Shooter chose conservative group to target from list of "hate groups" posted on SPLC website

I have little to add to what you’ve read from Ace, John Sexton, R.S. McCain, Erick Erickson and others. We’re all thinking the same thing — see Twitchy for proof — and we’re all correct: Why yes, this is eerily similar to the left claiming after Gabby Giffords was shot that Palin’s “crosshairs” election map inspired Jared Loughner. With two differences. First, Loughner was not, in fact, inspired by Palin whereas this guy, per his own plea bargain, did consult the SPLC website in choosing people to kill. Second, you’ll see zero coverage of this inconvenient entry in the canon of political hate in wider media because it can’t be used as a blunt object with which to bludgeon the right. Sometimes facts that undermine the Greater Good need to be politely omitted. That’s what responsible journalism is all about.

Prosecutors say Corkins, who had been volunteering at a center for gay, lesbian and transgender people, was carrying ammunition and Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his bag. Chick-fil-A was making headlines at the time because of its president’s stated opposition to gay marriage.

Corkins intended to smear the sandwiches in the faces of his victims to make a statement about gay rights opponents, he acknowledged during a hearing Wednesday…

In his plea agreement, Corkins acknowledged he identified the [Family Research] Council as “an anti-gay organization” by visiting Southern Poverty’s website. The head of the Council, Tony Perkins, called on the group to stop labeling his organization and others hate groups because of their stance on gay issues. A spokeswoman for the Alabama-based Law Center did not immediately return a telephone message…

“He targeted us because we had been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which we think is very reckless,” [FRC employee Leo Johnson] says.

Absent a clear exhortation to violence, I don’t blame demagogues for what the most violent lunatics among their following derive from their demagoguery. That slope’s too slippery. The point here isn’t that the SPLC is to blame for what Corkins did, the point is that hysteria about incitement runs only one way in major media, with virtually no coherent explanation apart from raw partisan advantage. To believe (erroneously) that Palin’s map inspired Loughner but that the SPLC’s “hate map” didn’t inspire Corkins, you have to presume to read two incomprehensibly scrambled minds and conclude that the use of a symbol in a metaphorical context, rather than a blacklist devoted to shaming evil groups, is the tipping point for violent action. Why anyone would presume that, I don’t know; if we’re searching for catalysts to a rampage in a disturbed mind, there’s no obvious reason why demonizing someone by adding them to a “hate” list wouldn’t work just as well as, or better than, an electoral map that uses gun symbolism vis-a-vis defeating incumbents at the polls. Funny thing, though: The SPLC itself was verrrrry quick to try to tie Jared Loughner to the “far right”, and kept at it long enough that they were posting speculative pieces about “political rhetoric” and its role in the Tucson shooting as late as 13 days after it occurred. Not only are they comfortable with a free-speech slippery slope when it’s right-wingers who are at risk, they’re willing and eager to add some grease. They richly deserve the bad PR they’re getting today, even if they’re blameless in the shooting. If you doubt that, visit Reason’s extensive archive on SPLC nonsense.