I saw some op-ed on the internets that compared right wing hate media’s (O’Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, etc.) take on abortion providers as being akin to “yelling fire in a theater filled with arsonists.” I thought that was an amusing line, but wondered when we’re talking about folk like Scott Roeder, if “pyromaniacs” might be the better choice. Arsonists can, after all, have fairly rational reasons for setting fires – collecting insurance, etc. pyromaniacs are a different breed as I understand it.
I have been told that pyromaniacs will often visit the fire they have set and will, either at the time of viewing, or shortly after, masturbate. Their urges toward crime have been eroticized – in other words, strongly reinforced and thus prone to happen again.
Scott Roeder’s crime, while not apparently eroticized, was driven by religious certitude. He was “doing God’s will”. Another variety of very powerful motivation for engaging in and repeating a crime.
So, while I think every person is ultimately responsible for their own behavior, it does seem to me that those who would incite into action people like Scott Roeder share in some of that responsibility. Yelling “fire” in a crowded theater filled with pyromaniacs is serious business and not at all funny.