George R. Tiller

August 8, 1941 – May 31, 2009

drtiller

A doctor is dead.  Does anyone think this will eliminate the problem of unwanted pregnancies?

fnord

“I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.” -President Obama

“This is sad and shocking news. My prayers go out to the Tiller family and
the members of his church who witnessed this terrible crime.” -Kathleen Sebelius

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58 Comments

Filed under abortion, hate groups, Kansas, Radical Rightwing groups, Tributes

58 responses to “George R. Tiller

  1. Hate. Terrorism. Murder. Ugly words.

    Even uglier when Christian Fundamentalists commit crimes “in the name of God.”

    How many murders will be tolerated before we face the fact that hate and intolerance is out of control in America? That acts of violence are encouraged by right-wing media?

    Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed inside his church. A person killed him because his opinions and lifestyle were different, because he disagreed and felt justified by a distorted view of the world and a ’cause’ he felt justified his hateful actions.

    Probably he hoped to put fear into anyone else who may provide a legal medical procedure.

    It won’t be gay marriage, abortion or any other social issue which brings America to her knees, it will be the people who can kill because they are offended by someone who holds a different opinion than theirs. This person is a terrorist! This person is hiding behind some insane interpretation of the bible to justify terrible acts in the name of God.

    “KansasJackass” found this tidbit on ChargeTiller.com –

    Scott Roeder
    Mon September 03, 2007, 10:49:40

    ” It seems as though what is happening in Kansas could be compared to the “lawlessness” which is spoken of in the Bible. Tiller is the concentration camp “Mengele” of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgement upon our nation.”

    Scott Roeder posted the following on the Website of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue —

    “Bleass [sic] everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp. Sometime soon, would it be feasible to organize as many people as possible to attend Tillers church (inside, not just outside) to have much more of a presence and possibly ask questions of the Pastor, Deacons, Elders and members while there? Doesn’t seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller.”

  2. jammer5

    Does anyone think this will eliminate the problem of unwanted pregnancies?

    In a word, NO. Unwanted pregnancies are going to happen regardless of a persons religious beliefs, education or social status. The little head, and that simple hormone, has a far greater influence on pregnancies than all the education one can muster. Want to eliminate unwanted pregnancy? Sterilize all males at birth.

    • wicked

      Sterilize all males at birth.

      Tempting, Jammer, very tempting. I’d rather wait until males are of the age to produce sperm, gather it and freeze, then kill ’em. As far as I know, that’s the only reason for males of the human species.

      (Present company not included in above opinion, of course.)

  3. Well it’s a difficult assignment to find consensus or even a meeting point with extremes.

    Violence is extreme. I think sterilizing all males at birth is extreme too. The word eliminate is also too extreme.

    Maybe we can find ways that will reduce unwanted pregnancies.

  4. Bad Biker

    As for me, I am still in shock that this happened and saddened that the red flags were ignored. The murderer was clearly a dangerous man, if he deserves to be called a man.

    I was unable to attend the vigil, due to a prior commitment, but I was there in though and prayer.

    I am personally opposed to abortion in most cases, but I am absolutely committed to a woman’s right to choose. I consider abortion to be fundamentally a decision between a woman and her doctor and it is absolutely none of my business.

    I am struggling to come to grips with the violence, as I noted yesterday. No matter how I try to see it, I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that someone would gun down a man in cold blood.

    This has affected me much more than I would have imagined and I don’t quite know what to do about it. I consider myself to be an activist for progressive causes, but what do you do? What can you do to help prevent this from happening again? What can you do to ensure that clinics like Dr. Tiller’s are available for women in need?

    I am frustrated because I feel powerless, but I refuse to believe that the bad guys will win because of an act of cowardly violence.

    This is sad for women’s rights, just as the murder of Matthew Shepard was sad for gay rights, but I guess it reinforces the need for all of us on this side to be vigilant and proactive.

  5. wicked

    Biker,

    It is sad for women’s rights, but it may be the wake-up call needed. We’ll see just how “appalled” these pro-birth people are by the actions of one who was spurred by the words and actions of others. Frankly, I was appalled years ago when I learned that a doctor was forced to wear a bullet-proof vest and use bodyguards.

    What I find highly amusing (macabre amusing) is that statistics show that anti-abortion groups are quieter when Republicans are in the WH and congress, yet go ballistic when Dems are the same. Yet even with all the rhetoric and promises by the Right, abortion is STILL legal.

  6. annie_moose

    These people just turn my stomach

    http://www.voicescarryblog.com/today-tiller-the-killer-now-a-martyr-for-molech-met-god/

    May 31, 2009
    Today Tiller the Killer, now a martyr for Molech, met God

    The Bible says those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Late-Term abortionist George Tiller the Killer, now a martyr for Molech, discovered today that Scripture passage is true. He was shot and killed this morning while ushering at his Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita. His wife was singing in the choir at the time of the shooting. Really, really, horrible and sad. Every life is valuable, including Tiller’s.

    Tiller the Killer now stands before the Author of Life.

    How’d you like to be a bug on the wall for those moments? O my. As one who has sought to be a voice for the unborn contending for justice, I’m praying God replays for Tiller the tape of the silent screams he alone has heard every time Tiller went to work each day.

    Tiller personally killed more babies than America lost soldiers in Vietnam. Many of them were late term, fully-formed, healthy, and in the seventh, eighth and ninth month —meaning they were viable outside the womb. One of the lucky babies that lived is named Sarah Brown. Tiller left her “paralyzed, blind, and mentally retarded after injecting formaldehyde into her brain to abort her then failed to finish the job.”

    My history is rusty so pardon me here… I’m trying to remember, did anyone mourn the death of Pol Pot or any other mass murderer? Surely you get my point. I know this is a huge loss for Tiller’s family and they need prayer and support because I’m sure they are grieving bitterly. But this guy was a cruel hardened monster who the law seemed powerless to stop. Any sadness for him personally is grossly misplaced.

    • wicked

      Monster? That isn’t what people who knew him called him.

      My only solace is that the writer of the above will also have to answer to his maker.

      Those who live in hate, die in hate.

  7. You know how two people can read or hear the same words and both have heard something different? So if a person wants to justify some irrational, maybe even insane, thought they can find words that will reaffirm the position they choose. All of us can!

    Biker mentioned, “red flags were ignored.” And they were, no doubt! Does the extreme partisanship of America today contribute to those red flags being ignored? Since we seem to have chosen our sides and are quick to criticize ‘the other side,’ have we forgotten that extreme opinions that we can kinda agree with a little more easily if we ignore the extremism should sometimes be red flags?

    Hate is hate. Extremism should be a red flag! It doesn’t matter what side it supports.

  8. CNN reports that the FBI is monitoring web traffic from websites involved in this awful hatefest.
    Sad stuff isn’t it?

  9. What really makes me sick is the way these religous extremists feel they have a mandate from God.
    History repeats itself.

    • All the way back at least to The Crusades it has been proven that religion is very useful in stirring up hate. In fact, it is used to make people hate badly enough to be capable of killing.

      I know people who are peaceful and loving and follow Christ’s example — those are probably the majority of Christians. But the minority is the most vocal and they use their God to justify their hate.

  10. Thunderchild

    “Well it’s a difficult assignment to find consensus or even a meeting point with extremes.”

    That’s why I don’t try.

  11. Can freedom without responsibility be called freedom?

    This suspected murderer of Dr. Tiller decided he was ‘free’ to disagree with the government of the United States. It’s reported that he didn’t file tax returns or provide his SS number to an employer. And, finally he decides justifiable homicide is his right.

    Gun nuts who take the 2nd amendment and stretch it to fit whatever their own ideas of freedom are.

    Free speech that people take to the extreme of blind hatred. They aren’t any longer opposing or strongly disagreeing, they’ve gone beyond what should be allowed in a civilized world.

    Zealots who ignore that when Republicans are in power they do NOTHING to change abortion laws but as soon as Democrats are in power these same people go off some deep end into insanity.

    I know it sounds like an oxymoron — too much freedom — but freedom isn’t free and can’t be without responsibilities.

  12. wicked

    sekan, maybe it would have helped if the FBI had been doing some monitoring BEFORE?

    Not that I think they weren’t. The owners of these sites–the organizations–aren’t stupid. They would know better than to directly comment to something that would arouse suspicion. Much of this stuff goes on behind the curtain. The FBI does what it can, but it’s too little, too late, in most cases.

  13. fnord, what was it that Paul Harvey always said?
    There can be no democracy without self-restraint?

  14. Yeah Wicked, that’s worth about as much as a restraining order when it comes to real weirdos.

  15. TFK has a couple of threads going here
    http://scienceblogs.com/tfk/2009/05/the_most_dangerous_domestic_te.php#comments

    Some have listed places for condolences/donations.

  16. We cannot allow the fundamentalist religious fringe to continue to believe it is their duty to take matters into their own hands.

    Until we get back to the premise of separating church and state we won’t have the America of our founders.

  17. Bad Biker

    Still trying to wrap my mind around this senseless tragedy, but I have come to a conclusion:

    The right had their fair share of dangerous rhetoric, but they truly began to ratchet up the vitriol in 1994 with the ascent of the Newt Gingrich Republican Party. Since then, the level of discourse has steadily sank to the point where it is today.

    The anti-choice people claim that this murder was the act of a lone nut-case – I strongly disagree.

    This assassination of Dr. Tiller is an EXTENSION of the rhetoric of the right, the Limbaugh, Savage, Falwell, H & NP discourse. This is JM and others from the nameless blog taken to an extreme. This is the manifestation of Holick (sp), Fox, Phelps, Wright and other debasing Christianity.

    Unfortunately, this is the natural progression of said rhetoric – a man, bent on violence, is spurred on by far right-wing talk, and acts on his violent tendencies.

    This is what we have become in the United States these days.

    This makes me sad.

    And angry. This is still MY country and I will fight like Hell to see that our principles are not further eroded by the holier-than-thou types from the right.

    I don’t have all the answers, I am not sure where to take the fight, but fight we all must do.

    It’s our country that is at stake.

  18. Bad Biker

    Oh, and I don’t believe for a second that this assassin acted alone. Not for one second.

  19. wicked

    Biker, he didn’t act alone, even if only to the extent that he was “spurred on by far right-wing talk, and acts on his violent tendencies”.

    As I posted yesterday, free speech has its limits and many have had a toe over the line for some time. We tend to ignore it. We should be outraged. But liberals have a tendency to be “nice” and not make waves because if they do, the Right starts with the name-calling, knowing we’ll back down.

  20. At the other place, Phillip had a thread about how listening to the other side of an argument actually deepens one’s resolve to oppose them, especially if the speaker is especially strident. One concludes that the other side is really “unreachable and unreasonable” as a result. I am providing a link to the column that inspired the thread.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/opinion/28kristof.html?_r=1

    The literature would suggest we are hardwired to form “camps” or “tribes”. That being said, I think the U.S. being in the “W.” camp for 8 long years had the effect of pushing the electorate to another viewpoint (viz., BHO) that is pretty different. I was in the 4th grade, but I clearly remember JFK’s assassination. I have always had a fear for Obama’s life and things like yesterday do not help me shake that.

  21. We are ill equipped in the fight of ugliness. We just aren’t nearly as ugly as the right wing!

    Biker, I agree Gingrich’s “Contract With America,” which turned out to be empty promises was the beginning. And the right wing doesn’t even admit those promises the Republican Party made with that contract go unfulfilled today. If they ever took a critical look, would they recognize what is so obvious to thinking people?

    Wasn’t the Contract With America due to their outrage over social issues — President Clinton and Monica? Wasn’t that when we started seeing social issues (read this as morals) being pushed to be legislated? And from there we’ve come to extremists who want the Constitution to more closely resemble the Bible?

  22. Bad Biker

    Damn it! This has really gotten to me in a way that I just can’t shake. This, in my view, is being privately celebrated by the far right, while they “mourn” in public.

    The hypocrisy just puts me over the edge.

    I could not attend the vigil last night because I had a “Hockey Party” planned. My beloved Detroit Red Wings were playing in the second game of the Stanley Cup finals v. the Pittsburgh Penguins. (The Wings won to take a 2-0 lead in the best of seven championship.)

    I made a batch of Dylan’s Chili (see recipes) and had cold beer in the ‘fridge and family and friends coming over.

    It was a somber night. My oldest daughter is a former clinic escort at Tiller’s clinic. That is how strongly SHE believes in choice. My family is all pro-choice, although there has never been an abortion among us. Both my daughters are HUGE Wings fans.

    (At this point I would try to make a humorous comment about ruining my Wings game, but not even I am that flippant.)

    WTF has the country come to? Read some of the OL comments and that “other” blog!

    Damn! The gist of most of the comments is “this was wrong, but……..” or outright support for the killer.

    WTF!

  23. Actually, the Contract “on” America preceded Monica. It was a turn rightward during the 1994 elections. I think the “Contract” was the result of the right wing response to Clinton’s election in 1992. Rush Limbaugh was invited to congressional meetings in ’94, they had live elephants parading in the street – it was the GOP’s “glory days” – and we all remember what the Bruce had to say about “glory days”.

  24. I have been having trouble entering the blog-that- shall-not-be-named. Made me wonder if it is shut down for some reason?

  25. wicked

    Clinton wasn’t supposed to win the 92 election, which was the reason they went after him so hard for so long. Nothing worked to get him out of office or to beat him in 96. I believe Jeb had been the choice in 2000, but Jeb declined, leaving Dubya, who would do as he was told. (Not so with Jeb.) The election HAD to be won by the Cons in 2000, by hook or by crook. Both were used to the full extent and repeated in 2004.

    This has all been in the works for many years. What our country–our AMERICA–is today is what the Cons have made it. If their actions take them down, it’s only what they deserve for their greed and hatred. I only hope it doesn’t become the destruction of our country.

  26. wicked

    Iggy, I was having problems getting on over there, too. It took several tries and a very long wait. It was mentioned that it’s being caused by info being mined by the authorities. I guess that’s totally possible.

    Funny how they talk out of both sides of their mouths, isn’t it? Not ha-ha funny though.

  27. Bad Biker

    I need to calm myself down – I have this urge to go down to Spirit One and punch Holick in the nose.

    Christ.

    • I am calmer today, just because I finally convinced myself that remaining so upset wasn’t doing anything to or for anyone but me! I still want to use this anxious energy to help someone and I know PrairiePond needs help. Will she allow it? She won’t do worse than tell me “No” if I ask.

      • wicked

        I feel like I’ve been run over with a steamroller today. More than likely that’s because of the adrenalin pumping yesterday. I’m tired and don’t want to think. Unfortunately, work calls. Why I ever agree or volunteer to do things is beyond me. LOL

  28. Mega-dittos on the last sentiment, Wicked. I don’t think Clinton would have won in ’92 without the help of Ross Perot. I will never forget one of my favorite stories about the Perot candidacy. George Bush the son saw a gathering of Perot supporters in Dallas, I think it was, and remarked “look at all those luxuary cars, he’s talking to our people.” ‘You were correct butt-boy!’ he-he-he…

  29. Zippy

    I had a fairly long post–my first on the subject there–go into the ether. Probably just as well, as it contained my usual mix of qualified language and outright bluntness.

    The essence of it was that calling someone engaged in a legal activity a murderer for engaging in that legal activity is at best slander, and that even those who engaged in unambiguous murder (i.e. public officials who authorize war crimes) deserve a presumption of innocence and due process of law.

  30. wicked

    One of the posters (H??) posted today that there had been no hate from the right yesterday. A blatant lie, since one of the most hate-filled posts was done by him. I tried to get back to yesterday’s open to get it and post it to today’s thread, but can’t get anywhere now. Guess I’ll have to try later.

  31. lilacluvr

    I was on the treadmill yesterday when the news broke on Tiller’s death. I was at first stunned but then I immediately thought about Obama’s safety.

    All this hate speech and gun nuts running around claiming their ‘freedom’ to do whatever they want is not a good combination.

    The statement from Operation Rescue was something to the effect that they used peaceful, legal means and they did not condone the vigilantism. But yet their own 20+ years history shows a consistent trend of harassment of not only Tiller, but his family and his staff’s families.

    Is harrassment not a crime? And how much hate speech is really freedom of speech? If their group’s hate speech is a factor in pushing one of their supporters over the edge – does it not make them an accomplice?

    I heard a woman today on the radio talk about how she personally knew of cases in which Dr. Tiller refused to do an abortion and would place unwanted babies into loving homes.

    Why are these violence-bent, hate-filled anti-abortion protesters not talking about those cases? Maybe because that won’t bring in the millions of tax free money to their non-profit group?

    Maybe I am an optimist, but I’m hoping this senseless act of violence will spark the rational thinking Americans, who are the real majority, to take a hard look at these so-called pro-life groups and decide for themselves if they truly are pro-life?

  32. wicked

    Lilac,

    I heard the adoption story too. The pro-lifers can’t accept stories such as that. To do so would mean admitting they’re wrong.

  33. To err is human. Since those nut cases think they never ‘err,’ is that an admission of being less than human?

  34. Although spelled differently, is this murder suspects last name pronounced just like btk’s last name?

  35. Thunderchild

    “I know PrairiePond needs help.”

    What’s she need? I’m in.

    Yeah something’s wrong over at the WE Blog. At FIRST I thought maybe Hank had had me banned.

    Ya know, I BET that the murderer has posted to WE Blog before. It at least WAS the most posted and read forum in Kansas the last almost 4 years. When I have the time, I’m gonna mine the archives for variations on his name and see if I can find him.

    I know it is not popular to say here, but I think this atrocity demonstrates conclusively that there are some people, and no small number that we just cannot treat as rational. We are going to have to see them as enemies and treat them accordingly.

  36. Bad Biker

    “We are going to have to see them as enemies and treat them accordingly.”

    Some, not all. I do not believe that the unnamed blog is representative of many on the right, but it is certainly representative of the fringe right.

    I am sorry to HAVE to agree with you, TC, not because I don’t respect your opinion – I do – but because the events of the last 36 hours has convinced me that some on the right are well beyond reason.

    What really pisses me off is that there were VERY clear red flags raised by this assassin, but NO ONE on the right chose to report that.

    I am sure, that if members of the left wing had suggested violence as a means of promoting their agenda, many would have raised a voice in protest, yet this killer went on for YEARS and no one said a god damned thing.

    To me, that is the difference between the left and the right.

    • lilacluvr

      Those red flags should have been treated like the Gitmo detainees in those cases where there is not enough evidence to convict them but yet we know they did something.

      Hey – these same Right-Wing fanatics think that Gitmo is okay – so why not treat them the same way??

  37. lilacluvr

    But remember the mob mentality that was going on in the last days of the campaign at the McCain/Palin rallies? These same Radical Fundamentalist Republicans were uttering the same hate speech we hear today, only now it is more brazen – led by the King Pied Piper of them all – Rush.

  38. Pedant

    Pretty bad day all around yesterday. First Tiller, which was bad enough, but turns out the bad stuff wasn’t finished.

    I drank many a beer in the kitchen of the guy murdered in Canton yesterday, many many with him and his first wife (not the poor young cuckold who did all the shooting, but the lothario) (reading between the lines of the story at kansas.com…and knowing my friend).

    Not a good day today.

  39. wicked

    Re: Those Red Flags

    I can’t completely agree with you on whether they should have been noticed. There was nothing in the message Roeder wrote on OR (or wherever that was) that would necessarily indicate there was something sinister being planned. IIRC, he only mentioned “talking” to the pastor and church members. Maybe I’m naive, but I took it to mean that he (or they) thought the church should ban Tiller from membership and was hoping to convince them of it.

    HOWEVER: There were obviously red flags concerning his instability throughout. But how much manpower is there for every cuckoo to be monitored? I fear not anywhere near enough. Yes, he should have been watched. That much we agree on. Other than that, do we know of anything specific or that might have been even a shadow of a tip-off that something was up?

    And WHY is this to be tried by the State? Nola wants the limelight?

    • It’s not at all unusual for state charges to be filed first, followed by federal charges later. He must be released or charged within 48 hours and state charges will come within that time frame. He faces a bunch of legal problems and I personally think part of that will include federal charges.

      I’ve seen people already sentenced to state charges (you know how long that can take), and then the federal charges are brought while they’re serving the state imposed sentence. In this instance he may be serving life on state charges and that might be the reason federal charges wouldn’t be brought. Kinda depends on minimum years to be served before eligible for parole. If he might get out during his natural lifetime, other charges could be brought to ensure that doesn’t happen.

    • lilacluvr

      From what I read, this guy was known to the websites that promoted assassinations of abortion doctors – although none would claim he was a ‘regular’ within their group.

      Isn’t that a tidy phrase to say – I agree with the man but don’t blame me when he goes off the deep end.

  40. 6176746f6c6c65

    Well, wicked, while Nola has yet to meet a camera she didn’t love, this case is a state matter first and foremost. While there may be federal criminal violations, generally homicide is tried at the state level.

    Don’t be misled by Kline’s showboating several years ago when he “turned over” two cases to the feds for trial. Once SCOTUS upheld the Kansas death penalty law, those cases were returned to the state’s jurisdiction for trial, the feds not really wanting to deal with them. IIRC, there were some questions at the time about there being jurisdiction at the federal level in any event.

    • Do you think the sentence at the state level will probably keep him incarcerated for the rest of his natural life? If so, then unless they find involvement from other parties I think it could stay with the state.

  41. I think the federal charges would also depend on whether they can find complicity. That will only be known after much investigation. Maybe even involve a grand jury investigation.

    • 6176746f6c6c65

      fnord,

      That would be one thing to look at. On your other post, clearly from the facts known, this appears to be a clear case of 1st degee murder, eligible for the “hard 50”. As the accused is 51, he would serve his sentence (no possibility of parole) and, if he survived, would get out at age 102, assuming the case doesn’t go to trial before his next birthday. Then there is also the possibility of 2 agg assaults, which involved the use of a firearm, which calls for enhanced sentencing; make them consecutive, and he likely won’t be eligible for parole on these until he’s 105 to 110.

      Recall that a life sentence allows the defendant to be eligible for parole after serving 21 years.

      • Sounds like the potential sentence will do just fine. 😉

        I still think they’ll ‘look into’ whether or not some of the hate groups could be involved. Somehow, someway, there have to be some stops, some reminders that yelling fire in the crowded theatre isn’t allowed and neither is inciting violence.

  42. I must add that on this topic — I defer to 6176’s expertise! A little knowledge is a very dangerous thing. 😉

  43. Pedant

    fnord, thank you.

  44. djr4488

    I want to offer my sincerest condolences to Mr. Tiller’s family. No man, woman, or child should die by a judgment of man. While it is known I disagree with abortion(for use as a means of birth control), I could never condone violence to stop it.

    😦

  45. You, djr, are someone I know is genuinely pro-life. All life. I have the greatest respect for the work you do to help women in difficult times, and to promote the sanctity of life. If there is a way to reduce the numbers of abortions performed your work will be part of that!

    • wicked

      I agree with doing everything possible to reduce the number of abortions. Education is one of the first places to start. It should be up to parents to provide that, yet there are too many parents who either don’t or don’t know facts.

      Unfortunately, not all abortions can be stopped. There are medical reasons, and I support those. As with everything, it’s not black and white. There are many shades of grey. But education, good health care, and employment (as Lilac said) are the places to start to reduce the numbers.