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Political Terrorism in America:

Very bad, not just for the victims, but for public debate more broadly; I very much hope that it remains an aberration, or else the consequences will be bad for speakers with a vast range of views. From CNN:

Authorities have charged an Owosso, Michigan, man with two counts of first-degree premeditated murder in the Friday shooting deaths of an anti-abortion activist and another man, a prosecutor's office said.

Authorities say the suspect, Harlan James Drake, was offended by anti-abortion material that the activist had displayed across from [a local high] school all week.

Drake, 33, is accused of shooting anti-abortion activist Jim Pouillon, 63, and Michael Fuoss, 61, who were killed in separate locations Friday morning, the prosecutor's office in Shiawassee County said.

Authorities also have charged Drake with a felony firearm count and carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, the prosecutor's office said.

Drake also is suspected of "attempting to locate a third victim without success," the office said....

I've labeled killings and threats against abortion providers as anti-abortion terrorism before (see here, here, and here). This likewise appears to be a domestic terrorist attack, though as I said I hope that it will remain a rare isolated incident. (I say "appears to be" simply in case the initial accounts prove incorrect, or in case the defendant turns out to be legally insane or some such.)

U.Va. Grad:
The account I read in the NYT (here) suggests that this guy could just be killing people he's angry at, rather than engaged in terrorism, based on the description of the other victim:
At a news conference, the Owosso police said several shots were fired at Mr. Pouillon from a passing car. After a witness provided the car's license plate number, the police arrested the suspect at his home. The authorities did not immediately identified him.

The police said the suspect told them that he had been involved in another shooting Friday at a gravel company, Fuoss Gravel, in nearby Owosso Township. The company's owner, Mike Fuoss, 61, was found dead in his office around 8 a.m.

Now, Pouillon's death was obviously tied to his anti-abortion views and his protests, but it seems that Drake may have been "angry at the world" and killing everyone he had grievances against rather than engaging in terrorist activity. Obviously, there's more yet to come on this story, and I'm eager to see how the facts develop.
9.11.2009 7:11pm
Splunge:
I think you're broadening the meaning of "terrorism" too much. I think we should stick with its meaning of causing harm to people entirely unconnected, except possibly only by ethnic or cultural similarity, to those whom you wish to dismay, deter, or otherwise influence.

So that covers the 1972 Munich terrorists, inasmuch as the Israeli athletes had zip to do with Israeli political or military decisions, or the 1979 Tehran hostage-takers, since the embassy staff did not have a hand in forming State Dept policy that supported the shah, or the 2001 NYC madmen, since the folks in the twin towers had very little directly to do with American foreign policy in the Middle East, or those poor children in Beslan, who had zero to do with Russian policy in Chechnya.

But in this case, the maniac attacked those two men because of what they actually did, and not because they were merely of the same race or culture as someone else. How about we just use the term "murder" for that?

Otherwise, I think you risk diluting the word "terrorism" the way "war" has been diluted by our endless "wars" on poverty, drugs, drunk driving, ignorance, steroids in athletics, whatever.
9.11.2009 7:16pm
first history:
I prefer the FBI's definition:


.....the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. . . . . [A] terrorist incident is a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, in violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state, to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives;

[A] suspected terrorist incident is a potential act of terrorism in which responsibility for the act cannot be attributed at the time to a known or suspected terrorist group or individual . . . .


Sounds at least a suspected terrorist incident.
9.11.2009 7:24pm
GV:
I've read numerous commentators, including I believe Orin Kerr, say terrorism should not be dealt with as a law enforcement problem. If this crime is terrorism, and it appears to be, why should this case be treated as a law enforcement problem?
9.11.2009 7:34pm
rjdonner:
C'mon, EV, lighten up: since when is this sort of thing new?

Consider a vitamin or adult entertainment purveyor:

1. Marketing material becomes fraud.
2. Speaking with employees becomes conspiracy.
3. Depositing checks becomes money laundering.

And so forth...
9.11.2009 7:37pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Hate crime anyone?
9.11.2009 7:38pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):
Now, I think it would be perfectly fitting for conservatives to make a "Tiller"-like row over this killing. Remember how only a couple of months ago his murder proved how there angry conservative brown-shirts rampaging in the streets? Let's descend to the level of the NYT and go at this story 3x as hard as they did.
9.11.2009 7:43pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

If this crime is terrorism, and it appears to be, why should this case be treated as a law enforcement problem?

Because it's a solution in search of a problem, at least for acts committed by Americans against Americans on American soil. According to the article, on the same day as the murders, the suspect was arrested and charged brought against him in court. I don't see what more you want done.
9.11.2009 7:44pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Now, I think it would be perfectly fitting for conservatives to make a "Tiller"-like row over this killing.

1) The suspect appears to have targeted the victim via his protest signs, not due to his views on abortion.
2) Find me a clip of Olbermann flailing the victim a la O'Reilly and Tiller
3) Find me any criticism of the victim

Good luck!
9.11.2009 7:49pm
Cato The Elder (mail) (www):

1) The suspect appears to have targeted the victim via his protest signs, not due to his views on abortion.

What nonsense is this? This Mr. Drake did not shoot the "protest signs". He shot the men carrying the "protest signs", or what the linked article refers to as anti-abortion material. Mr. Drake shot those men disseminating the anti-abortion material presumably because that material reflected their own personal views. Now to me, this appears to be a "targeting [of] the victim[s] due to [their] views on abortion."

2) Find me a clip of Olbermann flailing the victim a la O'Reilly and Tiller

I don't watch that sort of thing regularly. I'm a bit of a teetotaler, if you will.

3) Find me any criticism of the victim

I already did; see my previous link to Frank Rich's editorial in the NYT. The dead men were eminently right-wing nuts and, worse, destroyers of the discourse. As such, they deserved severe opprobrium from others and perhaps...?
9.11.2009 8:09pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Now, I think it would be perfectly fitting for conservatives to make a "Tiller"-like row over this killing.
Let's see if this scares off all the other anti-abortion activists in his state. If not, then we have to decide if it's fitting to have a row over much less successful terrorism.
9.11.2009 8:10pm
Borris (mail):
Well, The Left has spent the last 8 year mainstreaming hate.
9.11.2009 8:36pm
Mike McDougal:

or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives

What isn't a "social objective"?
9.11.2009 8:44pm
ArthurKirkland:
If this loser selected one of his victims on the basis of opinion, his crime is all the more reprehensible. People should be able to express themselves using signs without being shot.

If the killer was entitled to have a firearm outside the home, for a purpose other than self-defense in the home, this episode illustrates a serious detriment associated with such possession outside the home. People firing from automobiles is a far different issue than people holding firearms in the home.
9.11.2009 8:45pm
JK:
I'm not convinced that one activist killing another activist is the same on the "terrorism scale" as an activist killing a high profile symbol of one side.

On a probably more biased note, I think the "murderer" and other extreme rhetoric used anti-abortion activists really alters the implications of activists killing doctors. My mother is a physician and was on the board of the local planed parenthood when I was a child, and the number of implied (and to a lesser extent explicit) death threats from activists is really massive, and the fear is very real. She resigned her position in large part due to pressure from my father who feared for her safety.

That type of culture of terror strikes me as something very different then an act of violence between two basically random activists.
9.11.2009 9:02pm
MMJMAC (mail):
I always thought that many conservatives were opposed to hate crime legislation, at least when the victims were homosexuals or people of color. Why should they support a hate crime charge in this case if they don't in the other cases? As far as the left "mainstreaming" hate in the last 8 years, tell me please who it was that accused opponents of the Iraq war as traitors?
9.11.2009 9:04pm
Bama 1L:
He shot the men carrying the "protest signs", or what the linked article refers to as anti-abortion material. Mr. Drake shot those men disseminating the anti-abortion material presumably because that material reflected their own personal views.

The bold-faced word should be "man," shouldn't it? Fuoss wasn't doing any of those things when killed and there's been no report that he ever had.
9.11.2009 9:05pm
JK:

I always thought that many conservatives were opposed to hate crime legislation, at least when the victims were homosexuals or people of color. Why should they support a hate crime charge in this case if they don't in the other cases?

That a really great point that could benefit from some expanding. The logic for treating both "hate crimes" and "terrorism" differently from, lets say "vanilla crime," does seem to have a lot of parallels. The basic logic is that the harm caused is greater because of the intended impact on a 3rd party group.
9.11.2009 9:12pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Where is the presidential statement? There was one condemning the Tiller killing within hours.
9.11.2009 9:15pm
David Matthews (mail):
"I'm not convinced that one activist killing another activist is the same on the "terrorism scale" as an activist killing a high profile symbol of one side. "

That is probably the single stupidest thing I've ever read on VC, given the incidents in question.

[I know, "free of name-calling" (see below.)

But my opinion is directed at the comment, not the commenter.]
9.11.2009 9:23pm
Joan in Juneau (mail):
Bob-- I am waiting for that too.
9.11.2009 9:36pm
Guest99:
uh... i think there's a very good chance this guy turns out to be insane. just guessing.
9.11.2009 9:45pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
I think one might also argue that many/most terrorists are insane. I mean, is suicide bombing rational?
9.11.2009 9:51pm
badlaw (mail):
I guess now we can have a national discussion on the commentary and rhetoric of pro-choice advocates and the liberal media and the American Left, right?

Right?

Please. They're glad this man got shot, so we're going to hear more gnashing of the teeth over the temerity of Joe Wilson to call the President a liar during his speech about health care. Maybe we'll hear the latest update on Sarah Palin's Facebook page. Shoot, if we're lucky, we'll hear about how the economy isn't really Obama's fault and if Bush got to drive up our national deficit for a war, Obama should be able to do twice that for health care reform.
9.11.2009 10:06pm
JK:

That is probably the single stupidest thing I've ever read on VC, given the incidents in question.


Well thanks for the well thought out response explaining the flaw in my logic. Besides the tongue-in-cheek use of "terrorism scale," what exactly is so stupid about drawing a distinction between an act of violence between two unknowns and an act of violence against a prominent individual based on the political views that made them prominent?
9.11.2009 10:17pm
John Skookum (mail):
Hey JK,

Speaking of "unknowns":

John Salvi shot two "unknown" receptionists at a clinic in Massachusetts, and statements condemning his actions issued from pro-life organizations as well as Bill Clinton and a whole bunch of other left wing bigfoots the very same day.


Now? Crickets. Crickets. Crickets.
9.11.2009 10:42pm
John Thacker (mail):
I always thought that many conservatives were opposed to hate crime legislation, at least when the victims were homosexuals or people of color. Why should they support a hate crime charge in this case if they don't in the other cases?


I'm sorry, who is calling for a hate crime charge? I must have missed that.
9.11.2009 11:04pm
http://volokh.com/?exclude=davidb :

I mean, is suicide bombing rational?

In some circumstances, arguably yes.
9.11.2009 11:14pm
mr_liberal:
I get the impression that it could have been just about any kind of graphic sign that would have set this guy off, that the issue of abortion really didnt matter much. I wouldnt even be surprised if we find out that he's against abortion. I think he was just mad that he had to see those disturbing signs every day. I saw on the news that he shot another guy the same day that had nothing to do with the abortion issue, and planned on a third that didnt have anything to do with abortion either. This doesnt seem politically motivated to me at all.
9.11.2009 11:28pm
11-B/2O.B4:
The game escalates again:)



Almost makes me feel like waxing poetic about the "revolution" like my imbecilic professors.
9.11.2009 11:37pm
JK:

John Skookum (mail):
Hey JK,

Speaking of "unknowns":

John Salvi shot two "unknown" receptionists at a clinic in Massachusetts, and statements condemning his actions issued from pro-life organizations as well as Bill Clinton and a whole bunch of other left wing bigfoots the very same day.


Now? Crickets. Crickets. Crickets.

So I get "stupidest. comment. ever" and a completely bad faithed interpretation of my point (that it's somehow less morally problematic to kill "unknowns"). I guess that teaches me for post in a thread about abortion.

My point was: to what extent an act is "terrorism" as opposed to simply criminal has to do with the amount of terror that it causes. Killing a symbol of the "pro-choice" movement like Tiller creates more terror among doctors that perform abortions than an unknown pro-lifer being killed causes terror among pro-life activists. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think that point is either stupid or a claim that it's not morally wrong to unknown people.
9.11.2009 11:44pm
John Skookum (mail):
<I>I wouldnt even be surprised if we find out that he's against abortion. </i>


Would that be something like the observation that nowadays, most hate crimes of the swastika-on-dorm-room-door variety are perpetrated by minorities who feel their racial grievances aren't being taken seriously enough?
9.11.2009 11:47pm
John Moore (www):
I think calling this terrorism is going too far, unless the individual had a plan and intention of hunting down and killing pro-life activists, with the intent of creating terror among them. Also absent is the existence of any group advocating this activity.

Bombings of abortion clinics are more reasonably called terrorism, as they tend not to be anger killings, but rather are typically acts in a general campaign (by one or two individuals, typically) rather than a spree. They seem to be an attempt to terrorize. However, they are not connected to any organized movement.

In this light, it is interesting to consider "viral" Islamist terrorism. Al Qaada, et al, have propaganda campaigns intended to cause sympathetic individuals to engage in acts in support of Jihadism. Actions by people as a result of those campaigns come much closer to the definition of terrorism - they are carrying out the desires of terrorists with actions that collectively, if not individually, are terrorist.

For example, one of the "Beltway Shooters" was clearly motivated by Islamist goals. He was also a classic spree killer. How much of their behavior was terrorism, and how much was classic spree killing, is an interesting question.

Another example is the Muslim individual who attacked the El Al counter at LAX. That was an act of hatred, and arguably also an act of terrorism.

Yet another area of interest is the activities of extreme environmentalists and animal rights activists. Extreme environmentalist violent actions tend to be against property, with no intent to terrorize anyone, although the Earth First action of cutting the bolts on the ski lift at Arizona Snow bowl might have been terrorism. Animal rights activists, on the other hand, have directly engaged in terrorism violently targeting researchers.

Look hard enough and there's a terrorist in your town :-)
9.12.2009 12:22am
Linus (mail):

Killing a symbol of the "pro-choice" movement like Tiller creates more terror among doctors that perform abortions than an unknown pro-lifer being killed causes terror among pro-life activists. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think that point is either stupid or a claim that it's not morally wrong to unknown people.
I think you're wrong, and have it exactly backward. As an example, which do you think would create more terror among Americans at large; the assassination of the President, or a Beslan-type massacre at a random schoolhouse in Kansas? I think it's clearly the schoolhouse; far more people will identify with the victims, and say to themselves, "it could have been ME." It's the same with a "high profile" symbol vs. a run-of-the-mill activist.

The "randomness" factor is a HUGE component of the terror. That's why serial killers are scarier than a guy who kills his wife's lover- it doesn't make sense.
9.12.2009 1:07am
Mark N. (www):
@Linus: I agree as far as terrorism goes, but I don't think the Tiller murder is really best analyzed as terrorism (despite the heated rhetoric to that effect). It was more of an assassination--- a murder of a high-profile person specifically because of his public-sphere activities.
9.12.2009 6:54am
Kirk Lazarus:

.....the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives. . . . . [A] terrorist incident is a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, in violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state, to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives;


So if I'm enraged by his behavior and shoot him to discourage likeminded fuckwads, I'm a terrorist too. In fact if the police did something unlawful while arresting him, that too would be terrorism. Ridding society of crime is a social objective, and arrest is coercive.
9.12.2009 7:04am
Teller:
It looks like this guy was killing people who annoyed him. Settle Scores. Whatever the definition of terrorism, settling scores like this does not seem to fit.
9.12.2009 8:23am
ArthurKirkland:
If I understand correctly, the shooter objected to his first victim's conduct (repeatedly showing unpleasant images to students).

So he murdered him. As students watched.

Quite a plan.
9.12.2009 9:30am
ChrisTS (mail):
From the Flint Journal:
Authorities say Harlan J. Drake set out Friday morning looking to settle scores, starting with a local anti-abortion activist who paraded around town with graphic signs....
Drake gunned down 63-year-old abortion protester James L. Pouillon because he didn't think kids should have to look at dead babies on their way to school....
Drake was apparently upset with the graphic placards he would see the 63-year-old Pouillon carrying outside the school when Drake dropped students off at the high school, Owosso Police Chief Mike Compeau said.
"He didn't think kids should have to look at that," Compeau said....
Drake allegedly told police he had just shot Fuoss and that he had planned to leave later that morning and shoot Owosso real estate agent James Howe.
Drake apparently felt that Howe had wronged his mother on a business deal, said Compeau.


The NYT article yesterday suggested the shooter had some private dispute with Fuosso, the other victim.

So, despite all the sturm und drang, here, it really does appear at this point that we have someone who went over the edge and decided to shoot three people with whom he was angry, for very different reasons.
9.12.2009 11:45am
one of many:
Yet another area of interest is the activities of extreme environmentalists .... Extreme environmentalist violent actions tend to be against property, with no intent to terrorize anyone, although the Earth First action of cutting the bolts on the ski lift at Arizona Snow bowl might have been terrorism.

I have to call a foul on this under the sense of terrorism you present, the whole point of most of these actions is to terrorize people, make them feel fear and change their actions. Without terror many of the environmentalist actions are simply vandalism without purpose, spiking trees for instance completely relies on creating a sense of terror in lumbermen that if they harvest spiked trees that the spikes will destroy their equipment and injure them. There may be a pettiness factor which disqualifies them from being terrorism, if the terror induced does not reach a certain level it isn't terrorism but that runs counter to the argument about the belt-way killers who, regardless of intent, created a lot of terror (very little of which seems to have been part of their motivation - they were more serial killers than spree killers while this case, on it's face, resembles spree killing more than serial killing).
9.12.2009 12:18pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Jeez, could we all agree that going around shooting strangers is to be deplored? Period, full stop.
9.12.2009 2:21pm
Teller:
Full stop? Shooting non-strangers is pretty deplorable too.
9.12.2009 2:56pm
DangerMouse:
Full stop? Shooting non-strangers is pretty deplorable too.

It's been evident for years that libs don't care about the death of people who have different political preferences. From Michael Moore's lament that the 9/11 attacks occurred in blue states instead of red states, to Markos Moulitsas of the Dailky Kos saying "screw them" to dead US protection force members, liberals really don't care when their political opponents are killed.

That's why there's national silence over this pro-life assassination from abortion groups. From their perspective, they're probably satisfied that there's one less agitator to worry about. Specifically, with regard to the abortion groups, I'd expect this kind of treatment from them. When your entire business and philosophy involves killing innocent people, they're not going to be able to quickly muster the will even for a fake show of crocodile tears.
9.12.2009 4:16pm
ChrisTS (mail):
could we all agree that going around shooting strangers is to be deplored?
Shooting non-strangers is pretty deplorable too.


I think that pretty much covers it: murder is deplorable.
9.12.2009 5:23pm
ArthurKirkland:

pro-life assassination

???????
The information available so far indicates the shooter's objection was to showing distasteful images to schoolchildren. If the victim had been displaying those images for another reason, he might have been just as likely to have been targeted. We don't know the shooter's views concerning abortion. Is it inconceivable that a guy with this shooter's record might be susceptible to a view as extreme as the belief that a morning-after pill is a murder weapon?
9.12.2009 5:28pm
Baseballhead (mail):
That's why there's national silence over this pro-life assassination from abortion groups.
You're still calling this an "assassination" after the police report? Would his plan "to leave later that morning and shoot Owosso real estate agent James Howe" be interpreted as an assassination aimed at realty groups?

I doubt that Pouillon died because Drake had some political agenda. I'm absolutely certain you want that to be the case, just so you can break out your I Hate The Left jersey and megaphone.
9.12.2009 6:06pm
Constantin:
So by the logic of some on this thread, and most of the media that have dared to even mention this, an idiot who wants to kill an abortion doctor but doesn't want to discredit the anti-abortion movement should make sure to argue about a parking spot or something with the guy in the weeks before the assassination. Bases covered, right?
9.12.2009 6:31pm
Baseballhead (mail):
Drake shot another man, who, as far as we know, had nothing to do with Pouillon or abortions.
...Drake drove six miles to an Owosso Township gravel pit and shot Fuoss Gravel owner Mike Fuoss, 61, multiple times at close range in the office and went home.

Fuoss, a 1966 Corunna High School graduate, owned a construction and excavating business and started the Indian Rock Subdivision and Fuoss Brothers Apartments.

Abortion protester, gravel pit owner, realtor. The gravel pit owner is just as dead, and his death is just as tragic. The realtor could have easily suffered the same fate. Stop ignoring the rest of the story.
9.12.2009 6:44pm
ArthurKirkland:

So by the logic of some on this thread, and most of the media that have dared to even mention this, an idiot who wants to kill an abortion doctor but doesn't want to discredit the anti-abortion movement should make sure to argue about a parking spot or something with the guy in the weeks before the assassination. Bases covered, right?

The evidence (admittedly sketchy so far, but adequate to support certain observations) indicates that the victim was shot because of his history of displaying large, distasteful images to students.

If he had been engaged in the same conduct not to protest abortion but instead to promote a business selling large posters featuring distasteful images, he apparently would likely have placed himself on the shooter's list of targets.

If someone wants to kill an abortion doctor because of a disagreement concerning the last cruller at the convenience store, that differs from wanting to kill the abortion provider because of opposition to abortion.

It is very unfortunate the sign-toter was murdered. It is very unfortunate he was killed for expressing his opinion. But it appears (so far) he was killed for being a boor instead of for opposing abortion.
9.12.2009 7:03pm
New Pseudonym (mail):

the victim was shot because of his history of displaying large, distasteful images


Nice Try. They are distasteful to you, but truthful to me. Let's not let the individuals who are most likely to be coerced into having an abortion have an idea about what they are doing.

Would you close the Holocaust Museum for its distasteful images of Aushwitz?
9.12.2009 8:03pm
markm (mail):

ArthurKirkland:
...
If the killer was entitled to have a firearm outside the home, for a purpose other than self-defense in the home, this episode illustrates a serious detriment associated with such possession outside the home. People firing from automobiles is a far different issue than people holding firearms in the home.

To legally transport a firearm in an automobile in Michigan, it must be unloaded and stored out of reach and separately from the ammunition. Gee, insane criminals have no respect for the law!
9.12.2009 8:22pm
ArthurKirkland:

Nice Try. They are distasteful to you, but truthful to me. Let's not let the individuals who are most likely to be coerced into having an abortion have an idea about what they are doing.

Would you close the Holocaust Museum for its distasteful images of Aushwitz?



I stand corrected. Please amend my original sentence by replacing "distasteful images" with "images that are distasteful to most people and, most important, distasteful to the shooter."

By the way, would you consider displaying huge photographs of a priest sodomizing or fondling a child outside weekly church services to be distasteful, truthful or both? I believe images can be distasteful as well as truthful. Not all boors are liars.
9.12.2009 8:42pm
ArthurKirkland:

To legally transport a firearm in an automobile in Michigan, it must be unloaded and stored out of reach and separately from the ammunition. Gee, insane criminals have no respect for the law!

The point is that firearms carried outside the home -- let alone in a moving vehicle -- create risk and harm. One may believe that the harm is outweighed by benefits associated with armed occupants of rolling vehicles, but it strikes me as strange and dishonest to deny the disadvantages.
9.12.2009 8:45pm
Bob in SeaTac (mail):
AK

A better statement than yours would be:

Bad guys with guns, bad.

Good guys with guns, good.

Bad guys with cars, bad.

Good guys with cars, good.
9.12.2009 9:56pm
ArthurKirkland:
Bad guys cause harm with guns and cars.

Good guys also cause harm with guns and cars.

Guns and cars are useful, and best when regulated carefully.
9.12.2009 10:06pm
/:
best when regulated carefully

Just like doctors and lawyers and accountants and narcotics and decongestants and glass beakers and EM frequencies and telephone service and internet service and napkin dispensers.
9.12.2009 10:48pm
Ken Arromdee:
The point is that firearms carried outside the home -- let alone in a moving vehicle -- create risk and harm. One may believe that the harm is outweighed by benefits associated with armed occupants of rolling vehicles, but it strikes me as strange and dishonest to deny the disadvantages.

In a political context your point that guns in cars can be used to shoot innocents implies that you want a law restricting guns in cars.

But there already was a law and the guy didn't obey it.

The law didn't help, and failing to have such a law would not have led to more risk or to any disadvantages--it made no difference whatsoever.

Of course, you never uttered the words "gun control" here, so perhaps your point is merely that you think such things are dangerous but you have no intention of suggesting anything about gun control laws. If so, of course nobody has any quarrel with you. I doubt this, though.
9.13.2009 2:47am
Fact Checker:
"An armed society is a polite society."

Somebody always brings up that quote when we are discussing firearm deaths. Somehow it seems inappropriate here.
9.13.2009 3:05am
Leo Marvin (mail):

Just like doctors and lawyers and accountants and narcotics and decongestants and glass beakers and EM frequencies and telephone service and internet service and napkin dispensers.

Yeah, guns are exactly like those things. Who isn't terrified of finding their kid playing with a loaded napkin dispenser?
9.13.2009 4:21am
Eli Rabett (www):
Germany in the 1920s. Russia in 1910. Both ended badly
9.13.2009 10:51am
MartyA:
It was only an anti-abortion guy. Nothing to see here. Move on.
9.13.2009 11:56am
/:
Who isn't terrified of finding their kid playing with a loaded napkin dispenser?

Exactly. Napkin dispensers and industrial-grade decongestants must, therefore, be classified as military-level technology. No export, no OTC, and no handling without a grueling licensing process. Laws are fun.
9.13.2009 12:37pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Leo Marvin:


Just like doctors and lawyers and accountants and narcotics and decongestants and glass beakers and EM frequencies and telephone service and internet service and napkin dispensers.


Yeah, guns are exactly like those things. Who isn't terrified of finding their kid playing with a loaded napkin dispenser?


During my son's Mad Scientist days, we were often terrfied to see him playing with a loaded glass beaker.
9.13.2009 12:39pm
ChrisTS (mail):
This thread is great.

We have a man who killed 2 people and wanted to kill a third. None of the 3 had anything in common other than being objects of the killer's personal enmity. One of the victims earned that enmity by displaying posters that the killer thought children should not see.

But some people want this to be seen as just like the case of a killer who selected a single victim because of what the victim did - provided abortions - and despite not knowing the victim personally at all.

Hurray for clarity of thought.
9.13.2009 12:46pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
ChrisTS:

Hurray for clarity of thought.

Come on Chris, you know Danger Mouse got it right. As pro-choice liberals, blood lust is our philosophical DNA. In fact I'm glad he said it. I'm Nathan Jessep, dammit. Code Red! You can't handle the truth!

I mean, take homicidal liberal (pardon the redundancy) Jim David Adkisson, whose shooting spree last year during a Church children's play killed two and injured seven. Jim David refused to express remorse at his sentencing hearing, instead releasing a four page manifesto, of which the following is typical:

I'd like to encourage other like-minded people to do what I've done. If life ain't worth living anymore don't just kill yourself. Do something for your country before you go. Go kill liberals.

The oldest liberal trick in the book: pretending its liberals you hate. How many times have we seen that one? Did he really think he'd fool us with such an obvious ploy (and mowing down a bunch of liberals)? How dumb does he think we are?

Anyway, Jim David's manifesto is one gem after another. Actually, there's very little in it we don't see every day on these threads, but I promise it's worth the read.

By the way, wasn't it predictable the liberal media wouldn't make a big story out of a totally liberal spree murderer like Jim David Adkisson?
9.13.2009 6:40pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
ChrisTS:

During my son's Mad Scientist days, we were often terrfied to see him playing with a loaded glass beaker.

Any kid who doesn't terrify his parents with his chemistry set isn't trying hard enough.
9.13.2009 6:44pm
Elais:
Dangermouse,

I am one liberal who does not take joy in another's deaths, regardless of their views, blame my bleeding heart. However, I'm sure all conservatives see murders of abortion providers as justified.
9.13.2009 9:02pm
tickknob (mail):
Extreme environmentalist violent actions tend to be against property, with no intent to terrorize anyone,


Right, like the Unabomber.
9.13.2009 9:25pm
JK:

Extreme environmentalist violent actions tend to be against property, with no intent to terrorize anyone,


Right, like the Unabomber.

That certainly shows the difficulty of categorizing these things. I've never really thought of Kaczynski as an "environmentalist" as his main issue seemed to be the social structures of civilization rather than simply the environmental impact of (post industrial revolution) civilization.

Perhaps the issue is how the mainstream activists deal with violent extremists and extreme rhetoric. It does seem that anti-abortion activists embrace a logic that seems to justify violent extremism (abortion is murder, murder should be punished with death), which makes actual acts of violence against doctors particularly fear inducing on the part of other doctors.

Environmentalists might actually be a close second, as (at least some) mainstream activists seem to embrace some extreme rhetoric, although I think there's probably been a decline in that type of radical "deep environmentalism" as climate change, and it's more moderate image and argument, has dominated the environmental debate.
9.13.2009 10:15pm
tickknob (mail):

I've never really thought of Kaczynski as an "environmentalist" as his main issue seemed to be the social structures of civilization rather than simply the environmental impact of (post industrial revolution) civilization.

He strung wires in the woods hoping to decapitate people riding something, snowmobiles or trail bikes or something, that he didn't approve of on environmental grounds.
9.13.2009 10:43pm
John Moore (www):
Kaczynski was a highly psychotic schizophrenic. Anything else is irrelevant.


It does seem that anti-abortion activists embrace a logic that seems to justify violent extremism (abortion is murder, murder should be punished with death), which makes actual acts of violence against doctors particularly fear inducing on the part of other doctors.

Anti-abortion activists are pro-life. That means, except fot the few deranged you find in any movement, they understand that murder for the cause of life is wrong and absurd.

Also, Christianity has that "render unto Caesar" thing - i.e leave law enforcement to the government (while using suasion to get laws passed that are consistent with Christian morality). That includes dealing with unjustified homicide, into which category most abortion falls.
9.14.2009 12:30am
John Moore (www):

Environmentalists might actually be a close second, as (at least some) mainstream activists seem to embrace some extreme rhetoric, although I think there's probably been a decline in that type of radical "deep environmentalism" as climate change, and it's more moderate image and argument, has dominated the environmental debate.

I don't think that radical deep environmentalism has waned - it's just being a bit more quiet (except for the loons who keep burning things down and one of these days are going to kill someone that way). Being "green" has become the latest fad, so with the torrent of environmental messages flying about, it's not surprising that the extreme ones are a lower percentage.
9.14.2009 12:31am
ChrisatOffice (mail):
Leo Marvin:

Jim David Adkisson; Holy moses.
9.14.2009 3:42pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Leo:

By the way, our son used to call his concoctions 'potions' and ask us everybody to take a sip!
9.14.2009 7:33pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
... and if you really loved him, you'd have done it. :)
9.14.2009 11:29pm

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