SPLC 'hate group' listing merits a dose of skepticism
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Another danger is guilt by association. That McVeigh and his compatriots frequented gun shows is a known fact. That a lot of people are doing so today isn't necessarily cause for alarm. It certainly doesn't put gun show buyers in the same camp as McVeigh. Yet this is the impression that SPLC tries to make.
The SPLC and its founder, Morris Dees, earn money from donations fueled by its alarmist communications and from suing on behalf of the victims of hate crimes. The group's name — which includes the words “poverty law center” — is a clue to how far it's strayed from helping the economically disadvantaged in the South. Why stray? Sensationalism sells. It brings in more money for SPLC and its wealthy founder.
When the epithet “extremist” is thrown out too loosely, it cheapens the term — just as “racism” has been cheapened by inappropriate usage. If everything is racist, then nothing is racist. Labeling has consequences, sometimes violent ones. Last month, Floyd Lee Corkins II pleaded guilty to shooting a security guard at a Family Research Council office in 2012. The Washington Examiner reported that Corkins said he targeted the office because FRC was labeled by Dees as a hate group.
Americans have no reason to fear the FRC. They have many reasons to fear Islamic extremists. These are the hate groups we need to focus on, yet the SPLC makes no mention of them in touting its latest hate group tally.