Ken Klukowski is Director, Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council. This article appeared on Breitbart.com, September 19, 2013.
Convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II was sentenced Thursday for his attempted mass shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC), a conservative Christian organization in Washington, D.C.
As Breitbart News previously reported, Corkins confessed to attempting to murder dozens of people at FRC because he calls himself a political activist for gay marriage, and FRC supports the orthodox Christian belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Corkins shot and attempted to kill FRC's building manager, Leo Johnson, who managed despite his serious injuries to wrest the firearm from Corkins and hold him at bay until police and the FBI arrived.
Corkins had almost 100 rounds of ammunition in his backpack and confessed to prosecutors that he intended to murder as many FRC staff people as possible and smear Chick-Fil-A sandwiches on some of their faces as a political statement against FRC's beliefs.
This was the first-ever conviction for domestic terrorism under Washington, D.C. law. U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts sentenced Corkins to 25 years in federal prison.
FRC President Tony Perkins made a statement to the court on behalf of his employees, whose lives were targeted by Corkins that day, saying:
As the Court knows, Mr. Corkins' stated intention was to kill as many FRC staff as possible to send a political message. But for Leo's heroic conduct, and the protective hand of the Lord, this crime might have ended as one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism the District of Columbia has ever seen. Today we are not seeking vengeance, but we do seek justice... Many on our staff and in their families have suffered ongoing emotional and psychological harm and have changed their daily lives in response to the attack. Every day, our staff has to deal with the fact that each of us was a potential victim. The facts show that he planned his attack in great detail and hoped for massive casualties.... prosecutors revealed that Mr. Corkins had obtained our building location from the Southern Poverty Law Center's website. He was clearly inspired by the [SPLC]'s labeling of FRC as a "hate group" based on our belief that marriage can only take place between one man and one woman... His goal and that of the SPLC is to silence those with whom they disagree. In a civil society, shutting down debate is not how reasonable people and organizations operate. Intimidating and bullying others shreds the "ordered liberty" of which our Founders wrote and for which they advocated, and places all of us in jeopardy of losing our sacred rights as militant extremists claim the public square exclusively for themselves.
Johnson also made a statement to the judge, despite being known as a quiet and reserved person who does not enjoy the public spotlight. Johnson's statement includes:
I often experience feelings of anger and frustration when I think about all the things that I ... continue to endure ... surgery, with at least two more scheduled, painful, life-threatening blood clots ... physical therapy, multiple medications and numerous doctor appointments. My family was put under tremendous stress as well ... I now have to rely upon others to carry out the physical aspects of my job. Things I used to enjoy, such as participating in sports, weightlifting, and working out are ... no longer possible... Even some of the foods and beverages that I enjoy are no longer possible for me because of [my] medication... This was such a senseless crime. Many innocent people were going to be ruthlessly murdered and taken away from their families and friends forever....
Corkins told the FBI he found the FRC building as his target using a "hate map" on the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC refuses to acknowledge any responsibility for the shooting. SPLC still lists FRC as a hate group and continues to maintain a map to FRC's office building on the SPLC website.