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Barry, I certainly want law enforcement officials to have all the tools they need to go after those who use violence to make their point – whether they open fire at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. taking the life of a security guard, or target physicians. Law enforcement must do all it can to investigate these killers. But I just can’t believe the Department of Homeland Security’s approach of sweeping ALL pro-life supporters, or ALL military veterans together will help them identify those who intend to do harm. The idea that the DHS would define an entire class of people (those who oppose abortion and military veterans) as “right-wing extremists” was wrong when the report was leaked in April. It is still wrong today.
The fact is law enforcement has a difficult task. But, putting an entire class of people on a watch list just doesn’t make sense. I’m sure military veterans don’t want to be associated with Holocaust Museum shooting suspect, James Von Brunn, a World War II veteran who reportedly has ties to white supremacists and whose website spews anti-Semitic hate. Just as non-violent pro-life supporters don’t want to be attached to Scott Roeder, who is charged with murdering Dr. Tiller. Yes, investigators should investigate. Are Roeder’s claims of more violence real? Should Von Brunn’s background been a signal to authorities?
As I stated in my earlier post on the DHS report, there are extremists who are dangerous and the federal government should do all it can to protect us from those who break the law and commit violent and deadly crimes. But, let’s not resort to sweeping characterizations that put law-abiding citizens into the same category as these violent offenders.
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