Domestic terrorism is domestic terrorism, except when liberal activists undertake it. At least that is the way Bill Ayers, former left-wing terrorist and friend (excuse us, "neighbor") of Barack Obama, would have us view the world.
Ayers was a founder of the terrorist organization the Weather Underground. In the 1970s, he and his cohorts bombed dozens of American targets, including the State Department, the U.S. Capitol, and the New York City Police headquarters. Ayers says they engaged only in "property damage." But that was because their initial plan to commit mass murder - by bombing a U.S. Army dance hall - failed when three of the bomb-makers accidentally blew themselves up.
On Saturday, Ayers gave a speech at Kent State University to commemorate the shooting of four students there by National Guard troops in 1970. (A one-time terrorist speaking on a college campus? No biggie. Ayers spent his post-terror career as a professor of education.) He said the Boston bombers had no noble motives, but he did because he wanted to end the Vietnam War, which was killing 6,000 people a week.
"To conflate a group of fundamentalist people [in Boston] who are nihilistic in some way with a group of people who spent their lives trying to oppose the murder of 6,000 people a week. And still the killing went on. And still the killing went on. What would you have done? There's no equivalence [with Boston]. Property damage. That's what we did."
Actually, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the captured Boston bomber, said he and his brother were motivated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were not nihilists; they were Islamist protesters, to use the language of the '60s. Both the Tsarnaevs and the Weather Underground engaged in terrorism to protest U.S. wars, or so they claimed.
The difference is not the death toll, which was a matter of sheer luck in both cases. It is that the left openly embraced, forgave and rehabilitated Ayers and his fellow terrorists. Ayers hosted a fund-raiser for state Senate candidate Barack Obama in 1995, which Obama attended before serving on boards with professor Ayers and accepting campaign donations from him. What a difference it makes when your guiding philosophy is communism rather than Islamism.