WASHINGTON, March 6, 2010 — -- The man who opened fire at the Pentagon Thursday is part of a growing pattern in the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. John Patrick Bedell is described as an angry "lone wolf."
Bedell, according to family and friends, was mentally ill and a marijuana user. But he also had extreme views about the government, and he laid out those feelings in audio postings on the Internet.
"When governments are able to confiscate the resources of their citizens to fund schemes that only need to be justified by lies and deception, enormous disasters can result," he said in one post.
There has been a lone wolf attack against the government in each of the first three months of this year. In February, Joseph Stack, infuriated with the Internal Revenue Service, made a suicide flight in his plane into the agency's offices in Austin, Texas. One IRS worker was killed.
In January, Johnny Lee Wicks lost a case in court appealing a cut in his Social Security benefits. Wicks opened fire in the courthouse killing a security guard. Wicks was shot dead by other guards.
Napolitano talked about these "lone wolves" just a week before the Pentagon shooting.
"We have seen an increase in the lone wolf type attacks, which, from a law enforcement and investigation perspective, are the most challenging. Why? Because by definition they're not conspiring. They're not using the phones, the computer networks, or any -- they're not talking with others any other way that we might get some inkling about what is being planned," the secretary told a House of Representatives sub-committee.
But a leading civil rights group says there has also been an alarming increase in the number of organized hate groups. The
Controversy Around Linking Extremist Ideas to Tea Party Movement
The recession and government spending is fueling the growth, Potok says.
"I think these are all prompted by the rise of Obama to power and these real changes that are happening around us. People are really angry and hurting out there, and many of them feel quite ready to take action," he says.
But Potok has created controversy because he has taken his theory a step further linking some of these ideas to the Tea Party movement.
"While I don't think it's fair to say the Tea Party movement as an entity is an extremist movement, I don't think there is any doubt at all that it's a movement that is shot through with radical ideas, with conspiracy theories and in many instances with real racist feelings about non-white people, " he writes.
Matt Kibbe, who heads FreedomWorks and is taken part in several Tea Party events, responded by saying, "I think it's dead wrong. And first of all I have got to say I have never seen, and would not tolerate, any racism, any violence and even any hate."
He added, "Frankly, it's a little slanderous to these good people, these moms, these dads, these college kids, to suggest somehow, that because they show up, because they want to have their voices heard, that they are in any way associated with the things that the Southern Policy Center says."