Since we’ve been talking about domestic right wing terrorism of late, I wanted to elaborate on a point I made here. Today, the Department of Justice released a list of all the terrorist-related individuals it found guilty in civilian courts since 9/11. And Scott Roeder, who was found guilty of killing George Tiller on January 29, 2010, is not on that list.
There are two reasons why it might be churlish for me to make that observation. First, the list was released in response to a specific request from the Senate Judiciary Committee in the context of debates over civilian versus military trials for Gitmo detainees, which suggests SJC was interested in a certain kind of terrorist (though, at least in Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich’s response, it seems that the request was not specific to international terrorists). Also, in response to that request, DOJ simply provided a list started during the Bush Administration, and the list was explicitly limited to international terrorists.
The National Security Division’s International Terrorism and Terrorism-Related Statistics Chart tracks convictions resulting from international terrorism investigations conducted since September 11, 2001, including investigations of terrorist acts planned or committed outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States over which Federal criminal jurisdiction exists and those within the United States involving international terrorists and terrorist groups.
In other words, to develop a list of all terrorists–rather than just the terrorists the National Security Division considers terrorists–it would have to cull out the names of Americans who also engaged in terrorism.
So what would it take, then, for DOJ to consider a guy who stalked a doctor for years, who collaborated with a number of other people engaged in intimidation and violence, and ultimately gunned a man down while he was worshiping at church, a terrorist?
If we find evidence that, in addition to harboring pedophiles, Pope Benedict and the American Catholic Bishops have been intimidating women and their doctors, would Scott Roeder be considered a terrorist (recognizing, of course, there is no allegation that the Catholic Church endorses violence of the type Roeder used)? Or would it take a brown man, involved in the plot, for DOJ to consider this terrorism?