This week saw two appalling hate crimes– the murder of Dr. George Tiller and the murder of Pvt. William A. Long in a shooting that also wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. Both crimes were cowardly sneak attacks.
Dr. Tiller, who had survived a previous shooting and often wore a bulletproof vest was ambushed as he left his church. Pvt’s Long and Ezeagwula were standing outside a recruiting station and were targeted because they were in the Army.
Dr. Tiller was a husband and father, William Long was only 23 years old. They leave family and friends who will live with this loss every day.
Tragedy strikes impersonally–a house fire, a natural disaster, an accident. Crime is deliberate, and these crimes were motivated by ideology that led to terrorism.
The murderer of William Long, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, was an American convert to Islam. At some point he adopted a violent extremism. He recently traveled in the Mideast and was detained in Yemen.
The episode in Yemen prompted a preliminary inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other American law enforcement agencies into whether the man, Muhammad, had ties to extremist groups, the officials said. But that investigation was inconclusive, they said, leaving the bureau with insufficient evidence to wiretap his phone or put him under surveillance.
It is not clear when Mr. Muhammad, an American convert to Islam who was traveling on a valid United States passport, was detained in Yemen or why he would have been carrying counterfeit documents. His detention in Yemen was first reported Tuesday by ABC News.
It may be that Muhammad was acting without confederates–
Muhammad, who was known previously as Carlos Bledsoe, acted alone and was not part of a larger plot, said Cassandra Davis, a spokeswoman for the Little Rock Police Department. She said Muhammad previously lived in Memphis, Tenn., and Nashville and had recently moved to Little Rock.
Iftikhar Pathan, the president of the Islamic Center of Little Rock, said Muhammad had never worshiped at the center’s mosque.
Muhammed probably made contact with extremist groups in Yemen, but his actions more resemble one of the awful random shootings we’ve seen than an organized terror plot. A crime like this creates outrage, not terror. Army recruiting stations will not shut down.
The murder of Dr.Tiller has closed down his clinic. Organizations such as Planned Parenthood are already under tight security because of years of harassment, vandalism, assaults and murders. Politicians make careers labeling abortion as murder, talk show hosts make ratings using language that is an incitement to violence. Calling a doctor who provides lawful care to women who have reasons for terminating a pregnancy a murderer is a constant verbal assault. From yesterday’s Providence Journal see this letter...
As for the killing of George Tiller, the noted abortion doctor in Kansas, I don’t know if the saying “One dies as he lives” would apply here. But I find it interesting that George Tiller, the nation’s most “prominent” baby killer and provider of late-term abortions, was shot and killed in the lobby of his Lutheran church while attending Sunday church services.
This week of grief supports the argument that ideas have consequences. Violent language leads to violent action. Both Scott Roeder and Muhammed were influenced by hate speech. Both had easy access to guns, which enabled them to kill from a distance.
Roeder connected with a homegrown extremism, Muhammed left the country seeking something he couldn’t find here. Time will tell whether he truly acted alone. Roeder is convinced of his innocence and is not sorry. By the logic of his beliefs he did nothing wrong.