Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

What is the difference?

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!


Sylvia K said...

Needless to say, I agree with everything you have written here. Terrorists are terrorists regardless of where they're from and the murder of Tiller is just that -- an act of terrorism. And, of course, those on the right continue to spew their rhetoric and it continues to be disgusting.

ainelivia said...

Well written, and well said.

Those who feel that their beliefs give them the "right to kill" anyone who disagrees with them, scare the living daylights out of me.

Paul said...

To me terrorism is whatever terrorizes the victim.Semantics often serves to cloud the issue !

Parapluie said...

People become terrorists because they feel threatened. A neighbor told me that he believes that the right to bear arms means he has the right to form a posse independent of the government and hunt down anyone who threatens his wife or children. He most certainly does not consider himself a terrorist. President Obama is good to encourage dialog calming down inflamatory rhetoric.
Possibly rather than band semi automatic guns we need clarification on what it means to lawfully use them. Furthermore we need to know what has happenedto the ammunition available for purchase.

Darlene said...

I think that the anti-abortion radicals and the gun totin' nuts are in the same camp. The are, as you so rightly pointed out, home grown terrorists. I am amazed that they can't see that.

Ingineer66 said...

First off let me say that nobody made him kill Dr. Tiller. He chose to do it and for that he should be tried and executed. It was first-degree murder pure and simple. I pretty much agree with what you are saying in your post, but if the whackos that preach hate against the providers of abortions are responsible for this violence, are the Code Pink types that protest against our troops responsible for the shooting at the Arkansas military recruiting center. It seems we need to be more worried about Muslim terrorists killing people here in the US than the right wing nuts that Napolitano is so worried about.

Rain said...

Of course you would say that, Ingineer. You aren't a doctor who performs abortions, nor a nurse who works in those clinics but the target is also political change. Terrorism is terrorism and if you think it's okay that they use violent techniques then accept so does the Taliban and al Qaeda. Abortion is a right that all women should have as a choice. If someone doesn't believe in it, don't have one.

As for words not having meaning, then that Muslim cleric who encouraged the first World Trade Center bombing, he should be freed? He was a blind man with no power to actually do anything. Just words, right...

How the right thinks never ceases to amaze me.

Rain said...

The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 got a lot of what they wanted with destruction of our economy but you never did get the point of what their goal was. Terroris is never just about killing people. It has a political goal as did what happened in Kansas.

It is ironic how you don't like to say you are a right winger but you parrot their words and think like they want you to think. Terrorism led to the patriot act that took away many of our freedoms. If someday people on the right stop to think what all this leads to maybe they will deal with it more effectively. For now they are blinded by the rhetoric and miss the point.

If people in this country want to ban all abortions, the way to do that is through the ballot box and appointing judges like Bush did. That's how you change laws and unfortunately if enough people agree with it, you can take away people's civil rights. Ask the gays about that one!

Paul said...

don't want no terrorism
in my hood.

Ingineer66 said...

Rain I do not agree with the protests or the hateful speech or the violence that is used against the anti-abortion crowd. I agree with you on abortion, I do not plan to have one, but I do not want them made illegal.

And I am very worried about the growth of power of the Federal Government. Obama appointed another Czar today to oversee peoples pay. That is to go along with the car czar he recently put in place.
That is 14 different Czars now to do what used to be handled by Congress or Agency heads. Now we have all these people and their staff costing us more money and they all have virtually no public accountability since they only report to Obama and nobody else.

Suzann said...

Amen - is it not such a travesty that the doctor was gunned down in church - the zealots! Home-grown terrorists indeed!

Rain said...

could you put a link to what you are talking about, ingineer? I have not seen the articles. When I did a quick google search the only references were on right wing blogs which when I went there, didn't make much sense.

I it is someone overseeing the salaries of the ones we are bailing out, then it makes sense but much as I read the paper regularly, I saw nothing on this and am surprised about Obama doing it while he's on a trip that has been this important.

Speaking of that, didn't you feel impressed by him on this trip? The right didn't think much of it. They want us dictating to the world, not trying to get along. They want us supporting Israel no matter what they do, not trying to find some balance. Balance is as bad a word as empathy

I relate to fear over the government taking too much power over people's lives. I felt it for 8 years. Funny how it upsets people more depending on whose hands the power is in.

Rain said...

Never mind, I found it and it was The Wall Street Journal and it purely is for those who have taken our money to bail themselves out and checking their compensation-- not everybody. Would you prefer they not do this? Trust and do like we did with Iraq see all that money going out but have no idea where it went? That has happened to some degree with TARP money. I'd rather it was looked after myself.

Rain said...

There is a certain amount of irony in this as one of the things I said during the Bush years is you people may not like the concentration of power so much in the executive branch when you don't control it. The chickens have definitely come home to roost. I would feel there was less hypocrisy in it if you had cared for the last 8 years. I don't like the idea of concentrated power in the executive either. Don't think they should have all these people who cannot be called to account by Congress but Republicans defended Cheney when he said he didn't have to answer questions... They obviously will see it differently with Obama but the question is would they if it was Palin.......

Ingineer66 said...

I did not like the centralization of power under Bush either. That is partially why a lot of republicans said he was a lot like a democrat between that and his spending. All you dems laughed at us when we said he was not really a republican.
And I know you called it about how the other side would not like it once a new president came in. But Obama seems to be expanding it ten fold over Bush. Just like he is expanding the debt 10 fold over Bush.

I heard about the new Czar on the national news on the radio while driving. So do not have a link.

I have no problem with overseeing the pay of companies that took Federal money. He who has the gold, rules and if you take the money we get to tell you how to do it. The problem is that most of the people that Obama has in there telling companies how to run themselves have never ran a company. They are a bunch of political appointees or folks from academia that do not know the real business world.
And it is not just the companies that took the money. Obama appointees have said that they want to control the salaries of everyone in the banking and financial sector, not just the companies that took TARP money.

Rain said...

If you look at the article that I linked, it was only banks or businesses that took the money. Not everybody. And Bush was defended totally by Republicans who kept voting for him and supporting him in Congress on everything he wanted, blocking any oversight; so he was their guy whether they were thrilled or not. It's not like Palin would be different. Did you see the charts on her spending in Alaska? But it's always different when it's someone's own party.

So far what Obama is talking about is overseeing the spending on the bailout and recovery funds and considering they already don't know where a lot of TARP money went,I think it's a good idea. Would Congress even do it. Robert Byrd doesn't like it either btw. But how well has congress done and Obama's reputation rides on it succeeding.

Ingineer66 said...

There is very little accountability in the Stimulus money. They might as well be throwing bails of money out the doors of helicopters. My brother was in Texas last week at a building conference and he was talking to a guy from Arkansas and they have lost $7 million in stimulus money for low income housing weatherizing improvements. Just lost it, they have no idea where it went. And that is one program in one backwater state.
We are going to have a $10 TRILLION debt and very little to show for it. And now Biden is saying that they are going to start spending the money even faster.

I am not sure why you think I am such a Palin fan. Other than being the best looking governor in the US she was elected to lead a state that has the population of a medium sized California city. Not really a qualifying event to be President or Vice President of the US.

Rain said...

I wasn't really meaning you with her but what I see from Republicans and especially in Congress. They go in lock-step with their party and I think that's wrong which is why we Democrats should not do that with Obama. It does not make for better leaders.

Bumps Stump said...

Hi Rain, Just caught up with your thoughtful blog. Being an ogre from the nasty right, my spew of disgusting rhetoric may go against the grain. So be it.

You on the beach look just great. The farm boss must be a happy guy.

Universal government managed health care sounds like a step backward to me. I suspect we would be better off redesigning our present system. Afterall, it's already one of the best in the world.

The discussion of terrorism didn't make a lot of sense to me. Sorry, but I have trouble defining torture and capital punishment also.

I suspect we would all be better served if we could agree to teach (in whatever language) our respective societies to honor the concepts found in the Christian 10 Commandments and similar axioms found elsewhere.

If we did we would know: (1) Terrorism is wrong (2) torture means irrepairably hurting someone and it is also wrong. (3) Capital punishment is wrong.

Lastly, you seem to have a pretty good handle on abortion.

Stay dry.

Rain said...

Thanks for posting here, Bumps. From how you post, you don't sound like an ogre to me. I think it's important we have two political views in this country and that neither becomes overpowering. The right, when it expresses true conservative values is important. Right now, it needs thoughtful people who speak up or it will be lost. Agreeing to disagree is sometimes the beginning of real dialogue.

Parapluie said...

Bump Stump and Rain,
I commend your dialog.
I understand Bump Stump's logic. That if torture is wrong in terms of the major religions, then too captial punishment is wrong as well.

Aren't the terrorists trying to show by example that the survivers should fear for their life if they continue the same actions as the one punished by death? So the defendents become terrorists.

I can also understand all the arguments for capital punishment. LIke what do you do so the attacker set free would proceed to attacking again.