Respect Life or I'll Kill You
No lead picture, no video. Not today. Somehow, that just wouldn't seem appropriate. I've been sitting on a fence regarding the assassination yesterday of Dr. George Tiller, the abortion provider who for three and a half decades had been performing abortions, particularly late-term abortions.
Notwithstanding my rejection of all organized religion at an early age, as someone born in the peripheries of the Roman Catholic faith, I was, shall we say, not a very big fan of Dr. Tiller's work. In fact, I have a serious attitude problem, to say the least, with a doctor who willingly performs thousands of abortions starting with the end of the second trimester (typically after the 21st week). I have heard miraculous stories of preemies who'd been prematurely born at 5 months and had survived. My own father was a preemie who'd come into the world at 7 months.
It's true that many of Dr. Tiller's abortions were performed on mothers who'd been carrying fetuses that tests had revealed to be deformed. But I cannot and will not believe that all the 6000+ abortions that Dr. Tiller had boasted of performing were all deformed. Many of the mothers who'd walked out of Dr. Tiller's abortion clinic a few pounds lighter did so because they didn't want to be saddled with the responsibility or inconvenience of caring for an unwanted baby that could've just as easily have been adopted.
So I wouldn't have been especially grieved to hear that Dr. Tiller had died of a massive heart attack or was struck by a bus. I personally feel that the world would be a better place without his ilk.
However, this isn't about me and my vehement opposition to abortion as a legitimate arm of "family planning." This is about Dr. Tiller's murder allegedly at the hands of Scott Roeder, a man who has already been tied to Operation Rescue and had been arrested and given probation in 1996 for having bomb-making tools in his car.
This is about the spate of Columbine-style slayings and planned slayings that we've seen in recent months from far right extremists targeting African Americans, Unitarian worshippers and abortion clinic workers and doctors.
Scott Roeder is a Timothy McVeigh-in-waiting, a homegrown terrorist who attracted far, far less attention for being caught with bomb-making tools in his car than the four idiots who'd been arrested by the FBI last week after having bought bogus explosives. If the charges stick, it'll be Roeder-1, Four Idiots-0.
It'll be Roeder-1, Richard Reid-0.
It'll be Roeder-1, John Walker Lindh-0.
It'll be Roeder-1, Jose Padilla-0.
It'll be Roeder-1, Abu al Zubayda-0.
It'll be Roeder-1, Four Idiots who wanted to blow up the Liberty Tower-0.
It'll be Roeder-1, Idiots who wanted to blow up JFK-0.
We're so busy stumbling over ourselves looking for dark and swarthy people with mere pretensions to jihad and entrapping them by selling them fake demolitions that we're ignoring people who have been caught with actual explosives, charged, convicted then released on probation so they can then go out and kill someone with whom they disagree. And even Kathleen Sibelius, former Governor of Kansas and a strong supporter of Dr. Tiller, had weighed in by saying that she did not want the Guantanamo Bay detainees at Leavenworth Federal Prison in her home state of Kansas...
...even though we have no direct evidence that any of those 240+ detainees had killed a single man between them or have been definitively linked to Muslim extremists.
We have precedence. We've seen the extreme fringe's work in the atrocities committed by Timothy McVeigh and Eric Robert Rudolph, whom the FBI couldn't catch for nearly seven years after the Atlanta Summer Olympics, which Rudolph had also bombed as well as abortion clinics.
Instead, we arrested an innocent man named Richard Jewell for doing his job.
The vague, underlying assumption in the media is that, while it's acknowledged that such murders and terrorist tactics are illegal and prosecutable, they also almost serve as legitimate counterpoints in the Zoroastrian debate between pro-lifers and pro-choicers. It is not. It is murder. It is terrorism. And even when we find homegrown terrorists and wouldbe terrorists in our midst, we release them and arrest the innocent, and put them on No Fly terrorist watch lists.
What extremists such as Rudolph, McVeigh, Adkisson and the alleged gunman Roeder do not seem to grasp is that buildings are only part of an infrastructure. And an infrastructure, a system, automatically has built into it the means to protect and strengthen itself. The harder you hit it, the stronger it will come back.
A bureaucratic system is a curious paradox in that it often is vastly impersonal and machine-like yet it is made up entirely of human beings with hearts and minds. And when a building gets bombed, it will be rebuilt. Either that or memorials take its place. There will be fund raising drives, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, martyrs made. And terrorists like Rudolph only achieve opposite the desired effect.
That is because systems are made up of human hearts and minds, hearts and minds that will not relinquish an idea, ideal or agenda that it holds to be dear and inalienable. The only way to change the system is from within, winning over those hearts and minds through rational, informed debate, not bombing it from without. And this lesson is lost not only on those hardy souls who are quite willing to wage Christian fundamentalist jihad on American soil but their supporters on the sound stages of Fox such as Bill O'Reilly and ankle biters like Hal Turner, Melanie Morgan and Michael Savage.
In our hypervigilant, post-9/11 nation, our thousand yard stare is so disciplined, so utterly incapable of being distracted that we are blind to seeing under our noses, or even acknowledging the existence of, terrorists who salute the same flag as us at ball games.