Thursday, May 17, 2007

What still hasn't been reported about the bomber

The would-be family planning clinic bomber Paul Ross Evans was indicted today on a number of charges, including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He got most of the materials for his bomb at a local Wal-Mart and used his credit card for the purchase. It didn't take too much effort to solve the crime. He faces a potential sentence of life in prison. Apparently, he realized the seriousness of his little stunt while awaiting trial and he made a suicide attempt.

It might be interesting to readers to know that this event occurred in Austin Texas, the home town of the Atheist Experience. While Austin is a great place to live, we have our nuts, too.

The press has been eerily silent about the motivations of this guy. Anybody who pays the slightest bit of attention to the culture war knows that the only people who care about making trouble for family planning clinics are the hard-core Christian conservatives. I'll bet anyone that this guy had some religious indoctrination along the way. I wonder if he didn't get some of that faith-based programming while he was in prison earlier. I seriously doubt the mainstream media will look into the question, given their pro-religion bias. Believers certainly don't like to be confronted with the reality that belief (denying reality) has bad consequences. It's bad for newspaper sales.

The press has reported that the guy has no known affiliations to terrorist groups, but I think perhaps it's time we broaden the definition of terrorist groups to include some more of these religious extremists. It seems that there is some confusion about what kind of crime the Department of Homeland Security is supposed to go after. If this sort of bombing isn't an example of domestic terrorism, I don't know what is. Meanwhile, DHS is apparently charged with going after child predators, yet the leaders of the largest pedophile organization in modern history still flaunt the law, impede investigations, and roam free. Can anybody guess who they are? Perhaps it's time we stop giving religious believers a free ride in the morality department. After all, aren't they supposed to adhere to a higher standard?

Back to the Paul Ross Evans story, I can't help but point out the irony of "pro life" people trying to plot murders. "Pro life" seems to be little more than a marketing device. If you believe that human bodies are just soul traps, that souls are the essence of a person, and that it's the ultimate destiny of the soul to escape the trap, you're naturally going to de-value human life. Not surprisingly, countries with more believers also have more suicides and murders. ...Oh, and higher abortion rates, too. (Too many ironies for one paragraph. That last point really calls for a separate post.) You can bet that Paul Ross Evans believes that humans have souls. He might even believe that he'll have a special place in Heaven because of his actions.

I have yet to get a definite theological answer on what becomes of the alleged souls of aborted embryos, since Christians seem to think they have them. This question is especially important now that the Vatican has backpedaled on their invention of limbo. If those little buggers go automatically to heaven, then maybe killing them isn't so bad, as Andrea Yates correctly concluded. If they go to hell, as original sin would indicate, then we have to wonder how Christians live with the fact that their "gift" of free will from a benevolent God is the cause of the infinite torture of innocent little babies.


  1. Silly rabbit... the petri dish is limbo! As long as those embryos exist in limbo in the petri dish, they won't go to hell! Q.E.D.!

    (...or at least it makes as much sense as anything else in the forced-pregnancy belief system does....)

  2. The media also has a problem using the word "Muslim" when reporting on most domestic terror news.

  3. You’re definitely asking the right questions. I recall when that young woman (US soldier) was brought home from Iraq after being “rescued” from the hospital there (after being captured by terrorists along with some others of her unit). I studied Journalism very seriously in college prior to switching majors, and “what’s NOT in the news” is as big a concern as what IS in the news. The thing that struck me as extremely odd was her lack of coverage by the media. The military literally whisked her away into a black hole. She was strangely absent from view for a “hero.” You heard a lot of talk about her heroism—but never saw her in front of a camera for more than half a second.

    If anyone recalls the news story that was only a few years back about a pilot that went down behind enemy lines, and managed to find his way back to friendly territory—the military and the media couldn’t WAIT to get that guy on TV. He was a wreck—crying and breaking down. He could hardly compose himself—but still they presented him as an inspiration (don’t get me wrong, the guy had guts—and that was some ‘keep your head about you’ thinking he must have done), and seemed to have no concern about whether or not he was “OK” to be coping with the press before they set him up there as an icon of US ingenuity and will.

    I’m not saying whether it’s best to pop someone like that right up for public review as soon as they return from a major trauma or not; but I couldn’t help—as I hope others did as well—but see the huge difference in treatment between these “heroes”—one hidden away, one all over the news.

    My skeptical side thought there was something very less-than-up-front about the way the young girl was pulled out of view. I questioned the information I was getting in the press. The only other explanation I could think of was that perhaps the girl had been raped, and was just incapable of talking about the events; but as more information came out—she was fine, except for a broken leg(?)—no evidence of rape or torture by her captors. After learning this, her absence in the media then was left to only dubious motives. When she finally did speak publicly—months after the events—her statement was obviously contrived—and she seemed extremely reserved. And now, long after, she’s come forward to say what any observant person should have known already: She was used and made to fudge the story in order to pump up the event into a publicity stunt for the US public—making far more out of it than was apparently actually there.

    When “motive” is missing in a crime news report, that’s not normal. When a war hero is swept out of view and hidden away for several months before he/she is allowed to speak publicly, that’s not normal. There are only two possibilities when you see smoke: (1) there is fire, or (2) there are mirrors. And if you can’t find anyone verifying any fire…?

    I agree that the press owes us a motive on this.

    And if trying to blow up a building doesn't qualify as terrorism--then what exactly was 9-11?

  4. Hey, now. There are nuts in any group. I seem to remember reading about America being victimized by a string of atheist anarchist bombers in the 1920's who killed a fair amount of people - does that mean atheists are terrorists? Or anarchists? or that any group has fruitcakes?

  5. Aquinas:

    I think you're missing the point. Nobody is saying all Christians are nuts or terrorists. The question is about why our media is hesitant to connect Christianity with a terroist act--even if the Christian religious beliefs of the person are the direct cause of the criminal action. We don't hesitate to say "Muslim extremists"--so why can't we call this man a Christian extremist? How is he different than they are?

  6. Ummm ... Eric Rudolph, the guy who bombed several abortion clinics and gay nightclubs and the 1996 Olympics, isn't a Christian. As a matter of fact, he says that he prefers Nietchze (sp) to the Bible, and demanded that Christians stop sending him Bibles and evangelization materials. Incidentally, Timothy McVeigh and his cohorts wasn't Christian either. He was raised Christian, but renounced it. By the way, when was the last actual act of violence against an abortion clinic? It had to have been over ten years ago. If religious zealots were such a threat, abortion clinics and gay nightclubs ought to be warzones, right? I remember when leftists claimed that if John Ashcroft were confirmed as attorney general, Christians would take that as a green light to start targeting abortion clinics and committing other hate crimes, and that Ashcroft would not prosecute them. Yet another example of the truth not exactly lining up with what you would like to believe. The truth is that crimes motivated by religion are exceptionally rare in this country, and always have been, and this great fearmongering that certain people are engaging in against the religously devout is 100% unjustified. It is racist, too, because religious fundamentalists are always portrayed as white people when in fact a huge percentage of them are black and Hispanic, and the number of Asian Christians are growing. But the media never deals with them because the image of fundamentalist Christian as domestic terrorist doesn't work when the picture that goes along with it are 85 year old black women that have been attending the same Southern Baptist church three times a week for 70 years. THAT is something that you are never going to find newspapers reporting.

  7. healtheland:

    Nobody has said the man who commited this act is a Christian or was motivated by Christianity. Martin has been clear that he is speculating based on a media blackout about the man's motives. And my comment simply considers the idea, as well, that if this man is a Christian, it would explain the blackout. That doesn't mean I or Martin are claiming the man is a Christian. And if this man who did the bombing isn't a Christian--that's fair to say he had other motivations. What are they in that case? What is the media's motivation for not presenting his motivation? Thoughts are welcome...?

    Martin has pointed out that the most outspoken critics of family planning clinics are conservative Christians. This is an observable reality. Anyone who lives in the U.S. has seen the dialogues between famous religious leaders (one posted at this very blog) showing their open hatred and condemnation of these clinics--and calls to their legions to use their collective power to halt these services for women. These types of Christians are responsible for creating an extreme dialogue by labeling abortion as "baby killing" and "child murder." Is it any wonder when someone in their congregation takes their call to a logical conclusion? Saving "children" by stopping these clinics in any way necessary? I recall a sensational Web site that made the news not long ago that listed personal info for abortion doctors and all but called for their assassinations:

    I support freedom of speech--but that doesn't mean I'm blind to people (in this case a faction of Christians) clearly attempting to suggest that certain people should be targets; it begs the question: targets for what exactly? It's clear that there is a terrorist mentality operating behind religious views regarding abortion. Nobody is saying it's a majority view. But it is very much a Christian-motivated and propagated view.

    Why aren't the creators of this site labeled as Christian extremists?

    Drs. Gunn and Patterson were two abortion doctors who were murdered. Gunn was murdered in 1993 by Michael Griffin--who held a related prayer service just days before. The media placed the blame on "the fringe element that is playing God," not on extremist Christians.

    Why isn't Michael Griffin a Christian extremist?

    Martin further seems willing to wager a guess that the would-be bomber might have a history of religious indoctrination. In the U.S., that's probably a good guess, as something like 80 percent of the population claims to believe in some form of religion--normally Christianity.

    In my own comment post, I pointed out that there is some reason to assume the media is not hot to give out information about this person--since they're usually all over themselves--trying to be the first to pump out info on anything they can possibly sensationalize. I would think an attempted bombing would qualify as sensational in these days after 9-11?

    Nobody knows if this suspect has had any religious indoctrination or not, or whether that has influenced him to do this or not; but it does seem fishy that that information is not being, for whatever reason, reported.

    This statement

    "The truth is that crimes motivated by religion are exceptionally rare in this country, and always have been..."

    is something I disagree with. Andrea Yates and Arthur Shelton come to mind immediately as two of the more recent and public examples--but they're by no means the only examples. Perhaps "rare" in relation to "all crimes commited per capita." But not rare in the sense that we seldom see such crimes. I see religiously motviated, specifically Christian-motivated crimes in the paper nearly weekly (sometimes multiple times per week).

    I do observe, however, that when crimes are motivated by Christianity, we just call the person a "wacko," a "fringe element," or "insane," and divorce it from the religion as much as possible; unless it's not a Christian. If it's a Muslim, we can call them a Muslim extremist and blame their religion for the crime.

    But if Christian Andrea Yates drowns her children, motivated by the very rational Christian logic that they get a free pass to Heaven--her motive was "nuts," not "religion"--according to society. Same with Shelton; the guy was just a "wack-job"--his Christianity didn't matter at all when he killed a man for "not believing in god."

    Christian-motivated crimes are "rare"--not because we rarely see them, but because we don't identify such crimes as Christian-motivated--even if they actually are. We just call the people "nuts." In the U.S., Christians don't kill people; nuts kill people. But Muslims in the U.S.? Now, THEY kill people. That's how it looks to me, anyway, when I read my local newspaper.

  8. The truth is that crimes motivated by religion are exceptionally rare in this country...

    Well, whether motivated by religion or simply ones in which religion plays a role, they happen.

    As for the rest, Tracie nailed what I was getting at.


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