How many stories have you seen on the broadcast networks or cable networks—any of the networks—about the first-ever domestic terrorism conviction in our nation’s capital? Is same-sex marriage such a politically correct issue that no one wants to inform the public when a gay-rights political activist shoots someone in an attempted mass-murder?
On Aug. 15th, Floyd Corkins entered the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Family Research Council (FRC) with a handgun and almost 100 rounds of ammunition (the pistol was fully-loaded, plus two 15-round extended magazines, and a box of another 50 rounds in his backpack). He gained entry by claiming to be applying for an internship.
When the front-desk manager asked for identification, Corkins pulled his gun from the backpack and attempted to shoot that manager—Leo Johnson—in the head. Johnson slapped the gun away as Corkins pulled the trigger, so the bullet struck Johnson in the arm instead, shattering a bone in his forearm. Despite his injury, Johnson wrested the gun away from Corkins and held him at gunpoint until D.C. police and the FBI arrived.
On Feb. 6, Corkins pleaded guilty to three felonies in federal court. One was assault with intent to kill while armed, another was crossing state lines with a gun to commit a crime, and the third is a groundbreaking conviction for committing an act of domestic terrorism.
As a condition of accepting his plea deal—under which Corkins could spend the rest of his life in federal prison—Corkins signed a detailed confession in a Statement of Offense obtained by Breitbart News:
[Corkins] pointed the gun at the guard [Johnson], and that he intended to shoot and kill the guard, and then go upstairs and shoot and kill “as many people as he could.”
He was a political activist and considered the FRC a lobbying group. He committed the shooting for political reasons. He had identified the FRC an anti-gay [marriage] organization on the Southern Poverty Law Center website...
If the police had not responded and caught him at the FRC, he planned to go directly to the second organization on his list and perpetrate a similar shooting there.
Regarding the list referred to in this statement: Corkins had gone to the Southern Proverty Law Center (SPLC) website, where SPLC labels as “hate groups” various organizations with which it disagrees politically, equating them as moral equivalents to organizations that perpetrate or promote violence.
There were four of SPLC’s “hate groups” on Corkins’ list. “Each of the four listed organizations are nationally recognized advocacy groups that openly identify themselves as having socially conservative agendas,” reads the statement.
Yet SPLC cast FRC in terms that allowed a twisted mind like Corkins' to think of FRC as a dangerous organization. For example, SPLC’s Heidi Beirich told a reporter, “there is no difference between the FRC and the KKK in the eyes of the SPLC now.” In that same interview, SPLC’s representative said that a politician speaking at an FRC event was like addressing a white-supremacist rally.
Even liberal writers have a problem with SPLC’s reckless use calling its opponents “hate groups.” A Harper’s article complained that SPLC, “is essentially a fraud and that it has a habit of casually labeling organizations as ‘hate groups’... In doing so, the SPLC shuts down debate, stifles free speech, and most of all, raises a pile of money, very little of which is used on behalf of poor people.”
Yet even some supposedly-conservative media outlets are not discussing this story. Ken Blackwell—who is in the leadership of a range of organizations from the National Rifle Association to the Club for Growth, and also is a senior fellow at FRC—tells Breitbart News: “It is shameful to see how many are giving a foaming-at-the-mouth radical-left organization a pass for inciting such violence... the story should be everywhere. This is real news.”
If someone from a Christian ministry had walked into a gay-rights organization, opened fire, then got convicted of domestic terrorism, you can bet there would be wall-to-wall coverage on every news channel.
Regardless of the explanation, the decreasing coverage of newsworthy stories involving social issues is a disturbing trend. If it continues, more Americans will turn to new-media outlets to learn what’s really going on in their world.
The indictment, plea agreement, and Statement of Offense can be read in their entirety below:
Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is also senior fellow for religious liberty at the Family Research Council.