By Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin
One year ago today, assistant United States attorneys elicited admissions of criminal activity in open federal court from a man who went into an office building on Aug. 15, 2012, in downtown Washington and shot a building manager – shattering the major bones in his left arm. The shooter, Floyd Lee Corkins II, wanted to kill as many people in the building as he could. Fortunately, his rampage of violence was cut short by the man he shot, Leo Johnson, before he could become a mass murderer of the employees at the Family Research Council (FRC).
Corkins was a pro-gay political activist. He told investigators that "he wanted to kill the people in the building and then smear a Chick-fil-A sandwich in their face[s]." Less than a month earlier, Chick-fil-A restaurants had seen a massive, national demonstration of support when it was learned that a foundation associated with the firm's owners gave some minor financial support to organizations that supported natural marriage. Thus, in Corkins' mind the restaurant chain became associated with opposition to his pro-homosexual political agenda.
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Corkins entered the Family Research Council with a 9 mm pistol, two ammunition clips of 15 rounds in his front pocket, the rounds in the gun and a box of 50 additional rounds. He also had 15 individually wrapped Chick-fil-A sandwiches. He was not puffing things up when he told his interrogators that he intended "to kill as many people as [he] could."
But how did this would-be assassin fix on the Family Research Council as his target? According to the government's filing, Corkins used the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to identify FRC as an anti-gay organization, when FRC is actually a pro-family organization championing faith, family and freedom. In fact, the SPLC annually creates a list of organizations that it targets for opprobrium by placing them on its "Hate Map." The map is quite a production. It is released annually to much fanfare and is posted online. Listed organizations are then located geographically on maps of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
It is the intention of the SPLC to fix animus and hostility on the organizations it places on its Hate Map. Many of these groups are part of racist or supremacist entities, but recently the SPLC places groups that oppose expanded immigration policies on the map. Finally, it now includes some groups that oppose liberalized standards of sexual morality and the redefinition of marriage. There is no resemblance of such groups to violent, extremist organizations. But, that is the point. The SPLC wants to associate groups that have voiced moral objections to same-sex marriage with groups like the Skinheads. It is a powerful campaign of defamation, bullying and destruction.
Make no mistake – the SPLC didn't take Floyd Corkins to the gun shop where he purchased his weapons. Mr. Corkins chose his actions freely, and as far as we know he was never in contact with the SPLC. Rather, the SPLC, and the political left, were completely content to create a flammable political-social environment, light a match, toss it in the direction of the fuel and then walk away. Corkins was convicted by a federal court of perpetrating an act of domestic terrorism, and the chain of causation undeniably led back to the SPLC.
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Nothing speaks to the SPLC's inhumanity as its behavior after the shooting at FRC. How would you react if you had created a map that was used by a terrorist to attempt to kill dozens of people? Wouldn't decent people conclude instantly or quickly or maybe even slowly that you were fortunate to have escaped being forever linked to mass murder? Wouldn't you change course? Of course, that is what decent people would do, but decent people do not run the SPLC.
Instead, the SPLC is run by the sort of political ideologues who can dissociate their actions from the humanity of the people they harm. There has been no change to the Hate Map, nor will there be. There was never any concern expressed directly to Leo Johnson after the shooting, nor will there be. They apparently see the Leo Johnsons of the world as collateral damage on an inexorable march to a better world freed from religion.
How much time does the SPLC need to change or at least fake it? One year has passed since its connection to Corkins' act of terrorism was clearly laid out in a federal court in Washington, D.C. How much time would you have needed to say, "Enough is enough"? Think about that the next time you hear someone on the left praising the SPLC.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin is the executive vice president of the Family Research Council, and a 36-year veteran of the U.S. Army.