You bet it was political. Moments after it happened, we were all certain.
That was in 1995 when Timothy McVeigh’s fertilizer bomb made rubble of the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168.
You bet it was political as well last week when a wide-eyed, white-bearded Obama-hater was charged with the deaths of three and the wounding of many, outside a Planned Parenthood clinic lin Colorado Springs.
You bet. And without question you can credit political discourse that has run so far off course as to be in the craggy ruts and roots where killers like McVeigh and Eric Rudolph would hide.
You may remember Rudolph, the “pro-life” terrorist who set off bombs at Atlanta’s Olympic Park and at a women’s clinic in Alabama. He is among a growing list of players in a home-grown holy war – physicians slain, clinics firebombed and vandalized.
And who’s to blame? Let’s see. For one, blame the con artists at the fraudulently named Center for Medical Progress. They constructed a lie via doctored video to convict Planned Parenthood of a crime that it didn’t commit.
Accused Colorado Springs killer Robert Dear, who uttered, “No more baby parts,” was regurgitating a line that has come from, among others, presidential candidate Carly Fiorina with claims about the aforementioned video that independent observers like Politifact labeled inflated and false.
Or maybe Robert Dear was stirred to act by the tea party Republican who represents Colorado Springs in Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn. He’s of those trying to get the most political mileage of fallacious claims of “trafficking body parts.”
Last week’s incident, therefore, was a confluence of pathologies all tucked into the mind of the American political right. You had a man heavily armed and isolated. Neighbors knew him for unsolicited rants against President Obama, a president so heinous as to have won a Nobel Peace Prize and to be pronounced again quite recently as the most popular world leader.
We haven’t heard about Robert Dear’s religious proclivities. Undoubtedly, however, like Eric Rudolph and the murderers of a total of eight abortion providers since 1993 — and like ISIS and al-Qaida – Dear assumes God to be on his side.
You bet, this is domestic terrorism. Though we don’t know which walking ideological time bomb will explode next and take many others with him or her, we know pretty well what the likely targets will be.
One problem, of course, is that our means of sharing news and information has so dramatically changed (read “hype and propaganda”) that many variants of religiously righteous violence are being born.
Consider the Indiana man who, pleading guilty to setting fire to an Ohio mosque, told the judge he’d been “riled up” watching Fox News.
That’s the same highly informed state of mind that motivated someone to spread feces and shred the Quran on the floor of a mosque in Pflugerville, Texas.
A Planned Parenthood official was absolutely right in describing events in Colorado Springs as the result of a “poisoned environment.” The poison is a concoction of ignorance and politically motivated spin.
No spinning this: According to the National Abortion Federation, over that last 30 years over 200 incidents of bombing or arson have occurred at clinics like the one targeted in Colorado Springs. This despite what happens in the clinics in by and large is basic health care – checkups, contraception, even fertility counseling. And the people being served are poor women.
With these things in mind, Americans should be much more afraid of a certain strain of believer in their own midst than desperate Muslim refugees who simply seek peace for their families.
Dear Homeland Security: We know the “vulnerable targets” in our homeland. They are in place to serve the vulnerable.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.