Feb 9, 2006

Scorched Sanctuaries: Alabama Residents Fear Unknown Arsonists

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Left: Alabama Governor Bob Riley with state investigator, courtesy of CBS.com.

The fires that burned nine Alabama churches to the ground in the past two weeks may be linked, and state officials say they are seeking two white males for questioning in the fires.

All of the churches involved belonged to Baptist denominations. Five of the nine churches have large African American congregations, as do all four churches in the fires set on Tuesday.

Witnesses described two men driving a dark-colored SUV near churches in Bibb County, south of Birmingham, and in Sumter and Greene counties, said Ragan Ingram, assistant commissioner of the Alabama Department of Insurance.

Austin Banks, an FBI special agent working on the case, agreed that there were “many common signs” between the arson attacks. Most of the buildings showed signs of forced entry, and the fires were ignited near the pulpit of the churches.

“It’s a sad sight to see a smouldering church, particularly when it doesn’t have a rich congregation,” Mr Banks said. “This is going to be our top priority until we put someone in jail.”

I have never understood the type of thinking that could lead someone to engage in an act of such utter despicability. There are few places left on the planet where people can go for solace, and these demented individuals are attacking more than just houses of worship - most of these churches served as community centers.

And what form of "justice" would be appropriate for such sociopathic individuals, whose primary goal seems to be deriving pleasure from the pain and terror of others?

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope they catch the sick sons-a-bitches and throw them in a bonfire.


Petrograde

Lisa Renee said...

There are few places left on the planet where people can go for solace...

That's exactly why they target churches. To cause the most amount of fear and pain possible without them putting themselves into a position of confrontation. It's a more effective method of hurting a large part of a community, especially if there is a community center, destroy what brings them together, what unites them.

The never ending type that has such miserable lives the only way they feel good is to destroy things or people that others love.

historymike said...

Agreed, anonymous, in the vigilante corner of my heart.


Also agreed, Lisa, on the twisted motivations these freaks have.

Stefan Schmidt said...

Some of the destroyed churches had a predominately White congregation. I doubt that the perpetrators were motivated by ‘racism.’

An interesting theory is that the arsonists could be Jews angered by the Baptist church and its aggressive policy of proselytizing Jews.

This is just a theory, however….

Stephanie said...

"And what form of "justice" would be appropriate for such sociopathic individuals, whose primary goal seems to be deriving pleasure from the pain and terror of others?"

Is Abu Ghraib still open?

Stefan Schmidt said...

Is Abu Ghraib still open?
=====

Wow… A complete change in attitude from your previous post:

And this is the "justice" that some people want to revert back to?

Stephanie said...

Historymike described two people being tried for a crime someone else was already killed for...thus my comment. Killing someone before you know the extent of the crime or can be sure of the criminal is wrong. Which is the only thing that makes the death penalty questionable for me.

My point is if Abu Ghraib is "good enough" for the terrorists who are working over-seas, then it should be "good enough" for the terrorists here at home.

Of course, you wouldn't get that since the only reason you seem to think it's wrong is because some predominantly white churches were involved.

Stefan Schmidt said...

Of course, you wouldn't get that since the only reason you seem to think it's wrong is because some predominantly white churches were involved.
======

I was trying to dispel any rumors that the perpetrators were motivated by ‘racism.’

If you re-read Mike’s entry then you will see that he was hinting at a possibility that these crimes were motivated by race.

M A F said...

9 churches in the past week. It was reported that of the first 5 fires, 4 predominately white churches were burned to the one predominately black church. Well now the count is 5 predominately black churches, 4 white.

An interesting coincidence, the fires occurred in the same week that Coretta Scott King died. And the number of black church fires increased after reports revealed the early 4 to 1 ratio. Almost as if the terrorist burned the wrong churches down by mistake.

The fires aren't referred to as acts of terrorism. There is an ideology at work here.

Stefan Schmidt said...

My point is if Abu Ghraib is "good enough" for the terrorists who are working over-seas, then it should be "good enough" for the terrorists here at home.
=====

I am not sure that you could classify these church burnings as terrorist ‘attacks’.

=====
Of course, you wouldn't get that since the only reason you seem to think it's wrong is because some predominantly white churches were involved.
======

People generally have more empathy for others that are more similar to themselves in characteristic.

You will most likely feel more emotional ‘distress’ over a slain dog than a ‘smashed’ ant.

M A F said...

terrorism;
The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.


Definately applicable to the church burnings Stephan.

Stephanie said...

macdonald,

"The fires aren't referred to as acts of terrorism. There is an ideology at work here."

And there isn't an ideology at work with terrorism?

Stephanie said...

"You will most likely feel more emotional 'distress' over a slain dog than a 'smashed' ant."

It depends on the dog, I guess. However, we were talking about dogs and ants, we were talking about people. Your demented differenciations do not interest me.

Stefan Schmidt said...

Definately applicable to the church burnings Stephan.
=====

It depends on the perpetrators intentions. They are obviously going to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties which suggest (at least to me) that they have no desire to ‘intimidate’ anyone.

M A F said...

Stephan,
note the language of the definition, "property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons." Thus, the fires are acts of intimidation (terrorism), without casualties. One need not have casualties to have committed an act of terrorism.


Stephanie,
"And there isn't an ideology at work with terrorism?"

Of course there is. There is most certainly an ideology behind these acts of arson, these acts of terrorism. My point was that the fires are not being referred to as acts of terrorism by the MSM.

Nikki said...

Well, I hate this and I really have hesitated to muddy the waters, however, a good friend of mine has a theory. As Stefan raises the question of Jews doing this, how about Christian Identity adherents? These people loathe mainstream Christians and they loathe black people.Additionally, since August Kreiss has moved into that region - there might very well be a connection.

Regardless of who is doing it - and yes I do believe there is an ideology at work here - could very well be classified as domestic terrorists.

Stephanie said...

Mac,

"My point was that the fires are not being referred to as acts of terrorism by the MSM."

Sorry, the way I read that I thought you were saying they weren't acts of terrorism because they had an ideology behind them.

Stefan Schmidt said...

I never said in my previous post that acts of ‘terrorism’ had to involve casualties. I said that I believe the perpetrators main motivation may not be ‘intimidation’ but that remains to be seen…

Stefan Schmidt said...

These people loathe mainstream Christians
======

They disagree with mainstream Christians but they do not loathe them…

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they loathe black people
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Not really, they believe Black people are enosh and thus have no place in Heaven.

They definitely do not trust Jews, however, and so that leads me to conclude that if it was people who subscribe to Christian Identity then they would have targeted a synagogue instead of a Church (not to mention 4 White churches).

======
I hate this and I really have hesitated to muddy the waters
=======

The water was already muddy, Nikki. : )

Nikki said...

Stefan - part of their teachings is that Judeo-Christian churches should be eradicated and that the lying preachers of the same should be hung. They believe that the Jews use the Judeo-Christian Churches as a way to control white people - and I don't know how to tell you this, but they have openly talk of burning Christain churches and committing violence against "non-believers."

Stefan Schmidt said...

Nikki,

No person who subscribes to Christian Identity that I have met (internet or in person) is that extreme such that they advocate the killing of Whites who subscribe to mainstream Christianity or simply do not subscribe to Christian Identity.

M A F said...

No problem Stephanie.


Stephan, I responded to the following comment that you made, "They are obviously going to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties which suggest (at least to me) that they have no desire to ‘intimidate’ anyone."

According to you, since there are no casualties associated with the fires, you don't believe that there is any effort to intimidate (read: terrorize) the various members of these churches.

So, conversely if there were casualties you would then view these arson fires as acts of intimidation, terrorism. But as I already commented, one need not have casualties to have committed an act of terrorism.

-Sepp said...

I recall that back in the 1980's there were a rash of black church fires in the south. So much uproar was created that some form of federal funding was made available for the effected churches to rebuild. The story died after a minister was caught torching his own church to get the money. Does anyone else recall this?