Monday, June 1, 2009

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.

Get it?

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.


At June 1, 2009 at 12:48 PM, Blogger said...

Tiller, by your own admission, killed 6,000 babies. Yet I am somehow a bad guy for opposing his ilk at the top of my lungs.

What I **say** is now somehow worse than what Tiller **did**? Get psychiatric help and grow up.

The man killed babies. Now he's been killed. I don;t see any problem with that.

-- Hal Turner

At June 1, 2009 at 12:52 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Dear, dependable, ever-vigilant Harry:

Unlike you, I never embraced murder as a suitable substitute for rational, informed debate. You did more than oppose Tiller- you called for his murder, as have so many of your ilk. However misguided Tiller may have been in his life's work, at least it can be said that he never advocated killing adults simply for disagreeing with him.

Unlike some people I can think of...

At June 1, 2009 at 1:49 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Guess whose IP address that is, Harry? Beware. To quote Ari Fleischer, you'd better watch what what you say and do.

At June 1, 2009 at 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"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"Gosh, if that isn't the stupidest thing you ever said, it's real close. It's too bad women don't ask you concerning their life decisions, you'd set 'em straight.

At June 1, 2009 at 5:45 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

And that, my friend, is one of the stupidest, most dismissive statements I've ever read. So, you're telling me that women don't terminate pregnancies while carrying perfectly healthy fetuses for the sake of personal convenience?

Man, you are deluded.

At June 1, 2009 at 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya know....I'm a bit mixed when it comes to this shit. I know if MEN were the sex that had to carry the fetus for 9 months,abortion clinics would be open 24/7/365 and be operating on every street corner just like Walgreen's drug stores. But...I know I'll never get an abortion and I've never asked any woman to do so...Never will. I'd like to think that the majority of women do this as a last resort. I've got no problem with late term abortion in the case of a deformed fetus or if the birth threatens the life of the mother....But I gotta admit,I have a hard time accepting late term abortion as acceptable outside of the aforementioned circumstances. At some point,women that find themselves pregnant and decide to wait until the last moment to abort bear some accountability for being a bit stupid and selfish. Any man with a family and hasn't written a will is stupid and selfish. Being stupid and selfish is just that...Moreover,another problem I have with the abortion industry is just like the black market drug industry,it's a cash only business. I dunno. If I had the talent to be a Doc,I don't think I could sleep well knowing my (often exclusively highbrow) livelihood was predicated upon performing late term abortions outside of the parameters I've previously mentioned.

At June 1, 2009 at 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And speaking of terror...Some of those poor folks you mention were just caught up in the vortex of an administration using extreme and unconstitutional tactics to further their agenda. To Invade Iraq. If our government and the previous administration was serious about t-e-r-r-o-r....It would never have dismissed the August 6th memo...And would never have wasted resources spying on such innocuous groups as the Quakers.

At June 1, 2009 at 10:07 PM, Blogger Graham said...

The problem with your "I cannot and will not believe" statement, bluntly, is that it is an assertion, not an argument. you offer no evidence to support it. It is actually a logical fallacy, an excellent example of Argument From Incredulity. Without any evidence, the statement is intellectually risible, and worthless.

At June 1, 2009 at 11:27 PM, Blogger BigAssBelle said...

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.Well goody for you. Not having a uterus, it's of no real import to you anyway, is it? Here's hoping you come back as a woman in your next life.

At June 1, 2009 at 11:58 PM, Blogger William N. Grigg said...

Thanks for acknowledging both the ugliness of Tiller's murder, and some element of the cynicism of the industry that employed him.

The subject of abortion is dominated on both sides by carnival barkers who are much more interested in extracting partisan advantage than in doing any material good to anyone.

This tendency is more pronounced among the opposition, and the scabrous Turner -- who makes death threats with the indifferent frequency of a patent phony who's never had a real throw-down in his life -- is pretty typical of that lot.

On the other hand, some who defend the status quo insist on treating all of us on the other side as if we -- all of us and each of us -- were medieval authoritarians motivated only by punitive and sadistic impulses.

I know many dozens of deeply devoted pro-life activists who are committed to peaceful political activism and who offer, often on sacrificial terms, material help to women confronting difficult unexpected pregnancies.

More than a few of them share my opposition to aggressive war and the death penalty, as well as abortion, and are quite outspoken about those issues as well.

I'm glad that you mentioned adoption. I'm one of six adopted children in my family. In early 2006, my wife and I learned of a local teenage girl who planned to abort a pregnancy because she "couldn't find" someone willing to adopt the child.

We contacted her family and told them we'd do whatever it took to help her get through the pregnancy, and either adopt the child or help her get wired in with people who could offer her long-term support. But it was much easier, quicker -- and, for someone, more profitable -- for that healthy developing child to be destroyed.

At June 2, 2009 at 12:47 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

So she had the abortion, William?

At June 2, 2009 at 5:03 AM, Blogger Cossack said...

Dear JP,

This is one of those few instances when I simply must disagree with you.

Being convex rather than concave, I seriously reserve my pitiful comments on this issue. No matter how much you personally find the question of abortion to be repugnant, I feel that, outside of any woman that you personally have dominion over (spouse, lover, child), you really are on shaky ground.

Were some (no one really knows how many) of the abortions Dr. Tiller performed done on "viable" fetuses? No doubt. Were they all performed on "thoughtless, uncaring" women? I rather doubt it.

JP, regardless of your own personal beliefs in this arena, unless and until YOU, personally, can become impregnated and must deal with the consequences thereof, I feel your opinion is biased by your upbringing, background, etc. etc. Have you never heard of contraceptive failure? Even in the best of cases, contraception is never 100%. I know, I know, "She can always carry the fetus to term and give the child up for adoption." Certainly. However, pregnancy (and its aftermath) is a complex problem. There are myriad complications that can occur in those 9 months. There are many consequences that can occur afterward. These are all questions that must be weighed by the woman in question. What if she was raped by a family member and impregnated? What if she is in a situation where (suppose underage and not viably employed) going to term would seriously damage her life (mentally or physically)?

Am I in favor of abortion? Not really. However, I understand that it must and should be an available medical procedure and the best cure for abortion is that we have comprehensive sex ed (starting early in school, certainly prior to children getting to procreative years) and access to safe and effective birth control, neither of which is now the case.

Most importantly, abortion is a very difficult decision for any but the simple minded. Generally speaking, the women I have known who have turned to abortion, have done so after much soul searching and as a literal last resort.

Finally, as the old saying goes, "If men could become pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament." I know this is glib sounding but, if you consider it, glib though it may well be, it does reflect grim reality, I feel.

At June 2, 2009 at 4:48 PM, Blogger William N. Grigg said...

jp -- Yes, she went through with the abortion. I'm sorry I didn't make that clear.

But the story doesn't end there.

A couple of days later, this young lady's home (a double-wide, I think) burned down. There was no evidence of foul play, it was simply one of those bad things that tend to come in clusters when people are poor and down on their luck.

Sure enough, though, the church-going neighbor who told us about the pregnancy gloatingly said that God was "punishing" this young woman for going through with the abortion.



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