented the Michelle Malkins of the right-wing pundit corps from bloviating endlessly about any incident involving Muslims suspected of plotting against America, as with the recent case in North Carolina. Of course, most of the time these little Muslim panics turn out to be so much nothing (remember the Oklahoma student who blew himself up and how Malkin worked the "Jihadi!" line for a couple of weeks until it turned out to be nothing like that?). Indeed, Malkin has a fondness for posting galleries of Muslim shooters, though of course we never see the other side of that particular coin from her.

So with all these domestic terrorists making headlines, you might think that Malkin would be posting as feverishly as when the North Carolina Jihadis were arrested, wouldn't you? I mean, just because they're white guys, that doesn't mean ... er, right? Oh, that's right: I almost forgot about Chad Castagana.?

Well, let's go check her blog.

Hm. Mostly the sound of ... er, nothing. Oh yes, there is a longish post about an interracial murder that does not appear to be a hate crime, but she's nattering on endlessly about "media hypocrisy" anyway ... Well, more on that later. In the meantime, is that crickets chirping, or are those cicadas?

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