Four year later - no results from an investigation that at best can be described as half hearted. This is the editorial I wrote at the time:
Thursday, June 04, 2009
This Murder was allowed to Happen
On Sunday, May 31, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down in the lobby of his church, in Wichita, KS. He was murdered as he handed out church bulletins to his fellow congregants at the Reformation Lutheran Church. His wife was there. A terrorist came in and shot Dr. Tiller. Dr. Tiller was one of the few remaining doctors who performed late term abortions. Anti-abortion extremist groups had targeted Tiller for assassination. There is an irony in how religious these groups are. Their websites are covered with scripture – and yet George Tiller was murdered in the house of God.
Abortion clinics have been the target of violence since Roe v Wade became law in 1973. Bombings, arson, butyric acid attacks, and anthrax mailings have all been staples of these domestic terrorists. The killings started in the early 1990’s. Dr. David Gunn was murdered in Florida in 1993. That same year, a woman named Rachelle Shannon shot Dr. George Tiller in the arms. She is serving an 11-year term for attempted murder, as well as some additional time for 6 arson and 2 butyric acid attacks at clinics. In 1994, Dr. John Bayard Britton and his clinic escort were shot and killed by Paul Hill, who also shot and injured another clinic worker that day. That same year, Dr. Garson Romalis was shot and wounded at his home in Vancouver, BC. James Kopp is the suspect. In 1994, John Salvi shot up two clinics in Brookline, Ma. He killed Shannon Lowery and Leanne Nichols, and wounded 5 others. In 1995, Dr. Hugh Short was shot and wounded at his home in Ontario. James Kopp has been charged with attempted murder in this case. Kopp is also a suspect in the 1997 shootings of a doctor in Rochester, NY and one in Winnipeg. In 1998, a clinic bombing in Birmingham killed Officer Robert Sanderson; AL. Nurse Emily Lyons was seriously injured. Eric Rudolph is serving a life sentence for bombing that clinic and another, as well as a gay bar, and the bombings at Olympic Park. In 1998, Dr. Bernard Slepian was shot and killed at his home in NY by James Kopp, who is serving a life sentence.
This was a murder that was allowed to happen. Dr. Tiller had been a target for decades. There is a web page with his picture, the picture and address of his clinic, his home address – and a map, pictures of his wife, and interestingly, a picture of his church – along with the address. The unnamed group responsible for the site didn’t go as far as photoshopping a bull’s eye on any of the many pictures of Dr. Tiller, but their intent is obvious.
There was a steady barrage of harassment and threats against Dr. Tiller for years. Some of it came from the far right extremist media. Bill O’Reilly has been beating the drum about “Tiller the killer” for the last five years. Naturally, O’Reilly denies any culpability - but, then again, he’s a well-known liar. Fox has almost nothing to do with news, and everything to do with ginning up their followers. As the old saying goes, “If you hang around a barber shop, you’re going to get a haircut.” If you continually indulge in inflammatory, violent, hate speech – you’re going incite some violence.
Extremist anti-abortion groups have all been screaming about how, since they didn’t pull the trigger, this isn’t their fault. We are supposed to believe their websites, protests, and endless hate rhetoric all exist in a vacuum. The only reason these groups exist is to inflame the passions of their followers and incite them to action. Only 3 days after Dr. Tiller’s murder, antiabortion extremist blogger Jill Stanek (a frequent Fox News guest) put up pictures of the next target, Dr. LeRoy Harrison Carhart. She included pictures of his clinic, too – and a helpful link to the same website that had all of the Tiller information. Dr. Carhart’s hit page contains pictures of him, his wife, his daughter, the clinic – and a request for more information and better pictures. Apparently they don’t have his home address, and that of his church. Still, there’s plenty available for a gunman to work with, presumably after he reads the helpful scriptures and quotes.
This is a murder that was allowed to happen. Scott Roeder was a well known anti-abortion terrorist. He’d done time for having bomb-making materials in his car. The FBI is charged with protecting abortion clinics and staff. Roeder had been twice reported for gluing the locks of a clinic in Kansas City – the second time was the day before Dr. Tiller’s murder. The staff person who caught Roeder, called the FBI, and reported the incident, and provided the plate number on the car Roeder was driving. The FBI told the staffer that they couldn’t do anything until a federal grand jury convened. Roeder drove to Wichita in that same car, and killed Dr. Tiller. This is a murder that was allowed to happen.
Abortion is legal. The violence continues – because no one is willing to defend abortion and a woman’s right to choose. It has been determined that abortion protestors have a right to stand in front of clinics and harass women. To interfere with their right to harass patients, staff, and doctors would be a violation of their right to free speech. I’m guessing that a group of protestors outside urology offices chanting and handing out pamphlets about “IMPOTENCE – GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU” would not be given similar latitude. Abortion – and women- make us squeamish.
Abortion is legal. Murder is not. What are we going to do about it?
“If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.” Florynce Kennedy
“If the anti-abortion movement took a tenth of the energy they put into noisy theatrics and devoted it to improving the lives of children who have been born into lives of poverty, violence, and neglect, they could make a world shine.“ Michael Jay Tucker
For thorough documentation of clinic violence: http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/violence/index.html
This was published by the Conway Daily Sun on May 5, 2009 as an op-ed.
© s.bruce 2009