Painful as it is, I have to admit that Scott Roeder, who is charged with murdering Tiller, is a creature of the right. He is a nut, but a right-wing nut. And for that reason, anti-abortion activists must shun all like-believers who espouse or condone violence.
And by the way, the April Department of Homeland Security report to which Pinkerton referred, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," served no law enforcement value because it failed to name any dangerous groups, but instead targeted suspect political thought -- such as "groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as abortion or immigration." If the memo had named "Dangerous Activists" or outlined criminal behavior which law enforcement could prosecute -- as an earlier memo on left-wing animal-rights and environmental extremists did -- then the memo could have been useful, not heavy-handed and sophomoric.
But I reject the idea that James W. von Brunn, the alleged Holocaust museum gunman and known white supremacist and anti-Semite, is right wing -- as well as the implication that racism and conservatism somehow are connected. The KKK is not welcome at any conservative event I've ever attended.
Heidi Beirich, director of research for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told me she understands my frustration in seeing von Brunn's bigotry pegged as right-thinking. "Being a racist is not part of mainstream politics," she acknowledged. And: "I wouldn't call it conservative. I call it right-wing extremism." The anti-Semitism von Brunn espoused was championed by conservatives before World War II, she explained, and men like von Brunn "self-identify as conservatives."
Von Brunn probably thinks he is a patriot, too -- but that doesn't mean anyone should call him a patriotic extremist. If anything, von Brunn seems to have arrived at the very fringe where far left and far right unite. According to Politico's Ben Smith, von Brunn believed George W. Bush may have been in on the Sept. 11 attacks and the FBI found the address of the neoconservative Weekly Standard on a piece of paper associated with him. The FBI also found a note in his car that said, "Obama was created by Jews."
On the left last week, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright told columnist David Squires of the Daily Press in Virginia that "the Jewish vote, the A-I-P-A-C vote"" is "controlling" President Obama. And: "Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me." Flabby minds think alike.
There is such a thing as being so far to the right or to the left that the only destination you can attain with any certainty is the bottom.