We rounded up some initial reaction here, but here's a more thoughtful reax to yesterday's tragedy:
Too often lost amid the concern about foreign terrorism is the very real presence of homegrown right-wing terrorism in our own backyard. Today's tragedy in Wichita should serve as a reminder that violent extremists have found a home in Kansas's conservative movement. For years this movement has committed acts of harassment, vandalism, and more than once tried to assassinate Dr. George Tiller. Each failure seems only to strengthen the resolve of the movement as their actions and rhetoric grew more extreme. For more than a few sick Kansas conservatives, today's sad events will be viewed as the successful conclusion to a long struggle.
Kansas City Star's Mike Hendricks:
[W]e already know the identities of his accomplices. They include every one who has ever called Tiller's late term abortion clinic a murder mill. Who ever called Tiller "Tiller the Killer." ... Hate. Not heated opposition. Not strong disagreement. But blind hatred. ... His accomplices know they have blood on their hands, which might explain why they were quick to issue statements today expressing disapproval of Tiller's murder.
It cannot be true, however much some pro-choicers may want it to be, that pro-lifers are obliged to shut up and go away because one violent kook killed an abortion doctor. Think about the harsh criticism of the US torture policy under Bush. If, God forbid, someone infuriated by that committed murder against one of the Bush officials who devised the policy, it would be a heinous crime, but most people would understand that torture critics could not be blamed for it. Nor would the severity of their moral indictment of torture be at issue.
But we can't let ourselves off that easily. Our words are not spoken in a vacuum. In our media today, they are amplified to a degree previously unimaginable. It seems to me that this puts a special obligation on all of us, whatever our cause or political stance, to choose carefully what we say, and how we say it.
Tiller’s death is the culmination of years of culture war propaganda, fear tactics, and Christianity gone bad. ... The pro-life movement has gained nothing from such fairweather spokespeople as Bill O’Reilly who is in it not for the preborn but for himself, not for any particular cause but rather ratings.
I've been paying attention to the more militant strains of the anti-choice movement, so this news shouldn't have shocked me as much as it did. But, like Cara, I have friends who work and volunteer in abortion clinics. When violence against abortion providers was hitting a fever pitch 10 years ago, I was not strongly pro-choice identified. I remember reading about the murder of an abortion provider, but it certainly did not affect me the way this news has. Whether it's rational or not, today I'm afraid for everyone who works in a reproductive health clinic. And not only those who provide abortion.
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 conversations with folks yesterday, I heard well-meaning variants on the idea that it would be unseemly to push legislation in the emotional aftermath of Tiller's execution. I disagree. Roeder was acting in direct competition with the United States Congress. ... Yesterday's killing was meant to render abortive procedures unsafe for doctors to conduct and thus inaccessible. If a woman cannot get an abortion because no nearby providers are willing to assume the risk of performing it, the actual outcome is precisely the same as if the procedure were illegal.
Thank God that the Obama administration caved last month to religious right and GOP demands that it withdrawa new domestic terrorism report that indicated, among other things, that radicals might use abortion as a justification for committing acts of domestic terrorism. Now a man is dead, and an American church has been shot up during services. Which leads to the question as to whether the Obama administration plans to do anything about the terrorist threat posed by religious right extremists, or whether typical Democratic spinelessness will lead us to now ignore this brutal murder, since that is the message that was sent last month, just weeks before this act of terror.
Blaming the Obama administration for Tiller's death is as nutty as blaming Bill O'Reilly. ... What George Tiller did was evil and that should not be glossed over or sugarcoated. But here Randall Terry is doing exactly what CAIR does. When someone dies at the hands of a Muslim, CAIR rushes to warn the rest of us not to use it as an excuse to scapegoat Islam. An evil thing has happeneda man has been killedand to jump to points of politics and media criticism is wrong. Evil begot more of it here.
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