Let’s call Jerad and Amanda Miller, the Indiana couple who fatally shot two police officers as well as an armed citizen in Las Vegas on Sunday, what they were: right-wing domestic terrorists. To be specific, they were tea party-inspired terrorists.
The national media won’t go there, of course, because they fear offending the Republican Party and of being labeled with the dread word, “liberal.” But facts are facts. The Millers were unlike other recent mass shooters in that they weren’t simply off their meds. It is clear now that they were inspired by tea party racism and anti-government libertarianism, which has been fostered, not just by the GOP, but in the bosom of the media establishment itself, which is to say Fox News.
The Millers left no doubt about their alignment with the tea party. As we noted yesterday, after Jerad Miller shot and killed the two officers as they were having lunch at a pizza restaurant, he and Amanda draped their bodies with the tea party’s most familiar emblem: the Gadsden flag, a yellow banner with a coiled rattlesnake above the words, “Don’t tread on Me.” The flag was designed by Gen. Christopher Gadsden during the Revolutionary War as a warning to the American Colonies’ British overlords.
This is not the first time the Gadsden flag has been associated with right-wing terrorism in the United States. The flag was displayed at KKK rallies in the 1960s, as shown in the photo above, which was taken in Florida in 1964. The man leading the rally was J.B. Stoner, the founder of the National States’ Right Party and later a lawyer for James Earl Ray, the assassin who killed Martin Luther King. Stoner was convicted and served time for bombing the Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1958.
Last night, Rachel Maddow examined the trail of “political breadcrumbs” that leads from the Millers’ cop killings in Las Vegas back to the tea party, its leaders and its sponsors, the Republican Party establishment, particularly including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who, in 2012, signed an NRA-sponsored bill that made it legal for Indiana residents who felt they were being unduly harassed by police officers to kill the officers with impunity: