Monday, June 01, 2009

Kan. abortion doc killed in church; suspect held

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

WICHITA, Kan. — Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation's few providers of late-term abortions despite decades of protests and attacks, was shot and killed Sunday in a church where he was serving as an usher.

The gunman fled, but a 51-year-old suspect was detained some 170 miles away in suburban Kansas City three hours after the shooting, Wichita Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said.

Although Stolz refused to release the man's name, Johnson County sheriff's spokesman Tom Erickson identified the detained man as Scott Roeder. He has not been charged in the slaying and was expected to be taken to Wichita for questioning.

Police did not release a motive for the shooting. But the doctor's violent death was the latest in a string of shootings and bombings over two decades directed against abortion clinics, doctors and staff.


Anti-abortion groups denounced the shooting and stressed that they support only nonviolent protest. The movement's leaders fear the killing could create a backlash just as they are scrutinizing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, whose views on abortion rights are not publicly known.

"We are shocked at this morning's disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down," Troy Newman, Operation Rescue's president, said in a statement. "Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning."

More here.

So just six weeks ago conservatives were in absolute hysterics over the Homeland Security Department's report on the rising threat of violent right-wing extremism. They felt they were being singled out by the new "liberal" Obama administration, totally forgetting the warning DHS had issued on left-wing extremism a few weeks earlier. Indeed, conservatives strongly asserted that the whole thing was nothing but cheap-shot politics, forgetting as well that right-wing extremists were responsible for the largest single act of terrorism in this nation's history prior to 9/11, the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City.

And now we see this assassination of an abortion provider in Wichita.

Even though "police did not release a motive for the shooting," this McClatchy article got some good dirt on the shooter. Roeder is indeed a right-wing extremist, long an anti-abortion fanatic, who for years vocally advocated murdering abortion providers as justifiable homicide. He was even busted in the mid 90s by the ATF on illegal explosives charges. But what really gets me going are Roeder's connections to far right militia groups in the same decade, the same movement that produced Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.

Bottom line: this wasn't simply a murder; it was an act of right-wing terrorism.

You know, it's entirely possible that someday soon the far-left Earth Liberation Front might accidentally blow up some human beings along with the properties they usually target. It's also entirely possible that Al Qaeda might get its shit together and launch another spectacular 9/11 style attack here in the US. But right now, I'm much more afraid of right-wing lunatics with guns and bombs targeting me for my political beliefs. The conservatives can howl if they want, but this is fucking real. I mean, this is the second time in a year they've come after liberals. At church.

Just another reason to stay away from church, I suppose.