Knoxville church shooter: ‘This was a hate crime’

By David Edwards
Monday, February 9, 2009 11:38 EDT
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The News Sentinel obtained a copy of the “manifesto” written by Jim David Adkisson after opening fire and killing two members of a Knoxville church last year.

“This was a hate crime,” wrote Adkisson. He had intended the “manifesto” to serve as his suicide note.

The News Sentinel reported:

Adkisson, 58, wrote that he wanted to kill the “generals” of the liberal movement, citing Democrats in Congress, Supreme Court justices and President Barack Obama.

But he said he couldn’t get to those in power so he opted instead to attack liberalism’s “foot soldiers,” specifically citing the members of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

The letter has been kept under wraps since the July 27 shooting that killed two people and wounded six others.

In August, an editorial in Southern Voice argued that the entire “manifesto” should be made public. “To gay — and straight — people in East Tennessee, Adkisson’s actions are horrifying. For gays, the case is very personal. They, and everyone in Tennessee and elsewhere, deserve to know what Adkisson scribbled on those four pages,” wrote Dyana Bagby.

Members of the online community The Free Republic seem to be in denial over Adkisson’s admission. “How is this a hate crime? It is an attrocity and a vengeful act, but the people he killed and aimed at weren’t homosexuals or members of a protected class. Christians in and of themselves are not protected by hate crimes legislation,” wrote one member named “trumandogz.”

The Free Republic’s defense of Adkisson was the topic a July column by Jim Dolan. “It’s morbidly fascinating to watch the FR threads as the posters wriggle and bluster to try to accommodate this most inconvenient truth,” wrote Dolan.

The church targeted by Adkisson has been recovering from the tragedy. They are celebrating their 60th anniversary as a congregation on the day that Adkisson pleaded guilty.

This video is from WVLT, broadcast Feb 8, 2009.

Download video via RawReplay.com

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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