In the minds of some, it simply (and allegedly) Scott Roeder, the person in custody for the shooting of the Kansas doctor who performed late term abortions. For others, the net of responsibility can be cast much, much further. The murder of Dr. George Tiller, inside his local church, has set off an entirely predictable firestorm of accusations between supporters and opponents of abortion.
Some progressive bloggers and Websites heap blame on Fox News screamer Bill O’Reilly, who has referenced Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” on more than one occasion. O’Reilly, of course rejects such criticisms, saying the killing should be condemned and the focus should instead be on what he says are the 60,000 abortions Dr. Tiller performed.
At the same time, some abortion opponents pour gas on the fire by saying in essence, that Tiller got what he deserved. These apologists for murder are truly dangerous, in that they see themselves as somehow outside of and above the law. They feel they have a God given right to kill. Dr. George Tiller was a perfect symbol for them, a man unafraid to do what he felt was right.
George Tiller had survived being shot, having his clinic bombed, and the picketing of his home and office. He wasn’t just steadfast, he was defiant. Now questions center on whether his murder will have a chilling effect not just on abortion providers but on women seeking them as well. For some, that chilling effect is worth Dr. Tiller’s life.
Randall Terry, the founder of the anti abortion group Operation Rescue says about Tiller’s death “He reaped what he sowed”. That statement speaks volumes not just about Terry, but about the outer fringe of the anti abortion movement in this country. One can’t be sure that common ground with them can actually be found, as President Obama referenced in his speech at Notre Dame.
One question about this entire ugly set of events has yet to be answered. Both Scott Roeder’s ex-wife and his brother say he was mentally unbalanced. If that is true, and he is George Tiller’s murderer, how did he manage to procure the gun he used? Time after time people are killed with guns, and we never stop to ask where the gun was purchased, whether it was legal, and if proper background checks were done.
Gun violence, as we should know by now, isn’t the sole province of the inner city. Shouldn’t we be asking how many other zealots (regardless of cause) have access to guns, bombs, and other weapons? While we’re at it, shouldn’t the anti abortion movement take a long look in the mirror, and ask themselves if they want to be portrayed as murderers?
You tell me.