This was one of my 'angry' political columns that attracted me attention from a certain fringe group I'll call neo-conservatives. They're the ones that sent in letters, demanding I be 1) fired or 2) killed. They went online and bravely called me anti-American, communist, and all that noise. At this point, I'd had half a dozen death threats, and I was enjoying pissing them off every week. I will say, though, that when this story broke, it infuriated me like little else had since the war started.
“People around here, they take care of their own. You can't put a price on a man's head, and I don't know anybody who would have given him up, even for a million dollars.''*
This person is speaking of whom? Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, you might say? You would be wrong. This person, Sarah Greenfield of Marble, North Carolina, is referring to Eric Robert Rudolph, the alleged Olympic Park bomber. Rudolph is suspected in four bombings between July 1996 and January 1998. He also is reported to belong to the fringe religion, Christian Identity, which is outspokenly opposed to abortion and homosexuality and is vehemently anti-Semitic.
The Christian Identity religion stresses that northern Europeans are the “true” Israelites and that all other races are “mud people.” They also espouse the idea that the Holocaust never happened.
Rudolph has been in hiding since the end of January 1998 in the Appalachian Mountains, avoiding any and all attempts by federal agents to bring him in. In western North Carolina, he has become a mythic figure, featured famously on the “Run Rudolph Run” t-shirts and supported outwardly by some of the region’s fundamentalist conservatives.
When Rudolph was found and arrested by a rookie police officer in Murphy, North Carolina, he was dressed casually, in clean clothes, and was by all accounts presentable and neat. The overwhelming belief in the area is that he has been given support by some of the residents. Signs in front yards profess outward support for the man who has killed two and wounded nearly one hundred and fifty individuals.
Let us recap. Eric Rudolph is a terrorist, a man who detonated explosives and has killed people who did not agree with his personal beliefs. He belongs to a fringe fundamentalist religion that embraces hateful ideals. He has received support from the people who live near him and agree with his “crusade.” He has hidden in the mountains and avoided capture by U.S. government forces.
Does this sound familiar yet? It should.
The only real difference between Eric Robert Rudolph and Arab terrorists is the color of their God. Both sides think that they are justified in taking lives to further their own causes. Both sides’ beliefs are grounded in conservative religions; one Christianity, one Islam. Both sides have been given support by people who agree.
President Bush has pounded the podium and announced to the world that the United States would go after any country that harbored terrorism. By his broad standards, this means that the United States could go after any nation that had individuals who harbored terrorists. Which includes us. The signs in the front yards of Murphy, North Carolina are proof. The statement of the woman in Marble is further proof. The fact that Rudolph has survived five years in hiding – in nice clothing – is plenty. Is it possible that the man bought groceries, gear, and clothing in a region where his face is peppered across t-shirts, and no one noticed? It is possible, but it is not likely.
*Quoted from a Tim Whitmire AP story of 6/1/03.
Will the 101st Airborne drop into North Carolina? Will the feds find Weapons of Mass Destruction outside of Asheville? E-mail me at: yahoo.com to make your opinion known.