The bitter backlash from conservative talking heads Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingraham. O’Reilly has taken a lot of heat for some of his hateful comments toward Dr. George Tiller, a man who legally provided abortions to women in need. Dr. Tiller was assassinated this week by a man who appears to be an anti-abortion extremist who was willing to stop at nothing to stop a man like Dr. George Tiller. Also, recently in the news, is the story of a man (23-year-old Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad) who is being named as the killer of a soldier and a wounder of another due to his anger about the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like the case of Dr. George Tiller, this is a tragic crime that can not and must not go unpunished.
Here is where the story gets interesting. As O’Reilly and others on the far right have been taking heat for their hateful rhetoric toward Dr. Tiller that may have lit the fuse for his murder, the conservative commentator appeared to be teaming with Ingraham (a fellow right winger) to exploit the tragedy of the soldier’s murder to again attack liberals, including NBC and MSNBC.
Consider these remarks from Ingraham and O’Reilly (as reported by Think Progress):
INGRAHAM: Are we now going to look at the websites that he frequented to see if he was on some of the crazy left-wing anti-war websites, Win Without War, George Soros-funded websites, DailyKos, all the crazies. … The way they are reporting on the George Tiller murder, all of talk radio was responsible for that. … Did he frequent MSNBC, did he like to watch it? [...]
O’REILLY: Since they have been unrelenting in describing their country as a torture nation, I’m sure that set this Muslim guy off to kill one and wound another of our military and I’m sure that’s NBC’s fault. Look, the absurdity of this is beyond the pale.
Whilere there is some tongue-in-cheek here (perhaps from O’Reilly), I suspect, but the thought behind the words is unmistakable. Whether Muhammad may or may not have watched liberal networks or read liberal blogs is irrelevant in this case. Muhammad has expressed (to the law enforcement officials) that he was angered by the deaths of Muslims in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Here is an article from the New York Times:
In a lengthy interview with the police, Mr. Muhammad said he was angry about the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chief Thomas said. Previously known as Carlos Bledsoe, Mr. Muhammad told investigators that he had converted to Islam as a teenager, Chief Thomas said.
Chief Thomas said investigators believe that Mr. Muhammad acted alone. He seemed to be familiar with the Army recruiting office because it was not far from his home, the chief said, but might have been on the prowl for anyone in uniform.
“I would say he was looking for any and all targets of opportunity that happened to be military,” the chief said in a telephone interview. “That may have well been the first place he found.”
Mr. Muhammad will be charged with one count of capital murder and 15 counts of terroristic acts, one for each person who was hit or endangered by the shots he fired. Thirteen people were in the recruiting office at the time.
Muhammad’s reprehensible actions, based on police interrogation, were motivated by the results of the war … not by hate speech.
On the victims:
The dead soldier was identified as Pvt. William A. Long, 23, of Conway, about 30 miles north of Little Rock. The other victim, Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, 18, was in stable condition at Baptist Medical Center, Chief Stuart Thomas of the Little Rock Police Department said.
New York Times: