ASSOCIATED PRESS: The man who opened fire in front of the Pentagon had a history of mental illness and had become so erratic that his parents reached out to local authorities weeks ago with a warning that he was unstable and might have a gun, authorities said Friday. It’s still unclear why John Patrick Bedell [pictured, above] opened fire Thursday at the Pentagon entrance, wounding two police officers before he was fatally shot. The two officers were hospitalized briefly with minor injuries. Bedell was diagnosed as bipolar, or manic depressive, and had been in and out of treatment programs for years. His psychiatrist, J. Michael Nelson, said Bedell tried to self-medicate with marijuana, inadvertently making his symptoms more pronounced. “Without the stabilizing medication, the symptoms of his disinhibition, agitation and fearfullness complicated the lack of treatment,” Nelson said. His parents reported him missing Jan. 4, a day after a Texas Highway Patrol officer stopped him for speeding in Amarillo, according to the missing person’s report. Bedell told the highway patrolman he was heading for the East Coast, and the officer used Bedell’s phone to call his mother, Kaye Bedell, because he seemed disheveled and out of sorts. MORE
ASSOCIATED PRESS: The river of discontent running through America turned toxic in the fevered mind of the Pentagon shooter and others of his ilk. In a culture awash in conspiracy theories and raw anger at government, they are lone wolves who find a sense of community for their hate – yet act alone. They are, in some ways, more unsettling than organized and trained terrorists because they come from us. Their diatribes and smoldering grievances are familiar and homegrown. For the Texan who steered a small plane into IRS offices last month, it was taxes. For the Nevadan who shot at a courthouse in January, it was his Social Security. In these times, disgust with authority – a president, a tax law, a health plan, one political party or both – comes with a hard-edged hallelujah chorus. Few kill. But many rant. The litany that made accused Pentagon attacker John Patrick Bedell smolder and rant is varied, and still coming to light. His history was one of mental illness, not fringe-group agitation. In an Internet posting, Bedell had suggested an act like the 2001 terrorist attacks could have been the work of a criminal organization controlling the U.S. government, accepting a “sacrifice of thousands of its citizens … as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control.” MORE
WALL STREET JOURNAL: In postings on Wikipedia and other Web sites, Mr. Bedell came across as an educated and technologically proficient man with strong libertarian leanings, an anger toward the U.S. government, and a belief that far-reaching conspiracies were behind events as big as the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and as small as the disputed 1991 death of a Marine colonel. Mr. Bedell spent years studying engineering at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Pat Harris, a spokeswoman for San Jose State University in California, said Mr. Bedell took undergraduate courses in chemical engineering in 1995-1996 and then spent 2008-2009 doing graduate work in electrical engineering. She said he was no longer enrolled at the university and hadn’t received any degrees from San Jose State.Mr. Bedell’s user page on Wikipedia, which he wrote under the name “JPatrickBedell,” said that he was “determined to see that justice is served in the death of Colonel James Sabow, as a step towards establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolitions.” Col. Sabow had been found dead outside his California home in 1991 in what authorities said was a suicide, but his family and friends have long argued that he was killed to cover up government-sanctioned drug smuggling and secret military operations in Central America.
Mr. Bedell gave a detailed explanation of his world view in a Nov. 25, 2006, podcast called “Directions to Freedom, Part Two.” He said the “seizure of the United States government by an international criminal conspiracy” was a “long-established reality.” Those shadowy forces used the powers of the federal government to safeguard the shipments of their own drugs into the U.S. while crushing their would-be rivals, issued trillions of dollars of new debt to expand their wealth, and launched “political and military” disasters like Vietnam and Iraq to divert attention from their true activities, he said.
Mr. Bedell criticized the military and the nation’s intelligence services, which he said had become tools of an oppressive, illegitimate regime. “This criminal organization would use its powers to convert military, intelligence, and law enforcement bureaucracies into instruments for political control and the domination and subjection of society, while discrediting, destroying, and murdering honest individuals within those services that work to root out corruption and faithfully serve their fellow citizens,” Mr. Bedell said. “This organization, like so many murderous governments throughout history, would see the sacrifice of thousands of its citizens, in an event such as the September 11 attacks, as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control.” MORE