Arkansas shooter had more targets in mind

Thus far, the murder of a soldier in Arkansas has not generated much interest outside of the conservative blogosphere, certainly nothing like the coverage of the murder of George Tiller by an anti-abortion extremist in Kansas.  Initial reports on the suspect, Abdulhakim Muhammad, made his motivation seem murky.  ABC News and other later reports make it clear that Muhammad, born Carlos Bledsoe, had intended to go on a hate-inspired murder spree that only quick action by local law enforcement stopped:

The Arkansas man accused of killing an Army recruiter and wounding another had used the popular Google Maps application to investigate recruiting centers in at least five states, as well as Jewish institutions, a day-care center, a post office and a Baptist Church, according to a report issued Tuesday evening by the Department of Homeland Security, ABC News has learned.

Recruiting centers in New York, Atlanta, Louisville and Philadelphia were on a list of possible targets, based on evidence found in the home of the suspect, Muslim-convert Abdulhakim Muhammed, according to the report.

The report was prepared based on the evidence seized in a search of Muhammed’s home that included information indicating that he had used Google maps to investigate various locations.

Secure Community Network, a not-for-profit group that addresses security concerns among some of the national Jewish leadership, and is widely considered to be a reliable source on potential threats to that community, expanded on the government report to conclude that, “Muhammad may have considered and conducted research on other targets in addition to the military recruiting center in Little Rock, including military sites, government facilities, as well as Jewish institutions in several cities throughout the United States.

“Law enforcement officials have reported that Muhammad may have researched Jewish entities in Little Rock, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Louisville and Memphis. It is unknown at this time if other locations were considered,” according to SCN, which is a Jewish Federations of North America initiative.

Apparently, the recent convert to Islam came back from his instruction in Yemen with a mission.  Muhammad returned to the US after traveling on forged papers, which should have triggered prosecution on his return — or at least a lot more interest.  The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has its plate full, to be sure, with thousands of leads and potential suspects.  The faked Somali passport and the stop in a terrorist hotbed like Yemen looks like a big red flag, admittedly in retrospect, although I wonder how many other Americans have traveled to Yemen under those same circumstances.

Clearly, though, the impetus was not just an anti-military sentiment alone.  Muhammad’s choice of targets shows an animus towards America and the values we hold dear.  He wanted to go after places of worship, primarily but not exclusively Jewish.  The day-care center seems particularly despicable.  Not only did he not care whether children would get killed, he at least considered deliberately targeting them.

If anything points out the implacable and evil nature of the terrorists aligned against us, Muhammad and his mission from Yemen should make that clear.