Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Home Fires

From the New York Times:

A lawyer for Matthew Hale, the white supremacist convicted last year of plotting to kill a federal judge whose husband and mother were slain last week, said on Tuesday that Mr. Hale’s mother called him a few months ago and asked him to pass on an encoded message to one of Mr. Hale’s supporters.

“She said she didn’t know what the message meant, but she was going to read it to me verbatim because Matt made her write it down when she visited him,” the lawyer, Glenn Greenwald, said in an interview. “It was two or three sentences that were very cryptic and impossible to understand in terms of what they were intended to convey.”

This may have nothing to do whatever with the Lefkow case, but it is a reminder that “terrorists” aren’t just a bunch of guys from the Middle East; we’ve got our own bumper crop of nutjobs growing right here, and they are every bit as dedicated to the destruction of America as Osama bin Laden. As Nicholas Kristof notes,

After the Oklahoma City bombing, American law enforcement authorities cracked down quite effectively on domestic racists and militia leaders. But Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors 760 hate groups with about 100,000 members, notes that after 9/11, the law enforcement focus switched overwhelmingly to Arabs.

The Feds are right to be especially alarmed about Al Qaeda. But we also need to be more vigilant about the domestic white supremacists, neo-Nazis and militia members. After all, some have more W.M.D. than Saddam.

Two years ago, for example, a Texan in a militia, William Krar, was caught with 25 machine guns and other weapons, a quarter-million rounds of ammunition, 60 pipe bombs and enough sodium cyanide to kill hundreds of people.

We were too complacent about Al Qaeda and foreign terrorists before 9/11. And now we’re too complacent about homegrown threats.