Really Crazy

I grew up in the age of assassinations. Medgar Evers, JFK, Malcolm X, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King. George Wallace and Larry Flynt paralyzed by bullets, Gerald Ford a near miss, Ronald Reagan shot and recovered.

Every time this happens it’s a bad apple, a lone wolf, a crazy man.

I saw a real crazy man once when I was a student nurse doing a clinical at the IMH. We were on the locked ward.

A good looking young man was lying on the floor. He rested his cheek on the linoleum and gazed across the dusty squares. He moistened his finger, picked up some dirt from the floor and ate it. Then he did it again.

No one on the staff tried to stop him, I figured that he did this all day every day. That was real crazy.

These assassins who murder a public figure have a script to follow and the props to play the role. They don’t have to select their targets at random. They think they have a fan base.

Hate speech is not innocent. There are always frustrated, angry people who are one step away from going out in a blaze of glory. How much does an 88 year old man have to lose?

But don’t let him plead insanity. That poor boy eating dirt off the floor–he was really crazy.

Speaking for Terror

‘Why is Tiller’s alleged killer doing press conferences?’ this post on Salon asks. For the last few days you can’t look at the news without seeing Scott Roeder’s promise of more violence to come. That’s the point of terrorism–to destroy your enemy with violence and demoralize the survivors with threats.

Why is the press letting him broadcast his verbal assaults instead of investigating the network of activists that gave him support?

Operation Rescue wants to buy Dr. Tiller’s clinic and do a victory dance there. They may disown the radical wing of their movement, but it got them what they wanted. They can wash their hands, but violence by proxy is still violence. Men like Scott Roeder are a dime a dozen, he’s not the first, and he won’t be the last. He’s a hero in his own mind.

The press should not play into it, not act as a mouthpiece for terrorists.

Not a Tragedy–It’s a Crime

This week saw two appalling hate crimes– the murder of Dr. George Tiller and the murder of Pvt. William A. Long in a shooting that also wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. Both crimes were cowardly sneak attacks.

Dr. Tiller, who had survived a previous shooting and often wore a bulletproof vest was ambushed as he left his church. Pvt’s Long and Ezeagwula were standing outside a recruiting station and were targeted because they were in the Army.

Dr. Tiller was a husband and father, William Long was only 23 years old. They leave family and friends who will live with this loss every day.

Tragedy strikes impersonally–a house fire, a natural disaster, an accident. Crime is deliberate, and these crimes were motivated by ideology that led to terrorism.

The murderer of William Long, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, was an American convert to Islam. At some point he adopted a violent extremism. He recently traveled in the Mideast and was detained in Yemen.

The episode in Yemen prompted a preliminary inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other American law enforcement agencies into whether the man, Muhammad, had ties to extremist groups, the officials said. But that investigation was inconclusive, they said, leaving the bureau with insufficient evidence to wiretap his phone or put him under surveillance.
It is not clear when Mr. Muhammad, an American convert to Islam who was traveling on a valid United States passport, was detained in Yemen or why he would have been carrying counterfeit documents. His detention in Yemen was first reported Tuesday by ABC News.

It may be that Muhammad was acting without confederates

Muhammad, who was known previously as Carlos Bledsoe, acted alone and was not part of a larger plot, said Cassandra Davis, a spokeswoman for the Little Rock Police Department. She said Muhammad previously lived in Memphis, Tenn., and Nashville and had recently moved to Little Rock.
Iftikhar Pathan, the president of the Islamic Center of Little Rock, said Muhammad had never worshiped at the center’s mosque.

Muhammed probably made contact with extremist groups in Yemen, but his actions more resemble one of the awful random shootings we’ve seen than an organized terror plot. A crime like this creates outrage, not terror. Army recruiting stations will not shut down.

The murder of Dr.Tiller has closed down his clinic. Organizations such as Planned Parenthood are already under tight security because of years of harassment, vandalism, assaults and murders. Politicians make careers labeling abortion as murder, talk show hosts make ratings using language that is an incitement to violence. Calling a doctor who provides lawful care to women who have reasons for terminating a pregnancy a murderer is a constant verbal assault. From yesterday’s Providence Journal see this letter...

As for the killing of George Tiller, the noted abortion doctor in Kansas, I don’t know if the saying “One dies as he lives” would apply here. But I find it interesting that George Tiller, the nation’s most “prominent” baby killer and provider of late-term abortions, was shot and killed in the lobby of his Lutheran church while attending Sunday church services.

This week of grief supports the argument that ideas have consequences. Violent language leads to violent action. Both Scott Roeder and Muhammed were influenced by hate speech. Both had easy access to guns, which enabled them to kill from a distance.

Roeder connected with a homegrown extremism, Muhammed left the country seeking something he couldn’t find here. Time will tell whether he truly acted alone. Roeder is convinced of his innocence and is not sorry. By the logic of his beliefs he did nothing wrong.

Instant Victim Mode

This just in…

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer David Crary, Ap National Writer – Sun May 31, 4:42 pm ET

NEW YORK – Anti-abortion leaders voiced concern Sunday that the Obama administration and other Democrats may try to capitalize on the murder of Dr. George Tiller to defuse the abortion issue in upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Many anti-abortion groups condemned the killing of Tiller, a prominent abortion provider who was shot dead at his church in Wichita, Kan. But they expressed concern that abortion-rights activists would use the occasion to brand the entire anti-abortion movement as extremist.

They also worried that there would now be an effort to stifle anti-abortion viewpoints during questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Her exact views on abortion aren’t known, but conservatives fear she supports abortion rights.
Said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, an anti-abortion activist: “No one should use this tragedy for political gain.”

It’s about six hours since the murder was committed and the anti-abortion activists are already in spin control. Politician’s careers have been made by invoking the label, ‘pro-life’. The rhetoric is extreme– the language violent. But when someone takes it to its logical conclusion their hands are clean.

The body is not yet cold, a family is bereaved. And politicians are already revising their attacks on the Supreme Court nominee.

‘No one should use this tragedy for political gain.’ Indeed.

The Bullet Wins

When moral argument, persuasion and the democratic process did not convince a majority of Kansans to make abortion illegal, someone resorted to the bullet

WICHITA – George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.

Any coward can grab a gun and sneak up on an unarmed man. Violent anti-abortion groups have used guns, bombs, threats and deception to try to accomplish what they can not do by peaceful means. This is an act of domestic terrorism.