By: Josh Bates | On February 6, 2015 the National Youth Front joined the ranks of American Renaissance and the National Policy Institute on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website as a so-called “academic” White Nationalist organization. While this designation is considered something akin to a badge of honor in White Nationalist and conservative circles, given recent events surrounding the SPLC’s Hate Map, it could be quite dangerous, even life-threatening, for organizations and their members.
Floyd Lee Corkins II, a self-described political activist known as the Chick-Fil-A-Sandwich Shooter, due to the 15 chicken sandwiches found in his backpack, openly admitted in a confession to investigators that he utilized the SPLC’s Hate Map in order to find his targets. According to the Statement of Offense submitted to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
On August 15, 2012, the defendant Floyd Lee Corkins, II…armed with a loaded semi-automatic pistol he had purchased in Virginia, two additional loaded magazines, and a box of ammunition, traveled from Virginia to the office headquarters of the Family Research Council (“FRC”) in Washington, D.C., intending to shoot and kill as many employees of the organization that he could. The FRC is a nationally-recognized conservative lobbying group that, according to its own mission statement, “shapes the public debate and formulates public policy that values human life and upholds the institutions of marriage and the family. (Martin)
When Corkins arrived at FRC headquarters he was confronted by building manager and security guard Leonardo Johnson who requested Corkins’ identification. Upon this request, Corkins reached into his backpack, pulled his pistol and shot Johnson in the arm. But Corkins’ murderous rampage was not to be as, despite his injury, Johnson was able to subdue Corkins and hold him at gunpoint until the authorities arrived.
Aside from the loaded magazines, ammunition, and plethora of sandwiches found in his backpack he admittedly planned on rubbing on his victims’ faces as a political statement against anti-gay policies, police also found a handwritten list containing the names of nationally recognized socially conservative organizations that Corkins planned on visiting his rage on.
After a search of Corkins’ personal computer it was verified that he had used the SPLC’s Hate Map in order to locate the FRC and the other unnamed organizations.
After the incident, FRC President Tony Perkins stated that “[The SPLC] can no longer say that it is not a source for those bent on committing acts of violence” and “[Corkins] had been given license to perpetuate this act of violence by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center which has systematically and recklessly labeled every organization with which they disagree as a ‘hate group’”.
Two years later Perkins’ statement would ring true when the SPLC was recently exposed by the mainstream after it was revealed that a notable and highly popular conservative had been listed as an anti-LGBT extremist on their website. On February 11, 2015 the SPLC, to little fanfare, reluctantly apologized for listing neurosurgeon and conservative political figure Dr. Ben Carson on its website’s Extremist Files section as “anti-LGBT”. While the apology seemed genuine at first, its shallowness was instantly betrayed.
Last week during the drama over Dr Carson, Craig Hicks, a 46 year old liberal and self-described “gun-toting atheist,” murdered 3 Muslims over what appears to have been a parking dispute. The family of the murder victims immediately stated that this was a hate-crime and despite the long argument over a parking space, the authorities have stated that “religious motivation” it has not been ruled out.
But how well does the hate-crime claim hold up? Many quotes made by Hicks have been lifted directly from his own Facebook account that demonstrate his abhorrence of religion in general, but none which show that he hated one more than another and none which would indicate that he wished to do violence toward religious people. This is bolstered by the fact that in the Likes section of his Facebook page he ‘Liked’ many liberal organizations and groups. Including Democratic candidates such as Megan Suhr, a former Democratic candidate from Iowa, Huffington Post (a popular left-leaning online news aggregator), and of course our friends at the Southern Policy Law Center.
This begs the question, why would someone who obviously aligns himself with the liberal left and who likes the SPLC possibly murder three people based on their race or religion?
Of course this is not to say that the SPLC had anything to do with Hicks’ crimes. Blaming the SPLC for motivating Hicks to murder based on the victims’ race would be analogous to blaming Richard Dawkins for fomenting Hicks’ anti-religious sentiment to the point of murder.
It does go to show, however, that the manner in which the SPLC determines “hate-groups” or “extremists” is absurdly one-sided in that the the vast majority of their targets fit in with what they call right-wing or conservative “extremists”, a minority of which have any actual history of violence. The SPLC is the epitome of the double standard. Their speech is never to blame for atrocities, yet somehow ours is. The reality is that the SPLC casts a wide net of blame because their targets are political, and being in their sights can be devastatingly lethal.
Martin, T. P. United States of America v. Floyd Lee Corkins, II. N.p.: Cnsnews.com, 6 Feb. 2013. PDF.
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