http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/father_of_man_who_set_himself.html or http://tinyurl.com/yl6dz6w
Daniel Shaull left Dodge City for Oregon five days ago. He somehow had the money to take a bus from Dodge City, Kansas to Portland, Oregon, after he had called his family for assistance because he was broke. He attacked a very specific store that had been the site of animal rights demonstrations before. He set himself on fire and would have set the store on fire had he not run into a locked door. Mentally ill or not, there is both purposeful behavior which requires a good amount of mental effort and the possibility of a third party providing him with the money and the address to go to. At the end he was a suicide (fire) bomber, the first one I've heard of in the United States.
It is distasteful to attack the mentally ill dead, but the fact is that he tried to set someone's store on fire. This is a heinous crime without counting the number of firefighters who would have been put at risk. I remember when a firefighter died in Omaha because an acoustical ceiling collapsed from the weight of the water that had been poured into the building, crushing him to death. Like I have to explain to anyone that firefighters risk death every time that they put out a fire.
Terrorist acts deserve contempt and ridicule. It's politically correct to withhold some of that from a person who committed such an act when he seems to be mentally compromised, but he attempted a terrorist act. He targeted a store that was 1800 miles from where he had been living on the streets, and rode a bus those 1800 miles (plus all the transfers and roaming around). How did he even find the place?
The article doesn't say what kind of mental problems the man had.
If a somewhat mentally ill person robs a convenience store at gunpoint I have no sympathy for him if someone pots him on the spot. Daniel Shaull had the mental faculties to call for money, collect it from wherever (if you've done it you know that this task requires mental faculties), and conduct himself unaided from Dodge City, Kansas to Portland, Oregon. He was probably sane enough to assist in his own defense.
My conclusion is that this was a terrorist act conducted by a person who was sane enough to be held responsible for his own actions. It's a tragedy for his family, yes, but he did commit a terrorist act. He was as able as any of us to tell right from wrong.
Also, many citizens have suffered arson attacks, thefts, property destruction, deaths of their animals, and death threats against humans. Being politically correct in this case and "making allowances" or "having sympathy for the family" dodges the question of just how much contempt to have for a domestic terrorist. We're all sick of it. I am really disgusted with the idea that I might be denied a forum to express my contempt for these acts. The one terrorist who acts on behalf of the animal rights groups, we should be nice to because he's dead and mentally ill. No sir, not this time.
The best weapon against terror attacks is utter and complete contempt of the attack, the attacker, and particularly the ideas and organizations behind the attacks. I have mentioned before, also, that the terrorists just get worse when they get anything. In spite of the misdirection I'm pretty sure that the same people who got the bad laws passed in Oregon are somehow behind this.
Daniel Shaull is outside the pale, totally undeserving of sympathy, and yes it's funny that after all that effort, after all of the windup, our would-be suicide (fire)bomber runs into a locked door. The act deserves no more respect than that. I can't believe that anyone's heart bleeds for him.