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Monday, August 6, 2012

Army vet, white supremacist, domestic terrorist

The gunman who opened fire in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and killed six people has been identified as Army veteran Wade Michael Page.

Page, 40, opened fire outside the temple before entering around 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning and killed six people. He served in the Army from April 1992 through October 1998.

Page was shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire with a police officer who sustained "eight or nine" gunshot wounds, authorities confirmed. Officials are treating it as a case of domestic terrorism.

Though police have not given any details on the motive of the shooter, but Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms Special Agent Thomas Ahern said Page had tattoos that suggested he had ties to white supremacists.

We've been warned about this. First, by the Southern Poverty Law Center, in fact more than once. Second, even by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Instead of listening, we buried our heads in the sand, or even worse, raised our voices and claimed these careful reports are biased or politically motivated. I recall folks like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck alleging that now that Obama is President, he was using the US government to target his opponents by calling them terrorists. Seriously.

But the facts are these: Angry people, oftentimes with military training and extensive firearms experience, are committing acts of violence motivated by political ends against innocent people in the United States. These people are thus rightly being called "domestic terrorists."

One then wonders why all those efforts were directed at "left-wing" peace groups during the run-up to the war in Iraq? You know, those people baking cookies and making posters to protest the war?

What about the "right-wing" anti-government folks that have guns and are filled with hate?

At least the media are calling it what it is. These people are terrorists.

And judging by at least this last shooter, they are not very smart. One assumes because this man saw people in his neighborhood wearing turbans, that he believed them to be Muslims, and thus, in his little imaginary world, they had to be a threat. In fact, they were Sikhs, who not only have no link to terrorism but also are a peace-loving people who believe strongly in equality.

Yet, Wade Michael Page killed them anyway. And so, just weeks after the massacre at a movie theater in Colorado, the news is all over this story, too.

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