Because they usually lack the organization, training, funding, numbers and suicidal ideology of international terrorists, it can at times be difficult to distinguish domestic terrorists from ordinary psychopaths. But domestic terrorism has been a sporadic presence in the United States since at least radical Kansas abolitionist John Brown in the 1850s, running through the likes of Leon Czolgosz, Sacco and Vanzetti, the Black Panthers, Tim McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, and more recenly Bruce Ivins and John Allen Muhammad. The causes they have killed for have ranged from the noble (Brown) to the nefarious to the outright deranged (Kaczynski), and their inspiration has ranged from the purely domestic to imitations of foreign movements like anarcho-syndicalism or Islamism. This being America, domestic terrorists have almost always done more harm than good to their stated causes.
It appears that Scott Roeder, the man arrested for Sunday’s murder of notorious late-term abortionist George Tiller, would qualify for membership in this group, given press reports that Roeder has a long record of extremism, possession of explosives and profession of belief in killing abortionists. Now, it’s hard to generate much sympathy for Dr. Tiller himself; whatever moral blinders it may be possible for a man to wear regarding early-term abortions, anyone who has seen a sonogram or felt a child kick against its mother’s womb can hardly imagine the cruelty required to repeatedly perform…”terminations”…of such helpless and innocent victims. But as long as we live in a nation of laws made by the people and as long as his conduct is permitted by law, the job of judging men like Dr. Tiller belongs to the Lord alone, and the job of stopping men like him remains with the democratic process and with peaceful protest and persuasion; the way of the domestic terrorist is the way of madness no matter the cause.
You and I know this already. The Left, however, is late to the party in having a problem with domestic terrorists and their pals.
Even before anything was known about Roeder, the left side of the blogosphere reacted to Dr. Tiller’s murder as if it was Christmas morning and they just got a pony; I was following the Twitter feed of Markos Moulitsas, the man best known for reacting to the murder of American contractors in Iraq by declaring “screw them,” and he and others were positively vibrating with giddiness about the possibility of using Dr. Tiller’s murder to discredit pro-lifers in general and critics of Dr. Tiller in particular.
Well, unlike the Left, some of us have been against associates of domestic terrorists all along. Most of us would, I think, agree that if Roeder somehow escaped prosecution, we would have serious reservations about supporting politicians who subsequently associated themselves with him in the process of cultivating favor with the Right. But that, of course, is exactly what Barack Obama did with Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. And anyone who supported Obama has zero credibility in criticizing anybody for associating with violent domestic extremists.
Ayers and Dohrn, you will recall, were participants in the Weather Underground, one of the few domestic terrorist groups that was genuinely organized and operated over a period of years, engaging in bombings (including bombing the Pentagon), riots and vandalism; when a splinter group led by a friend of Ayers and Dohrn committed a sensational armed robbery and murdered a security guard and two cops, Ayers and Dohrn took in her son and raised him as their own. Dohrn ultimately landed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. To this day, they are wholly unrepentant. I discussed the cases at greater length here, here, here, and here. Obama not only appeared at Ayers’ home in one of the coming-out events that launched his political career (again: imagine a Republican doing this at Roeder’s home 20 years from now), he gave a glowing review to one of Ayers’ books, made joint public appearances with him, and most tellingly of all, Obama in the only executive role of any kind he held before the White House funnelled millions of dollars to educational projects under Ayers’ direction to help Ayers further a politicized educational agenda. Ayers was and is still dining out on the notoriety of his status as a domestic terrorist, and Obama abetted and financed Ayers in doing so. And the Left saw no problem with any of this.
Associating with known domestic terrorists is a very bad thing. I’m glad the Left has belatedly awoken to this fact. Now perhaps the people looking to make political hay over Roeder will extend some of their outrage to Bill Ayers’ benefactor in the White House.