Yesterday 28-year-old Floyd Lee Corkins II, the man who attempted to kill members of the conservative Family Research Council in Washington D.C. in August 2012, plead guilty to three charges including committing an act of terrorism.
The question since August has been: Why did Corkins choose FRC as his target? After all, he was a gay activist who bizarrely walked into the FRC offices with a Chik-fil-A bag in one hand and a gun in the other before he opened fire, shooting a security guard who luckily survived his injuries.
According to an interview with the FBI immediately after the shooting in August, which was released during the court hearing yesterday, Corkins wanted to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in victims' faces, and kill the guard."
Corkins acknowledged as part of his plea agreement that he had taken a number of steps to plan the shooting. He bought the pistol the week before and practiced firing it. He also visited the headquarters of the Family Research Council, and he purchased the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches the day before the shooting. The plea agreement said Corkins was filmed picking out the gun by a French television crew doing a piece on the ease with which firearms can be purchased in the United States.
Corkins also acknowledged that he considered making a bomb but didn't have the patience to do it. In his pants pocket, police found a handwritten list of groups that also oppose gay marriage. Lawyers did not include the list of organizations in the plea agreement.
Corkins pleaded guilty to three charges: interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition, assault with intent to kill while armed and act of terrorism while armed, a charge based on the shooting being intended to intimidate anyone who is associated with or supports the Family Research Council and other organizations that oppose gay marriage.
In terms of how he found the “hate group” FRC, a prosecutor for the case said the family computer was searched and showed Corkins selected his targets from the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center’s [SPLC] web site which features a “hate map.”
"The day after Floyd Corkins came into the FRC headquarter and opened fire wounding one of our team members, I stated that while Corkins was responsible for the shooting, he had been given a license to perpetrate this act of violence by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center which has systematically and recklessly labeled every organization with which they disagree as a 'hate group. Today both assertions were validated in court as Corkins plead guilty to multiple criminal charges, including terrorism,” FRC President Tony Perkins said in reaction to this revelation. "The Southern Poverty Law Center can no longer say that it is not a source for those bent on committing acts of violence. Only by ending its hate labeling practices will the SPLC send a message that it no longer wishes to be a source for those who would commit acts of violence that are only designed to intimidate and silence Christians and others who support natural marriage and traditional morality. Once again, I call on the SPLC to put an immediate stop to its practice of labeling organizations that oppose their promotion of homosexuality.”
The SPLC has close ties to the Occupy Wall Street movement and often turns a blind eye to violence committed by leftist organizations after setting groups up with tools they need to target groups they disagree with politically. A representative from SPLC told National Review last May when occupiers attempted to blow up a bridge in Ohio, “We’re really not set up to cover the extreme Left.”
The Human Rights Campaign, a far left group similar to the SLPC, also listed FRC as a hate group on their site and cited SLPC as the source.
The FRC has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s a group that has advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality, called for LGBT people to be exported from the U.S., and has pushed dangerous lies trying to link being gay to pedophilia.
And yet – despite this – the Values Voter Summit is a draw for conservatives, and it’s where the GOP’s Vice Presidential candidate will be speaking next month. No word yet on whether Mitt Romney – who spoke at the event last year – will return to speak again.
Shortly after the FRC shooting, SPLC called claims FRC was set up by the organziation with a license to kill “outrageous.”
Yesterday’s attack on the Family Research Council and the shooting of a security guard there was a tragedy. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) deplores all violence, and our thoughts are with the wounded victim, Leo Johnson, his family and others who lived through the attack.
For more than 40 years, the SPLC has battled against political extremism and political violence. We have argued consistently that violence is no answer to problems in a democratic society, and we have strongly criticized all those who endorse such violence, whether on the political left or the political right.
But this afternoon, FRC President Tony Perkins attacked the SPLC, saying it had encouraged and enabled the attack by labeling the FRC a “hate group.” The attacker, Floyd Corkins, “was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Perkins said. “I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology.”
Perkins’ accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.
SPLC has failed to comment on Corkins' guilty plea, still hasn’t taken down the hate map on their website and still has the FRC prominently featured in their hate Intelligence Files.
The Intelligence Files database contains profiles of various prominent extremists and extremist organizations. It also examines the histories and core beliefs – or ideologies – of the most common types of extremist movements. In addition, it illustrates connections between individuals, groups and extremist ideologies.