John Patrick Bedell: Did Right-Wing Extremism Lead to Shooting?

By Grier, Peter | The Christian Science Monitor, March 5, 2010 | Go to article overview

John Patrick Bedell: Did Right-Wing Extremism Lead to Shooting?


Grier, Peter, The Christian Science Monitor


Authorities have identified John Patrick Bedell as the gunman in the Pentagon shooting. He appears to have been a right-wing extremist with virulent antigovernment feelings.

John Patrick Bedell, whom authorities identified as the gunman in the Pentagon shooting on Thursday, appears to have been a right- wing extremist with virulent antigovernment feelings.

If so, that would make the Pentagon shooting the second violent extremist attack on a federal building within the past month. On Feb. 18, Joseph Stack flew a small aircraft into an IRS building in Austin, Texas. Mr. Stack left behind a disjointed screed in which, among other things, he expressed his hatred of the government. (For more on this incident, click here.)

Details of Mr. Bedell's case are still emerging. But writings by someone with his same name and birth date, posted on the Internet, express ill will toward the government and the armed forces and question whether Washington itself might have been behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

However, law enforcement officials have yet to publicly state their theories as to Bedell's motives.

"I have no idea what his intentions were," said the chief of Pentagon police, Richard Keevill, in a Friday press conference.

According to Mr. Keevill, Bedell was a California native who slowly made his way to Washington by car over the past several weeks.

At about 6:40 p.m. on Thursday, Bedell, dressed in a business suit, approached an entrance to the Pentagon that is linked to the Washington's Metro system. Asked for identification, he pulled out a semiautomatic weapon and opened fire.

At that time of day, that particular Pentagon entrance is teeming with people, as it is a main connection with both subway and buses and with the building's vast commuter parking lots. …

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