SEE ALSO… “J. Patrick Bedell on Wikipedia.”
UPDATE… The Associated Press and BreakingNews on Twitter report that suspect John Patrick Bedell has died of his wounds.
EARLIER… Reports from the AP and other sources indicate a 36-year-old gunman named John Patrick Bedell walked up to the subway entrance of the Pentagon complex on Thursday around 6:40 p.m. and with very little preamble started shooting it out with three Pentagon police officers. When all was said and done, two officers had been shot and Bedell was gravely wounded. Initial reports made it easy to believe the location was a coincidence.
A press conference held shortly before 8 p.m. by Pentagon Police Chief Richard Keevil revealed that Bedell’s alleged assault was indeed part of an attempt to enter the Pentagon complex, making this a potentially much more intriguing story. One question quickly came to mind: does John Patrick Bedell have anything in common with IRS Kamikaze Joe Stack?
A 36-year-old male (born in May, 1973) named John Patrick Bedell, who goes by J. Patrick Bedell, made several posts to a pro-marijuana website regarding his arrest in 2006 for marijuana possession. These posts included scans of the arrest report and these were curious in that they bore some similarities to the few details given in press conferences by authorities regarding Bedell’s approach to trying to enter the Pentagon. Regarding the shootout at the subway entrance Chief Keevil said that Bedell’s demeanor was very calm and cool. He gave no warning as to his intent. When he was asked for his identification, Bedell’s alleged response was to reach inside his pocket and pull out a gun and begin firing.
When J(ohn) Patrick Bedell was served with a search warrant by the Irvine, CA PD on June 6, 2006, Detectives encountered a similar demeanor. From the police report:
Upon serving the warrant, Detective Anderson knocked on the front door and advised our intent […] and he demanded entry. After making two advisements, at approximately 20 seconds, a male subject, later identified as John Bedell, answered the door. Bedell stood there starting at Detective Anderson. Detective Anderson told Bedell to get down on the ground. Bedell stood there and did not comply. Detective Anderson ordered Bedell down once again and he still did not comply. Bedell just stood there in the doorway refusing to move or even acknowledge he was being spoken to.
Bedell’s mulishness continued. As a detective was walking Bedell through his residence, the software engineer simply stopped and refused to go any further. Then, stranger still, he went completely limp. Detectives did not feel him to be a threat, so they searched his place and found 16 marijuana plants as well as a gardening system for the plants on the rear patio. There were also business cards bearing Bedell’s name and the legend “one gram cannabis.” However, other portions of the police report showed that they found no evidence that Bedell was a legally approved grower of medical marijuana.
Bedell refused to speak with police during the search (which is what any legal advisor would tell him to do). He did say this – he wasn’t speaking because what was being done was, to him, unjust.
John Patrick Bedell refused to walk down to the police cars. Three cops carried him down three flights of stairs in order to transport him to the Irvine police station.
Based on the records he posted, it appears that Bedell was let off with intervention – completion of a drug program in lieu of jail time.
However this is what Bedell wrote regarding his motivation for posting the records online in 2007:
My motivation is quite idiosyncratic, but also very intense. It’s my hope that we will be able to reshape the way that we manage criminal information, and the file releases here are part of that effort.
It’s also my intention that the routine use of the cannabis plant will in no way be a criminal or legal matter.
Volunteers for a 2008 electoral college to assemble at the State Capitols are welcomed!
In another portion of his site profile, Bedell promoted former Senator and eccentric presidential candidate Mike Gravel whom he said supported selling weed in liquor stores.
The views implied and expressed by this John Patrick Bedell so far are almost doctrinaire libertarian, if there is such a thing. Libertarians have long championed the decriminalization of drugs, focusing closely on marijuana in part because it has long seemed the “drug most likely to” achieve decriminalization first.
A J.P. Bedell found on Facebook who strongly resembles the man in the photo posted with Bedell’s arrest documents was at one point part of a Ludwig von Mises Facebook group – which is only indicative of a passing interest in Mises at best, but it’s worth noting that Mises, an Austrian philosopher and economist who died in 1973 is considered a major influence on modern libertarianism.
J. Patrick Bedell found on Amazon seemed to have interests that fell along a spectrum in keeping with the libertarianism of the Bedell who posted his court and police documents online. His lone book review was of Inside Delta Force: The Story of America’s Elite Counterterrorist Unit, by Eric Haney. Bedell wrote, in part:
For a student of the “secret” history of the US, two parts of the book stand out:
* Haney claims that prisoners of war were deliberately left in Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War, and that a planned Delta operation to rescue them in Laos was aborted after Bo Gritz’s grandstanding in the early 1980’s. He attributes this to unnamed politicians and bureaucrats who wanted to avoid embarassment and forget everything (and everyone) about Vietnam.
* Haney says that he believes a “guerrilla leader” that he killed in Honduras was actually working for the US government, and identifies him as a fellow soldier who participated in Delta Force selection with him.
He also makes allusions to the CIA’s supposed involvement in drug smuggling in Central America during the 1980’s.
It’s clear that these experiences and others have affected his perception of the US government, and the book benefits from his skeptical perspective.
Other books on Bedell’s “wish list” included Russ Baker’s Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America and Russell Bowen’s The Immaculate Deception: Bush Crime Family Exposed, which claims it is “the most shocking book written this century about treason committed by the highest leaders within the U.S. Government.”
As for software development, John Patrick Bedell’s project was “infoeng,” software for “digital financial instruments (information currency) representing information. Includes server (ICWS) and client for creating IC from subversion commits (icsvn).” Documentation Bedell created for the project around the same time as he was moving on from his marijuana arrest is so dense as to be almost unreadable, even for other software engineers.
The question many are asking and will continue ask even if it is conclusively answered is still this – was John Bedell’s fortunately non-fatal (unless he dies from his wounds) attempt to shoot his way into the Pentagon the act of a crazy man or the act of a semi-sane man working from an extreme ideology? If the same Bedell was a committed libertarian devoted in part to legalizing marijuana and in full to reducing government control over our lives, he might be a “teabagger” ideologically-speaking, for the Tea Party movement has sought to bring both libertarians and extremely conservative Republicans into the fold. But Bedell possibly having a teabagger attitude towards the government may not in the end be to blame for his alleged, attempted rampage. It may just be that he was nuts all along.
In fact, if the guy thought he could take on the Pentagon with a handgun, nuts may be too mild a word.