On Wednesday morning Floyd Lee Corkins II entered the headquarters of the conservative Christian group Family Research Council and allegedly shot a security guard in the arm. Corkins told the guard, "I don't like your politics" before firing the shot.
Reports say Corkins was subdued before any other shots were fired, and was charged Thursday with assault with intent to kill. He was found with a box of ammunition and 15 Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in his backpack, a possible reference to recent controversy over the fast-food chain's public condemnation of gay marriage.
The shooting has been classified by the FBI as an act of domestic terrorism, but has also drawn claims that media coverage of the event is biased. The Media Research Center, a conservative group with the mission of proving a liberal bias exists in the media, released a statement condemning the major television networks for not properly covering the shooting:
"The liberal media have repeatedly and deliberately turned a blind eye to the violent, hateful culture of liberalism, particularly their vicious attacks against those who advocate traditional Christian values and conservative principles," said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell. "Imagine if, God forbid, this exact same thing had happened at a Planned Parenthood or the Southern Law Poverty Center, which labelled both Chick-fil-A and FRC hate groups. We'd be hearing an endless loop of stories about the danger of militant, hate-filled right wing wackos."
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins also pointed to Southern Poverty Law Center as a possible cause of the shooting, saying the nonprofit that studies hate crimes gave Corkins a "license to shoot an unarmed man." Perkins said the Southern Poverty Law Center's "reckless rhetoric"—in 2010 it called the Family Research Council a hate group—led to the shooting.
Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow Mark Potok called Perkins's accusations "outrageous" and responded in a statement:
The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence … The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse—claims that are provably false.
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