Investigators are piecing together a complex picture of John Patrick Bedell, a California man killed last week after he opened fire on guards at the entrance to the Pentagon. Bedell's family describes him as a bright young man who got lost in mental illness. In his online postings, Bedell, 36, raged about his 2006 arrest for growing marijuana and argued that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks. While Bedell was registered as a Democrat, some commentators say his natural allegiance lay with the Tea Party. What do the facts suggest about Bedell's political motives? (Watch a report about the Pentagon shooter's motives)
Once again, a right-wing extremist targets the government: Like Joe Stack, whom some called a "Tea Party terrorist" after he crashed a small plane into IRS offices in Texas, says Peter Grier in The Christian Science Monitor, John Patrick Bedell "appears to have been a right-wing extremist" driven to violence by "virulent antigovernment feelings." The number of extremist groups with similar beliefs is growing so quickly it's scary.
"John Patrick Bedell: Did right-wing extremism lead to shooting?"
Bedell's politics sound more like left-wing extremism: There may be some right-wingers who hate the military, says Eugene Volokh in The Volokh Conspiracy, or who think the Bush administration orchestrated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to justify starting a war. "But those are hardly distinctively 'right-wing' positions" — if anything, those beliefs are "slightly" more popular on the looney left.
"'John Patrick Bedell: Did Right-Wing Extremism Lead to Shooting?'"
Liberals are exploiting Bedell to tarnish the Tea Party: Bedell can hardly be called a conservative, says Michelle Malkin in her blog. All you have to do is look at Bedell's voter registration, for crying out loud: The man "hated George W. Bush and littered the Internet with 9/11 Truther rants." The mainstream media is only calling Bedell a right-winger because blaming the Tea Party has become their default reaction.
"About the Pentagon shooter"
The right is in denial: John Patrick Bedell hated "big government," says Alex Seitz-Wald in Think Progress, and its "blatant violations of the Constitution." That sounds "eerily" similar to the complaints of many angry conservatives. Republicans cried foul last year when Homeland Security warned of the threat of "right-wing domestic terror" — sadly, Stack and Bedell proved the threat is real.
"Pentagon shooter was right-wing, anti-government terrorist"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Chuck Hagel wasn't the problem. It's America's addiction to endless war.
Subscribe to the Week