Anyone who calls this anything other than religious fundamentalist terrorism isn’t telling you the whole truth:
George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.
Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim…
Tiller has long been a focal point of protest by abortion opponents because his clinic, Women’s Health Care Services at 5701 E. Kellogg, is one of the few in the country where late-term abortions are performed.
Protesters blockaded Tiller’s clinic during Operation Rescue’s “Summer of Mercy” protests during the summer of 1991, and Tiller was shot by Rachelle Shannon at his clinic in 1993.
Tiller was wounded in both arms, and Shannon remains in prison for the shooting.
Tiller’s clinic was severely vandalized earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, his lawyer said wires to security cameras and outdoor lights were cut and that the vandals also cut through the roof and plugged the buildings’ downspouts. Rain poured through the roof and caused thousands of dollars of damage in the clinic. Tiller reportedly asked the FBI to investigate the incident.
On Friday, November 3, 2006, Bill O’Reilly featured an exclusive segment on his show, The O’Reilly Factor, saying that he has an “inside source” with official clinic documentation indicating that George Tiller performs late-term abortions to alleviate “temporary depression” in the pregnant woman. According to reporting data provided to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts for the year 1998, all of the post-viable partial-birth (dilation and extraction) abortion procedures performed in Kansas during that year were performed because “the attending physician believe[d] that continuing the pregnancy [would] constitute a substantial and irreversible impairment of the patient’s mental function.”
Tiller responded to O’Reilly’s statements by demanding an investigation into the “inside source” through which the information was leaked, suggesting that Phil Kline, then the Kansas Attorney General, was responsible. Kline denied the charge.
Yet again, an unhinged member of a religious fundamentalist group kills a person with which they disagree with the aim of terrorizing a country into agreeing with their fundamentalist beliefs. This time, however, it happened not in some far-away country in the Middle East but right here at home.
One wonders if the anti-abortion crowd is going to go on the same wink-and-nod campaign like they did after the last abortion doctor was murdered by fundamentalist zealots (remember Ann Coulter?). With reactions like this from conservative blogger Rick Moore, I think that’s a pretty good assumption:
The comments section on this topic over at the ultraconservative website Free Republic* are also pretty revealing:
Controversial Kansas abortion Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed this morning as he entered church services. That’s what you call a really late term abortion.
“It’s too bad the suspect didn’t poke a roto rooter through his skull and then suck him into a vacuum cleaner instead of just shooting the bastard.”If you’re interested in reading some of my thoughts on the re-emergent phenomena of domestic right-wing violence, check out my article The Chilling Rise of Right-Wing Hate in America.
“No doubt this ‘man’ is responsible for thousands, maybe tens-of-thousands of needless and wanton deaths. If you think his ‘passing’ is a bad thing in the cause of speaking out and ending the practice of abortion, I don’t know what to tell you. I can only say that I shall not mourn his demise, nor shall I judge others.”
“Sounds like a post-birth abortion to me.”
Update: Political Carnival highlights an eerie coincidence. Today is the sixth anniversary of the capture of radical anti-abortion terrorist and Olympic Park Bomber Eric Rudolph.
Update 2: Matt Yglesias makes a good, yet chilling, point:
Random murder of civilians in order to coerce political concessions doesn’t have a great track-record. But direct action terrorist violence against abortion providers has, I think, proven to be a fairly successful tactic. Every time you murder a doctor, you create a disincentive for other medical professionals to provide these services. What’s more, you create a need for additional security at facilities around the country. In addition, the anti-abortion protestors who frequently gather near clinics are made to seem much more intimidating by the fact that the occurrence of these sorts of acts of violence.
In general, I think people tend to overestimate the efficacy of violence as a political tactic. But in this particular case, I think people tend to understate it.
* This blog has a policy of not linking to Free Republic.
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