Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, June 1, 2009 12:29 pm

Let’s take off the gloves

Filed under: Hold! Them! Accountable! — Lex @ 12:29 pm
Tags: ,

terrorism (n): the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.

* * *

If waterboarding to prevent an act of terrorism is such a good idea, then let the waterboarding of Scott Roeder begin. It’s a little later for George Tiller, but, hey, maybe we can save someone else. (UPDATE: And let’s send him to Gitmo to do it, the Rude Pundit says.)

And, remember, Janet Napolitano was crazy for saying we may face an increased risk of terror from “rightwing extremism.”

UPDATE: Christina Page argues at Huffington Post that there’s a correlation between which party is in power and the number of violent attacks against abortion providers. Unless she provided it somewhere in the 739 (and counting) comments I don’t have time to read through, she doesn’t provide a source for the stats she cites, so caveat emptor. However, the numbers, if accurate, are disturbing:

In March 1993, three months into the administration of our first pro-choice president (first? really? — Lex), Bill Clinton, abortion provider Dr. David Gunn was murdered in Pensacola, Florida. That was the beginning of what would become a five-fold increase in violence against abortion providers throughout the Clinton years.

Today’s assassination of Dr. George Tiller comes 5 months into the term of our second (again, really? second? — Lex) pro-choice president. For anyone who would like to believe that this is a statistical anomaly, a coincidence that doesn’t portend anything, again, you are wrong.

During the entire Bush administration, from 2000-2008 there were no murders.

During the Clinton era, between 1994-2000 there were 6 abortion providers and clinic staff murdered, and 17 attempted murders of abortion providers. There were 12 bombings or arsons during the Clinton years.

During the Bush administration, not only were there no murders, there were no attempted murders. There was one clinic bombing during the Bush years. …

In the last year of the Bush administration there were 396 harassing calls to abortion clinics. In just the first four months of the Obama administration that number has jumped to 1401.

She speculates on why this might be:

Battered women are at greatest danger of being killed by their abusers when they are most strong — that is, when they muster the courage to leave. The same phenomenon may be true in the abusive political abortion debate. The pro-choice movement, specifically our abortion providers, are in the greatest danger of violence when we take power. When the anti-abortion movement loses power, their most extreme elements appear to move to the fore and take control. The murder of Dr. Tiller suggests that violence against abortion providers may be far more linked to the power, or lack thereof, anti-abortion groups have politically than to laws designed to increase penalties against such acts.

And she warns that harsh rhetoric may well influence some people to act:

History has another disturbing lesson for us. The escalation of anti-abortion rhetoric plays a direct role in instigating violence. When anti-abortion groups ratchet up the rhetoric, they know exactly what they’re doing and the results it will have. Even if they maintain deniability, as Operation Rescue recently did saying, in effect, we wanted Tiller gone, but didn’t want him murdered, they have inflamed the rhetoric. And suddenly people Like Dr. Tiller’s murderer become inspired.

Dave Neiwert, in particularly, has written a lot about the danger of eliminationist rhetoric, something I’ve mentioned before. It’s a hellishly tricky issue for two reasons: 1) It’s a lot easier to prove correlation than causation, and 2) contrary to what I’ve previously said here, it apparently is constitutional to advocate violence against people, at least in the abstract, the Supreme Court ruled in Brandenburg v. Ohio (h/t to Jonathan Turley on Rachel Maddow’s show last night for bringing this to my attention). A key phrase from that unsigned opinion:

” …the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. (emphasis added)

So while it might be disturbing to listen to the “will-no-one-rid-me-of-this-turbulent-priest?”-style diatribes that Fox News talk-show host Bill O’Reilly has gone on against Dr. Tiller in recent years, what O’Reilly has said appears to have been constitutionally protected. It also appears to have been, at best, incredibly irresponsible.

A couple of other thoughts:

  • The name and number of an official of the virulently anti-abortion group Operation Rescue was found in the suspect’s car, which could mean anything or nothing. I would imagine that investigators are even now poring over Roeder’s phone records and interviewing people with whom he talked, but I am by no means certain they’ll come up with any evidence suggesting anything other than that Roeder acted alone.
  • For a guy who calls himself a Christian, Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, seemed on Sunday to be a lot more disturbed by the possible political ramifications for his group and movement than he did about Tiller’s slaying itself (let alone the fact that the slaying took place in his church). Then on Monday, he said, “George Tiller was a mass murder and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.” “He reaped what he sowed” is Christianist for, “He got what was coming to him.” Christian much, Randy?



  1. Did she warn us about these types?

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Tuesday, June 2, 2009 1:18 am @ 1:18 am

  2. Interesting how quickly they charge the Muslim guy with terrorism.

    Comment by Lex — Tuesday, June 2, 2009 5:36 am @ 5:36 am

  3. Lex, who is ” they ” and where do you find these ” charges ” of terrorism ? The right wing blogs, no doubt, huh ?

    Update: It appears, according to ABC News, there may well have been good reasons for the FBI to keep a watchful eye on:
    Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Tuesday, June 2, 2009 2:07 pm @ 2:07 pm

  4. The “they” is Little Rock police, and here’s the Associated Press quoting an an Army officer as saying that the suspect would be charged with one count of first-degree murder “plus 15 counts of committing a terroristic act. Thomas [the Army officer] said those counts result from the gunfire occurring near other people.”

    Arkansas, Kansas, different states, different statutes, I know. But if killing someone in a military recruiting center can be called terrorism — and I’m not arguing otherwise — it seems perfectly appropriate to call the killing of Dr. Tiller terrorism as well, especially in light of the many other violent crimes committed against abortion providers in the past 15 or so years.

    As for Muhammad, what he is charged with doing was despicable, I hope he fries if he’s guilty, and if the information in the story you link is true, then my only complaint would be that the FBI didn’t watch him a little more closely.

    Comment by Lex — Tuesday, June 2, 2009 4:07 pm @ 4:07 pm

  5. Looks like Muhammad had a grander Jihad in mind.

    How quickly they charged..Not the MSM


    What Doug Clark said

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, June 4, 2009 6:16 pm @ 6:16 pm

  6. Both terrorism. The radical part of the anti-abortion movement in general and Roeder in particular were/are trying to scare doctors away from performing abortions and scare women away from having them. The shooters of the soldiers were using terror, albeit against (apparently) randomly selected members of a targeted group rather than a specifically targeted individual. In both cases, though, it looks as if the larger goals are the same: use of violence and intimidation to effect social/political change.

    Comment by Lex — Friday, June 5, 2009 2:52 pm @ 2:52 pm

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