The Tiller Murder

by Brien Jackson

Kansas doctor George Tiller was murdered in his church as he was passing out bulletins to arriving congregation members yesterday, culminating a campaign to harrass, threaten, and attack the doctor who was one of the few people in the country willing to perform third trimester abortions. He was shot by one George Roeper, a bit of an all purpose wingnut who was active in anti-choice group Operation Rescue, a tax protestor, and part of the sovereign citizen movement.

It’s of course ironic that the “pro-life” movement has spent so much time trying to get Tiller (Tiller was shot in 1993, his clinic was bombed in 1986, and he’s been the target of violent rhetoric for nearly 3 decades). Tiller’s practice was a tragic one, but not having a Tiller would have been just as, if not more, tragic. And it really does shine a new light on the wingnutosphere’s collective freak out over the DHS report warning law enforcement to be on the lookout for right-wing terrorism doesn’t it? Because that’s exactly what this is; terrorism, by any definition of the word. 

I don’t have a whole more to add because social issue stuff isn’t really my thing, other than that I hope this leads to something of a crackdown on both abortion clinic protestors and inflammatory rhetoric in the media. I respect people’s right to protest, but the abortion clinic protests are too often about harrassing both the doctors who perform the perfectly legal procedures and the women/couples who seek them. And while I don’t support “speech codes” or whatever, there needs to be more culpability for media figures who use inflammatory rhetoric to drive ratings, with no concern for the violence they’re inciting. I agree with Ezra, Congress should use this as a catalyst to act quickly on both fronts.