Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Wingnut Murder Machine Is Back

The rightwing hate machine finally hit top gear today, with the cold-blooded murder of Dr. George Tiller, while attending church in Wichita, KS:
George Tiller, one of only a few doctors in the nation who performed abortions late in pregnancy, was shot to death here Sunday in the foyer of his longtime church as he handed out the church bulletin.

The authorities said they took a man into custody later in the day after pulling him over on Interstate 35 in Johnson County, Kan., near Kansas City. They said they expected to charge him with murder on Monday.

The Wichita police said there were several witnesses to the killing, but the law enforcement officials would not say what had been said, if anything, inside the foyer. Officials offered little insight into the motive, saying that they believed it was “the act of an isolated individual” but that they were also looking into “his history, his family, his associates.”

The MSM has almost universally described Dr. Tiller as an "abortion doctor." Abortion doctor, my ass. Dr. Tiller provided much-needed health services to women, and to describe him solely as an "abortion doctor" is demeaning and offensive to the late doctor, his many patients, and to pro-choice advocates everywhere.

Also, "isolated individual" my ass. Dr. Tiller's murderer has a past history of violence towards pro-choice advocates and facilities. The alleged assailant, one Scott Roeder of Merriam, KS, has a prior record of general wingnuttery and violence:

"July 7, [1997], Kansas: Scott Roeder is sentenced to sixteen months in state prison for parole violations following a 1996 conviction for having bomb components in his car trunk. Roeder, a sovereign citizen and tax protester, violated his parole by not filing tax returns or providing his social security number to his employer"
[...]a bombmaker, tax protester, member of the "sovereignity" movement, anti-abortion zealot and Operation Rescue member: the arrested suspect manages to fit every stereotype of right-wing militia teabagger.

And it's not like the wingnuts hadn't had Dr. Tiller in their sights for years, either:

Tiller and his clinic have faced continuous threats and lawsuits.

A Wichita jury ruled in March that he was not guilty of illegal abortion on 19 criminal charges he faced for allegedly violating a state law requiring an "independent" second physician's concurring opinion before performing later term abortions. Immediately following the ruling in this criminal case, the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts made public a similar complaint against Tiller that was originally filed in December 2008.

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.

The clinic was bombed in June 1986, and was severely vandalized in May. 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.

Meanwhile, red state hate began pouring in almost before the doctor's body was cold. From Red State, via Crooks & Liars:

Killing Tiller was the ethical thing to do

tankertodd Sunday, May 31st at 2:25PM EDT (link)

I can’t help but to follow the logic. “Doctor” Tiller is committing late-term abortions, which by any sane person’s calculation is infanticide. This is murder. Through perversion of the law, this is permitted, despite it flying the face of the history of civilization. This has been tolerated for two decades, and nothing has happened to stop the killing. He would have continued to commit this crime.

I can’t escape the conclusion that killing Tiller was the right thing to do. I am uncomfortable with this conclusion because it’s dangerous. But nevertheless, it was the ethical thing to do. Tiller would have continued to take numerous lives. Nothing was going to stop him. So someone did stop him. And now fewer lives will be taken.

We celebrate the breaking the laws every time the media canonizes Rosa Parks. She broke the law. There is no question of that. The question is whether it was the ethical thing to do (it was.) We celebrate the Nazi resistance, we celebrate the Tiananmen Square uprising. I’m sure those were all illegal actions, yet were unquestionably the moral things to do. So how would killing a killer, when all options are exhausted, not also be the right thing to do?

You have to wonder if the reason why we have a legal system is in order to steal the oxygen from moral vigilantism. You have to wonder if the legal system breaks down whether vigilantism, when all other options fail, becomes a moral imperative.

The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race - Chief Justice Roberts

Oh, yeah, very christian of you. Roeder isn't an "isolated individual," he's another far-right crazy asshole who thinks that abortion is murder, but shooting a doctor in church is okay. Remember in the Nineties, when we had other wingnut assholes like Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, and others? Except now, we have full-blown crazies like Glenn Beck egging these lunatics on, imbecilic "tea parties" sponsored by rightwing media and full of clueless, stupid sheep, and an obese, oxycontin-addicted megalomaniac as the de facto head of the Republican party.

I think it's just about time for progressives to start saying "never again."

UPDATE: In the wake of the Tiller murder, Attorney General Eric Holder has directed U.S. Marshals to begin protecting abortion clinics and doctors across the country:

AG Holder's statement
"The murder of Doctor George Tiller is an abhorrent act of violence, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers at this tragic moment. Federal law enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement officials in Kansas on the investigation of this crime, and I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation. The Department of Justice will work to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. As a precautionary measure, we will also take appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring."

Now, if only he'd pull Fox's licenses while he's at it.....

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