Domestic Terrorism in the United States
Cases of domestic terrorism have been rampant in the United States, with citizens being the perpetrators of such violence. The FBI reports that between the years 1980 to 2000, over 335 cases of terrorist attacks were carried out by U.S. citizens (Wyatt, 2005). Usually, such attacks are done in form of organized crime, where an individual joins a crime syndicate which professes the same beliefs as he, and uses the resources and the support to further an act of violence against the citizens. Such acts must occur within the territorial boundaries of the United States so as to be classified under this category. This paper recognizes that there are quite a number of terrorist organizations within the U.S., but primary focus will be drawn to the Army of God, in which Eric Rudolph was a powerful force.
Eric Rudolph, born in September 19, 1966, is commonly known as the Olympic Park Bomber who has perpetrated a series of anti-gay and anti-abortion-motivated bombings especially in the southern part of the U.S. between 1966 and 1988. When he was a teenager, Rudolph went to the Church of Israel, which was affiliated to the Christian Identity movement, which was described as an anti-Semitic, racist, and militant organization that prejudices against the white as God’s chosen people. After he had received his GED, he joined West Carolina University where he stayed for two semesters, after which he enlisted in the army and underwent a basic training in Georgia at Fort Benning. In 1989, Rudolph was relieved of his duties while serving at the 101st Airborne Division in Kentucky, due to his alleged involvement with marijuana. Just before his discharge in 1988, he had gone to the Air Assault School, and attained the title of a specialist. His most outstanding terrorist work is the Centennial Olympic Park Bombing which occurred in 1996 in Atlanta during the Summer Olympics (Wyatt, 2005). In this incidence, two people and injured 111 others. In addition, Rudolph also confessed to bombing an abortion clinic in Sandy Springs in 1997; an abortion clinic in Birmingham; and the Otherside Lounge of Atlanta Lesbian Bar (Wyatt, 2005).
Rudolph is motivated by religious values and beliefs, which he states, uphold the sacredness of life. He protests against the U.S. government’s decision to legalize abortion, as well as other forms of ‘illegitimate’ sexual orientations. As such, he wished to create a public figure of a strong opposition against these policies, to marshal public support to exterminate the destruction of the lives of infants, and the misuse of the body through inappropriate sexual acts. In the Summer Olympics, he wanted to propagate a cancellation of the event, to display to the entire world the crime being committed by the U.S. government in legalizing abortion (Wyatt, 2005).
The actions carried out by Rudolph in conjunction with the Army of God did not immediately bear fruits, but later, policies regarding the legality of abortion were altered. Hitherto, abortion can only be carried out when it is confirmed by an accredited medical practitioner that it is absolutely warranted. Rudolph was later arrested in 2003 after being on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, and he pleaded guilty to numerous state and federal homicide charges. He was given four consecutive life sentences, and narrowly avoiding the imminent death sentence. He is currently incarcerated in Florence, Colorado, at the ADX Florence supermax prison (Wyatt, 2005).
Wyatt K., Associated Press (2005). “Eric Rudolph, proud killer“. Newspaper online version. Associated Press/The Decatur Daily. Retrieved 2013-17-7.