When Brian Kilmeade of Fox News declared Friday that "not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims," he revealed he knows little about terrorism and even less about recent American history. If, as Adam Serwer defines it, "Terrorism is the deliberate murder of civilians or destruction of property in order to achieve a political objective," then the United States has experienced a large and growing body count at the hands of non-Muslim terrorists. And as it turns out, many of them are devoted fans of Kilmeade's network.
So, Brian Kilmeade, meet the non-Muslim terrorists.
Meet Byron Williams. In July, Williams planned an attack on the offices of the Tides Foundation, a group which Glenn Beck described as "bullies" and "thugs." Williams' hoped-for bloodbath was averted only by a shoot-out with police in which two officers were wounded. Williams claimed he wanted to "start a revolution" and explained, "I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind."
Meet Richard Adkisson. Adkisson, too, was no follower of Muhammad, but instead the prophets (or more aptly, profits) of Fox News. He cited not the Koran but the writings of Fox News regular Bernard Goldberg as the inspiration for the July 2008 shootings which killed two at a Tennessee Unitarian church:
"This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book. I'd like to kill everyone in the mainstream media. But I know those people were inaccessible to me. I couldn't get to the generals & high ranking officers of the Marxist movement so I went after the foot soldiers, the chickenshit liberals that vote in these traitorous people. Someone had to get the ball rolling. I volunteered. I hope others do the same. It's the only way we can rid America of this cancerous pestilence."
Of course, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh needs no introduction. The killer of 168 Americans in the worst act of domestic terrorism prior to 9/11 was no jihadist, but an anti-government extremist and militia member.
Say hello to Scott Roeder. The assassin of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller made no secret of his political aims, which did not include the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate. Roeder was inspired by Shelley Shannon, who in the 1990's torched abortion clinics across Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and California. (In 1993, she shot Dr. George Tiller in both arms in a failed assassination attempt.) And as the New York Times recounted in 1995, Shannon was quite clear as to whether she considered her crimes terrorism:
Handcuffed and nondescript in jailhouse blues, Shelley Shannon, a housewife from rural Oregon, stood before a Federal judge here on June 7 and admitted waging a terrorism campaign against abortion clinics and doctors.
Please allow me to introduce you to Eric Rudolph. Like Shannon, Roeder, James Kopp (who murdered Dr. Bernard Slepien), Paul Ross Evans (the would-be family planning bomber in Texas), Atlanta Olympic Park bomber Rudolph is a proud anti-abortion terrorist. (His bomb blast at an Alabama clinic killed a security guard and severely wounded a nurse.) Then Attorney General John Ashcroft was quite clear in using the "T-word" when Rudolph was finally captured in May 2003:
"Today, Eric Robert Rudolph, the most notorious American fugitive on the FBI's 'Most Wanted' list has been captured and will face American justice. American law enforcement's unyielding efforts to capture Eric Robert Rudolph have been rewarded. Working with law enforcement nationwide, the FBI always gets their man. This sends a clear message that we will never cease in our efforts to hunt down all terrorists, foreign or domestic, and stop them from harming the innocent...
The American people, most importantly the victims of these terrorist attacks, can rest easier knowing that another alleged killer is no longer a threat."
(Five years later, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin refused to label cold-blooded killers like Rudolph a "domestic terrorist." When Brian Williams of NBC News asked Palin "Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist," the future half-term governor replied, "I don't know if you're going to use the word terrorist there.")
Meanwhile, get acquainted with Shelley Shannon's fellow Oregonians, Bruce and Joshua Turnidge. The father and son team of right-wing terrorists killed two policemen and wounded two others in their botched December 2008 bombing of a Woodburn, Oregon bank. But as their trial now underway revealed, that Wells Fargo explosion in the days just after the election of Barack Obama allegedly had a much more sinister motivation than mere cash:
Bruce and Joshua Turnidge had long harbored anti-government feelings, but the November 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama served as a "catalyst" for the father and son to plant a bomb at the West Coast Bank and plan a bank robbery, prosecutors said today.
The two men feared that the Obama administration would impose a slate of new restrictions on gun ownership, Marion County deputy district attorney Katie Suver said in opening statements in the aggravated murder trials for the two men. Bruce Turnidge, years ago during the Clinton administration, had similarly anticipated a crackdown on Second Amendment rights and sought funding to start his own militia, she said.
In the months since Barack Obama's inauguration, the Turnidges have been accompanied by fellow travelers, though not while making the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Another father and son act, Jerry and Joe Kane, featured supposed soverign citizens who killed two cops in West Memphis in May. Holocaust Museum killer James Von Bruun declared, "Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do." Richard Poplawski, who murdered three Pittsburgh policemen in April 2009 was said to have feared "the Obama gun ban that's on the way" and "didn't like our rights being infringed upon." And aspiring Maine dirty bomber James Trafton "had filled out an application to join the National Socialist Movement and declared an ambition to kill the President-elect."
And these decidedly non-Muslim terrorists fly planes into buildings, too. Take the case of Joseph Stack, who piloted his small craft into an Austin IRS office, killing himself and an agency employee. Stack's radical anti-tax rhetoric may have been shocking ("Well Mr. Big Brother IRS Man, let's try something different, take my pound of flesh and sleep well"), but little different from Republican leaders in the 1990's who charged "The IRS is out of control!" and decried its " Gestapo-like tactics."
Of course, not all recent domestic terrorists in America reside at the far right of the political spectrum. But the likes of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, E.L.F. bombers and Discovery Channel gunman James Lee are the exceptions that prove the rule of growing right-wing terrorism in the United States.
UPDATE: Hat tip to drsarazawa, who noted in the comments that the father and son sovereign citizens Jerry and Joseph Kane needed to be added to the list of decidedly non-Muslim domestic terrorists.