| A scant time after George Tiller was gunned down by a violent Christian extremist, two soldiers were gunned down in a Little Rock, Arkansas, recruiting center by a man with political and religious motives:
The suspect, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, 24, had changed his name from Carlos Leon Bledsoe after converting to the Muslim faith....
It was not known what path Muhammad, a U.S. citizen who is a recent convert to Islam, had followed to radicalization.
My thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of the slain soldiers, William Long and Quinton Ezeagwula. Ezeagwula was 18.
Obviously, these killings were no less a terrorist act than the shooting of Tiller.
The lesson to take away here is that religious extremism is the problem, not any particular religion, whether it's Christianity or Islam. And just as commenters are quick to damn the mullahs that filled Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammed with the hatred that led him to take the lives of two men, so should we be decrying those that fuel the hatred and violence within the extremist wing of the anti-abortion movement.
Still, you read stuff like William Saletan's piece in Slate, "Is it wrong to murder an abortionist?" or Operation Rescue's Randall Terry's statement on Tiller's murder, and you realize just deeply embedded the double-standard on right-wing terror is for many conservatives. Can you imagine how a defense of Muhammad's murders would sound if written in the same logic? That the soldiers deserved to die because of..well...choose your rhetorical hyperbole. (For an antidote to the Saletan op-ed, check out Feministe's Jill reminding us that Tiller provided legal, legitimate health care, and the AmPro's Michelle Goldberg's piece on what late-term abortion is really like.)
This may be news for some, but we are a democratic society governed by law. Those that seek to dismantle our social structure and community standards with a gun deserve neither encouragement nor support. Period.