Would-Be Terrorist Caught in Oklahoma, Wanted to Blow up 48 Churches in Self-Promotion Scheme

He went that way.

Marketing has never been an area of the publishing business I was all that interested in. I’m strictly an editorial guy. Once the book or magazine is between covers, I let others decide the best way to promote the product to a waiting world.

When asked my opinion, though, about campaign strategies or PR, my responses are usually limited to “No, that won’t work” or “That’s ridiculous” or “What are you, a moron?”

Blowing up 48 churches definitely merits the latter response:

Gregory Arthur Weiler II was arrested last week at a motel in Miami, Oklahoma, according to Ben Loring, first assistant district attorney for Ottawa County.

Authorities were tipped off to the plot by workers at the motel about 90 miles northeast of Tulsa. One discovered a duffel bag full of Molotov cocktails near the outside trash, while a room service employee reported suspicious items in Weiler’s room, said Loring.

Police searched the room and allegedly found various documents outlining his plan to set off bombs at 48 churches in and around Miami.

Among the documents were a list of churches, a hand-drawn map with the churches grouped and circled, instructions for making Molotov cocktails and a handwritten journal, said Loring. Some of the documents had been torn up and needed to be assembled.

Loring said one of the journal entries read as follows: “Self-Promote for the next 4 years while beginning list of goals written out in Oklahoma having to do with destroying and removing church buildings from U.S., a tiny bit at a time — setting foundation for the years to follow.” [emphasis mine]

I found a little more background on this guy, who seems to have been suffering from some form of mental illness, which has plagued his family:

Miami Police Chief George Haralson said Weiler checked into the motel on Sept. 20 using an Illinois driver’s license with an address in Washington, Ill., just east of Peoria.

Haralson said police have not found any indication of a partner in the plot.

“To be able to fire bomb 48 churches in a week, that’s an awful lot of effort,” Haralson said. “But we’re confident that he was acting alone.”

As for why Weiler might have targeted the rural community of 15,000 people, “I couldn’t even begin to guess,” Haralson said.

His aunt Joanne Meyers said she believes the latest incident is another example how mental illness has devastated their family. She and her husband Chris took in Weiler after his mother committed suicide in 2002 after years of depression and alcoholism, she said.

Weiler’s father suffered from alcohol and drug addiction before he killed himself in 2005.

And, a sister is hospitalized for mental illness after several suicide attempts, said Meyers.

“We just want people to understand how mental illness such as Greg’s affects our whole family,” Meyers said.

Weiler showed signs of mental illness early, she said. After graduating from Elk Grove High School, he went to Bradley University — where he skipped classes and stole money from friends and family through a pyramid scheme, said Meyers.

About three years ago, Weiler joined a church in Missouri that his family called “a cult.”

Several weeks ago, family members began reading odd missives Weiler posted on his Facebook page, which was the only way they kept in touch with him.

A Sept. 25 entry — apparently written from his motel room — referred to his childhood and focused on the Catholic Church, whose leaders he claimed are responsible for “hypocrisy, murder and deceit.” [emphasis mine again]

Would be interested in reading more about that “cult.”

I can’t begin to imagine what his family life must have been like. Pity the child that Gregory Arthur Weiler II once was. Punish the adult he now is. The planning involved in this scheme indicates someone still functioning at a high enough level to be responsible, if also suffering from some pathology.

In the end, thanks to quick police work, no one was hurt. Is “rehabilitation” of Weiler possible? Can such a person be “cured,” or at least rendered nondestructive. after a period of isolation and medication?

Like I said, I’m strictly editorial…

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3 thoughts on “Would-Be Terrorist Caught in Oklahoma, Wanted to Blow up 48 Churches in Self-Promotion Scheme

  1. I used to live in Miami, Oklahoma! Teaching at the little college there was my first job out of grad school. And that’s where I became a Lutheran! Mt. Olive Lutheran Church must have been on that list.

  2. Pingback: Plot to bomb my old church

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