Friday, April 15, 2005

Terrorism: Is it Really US vs. Them?

There will be no Guantanemo Bay for Eric Rudolf. No label affixed to him as an “enemy combatant,” or “jihadist” and ironically, no death penalty for a man who smugly admits to killing a woman at Olympic Park with a bomb in Atlanta in 1996, killing a police officer in a separate bomb at a women’s clinic in Birmingham and maiming and wounding hundreds of others during his 1990’s reign of terror.
Ironic because the country’s current President is the former Governor of Texas who oversaw more deaths on his State’s death row than any other sitting Governor in recent history. Ironic because just a few short years ago, this President’s pick for Attorney General, John Ashcroft, insisted that federal prosecutors seek the death penalty whenever possible.
Where is the radical right protestors who believes in the death penalty for any and all killers?
As a matter of fact, although he killed and maimed more people than did Scott Peterson, Rudolf has received far less press and the public seems to care far less as well.
Is it because Rudolf is a self-proclaimed “Army of God” member, a segment of the far right Christian movement in this country that believes it is perfectly acceptable to use violence to get across their message that abortion and homosexuality is morally unacceptable to them?
First, let’s take a look at Rudolf’s innocent victims.
· In July 1996, Rudolf set off a bomb at Atlanta’s Olympic Park, killing Alice Hawthorne, a 44-year-old mother. In the attack, 100 others were wounded.
· In 1997, he set off a bomb at a women’s clinic and a lesbian nightclub in Atlanta.
· In his deadliest attack, he set off two bombs an hour apart at a women’s clinic in Birmingham. The blast killed Robert Sanderson, an off duty police officer guarding the clinic. Emily Lyons, a nurse at the clinic, lost an eye in the blast.
Rudolf was a member of the shadowy extremist group “Army of God” and he told the judge during his plea agreement this week that he set off the Olympic Park bomb to embarrass a government in a country that allows abortion on demand. His smug demeanor told the public he gave no thought to the excruciating grief and pain he inflicted on his victims.
Kent Alexander, the U.S. attorney in Atlanta at the time of the bombings was quoted by CNN as saying he was surprised by the plea agreement, which will send Rudolf to prison for the rest of his life. He said although he was sure the Bush administration wanted a death sentence in a domestic terrorism case, he said that he didn’t think the administration “necessarily wanted to make a martyr out of Eric Rudolf.” Why? Because he claims to be a Christian instead of claiming to be a Muslim?
Alexander cited “cultural factors” such as opposition to abortion that could have made a death sentence difficult to obtain.
Over the past 3 ½ years, since the terrorist attacks of 9-11, the American people,
have accepted that there is an extremist block of people claiming the Muslim faith who are engaging in a self-proclaimed jihad against the West. We look at the 9-11 terrorist attacks and the Madrid bombing and shake our heads and say “How terrible. How could anyone kill in the name of their God?” We look at people of darker skin with suspicion and we wonder just how many of “them” there are.
We conveniently forget that prior to 9-11, the worst act of domestic terrorism until that time was perpetrated by a single white male, a member of the radical far right militia movement. And we ignore Eric Rudolf.
Is it because we, as Americans, the majority of whom have been raised as Christians know that these people are anomalies to our faith? Or is it because they look like the majority of the rest of us?
Recent events in the U.S., including the gay marriage ban movement, which has now passed in 39 states and the disturbing indifference to Rudolf and his crimes should have us fearing how many of “us” are out there.
Truth be known, “we” pose a more serious threat than “them.”


Blogger Janet said...

There are several statements that truly set this article apart. The one that caught my eye the most is this one: TRUTH BE KNOWN,"WE" POSE A MORE SERIOUS THREAT THAN "THEM". In a land of what we call "religious freedom" I am finding that "freedom" is relevant to believing the Christian way. There is no other freedom accepted. It is ok to kill for our God..It is harder to receive the death penalty if you are anti-abortion. People should be very frightened of the radical extremists in all religions. Some of those extremist thoughts are thus: Put down others (so you feel superior) Accept your God as the ONLY GOD (so you feel superior) Kill in the name of your God (so you can prove you are superior) From what I have witnessed in 57 years extremist christians are just as guilty of this as any other religion. The reason "WE" POSE A MORE SERIOUS THREAT THAN "THEM" is because in this country the majority of our base is christian and it will be easier to lead those to extremist christian views than it would be to lead those same people to extremist muslim views.

4:05 PM CDT  

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