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

So asks the Christian Science Monitor, saying that “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.” But — unless I’m missing something — none of the facts given in the story actually support the claim that he was a “right-wing extremist.”

The story does say that “writings by someone with his same name and birth date, posted on the Internet,” (1) “express ill will toward the government and the armed forces and question whether Washington itself might have been behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” (2) “express[] a determination to see justice served in the case of Marine Col. James Sabow, who was found dead in his California home in 1991” (“a cause célèbre among extremists who consider that ruling a coverup by the government”), and (3) “expressed general hatred of Washington and added that exposing the Sabow case would be ‘a step toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolition.'” But where is the right-wing extremism in this?

I’m sure there are some right-wingers who dislike the armed forces, suggest that the Republican Bush (Jr.) Administration was behind the September 11 attacks, and conclude that the Republican Bush (Sr.) Administration covered up the death of a marine colonel. But those are hardly distinctively “right-wing” positions; if anything, I suspect they are slightly more associated with parts of the left wing than of the right wing. And expressions of ill will toward the government have been heard from the Left as well as the Right, just as expressions of militant or violent ill will have been heard from the extreme Left as well as the extreme Right. Is there some item I’m missing in the Monitor article that does support the suggestions in the headline, and the plain statement in the lead paragraph?

Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer.

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