ALL-TOO-COMMON VIOLENCE…. It’s genuinely tragic that the concerns raised by the Department of Homeland Security last year, about potentially violent anti-government extremists, look increasingly prescient.
An antigovernment Ohio man who had had several run-ins with the police around the country was identified Friday as one of two people suspected of gunning down two officers during a traffic stop in Arkansas.
The Arkansas State Police on Friday identified the pair — killed Thursday during an exchange of gunfire with the police — as Jerry R. Kane Jr., 45, of Forest, Ohio, and his son Joseph T. Kane, believed to be 16.
About 90 minutes before the shootout with the police, Sgt. Brandon Paudert, 39, and Officer Bill Evans, 38, were killed with AK-47 assault rifles after stopping a minivan on Interstate 40 in West Memphis, Ark., the authorities said.
Jerry Kane is obviously an anti-government extremist who, just last week, was shown in a YouTube video saying, “You have to kill them all. So what we’re after here is not fighting, it’s conquering. I don’t want to have to kill anybody, but if they keep messing with me, that’s what it’s going to have to come out. That’s what it’s going to come down to, is I’m going to have to kill. And if I have to kill one, then I’m not going to be able to stop, I just know it.”
Examples of these politically-motivated attacks from extremists seem to be increasingly common. Just this year, John Patrick Bedell opened fire at the Pentagon; Joe Stack flew an airplane into a building; and the Hutaree Militia terrorist plot was uncovered. Last year, James von Brunn opened fire at the Holocaust memorial museum; Richard Poplawski gunned down three police officers in Pittsburgh, in part because he feared the non-existent “Obama gun ban”; and Dr. George Tiller was assassinated. In 2008, Jim David Adkisson opened fire in a Unitarian church in Tennessee, in part because of his “hatred of the liberal movement.”
Obviously, deranged madmen are responsible for their own violent actions. It’s not unreasonable, though, to wish that some of the leading far-right voices would lower the rhetorical temperature a bit, helping to cool the tempers of those who might be inclined to hurt others.