Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Right Wing Extremist Groups and the Tiller Assassination-Homeland Security Tried to Warn Us.

How do you reason with a political party like the Republicans, god knows I’ve tried, when their two main character traits are denial and projection? For example, the article “The Tiller Assassination & The Much Maligned Government Report on Right Wing Extremists,” by Steven Waldman, editor in chief of Beliefnet.com and author of Founding Faith, show how the ideological right is unwilling allow itself a little self introspection. Waldman reminds us of their last bit of denial and phony outrage.

The murder of abortion provider George Tiller should force a re-assessment of the Department of Homeland Security's maligned report on "right wing extremism." I was thoroughly dumbfounded at the conservative reaction to that report in April. If you read the report, it was quite clearly aimed a serious, violent, insane extremists.

Yet mainstream conservatives took great offense, accusing the Obama administration of chillingly targeting the free-speech of conscientious anti-abortion citizens, veterans and conservatives writ large.. Conservatives should have said, "Here! Here! We applaud the efforts to clamp down on terrorism, crime and extremists." After all, most conservatives have nothing to do with, and deplore, violent extremists. Instead, by saying the report was an attack on conservatism in general, the conservatives -- not the government -- blurred the lines between the violent extremes and the conservative mainstream.

Now, it turns out that the man in custody on suspicion of assassinating Tiller, Scott Roeder, had been arrested back in 1996 on criminal use of explosives and had connections to an extremist anti-government militia group, the Freemen. On April 17, 1996, Associated Press reported:

"Roeder was stopped because his car didn't have a legitimate license plate. Instead, it had a tag indicating the driver was a "sovereign" citizen and immune from Kansas law. The same type of tag is sometimes used by Freemen, whose members in Montana are in the fourth week of a standoff with federal agents.

In other words, we'll have to wait on the details on both cases but at first glance Roeder seems exactly the sort of person that the DHS warned about. The report suggested that the bad economy and the election of a black president could stimulate more anger and activity from "violent anti-government groups."

As a liberal, I understand the need to hold the line on taxes and pressure lawmakers to limit the amount of government spending, but it’s not exactly a spring board to overthrow the country. But according to this Kansas City Star article, George Tiller’s killer followed that insane path:

"Roeder’s family life began unraveling more than a decade ago when he got involved with anti-government groups, and then became “very religious in an Old Testament, eye-for-an-eye way,” his former wife, Lindsey Roeder, told The Associated Press. “The anti-tax stuff came first, and then it grew and grew. He became very anti-abortion,” said Lindsey … who “strongly disagrees with his beliefs.”“That’s all he cared about is anti-abortion. The church is this. God is this.’ Yadda yadda.”

Lindsey .. said he moved out of their home after he became involved with the Freemen movement, an anti-government group that discouraged the paying of taxes. The Roeders have one son, now 22. “When he moved out in 1994, I thought he was over the edge with that stuff,” his ex-wife said. “He started falling apart. I had to protect myself and my son.”

It started with the “anti-tax stuff…and then it grew and grew.” The danger comes from right wing absolutists in denial, and those who are willing to project their own crazy notions onto others. And right now, they’re all part of a new militia group called Republican Party.

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