American Morning

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June 11th, 2009
10:19 AM ET

Commentary: "Lone wolf" most difficult threat to fight

Frances Townsend says the 'lone wolf' represents the most difficult problem for law enforcement.

Frances Townsend says the 'lone wolf' represents the most difficult problem for law enforcement.

An 88-year-old Maryland man with a long history of ties to white supremacist groups is the suspect in Wednesday's fatal shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, two law enforcement officials told CNN.

Experts say there are an estimated 926 hate groups operating in America right now. Back in May, the Department of Homeland Security reported that hate crimes were on the rise and that some of that was likely fueled by the election of a black president.

Now the question is being raised yet again – how serious is the threat of domestic terrorism here at home? Frances Townsend, former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday.

Kiran Chetry: This suspect is an 88-year-old man. He had been in prison for a prior armed kidnapping. He tried to kidnap some members of the Federal Reserve in 1981. But then he seemed to be off the radar for decades. How do you increase the odds of being able to flag whether someone is prone to violence again in the future?

Frances Townsend: The “lone wolf” represents the single-most difficult problem for law enforcement. Of course, the FBI has joint terrorism task forces across the country; over a hundred of them. Each of those has got a domestic terrorism component to it. They infiltrate these domestic terror groups. They talk to people. They surveil them. They watch the Web sites and the rhetoric. We did see an up-tick during the primaries before the actual general election. We were worried about the up-tick in violent rhetoric of these supremacist groups.

But it's very difficult, if somebody is not sort of affiliated with one of those groups or not really active in them, to track the “lone wolf.” As you say, Kiran, this guy doesn't fit what you would imagine the supremacist would look like or be like when he walks into the museum yesterday with a rifle at 88-years-old, a former veteran himself. It's very disturbing. That's why you really have to give the security guards credit. They reacted so quickly and saved the lives of many people inside visiting that museum, especially children.

Chetry: But unfortunately the security guard, Stephen Johns, did not make it and that's really the tragedy in the situation. In May, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was criticized for a report that raised concern about security risks from a group of returning veterans. You were in this office as well. How do you determine where you target your resources? And who eventually goes from just having some viewpoints that are extreme, which is allowed, to acting on them?

Townsend: Well, of course, the First Amendment of our Constitution allows people to say hateful things. And what you're looking for is the tipping point when they're actually going to take action against it. You're looking for things that might push them over the edge. Do they have weapons? Do they have access to weapons? Is there a plan? Are they talking about or trying to inspire others to actually act on their hateful thoughts.

But this is much more art than science, Kiran, so it's very, very difficult. That's why the FBI invests a good deal of resources in this. Again, when you're talking about limited resources, we have to remember foreign terrorists have killed thousands of Americans. These [domestic plots] tend to be isolated incidents with limited impact, although they do involve the loss of life. That said – the FBI spends resources on both. But of course you have to set priorities.

Chetry: Do you take issue with or do you agree with this estimation that there are nearly a thousand of these hate groups operating in the country right now?

Townsend: Not only do I think that's right, but I think what you'll find is with the use of the Internet these people can find like-minded people with like-minded hateful thoughts and it's sort of self-reinforcing of these sorts of awful things. And they can find people to share their ideas with and spread their ideas. So you know, in that way the Internet has actually aided these groups and led to a proliferation of them.

Chetry: It's also possibly helped with tracking, though, correct? Being able to track and keep track?

Townsend: That’s correct.


Filed under: Crime • Terrorism
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Ralph

    Marge what do you call the muslim that shot that young man at the recruiting office. Is he left wing or right wing? Or how about that person who killed the abortion doctor? Now how about the old man at the Holocaust Memorial? They are all domestic terrorists. I don't care which "side" they are on.
    Rob C where are you from? They do background where I am from. They didn't start doing mental health checks until after Virginia Tech. Idiot learn the facts before spewing stupidity.
    Bman lets see....I know a lot of Democrats that go to church. So are they terrorists too?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  2. Ray

    Bman has immediately tried to draw a line between this outrageous crime to ....republicans....to CHURCH? This is outrageous stereotyping!

    I have spent my life in and around churches and I have NEVER met a single person that would ever condone this behavior.. I am sooooo sick of hearing people ASSUME that everyone who goes to church is republican and in favor of violent, hateful acts! In fact, in my experience, churches are often split right down the center (demo./rep).

    This kind of stereotyping is what was happening (to muslims) directly after Sept. 11th. It is as outrageous today as it was then!

    June 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  3. Mark

    Hey Ian CNN did cover and Bill O apologized for getting it wrong. Now ask yourself why FOX didn't cover the survivors presser the other day.

    Regarding the issue at hand...

    This guy is far from being a “lone Wolf” Simply acting on his own, initiative does not make him a lone wolf. The Unabomber is a great example of a lone wolf. He lived in his own little world, while yesterday’s shooter was operating within the framework of a number of hate group sites. The fact that he planned this on his own (we are assuming that right now) did not make him invisible, he was there, the warning signs were there, but nothing can be done except observe him until he actually breaks the law, unfortunately he broke it in a huge way.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  4. Alan

    "The only casualty was an ARMED security guard. Clearly this proves that having a gun does not make you safe from armed criminals."

    And likewise this only proves that "armed" security and law enforcement have no more special place in society than your average citizen. They are not in a category above the average citizen, there is no more guarantee of their qualification over the average civilian to carry firearms, thus the average citizen has just as equal right to arm themselves and protect themselves. Thanks for giving us a clearer picture of why the 2nd Amendment should guarantee ALL our right to keep and bare arms.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  5. Bubba

    When he recovers a bit, maybe he can tell us whether it was Rush, Boehner, Michael Savage, Gingrich, or Cheney that sent him over the edge. Was he driven mad by lunatic, racist rhetoric, inflamed by rumors of impending financial doom, or just enraged by his bad haircut? My guess is the Viagra stopped working, but we may never know . . . or care.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  6. Second Amendment Supporter

    One man shoots another, and for this we need to have a national debate? Give me a break.

    No gun laws would have stopped the shooter. The only thing that did was other men with guns.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  7. rose

    This is the type of f the barbaric nature nature of these people they have demonstrated for hundreds of years. Control freaks who think they rule the world. Uncivilized, wild, crude, savage control by a demonic mind. They think they can do this and get away with it or try to play crazy afterward.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  8. Response to Buckweat

    Buckwheat- "Our streets are full of extremist in the inner cities but no one talks about it."

    What inner city extremism are you referring to? The angst of poverty or rage against systemic racism? Redlining of real estate districts, minorities given higher interest rates-and mortgage fees? Whites declining to hire Blacks "not enough experience", or constantly giving raises to whites with less ability or fewer on the job accomplishments? The extremism I see is that of white racism against people of color.
    Now you are feeling uncomfortable with the thought of being a minority in your own country- poor baby, WELCOME TO MY WORLD!!

    June 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  9. rob

    anyone defending the act of terrorists on this blog could be the next lone wolf..... kasado??

    June 11, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  10. Buddy

    I agree with Jarrod that conceiled-carry permits should be much more common – citizens have a much better record than police of defeating criminals with handguns (cops seem to confuse their badge with a marksmanship medal and don't practice enough to hit what they want). Great respect to the security guards who stopped this guy but if they'd failed no one else in that building could have done much against an armed criminal. And Rob C. obviously knows nothing about the gun laws we already have – convicted felons are already prohibited from owning firearms. How did this guy get the rifle? He could not have bought it legally but regardless, how is the firearm he used any more evil than those used to stop him? Both weapons killed people...

    June 11, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  11. Tracy W

    David – Ian is right on. Why are you libs so anxious to only report on domestic terrorists that are non-islamic, or non-minority, or dare I say it, white?? Possibley because you cannot connect these types to conservatives? Do think only white people are conservative? WE jsut want ALL the news to be reported fairly.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  12. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    "Good Morning Cinderella:

    Ms. Townsend is very attractive. Is she a democrat?

    Cheers,
    Fred"

    What the? This is what people do in the morning? They check out people? LOL!! Hilarious...and I came here to give out my comment quick, sweet!

    You know guys, I think is very difficult, I don't wanna brag or anything but even I went as far before. Oh yeah, while everybody was talking about the detainees and didn't want em in people's backyard, I was the one talking about that is too late, they are already here. While they are freaking out, little that people know it is common. I ain't gonna lie but i was watching Campbell yesterday and I was offended having a constitution lawyer and a conservative give their points which I was confuse cause we conservatives believe in our constitution, so yeah, I'm with the Constitution, is our free-will. Just because we have a black president don't mean we gotta look at things differently, this has been going on is just that you damn people think is a joke, it ain't no joke. And I was offended, we can't flip-flop, let alone we have plenty of times but when it comes to tragic, people listen and since it was at the Holocaust memorial, people wanna listen but don't wanna listen back then? We can't have it both ways, we conservatives can't have it like that, we don't believe in that. And quite frankly, I'm offended of that, I am. And when I hear that the officer opened the door, I ain't offended anymore, I am damn ticked.

    I'm with the constitution and guess what guys? This is our country, don't act like is something new, don't act like that. I ain't gonna say is right or wrong but I am gonna say we can't be hypocrites, don't matter who you side with or not. It ain't no joke, it ain't right. My problem is not whether people understand, but if people really get what's going on, you have no idea.

    You can only do so much with this and you know me guys, I've talked about it for months, heck, even last year. We ain't right, the numbers are showing it, it ain't good. I've talked about this many, many times, I don't know why people care now than ever before, cause I am very offended by it. Not by my boy, not him, oh no, it ain't his fault. I do what I gotta do but even I question T.V and people if they know what they are talking about...

    We just gotta do what we know best, just get ready cause even I feel responsible for it and that's crazy talk.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  13. Corey

    Look at the first two comments made in this thread. Discussing and judging the physical attractiveness of Ms. Townsend was the predomintate thought for at least two individuals after they read this article. Not that this was a tragedy, no comments regarding free speech, rights to bear arms, racism, oppression of groups, empathy for the vicimts, etc. Instead they perpetuate the objectification of women and sexism.
    No, they read about the hate filled murder of a man and they think about sex. Is this part of the problem?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  14. Eric B

    As much as I don't care for right wing talk radio..it all sounds a like to me a bunch of angry white males crying about Obama all day, I don't that it's fair to blame them for the things that have happened the past two weeks. Each one of these accused shooters had their own agenda and I don't recall hearing Rush or Sean tell people to go out and kill folks that don't agree with them.

    What I DO find troubling is that I doubt if any one of these right wing talk show host will come out and not condone such actions. They are quick to cry racist on Judge Sotomeyer so why not hold a forum about this type of behavior that really IS racist? They won't because it will alienate part of their audience that's why. I don't think these extremist spend a lot of their free time listening to Keith, Rachel, and Ed that's for sure.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  15. George

    What surprises me is that he is a World War II veteran who believes the Holocaust never happened. If there's any group of veterans who should be the least about denial and the most about acceptance of other people, I would think it would be WWII veterans.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  16. Roger

    What treatment options were available to the elderly man before he committed murder? We can call people names as long as we want but if we are going to try to change the level of violence in this country perhaps we should have some non physical means to use before people begin shooting.
    As long as we are trying to spend money with large corporations and governmental agencies to end this economic down turn perhaps some of it could go to making treatment available for the mentally ill. Prison is no place to warehouse the mentally ill and the community based treatment of the mentally ill obviously is not working as people are being killed.
    If we are going to have people returning from war with post traumatic stress syndrome perhaps we should make help readily available for all of the population and make our towns and cities a safer saner place to live. People might be willing to contact their political representatives and point this out to them and try to stop more attacks from occurring.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  17. Bob

    Really tragic stuff. Why not pick a few states – maybe Oklahoma and Texas – or perhaps the entire South – and make them a reservation for hateful, uneducated, stupid people and republicans. They could amass large weapons caches, kill each other over ideological arguments while crying over enbryos and perverting and twisting religion, and make it mandatory to watch Fox news and listen to conservative talk radio. Then, perhaps, the rest of the country can get down to work on conctructive things, like improving education, creating new technologies, and living decent lives. Maybe they could be moved off shore – to Iraq or Noth Korea, for example, where their idiot ideological ideas would find greater resonance.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  18. Jeff

    Everyone is now asking if hate groups on the rise. I don't feel that they are. It's more a case of some unstable people just finally reaching the tipping point. They are of course helped along by the blantent reverse racism that is swept under the rug in this country. If the KKK or a neo-nazi party had two members standing outside a polling place it would be highly talked about in the media and possibly investigated by the DOJ. When it's two members of the Black Panthers, it's just a community activist group and all charges are dismissed.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  19. koma

    It's amazing how many of these comments reflect the very hate that is portrayed. This man is obviously insane. It's sad that we loose track of the fact that a man lost his life, but yet we feel compelled to discuss the physical attributes of the commentator. There will always be some people immersed in hate, ignorance and miss-understanding, and this has been true since the dawn of time, but what we can do is educate, demonstrate, and appreciate peace , love and harmony within and without ourselves so that our children may benefit and may survive in a less violent world. All books of spiritual quality and guidance indicate the same thing. We all die by the way we live, regardless of if we think it's right or wrong.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  20. landshark

    Marge, You're right! It's great to see others staying on top of what is really happening in this country!

    June 11, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  21. TommyJohn

    Melissa Writes:
    I’m curious. How many members of these hate groups are Republican? I bet the percent is in the high 90’s.
    ---–

    Be nice to know how many Democrats are in these groups as well. I recall when most all of these "good-Ol'-Boys" were predominately Democrat. Not so long ago...

    How many of the "Haters" in the Black Separatist Movement, Weather Underground, Earth Liberation Front, and a host of other radical leftist groups are Democrats? They have all killed and maimed Americans. Why does it matter what Political Party they belong to? Aren’t they all equally deserving of our scorn and the wrath of justice?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  22. mark s

    Remember, not only whites are involved with hate groups. Ever heard of the Black Panthers, Or LaRaza, or the Nation of Islam?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  23. Jif

    This shooter is older than my grandfather; I'm just surprised he could physically carry out the attack at this point in his life.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  24. Love It Or Leave It

    Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, and the rest of the American taliban have no problem whatsoever with "lone wolves"...their rhetoric inspires these scumbags to do their bidding for them. Just look at some of the posts here, the fundies JUSTIFY this insanity.

    Their HATE and glaring HYPOCRISY is reaching fever pitch, folks. Let 'em implode, move to Texas and secede.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  25. Joe

    How can you blame the NRA for this?? This man was a convicted felon. Another event blamed on the republicans. The guy was a nutjob plain and simple.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  26. Anni

    I am mortified by the responses to this story. Cinderella? A Cougar? Becuase people are outraged at what occured yesterday we are against old, white men? Has xeonophobia completely replaced common sense?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  27. StormerF

    Who knows what lies in the minds of Men?Some are distrubed and there is no way to know or keep them from acts of violence. Personally I think everyone should be allowed to carry a gun,even on planes as it was in the 50's and 60's,we had less problems and violence,for the simple reason,no one started anything,not knowing if the person they were messing with was armed.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm |
  28. Anthony

    So basically, what you are saying Vinnie is that. . . .

    Left Wing extremists treat animals equally and Right Wing extremists treat non-white people like animals.

    Interesting fact. And, you say this to defend yourself!! Spoken like a true Republican Racist.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  29. Dan James

    Sounds similiar to the recruiter that was shot couple weeks ago by a Mulim terrorist. Is that also a hate crime? Are we watching them also?
    We are always trying to be so politicall correct.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  30. AS

    Look at the school shooters, or people who snap and kill their families; "lone wolves" can be anyone, anywhere. People who have anger and resentment issues bottled up and one day act them out. With all of the problems facing us today that can cause anger or fear: unemployment, immigration, war, the mortage and credit issues and recession- of course some people are bound to snap if they feel these issues affect them directly and think they can be attributed to a group of people. The most frightening part is that they're walking the streets, at the mall, or grocery store, you just never know who is a time bomb.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  31. AJ

    Some one should look into Ramesses II....He sounds like a racist and like he's about to blow...

    I am sorry Ramesses, BUT HOW DO YOU THINK WE GOT HERE???? We IMMIGRATED...Native Americans might go so far as to say we were ILLEGAL ALIENS.
    Get off you high horse you racist, why do we have any more right to live here than anyone else? Yes we were born here, but it IMPOSSIBLE to choose your country of birth.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  32. Moderate

    This is what happens when you have 8 years of fascist rule (Bush/Cheney). I wouldn't be surprised if this "lone wolf" is on the republican payroll. You're going to see more of this. The country is now run by moderates who believe in equal opportunity for all. The "good old boy" club is upset that they no longer have one of their own in office, giving them preferential treatment. Remember, George Bush's grandfather was a Nazi. This guy is a Nazi. Coincidence? I think not.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  33. Fred

    I just can't understand why these people are so full of hate. They won the White House and control the Congress. George Bush & Cheney are gone, isn't that everything they've been complaining about?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  34. mark s

    Why is it that the media doesn't report much about the group of black muslim converts that were planning on attacking synagogs in New York? They were also planing on shooting down an Air force plane. And another black muslim convert shot up an Army recruiting center killing one soldier. I remember hearing the initial stories but not much else. Now when a Christian "radical" kills a late term abortion doctor, or a white supremacist shoots at the holocaust memorial it's all over the news, and they will talk about it for weeks.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  35. Faith Hope Love

    Jarrod – Wrong. Completely.

    Concealed weapons are the answer? The citizens were not the slaughtered sheep here. The only casualty was an ARMED security guard. Clearly this proves that having a gun does not make you safe from armed criminals.

    It's another case of a convicted felon getting access to guns and killing innocent people. But we'll have to deal with this until we decide that having some common sense restrictions to gun access and closing firearm sales loopholes is not in opposition of the 2nd ammendment.

    THANK YOU NRA!

    Thank you for keeping our fringe lunatics and convicted felons armed and dangerous!

    June 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  36. wishing

    Why does anyone assume he is a 'lone wolf' except for partisan purposes? This needs to be fully investigated: contacts, mentors, funding, affiliations, etc. Don't play it down, study it, analyze it, understand it.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  37. Matt

    There are more right-wingers than you think...

    June 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  38. Mike

    Hey History Repeats, you are about the most stupid person I have ever read. Hate is generated by the left, hate the rich, hate the jews, hate the achievers. This class based hate is and was the product of the left and only amplified by obama. He compares the jewish settlements to what hitler did to them like its the same thing. The jews are only trying to survive surrounded by enemies and it is their fault that they fight against all odds and still win. If I was like you, I would hopefully have the guts to shoot myself.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  39. Randy

    Interesting that this sick individual is immediately thought to be a right winger who listens to Rush and believes the conservative philosophies. I've read that this person's blogs actually showed him to hate both President Bushes (senior and junior), and believed that the 9/11 attacks were internally based. That doesn't sound like anything I've heard from any of the conservative broadcasters and bloggers. I think its interesting that he decided to take this action less than a week after President Obama told the Arab world that the actions of Israel in the Palestinian territories were tantamount to the actions of the Nazis in World War II. Maybe he felt justified in attacking the Holocaust museum based on these comments, or the comments that Jeremiah Wright made to the press yesterday.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  40. Jeff

    I'm sorry, please explain to me how this man was fueled by Limbaugh, Hannity, etc... You had better be careful of making such accusations without evidence. Emotion-filled, baseless charges are a dangerous precedence to set. Take a look at what happened in Germany in the early Thirties: constant, baseless charges toward such groups as devout Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Communists! The 2nd Amendment was made a part of our Bill of Rights to protect the most unpopular speech. And, I CERTAINLY would not say that these political pundits are unpopular. They are NOT preaching hate! They are preaching a political ideology that is traditional and informed, but it disagrees with the American Left's message – so, it seems they'll try to quiet them (e.g. so-called "Fairness Doctrine") . Be careful where you're going!

    June 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  41. Jeff

    The Liberals are right.

    Let's make all non-progressive, anti-Obama thought illegal!

    Lets start be criminalizing all actions by groups the left thinks are "right-wing" extremists. That's reasonable enough, right? Then we can shut down their websites for promoting violent, anti-social behavior. With warrants, we can plow through their writings and books as well.

    Finally, we can do what we really want – go after the commentators. Pull the FCC licenses for Fox and any station that airs Rush – the Fairness Doctrine can help us there.

    And soon, we can all have one, glorious State-run media – of course, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN are already there.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  42. Dan

    It's almost comical reading some of the comments here. This insane man is a jew hater and 911 truther. This killer has the same hatred as Hitler. Hitler was a facist.... with is extreme left radicalism. When are people going to stop talking right and left and start talking right and wrong.

    Anyone blaming Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck... etc. is insane! Do you listen to these guys everyday? This type of violence goes against everything they represent. They have nothing to do with this just like leftists like Olbermann have nothing to do with this.

    Get with reality people... when we all starting thinking as Americans and not groups (whites, black, gays, latinos, etc.) maybe we can turn this country around... god knows massive bailouts never will.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  43. TommyJohn

    Marge Writes:

    What do they say now….two shootings within a week FROM RIGHT WING HATE GROUPS…..where’s the outrage now.
    ----–

    Are you kidding me?? Do you have any clue what you are talking about? This man was a nut-job Bush hater that thought the 911 terrorist acts were an inside job! Both of these are representative of the far-left, not the right. Also, the fact that he was linked to White Supremist groups is irrelevant. What about the Black Separatists who preach the eradication of Whites and Jews? What are they? They are certainly not Right Wing.

    and...a Islamist terrorist killing American soldiers is actually acting on behalf of a Right Wing Hate Group??? You, and people like you are truly scary. God save our country from sick people of your kind.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  44. Josh

    David, it's because Ian, Vinnie, et al are part of a generation of bitter old hatemongers...er conservatives that are finally dying off. Heck, the only reason we move forward at all is because previous generations die of and/or stop voting.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  45. sguild

    This gunman was anti-semitic. Where is the anti-semitism coming from in this country...not the Right, but the Left. The anti-Israel effort is being led by the White House by trying to isolate Israel and appease the muslim countries. The Truth does hurt the Left...everytime.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  46. Ryan in VA

    "Kasado June 11th, 2009 11:57 am ET

    Did America truly believe that it could just marginalize a huge segment of society (older white males) and there would no repercussions? These same men that helped build this nations great infrastructure are now told that they should just go away and quietly die. Where is the political outcry for their rights?"
    ____________________________________________________

    In my honest opinion, if you deny the rights of others, your OWN rights should be denied as well. In fact, maybe the country as a whole should move more toward a "Do Unto Others" approach as opposed to the wholesale allowance to spew hate speech and oppress others to every citizen who would take advantage of it.

    The ultra-conservative crowd likes to claim that the United States were founded under "Christian principals and ideals." How much more Christian could "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" get?

    – Don't think a certain group of people should be able to marry? You don't get to marry whom you choose, either. That also does away with the idiotic claim that gay marriage would somehow allow for "livestock lovin'."
    – Don't think a certain group should be as allowed to freely and openly practice their religion in the States? Guess what... you can't either. Neo-Pagans (Wiccans, Druids, Shamen, etc) are the single most oppressed religions on the planet. This would put an end to that oppression as well, not to mention allowing much-needed respect for Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.
    – Think that any given Democrat or Republican is so extreme in their views that they should be put to death? Don't laugh, "Kill Him!" was commonly shouted at McCain/Palin rallies in reference to our now-President. If that's the case, I sure hope you're right with whatever God-figure you follow!

    Just imagine - holding people up to the same standards they like to force on others. Poetic Justice? Or would it just be the end to a lot of the problems our country faces today?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  47. Alan

    "Why hasn’t CNN covered the murder of a US Army recruiter by a black muslim with the same rabidness.? Where was the in-depth discussion about “lone wolf’s” after that act of terrorism?"

    Quoting for posterity. Because I'd like to know as well. Typical liberal slant though, y'know. No surprise here.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:25 pm |
  48. Cutchase64

    Man, do some older folks need a better hobby.
    Also, these Hate groups are so stupid, they are like
    cartoons come to life, only not funny...just vile.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  49. Chris

    My prayers go out to the guard's family.

    With that said, David, Ian actually brings up a valid point. There have been three domestic terror attacks in the last few weeks: Dr Tiller's murder, the army recruiting station murder, and now this murder. Has the media covered all three to the same degree? No. DId Obama make a statement immediately following all three incidents? No. All three of theses crimes are heinous, yet the media and our President have only decided to give their attention to the incidents involving "right-wing", white males. The President had a chance to mention the murder of the Army Recruiter when he announced the Secretary of the Army, but he didn't. Yet, here he is making another statement about a "right-wing" nut-job. Furthermore, where was the media coverage of and your outrageover the two terrorists who planted c-4 at a synagogue in NY and were going to carry out an attack at a Nat'l Guard station later?

    Why is it perfecty acceptable to most of you that Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad is a "lone wolf", yet these two gentlemen who murder the security guard and Dr Tiller are part of a vast army of "right-wing" crazies.

    Once you are able to ditch your hypocrisy you will become better people.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  50. Ashley

    @Kasado....

    Older white males are NOT marginalized, please. As a middle aged white female I can tell you the "good old boys clubs are still going strong. He was a white supremacist and he had a record. Give me a freaking break. It is irresponsible of you to make excuses.

    Regardelss of whether or not he is "marginalized" or not, you CANNOT commit murder, there are no excuses.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  51. Tony

    To Rob C.

    Your statement about the NRA is absolutely wrong. Yes the NRA has championed gun rights for law abiding citizens but the NRA also has championed common sense gun laws. We do have laws on the books today requiring background checks before purchasing a firearm. Don't blame the NRA for lack of enforcement of the existing gun laws (and no, I am NOT an NRA member).

    June 11, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  52. David, Rochester NY

    "The 'lone wolf' represents the single-most difficult problem for law enforcement."This statement logically can't be correct. Perhaps "most difficult for law enforcement to pre-emptively defend against" as the person doesn't have to communicate with anyone else to carry out their plans.However, a group of people planning and acting in unison are much more effective, and thus would be a more "difficult" problem for law enforcement (much more devastating for sure).

    June 11, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  53. Mike C

    Once again we are reminded that the 'White Supremest' provides all of the essential proof necessary to prove the fallacy of white supremacy.

    Regarding the NRA and guns. Do you think this delusional man would not have a gun if it were not legal? For better or worse Rob, that genie is long out of the bottle in the US.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  54. Seth K.

    This dottering old man traveled clear into the heart of the most surveilled city in the world, past hundreds of guards and cameras, carrying a long gun - and we are expected to believe this wasn't allowed to happen on purpose? Give me a break. Either this was set up, or all the billions of dollars that have been spent on DC security since 9/11 has been totally wasted. Where is the accountability?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  55. Mark

    There will ALWAYS be people who hate, are allowed to hate and will do heinous things because of their beliefs. It's the cost of living in a free society and I for one an willing to pay that price to keep the freedoms we have.
    The real problem is that the powers that be are always spouting off about doing something about it. Well, there are laws already on the books that if enforced would stop a great deal of these things from happening. No one seems to be enforcing these laws though.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  56. Tom

    Why is it that the government has not declared these so called "Christians" who are killing doctors engaged in the LEGAL practice of medicine as terrorists? I haven't seen or heard any of the 21%er's (Republicans) screaming about that. A "Christian" terrorist shot and killed a doctor last week. Where is the right wing outrage at this terroristic act committed in the United States? As to West Virgina...obviously from your post you agree with this lunatic. Why are you hiding behind veiled words and subtle threats. Why not just come out and say it? This man and West Virginia are cowards who have to have someone to blame for his own ineptness. Patriots? Who are you kidding with that clap trap? Ruby Ridge, the FBI went after a crimina who refused to surrender to the proper and lawful authorites. What happened was a completley preventable tragedy. He was another coward who hid behind his family. Sad but true and there is little anyone can do about it. There will always be hate, ignorance, and lack of personal accountability.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  57. Farrell

    There really is no legitimate rationale for this conduct. You cannot say "I don't agree with his methods, but I understand his frustration..etc." If you don't like the way the country is going, you are free to engage in intelligent debate and discourse. When the conversation dissolves into hate-filled rhetoric spewed by commentators, and you take no action against that, you are condoning the behavior. In short, to borrow a phrase from the '60s, America-Love It or Leave It.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  58. Valerie

    I think we need to stop pointing fingers and become more prayerful. We all know that it is hard to change peoples attitudes especially when it has been inbred regardless to what nationality or what race they are. One comment I read was that this man's hostility had grown since Obama became president. Well, so be it , I mean after all Obama is a man like the rest of the men who have held that office. Some have made mistakes and all of them were men that bled if you cut them, and were not infalliable. The only difference in Obama is that the same mistakes that were made by white men since the beginning of this great country is being made by a black man or a mixture of black and white wise up spend more time praying for this country of ours and it's leaders than pointing fingers and cricticising

    June 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  59. Denine

    I always find it interesting to see how closely tied white-supremacists are to fundamentalist Christian churches. I think that officials need to take the wool off their eyes and realize where these terrorists are being created and sustained.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  60. Mike Garcia

    Funny how all the left-wing nuts come out at times like this, blaming Limbaugh, etc., for this guy's actions. "Right-wing neo nazi", etc. Do any of those idiots realize that this guy hates Jews, and most right-wingers support Israel? Is the left really that ignorant?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  61. suzanne anderson

    And we're worried about terrorist coming into our country?
    suzanne

    June 11, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  62. numex7

    In this context we could say that Osama Bin Laden is a "lone wolf". But in reality we ought to view that this act came about as a misguided belief and hatred of those who do not share that belief. This "lone wolf" did not spring forth fully formed from the head Hera, and he certainly is not a loner. Ultra right wing fanatics are easily found as the discussion points out. Their paranoia is in a sense being fueled by the cultural war being played out in this country, this is just a physical manifestation of of it. It is a fine line between talk and action, and the rhetoric of the conservative element has been if nothing else been amp up since the shift in the political center of this nation in the last election. Try buying any ammunition recently? There is a paranoid fear that the "liberals" are going to take away the gun of the people. One more indicator of how polarized these elements are becoming. President Obama asks for open discussion on abortion and we get the killing of a doctor in Kansas. The right wing extremists do not want dialogue, look at the closed minded, revisionist idealogly which currently makes up the GOP. They offer nothing and can not be even said to be loyal opposition. Lone wolf indeed, time to ratchet down the rhetoric,

    June 11, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  63. Austin TX

    The correct description is not 'Lone Wolf'. 'Rabid Dog' describes the personality and actions more precisely.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  64. Nick the Photographer

    Lone Wolf? How much do you wanna bet this guy belongs to hate groups? That's hardly a "Lone Wolf" scenario! Isn't it time the Justice Department infiltrate these groups and keep tabs on them? What about the Janet Napolentano memo about Right Wing-nut Extremist? The leaders of that so called party were up in arms about that memo. Truth hurts I guess. I say we start water boarding domestic terrorist too!

    June 11, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  65. Kasado

    I find it ironic that Rush and all the other right wing talk show hosts condemn this kind of hateful action from the same sort of individual most likely to be a member of their rabid audience. Yet, they remain innocently removed from guilt when someone acts upon their hateful rants.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  66. GenTwelve

    The right wing conservative Republicans are rejoicing after this incident. Not in public, not on your life, just few little cowardly barbs, just enough to tick people off, maybe set someone off. These people, who truly believe they are just and patriotic, are chomping at the bit and foaming at the mouth in prelude toi anarchy in the USA. They can't wait to blame a black president for it. You people are disgusting.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  67. Albatross

    Yes, the "lone wolf," freeing everyone of responsibility for their contributions to his actions. Was this shooter nuts? Sure. Was his fury fueled by Fox News incessant hatemongery? DEFINITELY. Ever since Obama took office the Corporate Right, Fox in particular, have been encouraging acts of Right Wing Domestic Terrorism - from their 'tea bagging' protests that elicit the notion of rebellion, to their promotion of guest speakers who assert Obama is a Muslim, a non-American, a Socialist, or whatever lie sells their books. It's time to stop putting up with Fox News' anti-American hate speech, as well as that echoed by other Corporatist mainstream media organizations.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  68. Thanh

    @ West Virginia

    The media isn't using sudden scare tactics. If people commit newsworthy crimes, it's reported. If there's a rising trend of white supremacist activism, then it gets reported on. You know, when Bush ran this country for 8 years, I didn't hear of any death threats from left wing groups that posed imminent danger.

    Neo-Nazis and the like have been targeting Obama and other minorities for quite a while. They've been seeking new followers and sympathizers.

    It's ridiculous to accuse the media of portraying ALL Patriots of being white supremacists. Read the articles on the WWII vets who were thrown into the Nazi slave labor camps.

    Believe it or not, minorities defend this country in the armed forces, too. They along with everyone else in the military are the real patriots.

    Also, don't even try to stir up the socialism debate. The government does things it perceives are needed, but it will never change its core values. Look at Obama. He's totally capitalizing on book deals. Once he's out of office, you can bet that he'll run a lecture circuit and rake in millions.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  69. Scott

    Marge – where's your outrage over the US Army Recruiter that was killed by a Muslim extremist a couple of weeks ago? By your measures – that would be considered a "Left Wing Hate Crime"!

    Gotta love the single-mindedness of the libs.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  70. Rick

    And the guy that shot the American Soldier the other day at the recruiting center was a "left wing nut"?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  71. David

    Ian offers the same strawman diversionary tactic that has infested the web over the past week every time the topic of right wing domestic terrorism arises.

    So I offer a diversionary tactic of my own, just as irrelevant...

    Ian, why are you defending domestic terrorists by trying to change the subject? Should we be concerned that you are the next "lone wolf"?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  72. Bman

    These are not lone wolfs. They are part of a larger organization. A terrorist organization. We do not want to acknowledge it because the trail leads to places we don't want to admit, Like the republican party, Like your neighborhood church.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  73. history repeats

    you know what is amazing is the fact that the obama administration issued a warning against right-wing hate groups all over the country. they issued this throughout the government stating that they feared there was going to be a spike in violence by these groups. you know what the rpubs did? they went on FOX NEWS and said that right-wingers were being targeted. they rallied against it. it was on almost every show on fox news for a few days making it like the obama administration was out to get them. because of course the base of fox news is ignorant people. im sure white supremicists agree 100% that the media is left biased besides fox news. im sure if you ask a skinhead, a nazi an anti-abortion radicalist what news network they watch they would say FOX and what party are they affiliated with they would say republican. THIS IS A FACT and i think it shows plainly and clearly which party of this country can ending up bringing about its downfall! please post this CNN it needs to be seen!!

    June 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  74. lone wolf

    lone wolf. I hate the metaphor. i'm gonna start a group that hates that metaphor via the internet. Ok, just kidding. A lone wolf does alot of things, it is not exactly a hate group out loud...associating a lone wolf with hate group is..gathering a hate group.

    June 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  75. Matt

    What is with the over preponderance of right wing commentators on CNN.com?

    June 11, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  76. Tracy W

    Amazing that a old white man is a "lone wolf" when doing the unspeakable. Where's the same attention on the islam convert who killed the army recuiter? Oh, I forgot, CNN is a liberal news organization like all the others, and terrorism does not exist. Unbelievable! Nice "journalism"

    June 11, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  77. buckwheat

    The guard that gave his life to save people in that museum should be remembered by all. It seems that the news people jumped on this because this man that did the killing is a white supremist. It hit all the news networks and papers with full spreads as it should have. Why did the Black man ,who was a Muslim extremist and killed one of our soldiers and wounded another, only generated an honorable mention in the news.I see no difference in terrorism as far as color is concerned but the news media seems to run from news that concerns black extremist. Our streets are full of extremist in the inner cities but no one talks about it.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  78. Ramesses II

    As long as our government allows so many "aliens": Illegal or otherwise, to come into this country, reap its benefits, break its laws, etc., and continues to cater to their interests, over so many of our own citizens, you are going to have increased self-proclaimed "patriots" taking the law into their own hands. I am a Vietnam vet; I obey the laws; I don't belong to any hate groups, but even I don't like the way I see this country going and even though I don't condone this type of violence, I feel that I understand some guys' frustrations and I, too, am increasingly tiring of being taken for granted and, as I see it, having my wishes for a peaceful & bright future for my family, being ignored, while those who don't deserve... get more & more...

    June 11, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  79. Kasado

    Did America truly believe that it could just marginalize a huge segment of society (older white males) and there would no repercussions? These same men that helped build this nations great infrastructure are now told that they should just go away and quietly die. Where is the political outcry for their rights?

    June 11, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  80. Gordon

    As to left wing hate groups, they were out for Carrie Prejean's scalp for a politically correct answer to a loaded question.
    Attempts to censor, oppress, restrict those groups disagree with come from extremists on both sides. Neither extreme seems well founded, just loud. Both sides remind one of Iran, the Taliban and those that practice or admire communism, such as Hugo Chavez.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  81. Rob C

    Hello America...
    ..."Do they have weapons? Do they have access to weapons?"
    Wouldn't it make sense, and save lives if mentally ill/felons were given a background check before purchasing a weapon.

    Thank the NRA for giving gun ownership rights to every nutjob out there.

    THANK YOU NRA!!!

    June 11, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  82. Ted

    Actually Ms. Townsend was a very competent and qualified Homeland Security Adviser. She has an impeccable background. As for visibility, maybe you can name the current Homeland Security Adviser (not the Secretary, Napolitano). I'm sure you can't.

    I don't think we need to get into blaming current or past policy makers for criminal acts. We also don't need to try to associate terrorists and criminals with political parties. There is nobody who is a mainstream Democrat or Republican who supports such extremism. This was a desparate, sad old man, a convict who probably wanted to go out with a blaze of glory.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  83. NJ

    AHHHHH I think you meant "hissy fit". I know what that is. I have those when the cnn comments moderator decides my post are simply to profound to publish.

    There is nothing funnier than American Nazis. As a descendant of a man who died at Auschwitz, I take particular exception to old white trash fat men who decide to don some khaki and a gun in a weak attempt to explain the world and all the bad things it's done to them.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  84. Vinnie

    Marge needs to take a long walk off a short pier. I am conservative, don't you dare lump these fringe lunatics in with my political philosophies. Where are the left wing extremist groups? They're busy blowing up animal research facilities. Why don't you and Fritzie boy stick to the facts as presented rather than drag the last administration into every conversation you participate in.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  85. Mary

    Unfortunately, the wolf is not so "lone". He represents a certain segment of society–those who hate based on religion, race, creed etc. The country must look at itself in depth because there are many white supremacists who are celebrating today. In religious teaching terms, we must remove the splinter in our own eye before trying to remove that of someone else. That is, the country must look into its own heart and see the trouble before it becomes lost and blind in its war on terrorism. Concentrating only on that war, we fail to see our own hatred. Those who hate, including those who attack based on gender identity, must be dealt with under the law. Also, the gun culture exacerbates the problem. Everday, on television and in the movies, we celebrate resolving conflict through gun violence.,

    June 11, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  86. Jarrod

    The "lone wolf" is actually the easiest threat to fight, it's the most difficult threat to prevent though. If you think about it, it took only one man to stop this attack. If you had groups of people, it's a whole lot harder to fight, but you can predict it much better.

    "Long wolf" attacks will get more common, as more citizens get frustrated with the lack of representation and integrity in government, as more people lose their jobs. People are getting more despondent, which leads to people making stupid decisions. This is why concealed weapons permits should be given out MUCH more freely, so that the citizens can stop this threat, instead of being the slaughtered sheep.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  87. NJ

    also what is a "hizzy fit"? Is that a tantrum you have in your house, or at a house party?

    Or is that "street" for cramming furniture into your house?

    June 11, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  88. Seba

    What kind of comment is that? You're judging a person's political affiliations based on their looks?

    June 11, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  89. RIDOSWORLD

    Since when is a neo-Natzi hate monger considered "right-wing"? Hate is hate no matter what direction it comes from. I'm so sick of this. This guy represents the right-wing as much as Osama bin Laden represents all if Islam. Give me a break!

    June 11, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  90. Tom

    This guy was no lone wolf – he had a clear history if racism and connections with hate groups. He should have been watched...

    And lets give the guards some credit – they were there for a reason, and they did their job, stopping this nut before he could kill any of the public.

    Get ready for more of this extreme-right violence – they're scared, and will be acting out more and more.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  91. NJ

    Attractive? Maybe... I'd be terrified of her if I were a wounded deer or maybe a bear cub frolicking alone in the forest unaware a an impending pounce and bite to the back of my neck. Grooooooowwl.

    Democrats need more predatory woodland felines in their ranks.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  92. Melissa

    I'm curious. How many members of these hate groups are Republican? I bet the percent is in the high 90's.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  93. Greep

    This person was not a lone wolf. He was part of organized right wing hate groups. This was no isolated. There will be more of these like the shooting of the abortion doctor.

    Fueled by clowns like Limbaugh, Hannity and O'?Reilly there will be much more of this.

    Fueled? Hannity/O'Reilly called the abortion doctor a murder, showed his house and family on the air.

    The same clowns shouting "terrorist" during the campaign actually believe this crap. "Obama is more of a threat to America than Al Qaeda." – Rush Limbaugh.

    These are not lone wolves, they are the domestic terrorists Homeland Security warned about and then had to apologize for.

    This country needs to come to grips with it's own terrorists.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  94. Fritz

    This woman was about as visible, and probably as intelligent, as good old Dick Cheney. The "lone wolf" is a great problem, but it always has been................if we are going to start another round of "what if" interviews featuring people with the credibility of Frances Townsend, why don't we start a series of "How to make your money last" interviews with Bernie Madoff? Townsend was an invisible part of Bush's administration and even though that may be to her credit, she may still have been the only person who wanted to accept the position in the first place.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  95. West Virginia

    What happened yesturday in DC is truly a tragedy , I personally hate racism in any form its unexcusable by any means , the one thing bothering me in all of this is the sudden scare tactics the media is using on the American people (Domestic Terrorism) , hate and racism have always been here unfortunately , why is it that in a controlled ecomic collapse worldwide and increasing socialism here at home does the controlled media decide to intertwine (white supracy people) with anyone who stands against a tyranical government , dont get be wrong the old man was in the wrong yesturday and deserves judgement , Im just upset with the way media portrays all (Patriots) as white supemacy types , I guess it wont be long now before we get another Ruby Ridge !

    June 11, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  96. Marge

    Right after the Obama Administration took office the head of Homeland Security issued a notice about right wing terrorist groups. The republicans had a hizzy fit and she had to apologize....

    What do they say now....two shootings within a week FROM RIGHT WING HATE GROUPS.....where's the outrage now.

    And where are all the left hate groups....after all the republicans had a hizzy fit because they were warned about....double standard again. The right wing have numerous hate groups but they want to blame domestic terrorism on the left...as usual.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  97. Keith Massey

    A single person willing to trade his/her own life for a target is almost impossible to stop

    June 11, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  98. Ian

    Why hasn't CNN covered the murder of a US Army recruiter by a black muslim with the same rabidness.? Where was the in-depth discussion about "lone wolf's" after that act of terrorism?

    June 11, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  99. Jason

    She worked for George Bush. I doubt she is a Democrat. But definitely a cougar.

    June 11, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  100. Fred Robinson

    Good Morning Cinderella:

    Ms. Townsend is very attractive. Is she a democrat?

    Cheers,
    Fred

    June 11, 2009 at 10:23 am |
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