Over the weekend, Jim D. Adkisson, 58 (pictured at left), walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, TN with a shotgun and opened fire. He killed two people: Greg McKendry, 60, and Linda Kraeger, 61. Five more are in serious or critical condition.
There is no question that Adkisson did the shooting. He has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bail. Because the "use of force to interrupt practice of religion is a civil rights violation," the FBI will be working with the local "DA to decide if there will be federal charges."
The question authorities are still trying to answer is why. One witness reportedly said that Adkisson "was saying hateful things" before he starting shooting, and the FBI is "assisting in case the shooting turn[s] out be a hate crime."
Pam reports that the church, like many Unitarian Universalist churches, was gay-, civil-, and women's rights affirming, hosted a teen café for out teens and their allies, and had recently put up a sign welcoming LGBTQs to the congregation.
At a press conference this morning, Police Chief Sterling Owen revealed, among other items, that Adkisson cited as his motivation "Lack of being able to obtain job, frustration, stated hatred for the liberal movement." Adkisson also reportedly admitted that he had been planning the attack for at least a week and "chose this church intentionally," because "he was targeting liberals in general, and gays."
One wonders if conservatives will start finding stuff like this any less funny. One doubts that they will.
I've read dozens of stories about this incident this morning, in local, national, and international press, and nowhere has Adkisson been called a terrorist, despite his tactic and motives being the textbook definition. The Bush administration's record of no terrorist attacks on American soil—despite anthrax and copycat mailings, bombings, beatings, church fires, and attacks on women's health clinics—continues unabated.