Terrorism is a tactic using violence and fear to gain political aims.
After Obama was inaugurated, Homeland Security issued a warning about possible homegrown terrorist attacks. They were swamped with resentment and accusations from the right. How dare anyone think right wing groups in the United States would grow and encourage such violent acts!
Well we just saw our second violent result of the nasty and vindictive accusations that have been coming regularly from the right through some of their commentators, blogs and emails.
Dr. Tiller was a Kansas gynecologist, obstetrician, who was murdered while serving in his church because he ran one of the few clinics that legally performed late-term abortions. Many people don't like abortions that are performed in the third trimester of a woman's pregnancy, some consider that, or really any abortion, to be murder.
Can we hold responsible people like Bill O'Reilly for the murder of Dr. Tiller because he claimed Tiller was no better than a Nazi? He quickly said no, it's not his fault and he would never encourage someone to murder someone else-- even if they deserved it. What had he been hoping his words would inspire?
What responsibility do groups have regarding their membership? When they helped the accused murderer track Dr. Tiller, were they tacitly encouraging him to do what he eventually did? What responsibility do outspoken commentators have for what happened Sunday? How about for the shootings earlier by a killer afraid his guns would be taken away?
Do those who use incendiary words (from either side) have accountability? There is a way to be responsible in what you say and still have a firm opinion that something is wrong. I actually heard that from Sarah Palin as she condemned the murder, didn't add a single 'but', while strongly maintaining a strict anti-abortion stance.
I strongly support the right of choice in the early part of a woman's pregnancy but would not vote to keep abortions in the last part of a pregnancy legal except when it's the life of the mother and even then a cesarean, to me, should be first choice; but did those who find it so wrong bother to read why women came to Dr. Tiller, who those women were, what their stories were? If you do, you see that some at least were in desperate straits, some with babies that could not survive long even if born. They didn't come to their legal choice lightly. Judge not lest ye be judged is not applicable for christianists?
During the Bush years there were no killings or shootings at abortion clinics, but there had been during the Clinton years. The type of vitriol that the right spews out, when it doesn't get its way, has consequences. If I walked up to someone and encouraged them to rob a bank or kill someone, would it be legal? Remember the blind Muslim cleric who encouraged and abetted the first World Trade Center bombings. He'll be in prison the rest of his life.
Randall Terry, who is among the most violence stirring leaders of such groups, did encourage what happened on Sunday. He believes in domestic terrorism and is using the tactics regularly. When he says that Tiller reaped what he sowed, Terry is sowing something himself-- homegrown terrorism.
Terry had better never speak out against foreign terrorists (maybe he secretly admires them) because the acts and goals are identical. They also believe their purposes are noble and dictated by god. They also believe violent acts are their only recourse to gain their goals.
Some would say that Dr. Tiller was doing wrong so it's different, but terrorism isn't just about killing those who are doing wrong (terrorists would say all in a country are responsible for what their government has done). Terrorists kill one person to frighten others. Terrorism is not about just killing a guilty person or even an innocent one. Its goal is what its name says-- inspiring terror for a political aim.
It often works. Many humans are easily intimidated. Who would like to have their home picketed (as happens to doctors who perform abortions) by those who hate them and yell threats? The tactics are using terror to alter behavior to win through intimidation when they cannot win through the courts or ballot box.
The man who killed Dr. Tiller had been part of a militant militia group, the Freemen. He had been arrested with bombs and done time in prison. He was a clear threat to anyone with whom he didn't agree, and yet he was a part of an anti-abortion group who didn't mind using him for their goals, some of whom probably see him as a hero today.
In some states there are very few places women can get even early abortions because of the fear in the clinics of being targeted by the hate mongers who picket and scream ugly accusations at the women seeking abortions and at those providing them. Have you seen how radical some of these people become? They themselves are clearly on the edge of violence. Who is stirring that up and benefiting from it?
The irony is this is often being done in the name of Christ, the Prince of Peace. It is clearly not about love and it's not about caring about the babies who might have been born. If it was, these same picketers would support medical care for all children, would always vote for school levies, would support programs to help children born in disadvantaged situations.
For righties who are either keeping silent about the murder of Dr. Tiller or think he got what he deserved, just shut up about extremists coming here to kill us. Terrorism is terrorism. There is no difference!