Eric Rudolph, longtime fugitive and terrorist, was finally caught a couple of days ago.
When Rudolph bombed the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, GA in 1996, I still was more than a year away from coming here. But Olympics are a big event and I heard all about the bombing and was probably in Atlanta when Rudolph was named as a suspect.
Betty Howard made many people happy today, and it was not for her daily special. Around noon, Mrs. Howard walked outside, glanced up at the sign in front of her diner and decided to change the lettering on the marquee from “Roast Turkey Baked Ham” to “Pray for Eric Rudolph.”
“Bless his heart,” Mrs. Howard said. “Eric needs our help.”
Mrs. Howard said she was going to start an Eric Rudolph legal defense fund. Many customers have already said they would chip in.
[…]While most of his supporters cite his anti-abortion views, a popular stance in many rural, conservative areas, they gloss over the most notorious charge against Mr. Rudolph, that he set off a pipe bomb in a random crowd at the Summer Olympics.
“I didn’t see him bomb nobody,” said Hoke Henson, 77. “You can’t always trust the feds.”
[…]”He was a man who stood for what he believed in,” said Bo Newton, a short-order cook in Andrews. “If he came to my door, I would’ve given him food and never said a word.”
Standing in the door of a trailer on the mountain compound where “patriot” militia once trained, Jeremy Blake Ford swears he would not have helped serial bombing suspect Eric Robert Rudolph.
But if the elusive survivalist had walked out of the nearby woods, Ford isn’t sure he would have turned him in.
“I believe you’ve got to send a message,” Ford said Sunday from the hillside home of the late right-wing firebrand Nord Davis Jr.
Never mind the $1 million bounty on Rudolph’s head, set by investigators who accuse him of killing two people and injuring more than 100 with bombs at two abortion clinics, a gay nightclub and Atlanta’s Olympic Centennial Park.
“One death to a thousand deaths and making money off of babies being aborted and gays thinking they have rights — in the Bible, they don’t have any rights,” Ford said. “They’re the wrongs, and we’re trying to make it right. I believe Eric Rudolph makes a statement.”
Crystal Davis doesn’t quite side with Eric Rudolph, but she sympathizes with him.
“He’s a Christian and I’m a Christian and he dedicated his life to fighting abortion,” said Mrs. Davis, 25, mother of four. “Those are our values. And I don’t see what he did as a terrorist act.”
[…]As the search intensified over the years, locals cashed in by printing up T-shirts that said “Run, Rudolph, Run,” and “Eric Rudolph —- Hide and Seek Champion of the World.” Many people here had an uneasy relationship with F.B.I. agents, who often said they suspected the local population was providing the fugitive with food and shelter.
“If he came to my door, I’d give him food,” Mrs. Davis said. “That’s just how we are with strangers.”
Disgusting is all I can think of. Rudolph is of the same ilk as Bin Laden et al. Fortunately, there’s PhotoDude:
After September 11, a lot of Americans called on Muslims to speak out against the terrorism. It was said that they must police themselves from the inside, and publicly condemn those who claimed to be their peers, yet killed innocents.
Well, I’m from North Carolina, and I’m from the same generation as Eric Rudolph (8 years separate our ages). And I’m here to tell you, he’s a cowardly terrorist, and those who supported him are at best, severely misguided, and more likely, scum.
[…]Praying for a killer is not necessarily a contradictory act, some consider such a prayer to be a Christian tenet: forgiveness. But in the fall of 2001, I wonder if Mrs. Howard said, “Bless his heart. Osama needs our help.”
Oh, I’m sure they’d say “that’s different, Eric was fighting heathen abortionists, and the feds.” Hmmm, wasn’t Osama fighting “heathens,” and “the feds”?
[…]As a result of this, today, the wonderful times I’ve had in the North Carolina mountains over the years now feel somewhat tainted. And the only way I know to reclaim them is to condemn those who support a murderer, yet claim to be good Christian Americans.
This is an area of North Carolina I visit frequently. The mountains and forests and the scenic and adventurous drives are a lot of fun. Next time I am there, should I wonder what kind of people they are!