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June 03, 2009

Comments

Um. Actually, I was gonna appreciate russell for keeping the focus on terrorism and assassination, which few of us were doing.

Did you interpret his comment as a threat? I don't think it was meant that way.

I'm unconvinced at the equivalencies being drawn, even if there are apparent parallels between the crimes.

So what about that shooting of an Army Recruiter? Does it implicate Muslims who don't strongly enough denounce him?
Is the defining feature of the shooter really his Islamic faith? In this context, for the parallel, I thought the defining feature was his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (opposition possibly motivated by, but distinct from, his faith). And as such, I suppose it could be said that he constitutes the terrorist fringe of the anti-war movement.

Except.

Except that I'm not aware that he has ties to the broader anti-war movement.
Except that I'm not aware that there's a very big terrorist fringe of the anti-war movement (I know offhand of this incident and two in which recruitment offices were wrecked).
Except that the rest of the anti-war movement has in fact been quite strenuous in denouncing violence, and has even limited its nonviolent but intrusive harassment to far, far less than the anti-abortion movement has done.

There was a federal case a year or so ago about a website functioning as a hitlist of abortion providers, complete with personal information and with changes to the list celebrating the murder of one of the people on it. There have been numerous assaults on people visiting clinics that offer abortion - indeed, the only first amendment limitation that I'm aware of simply kept protestors out of reach to avoid repetition of these frequent events. There is a very significant terrorist fringe to the anti-abortion movement, of a kind I don't know that we've seen since the tree-spikers of the 80's (widely denounced by mainstream environmentalists, and superceded by tree-sitters because the moral force of nonviolence was seen as greater).

Long comment shorter, to the extent that your post isn't entirely strawmen then the expectations being raised are no higher than those that liberals' movements are already asking themselves to meet.

I think the situations are broadly analogous, though of course the details are very different. The problem I think has to do with "political correctness" and the unearned respect it gives to the "very personal and sacred beliefs" of others.

Once a large swath of discourse has been short-circuited because critical discussion of religion is taboo, then we lose a valuable tool for an open society to deal with its social problems. If we can't discuss the roots of those problems (fundamentalism and the immoral character of large parts of dominant religious texts like Christianity and Islam), then we in effect shelter the extremists.

There is a special place of immunity that religion occupies, especially dominant religions like Christianity and Islam, that enables them to simultaneously claim themselves to be sources of morality while shielding their own immoral monsters who routinely and predictably cause pain and suffering.

Once we are forbidden to criticize questionable ideas like "Ensoulment occurs at conception" or that "Islam is a peaceful religion and the Koran a peaceful text", we've already lost the battle and ceded a comfort zone for these religions to hide their black sheep. And they don't have to face larger societal censure.

In short, I do think that silence implicates the silent. They should defend their religions publicly instead of cowardly hiding its excesses behind a wall of societal taboo. Furthermore, they should denounce or attempt to reform their black sheep. To do otherwise is to be complicit in the excesses of their religion.

My opinion is that those that have been ambiguous or have openly used language that could reasonably be construed as justifying violence should be called to denounce the violence committed 'for their cause'. Since to my knowledge no mainline Muslim organization in the US has called for violence against army recruiters, I see no reason for an apology from that side. If personally called on it (by someone respectable, i.e. not Malkin, Hannity etc.) they may go on the record as condemning it but I don't see an obligation. In the case of the Tiller murder I see ample evidence of incitement and the 'denouncing' by leading anti-choicers adds insult to injury*.
Personally, if some close relative of Tiller would meet Bill O'Reilly in the streets and beat the crap out of him (without causing fatal injuries), I'd see difficulties not to applaud. What BillO does might be legal under US law but that does not change my view that he is scum that the media should be ashamed of.

*and I believe that a lot (if mot most)of 'pro-life' people are as shocked and embarrrassed about the murder and the praise-disguised-as-denouncement as the 'pro-choicers' are.

Btw, I am not convinced that Bill O'Reilly even believes in the hatred he has spread about Tiller (which would make him even more despicable than the OR head in my view).

"Except that the rest of the anti-war movement has in fact been quite strenuous in denouncing violence, and has even limited its nonviolent but intrusive harassment to far, far less than the anti-abortion movement has done."

The anti-war movement hasn't been around in this form for 30 years. And I'm not so sure you can be so quick to dismiss 'Muslim' in the analogy either. Reread publius, he isn't very careful about limiting to 'extremist pro-life' at all.

So what about that shooting of an Army Recruiter? Does it implicate Muslims who don't strongly enough denounce him?

Are you deliberately confusing a religion with a political movement?

Pro-lifers claim - often - that Christianity justifies their belief that doctors who perform abortions are killing babies. Yet I don't think a single person on this blog has yet asserted that the pro-life murder of Doctor Tiller implicates all Christians who don't strongly enough denounce this murder.

Doctor Tiller is the eighth person to be murdered by the pro-life movement in pursuit of its goal to disrupt the political and social consensus on abortion in the US. If you care, you can read the names of the other people murdered by pro-lifers on my blog. Or elsewhere. Pro-lifers have murdered, attempted murder, sent bomb threats, death threats, and anthrax threats, committed arson attacks, and violently harassed clinic staff and patients on their way into or out of the clinic.

This does not correspond to the efforts of the anti-war movement, and claiming that it does is a load of crap. (Oh. I see what you're trying to do is to hark back to the anti-war movement at the time of the Weather Underground: wow, doesn't it make you embarrassed to have to try such a weak argument?)

Incidentally, people who go around saying that of course Doctor Tiller was a baby killer but they don't condone his murder, or who were in the habit of claiming that late-term abortions are infanticides, are in as weak a moral position to claim they have no connection with his murder, as a member of the KKK who asserted that he believed in segregation and stopping blacks from getting uppity, but he didn't condone lynching.

White preachers who denounced "miscegenation" from their pulpits to a congregation that they knew included people who would go out on a lynching spree, might be protected by law because violent speech is still free speech, but if they didn't accept their share of responsibility for the lynchings, they were moral cowards as well as racists.

There are social norms surrounding political speech that effectively limit the kinds of things that are said in the US, even if those norms are not encoded in law.

You can't go on a major TV network and call Jews "Christ-killers".

But you can go on a major TV network and call abortion providers "baby-killers".

That's the state of affairs that needs to change.

My only question is not why those who believe abortion is murder aren't dissociating themselves from a killing. It's why people who claim to believe that there is a literal holocaust of the unborn going on are not all taking up arms against this vile and murderous campaign.

Mass murder and the most most of them do is wave placards and occasionally vote Republican? You might as well be law abiding Germans in 1943 for all the good most of you guys are doing. Or for all when push comes to shove you guys seem to actually care. Shouting that abortion is murder appears to (except in very few cases) simply be a way for you guys to try to feel superior - by opposing infanticide (and then doing almost SFA about it and in many cases other than actively encouraging it by banning condoms - the equivalent of passing zoning laws to ban Jews while you knew that there was a Holocaust in progress).

So here's to the shooter. A hero of the anti-abortion movement. And one of the very few who seems to have taken the rhetoric seriously.

But - following from the point in your first paragraph, what you see as unreasonable calls to denounce the murderer - I would think that denouncing the murderer is so politic and so obvious it hardly needs calling for.

What I would think showed a greater effort to remove yourself from the terrorist wing of the pro-life movement would be a committment by you that you will never again refer to abortions as infanticide, nor to imply that having an abortion is equivalent to killing a baby, nor to allow such claims to be made or inferred in your presence.

There are people who think abortion is wrong who do not use such language. That language is used to justify the violence, both lethal and non-lethal, that has so far killed eight people and caused many more to live in fear of being killed because they work for health clinics.

From one of our first discussions about abortion, I remember making the point that there is a difference between a nun who stands by a clinic quietly praying, and a protester who howls "Baby killer" at a woman going in. The nun may be offending Jesus Christ by using her prayers as a means of public political protest, but that's between her and her conscience: the howling protester is deliberately trying to put a patient in fear.

If the cases are meant to be parallel, then what's the equivalent here of Operation Rescue?

As near as I can tell, no one's demanding apologies from Christians generally, or from leaders of Christian churches.

"As near as I can tell, no one's demanding apologies from Christians generally, or from leaders of Christian churches. "


No, they're just telling them to shut the hell up, so that only the pro-choice side will be heard in public, and will win by default.

Look, I think the full blown pro-life position is flat out nuts. What do you expect? I'm an atheist, and it's fundamentally a religious position. OTOH, the full blown pro-choice position, demanding a right to elective abortion right up to the moment the cord is cut, is about equally nuts.

The nuts extreme of the pro-life movement has considerably more sway in this country, that's true. That's because the Supreme court radicalized pro-lifers by imposing something close to the extreme pro-choice position by judicial fiat.

If tomorrow the Supreme court flipped, and issued a mirror image to the Roe v Wade ruling, (Declaring the fetus at all stages to be a 14th amendment person, say.) the US counterparts to Jes would be screaming "Woman killer!", and it would be the outliers on the other side that were wacking people.

These things happen when the courts decide to take a side in a complex social issue, and apply a ten ton weight instead of a thumb to the scale.

No, they're just telling [leaders of Christian churches] to shut the hell up

Who is telling the Rev. Lowell Michelson to shut the hell up, Brett? Cite please.

the US counterparts to Jes would be screaming "Woman killer!", and it would be the outliers on the other side that were wacking people.

Who in El Salvador is "wacking people", Brett? That's your example ready for you of a country in which the law bans all abortion, even where continuing a pregnancy will kill the woman involved. Doctors are only allowed to remove ectopic fetuses after the developing fetus has ruptured the Fallopian tube, for example.

If you want to claim that in El Salvador the nutty pro-choicers are "wacking" people, cite.

If tomorrow the Supreme court flipped, and issued a mirror image to the Roe v Wade ruling, (Declaring the fetus at all stages to be a 14th amendment person, say.) the US counterparts to Jes would be screaming "Woman killer!", and it would be the outliers on the other side that were wacking people.

Just like after the Dred Scott decision, black Americans and extreme abolitionists began murdering slaveowners. Right?

That's because the Supreme court radicalized pro-lifers by imposing something close to the extreme pro-choice position by judicial fiat.

I keep hearing this, but there have been plenty of court cases since Roe, and what you call the extreme pro-choice position isn't actually the law of the land. Tiller was one of three guys in the country who performed late-term abortions, and even he would only do them in the case of medical necessity. (Seriously.)

The rest of the hypothetical I don't see much of a need to address. It doesn't make sense to justify existing extremist anti-abortion murder by postulating that it's conceptually possible that someone else could be just as extreme given the opportunity.

Who's proposed to limit anyone's speech?

Responding to speech is not limiting it. It is more speech. Calling someone's speech inflammatory is not censoring them. Arguing that such speech has potential consequences is neither censorship nor dishonesty. (How many segments did Bill O'Reilly run about "Tiller the Baby Killer" after the first attempt to murder Tiller? It was reasonable to believe that Tiller might be in danger, because someone had already tried to shoot him dead.

Should O'Reilly be punished, or have his speech restricted? Of course not. Should he have his moral authority thrown into doubt? Absolutely.

As for the Muslim question: yes, I condemn Islamists. Not Muslims in general, but the strand of militant ideology that views this violence as comprehensible, just as I condemn the sect of "Christians" who encourage violence like this, rather than Christians generally. People in mosques who say, "Of course I don't agree with bin Laden, but he has a point ..." are part of the bloodshed. The blood on their hands might just be spatter, but it's there.

One of the aspects of the Tiller case that was most troubling was the twenty year campaign of personal, focused demonization and harassment that he endured. That campaign included death threats, assassination attempts, routine participation in public threats by mainstream members of the pro-life movement, and the ongoing stalking of anyone associated with Tiller.

And Sunday, someone who took the movement's words seriously killed him. In his church, while he was ushering.

That, to me, is the most troubling aspect. Imagine that this particular army recruiter had been the focus of Muslim anger since the early 1980s. Imagine that a generation of American Muslims had grown up being told by their parents that he was literally like Hitler. Imagine they were told that every day he continued to work, hundreds of innocent children would die directly due to his actions.

Imagine that in any discussion of the morality of war, said recruiter was used as a quick and easy shorthand for "Raping and pillaging, and violation of the Geneva convention." Imagine his office received regular threats, that anyone assigned to work with him was stalked and harassed. Imagine his office had been bombed. Imagine that he had been shot twice simply for going to work.

Now imagine that water cooler conversation among average liberals included the words, "It was definitely terrible. But, you know... kids in that city can sleep safer tonight, because he's not recruiting." Or, perhaps, "It was terrible, but the unpleasant truth is that he was a monster."

Now imagine that his murder was followed by press releases from CAIR, saying "We condemn this senseless murder -- but it is also important to note that recruiters are responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent victims of war, and war must be stopped."

Now you've got a bit of what Tiller's life and death were like.

I spent the eighties and nineties in the pro-life movement. Tiller's death was an inevitability. We worked hard to make it so. If there were anything I could undo about my past, that would be it.

what conclusions should we draw about the those who agree, at least partially, with his political views, but not his violent methods.

are those people defending, contextualizing, rationalizing, and trying to explain-away his methods (as many people really are doing with Tiller's killer) ?

if so, they are complicit.

Should trying to empathize with why they would do such a thing subject the person broaching the topic to suggestions that he secretly is ok with the violence?

according to Republicanism, 2001-2008: absolutely, yes. it signals that the person "objectively pro-terrorist".

Does anyone think that the tactics routinely practiced by antichoice protestors outside clinics would be toleraated for more than 60 seconds outside a recruitment office?

The fact of the matter is, Operation Rescue and its ilk practice tactics of physical intimidation, which they try to shelter under the 1st Amendment.

Have opponents of the Iraq and Afghan wars, Muslim or not, been picketing for years outside the recruiting station? Have they been harassing men and women who go in and out? Have they gone to the homes of the soldiers doing the recruiting and held up large, graphic images of Iraqi and Afghan children burned and with limbs blown off?

Have they been denouncing the recruiters, reinforced by repeated commentary from national television personalities, saying that what the recruiters are doing is mass murder and like something out of Nazi Germany?

Have they been gluing the locks of the recruiting station? Firebombing it? Cutting the wires to the security system?

Has the district attorney been trying to gin up lawsuits to put the recruiting station out of business?

No?

Then there's not a whole hell of a lot of parallels between the situations.

I'd note this, which I said on another blog yesterday before anyone brought up the recruiting station shooting in Little Rock:

[N]ot a single story about the assassination of Dr. Tiller raised any question about whether his killer was acting alone, even given his documented participation in a highly organized, ongoing, long-term campaign of harassment and terror against Tiller, his co-workers, and the clinic.

But a guy who lives near a recruiting station shoots two soldiers outside it, and "it's not clear whether he was acting alone." Also:

Mr. Muhammad will be charged with one count of capital murder and 15 counts of terroristic acts, one for each person who was hit or endangered by the shots he fired. Thirteen people were in the recruiting office at the time.

Think the assassin in Wichita will be charged with anything but the murder of George Tiller? I don't. [In fact, as of late yesterday, he still hadn't been charged with anything, as far as I know.]

Think the assassin in Wichita will be charged with anything but the murder of George Tiller?

reporters (and some supposedly high-minded bloggers) are still shy about calling it "terrorism", even though it absolutely meets the legal definition, as well as the plain-sense definition.

go! go! liberal media!

When an act of violence like what was perpetrated against this recruiter is in any way a real threat to the rights of others to pursue their chosen freedom of speech and action (recruiting for the army), then we'd have something even marginally analogous.

What Hilzoy is talking about is the fact that this was terrorism—extremely close to, but still somewhat different than the Taliban killing women who wear western style clothing in Afghanistan. Different because the violence of that movement is more broadly and directly ingrained and ordained, and Operation Rescue isn't arming and plotting similar murders, but similar because this campaign will lead to the suppression of people's legal rights (to practice, but more importantly to seek this service) out of fear for their lives.

Killing the recruiting officer was an act of evil, tragic in a thousand different ways, but it is not an act of terrorism. For it to be terrorism there must be the likelihood of more than a single act—and people must fear doing something, not merely feel hatred and condemn the killer. What possibility is there, could there be, that people's rights to recruit or be recruited have been attacked in the slightest.

On the other hand, harassment isn't a protected free speech right. And when you couple violence like this with continued harassment, there is a justifiable reason to limiting where people can express those rights. If there were muslim groups picketing recruiting offices today, shouting about how these recruiters were "killers" and would face God's judgment, trying to convince would-be soldiers that they shouldn't go in, it would be perfectly rationale to see that picketing as harassment and not protected speech.

And we'd do that in response to guys who want to learn how to use guns (and probably already do) and who might want to go and fight violent "foreigners" anyway.

To think that young women, already dealing with an emotionally difficult situation, would deserve less is really not a serious argument, much less this general analogy that bears no resemblance to what Hilzoy is recommending.

Does anyone think that the tactics routinely practiced by antichoice protestors outside clinics would be toleraated for more than 60 seconds outside a recruitment office?

Surely you are aware that recruitment offices have been shot up, bombed, and are routinely vandalized. Protesters block entrances and intimidate those who might want to enter. Recruiters are literally run off campuses in fear of physical harm… Protest signs include such gems as “We support the troops – when they shoot their officers”. A long running protest to block the entrance to the Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley had the blessing of the city council.

And to clarify one point, the soldiers shot were not even recruiters. They were fresh from training, assigned to help out there while awaiting orders to their units. Did you happen to notice a same day press release from the WH condemning the killing? Me neither.

Both Christians and Islamists who condone violence in the name of religion should be condemned for every act of violence in the name of religion.

Bill O'reilly does have blood on his hand for the murder of Dr. Tiller.

If he called Jews "Christ killers" or Italians "Christian killers" the outrage would be instantaneous.

Abortion is legal. Murder is not.

Surely you are aware that recruitment offices have been shot up, bombed, and are routinely vandalized. Protesters block entrances and intimidate those who might want to enter. Recruiters are literally run off campuses in fear of physical harm… Protest signs include such gems as “We support the troops – when they shoot their officers”. A long running protest to block the entrance to the Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley had the blessing of the city council.

I think your example does an excellent job of proving the opposite point. Why is there no similar outrage? Why don't we see these two evens are analogous? Please.

Can you seriously try to compare a longstanding campaign against the Berkeley recruiting office to the harassment faced by these clinics? We're talking about the murder of one of only a few people who even offers these procedures. And since you don't even have to GO to a recruitment office to exercise your right to join the army (and could easily be transported by the government to another, if absolutely necessary), this would merely be about safe working conditions for those inside, which also isn't even remotely comparable.

This is an exercise in rhetoric more than logic. If you use the same words, you create the sense of similarity. There just is no comparison.

OTOH, the full blown pro-choice position, demanding a right to elective abortion right up to the moment the cord is cut, is about equally nuts.

This position barely exists, and has zero political traction. I'm intensely pro-choice - have been a clinic escort, etc - but I've never met anyone who holds that position. I might have seen some of them online.

I do, completely, think that the anti-choice movement is responsible for Tiller's death. They've used the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that Francis Schaeffer describes, pointed fingers at individual people including Tiller, made analogies to Nazi Germany, and harassed, stalked, and threatened clinic workers - all suggesting that Tiller should be stopped by whatever means necessary. Hilzoy has documented that on this blog. So it's not about hosting a denounce-a-thon, and its disingenuous to claim that's what anyone is arguing. I appreciate Schaeffer's apology, but mostly because he got out of the movement and is no longer doing things to promote the murder of abortion providers. Operation Rescue's behavior won't change, so any apology is just so much hot air. The responsibility is still theirs - and they knew that this was a real possibility, because it's happened before, but changed not one tactic.

It's just as disingenuous to argue that FACE enforcement is about limiting free speech. Have you ever been a clinic escort? People try pretty hard to intimidate any woman walking into the clinic (though in my experience, the Catholics are better - they say mass, don't shout anything harassing, and don't try to intervene in any particular person's movements). The harassment which, again, hilzoy has recorded ON THIS BLOG is not speech. It's intimidation. And I don't think it's legitimate to use the 1st Amendment to protect intimidating tactics against people who perform legal medical procedures.

The anti-war movement has never used stalking and harassment as major tactics. Islam is a major world religion, and is far too diverse to be called to account for the behavior of a single Muslim (ditto with Christianity - please note that I'm not holding Christians responsible for Tiller's death). The analogies - they're bogus. Anti-choice folks who don't want to be associated with violence and harassment need to think long and hard about how, exactly, they build a movement that doesn't give aid and comfort to terrorists - because the movement, as it exists, is very good at doing just that.

You're quoting me, dude.

For the last several years, at least, violent rhetoric has been commonplace on the right. Extremely so.

And not just among weird fringe nutcases muttering to themselves in the back room. Front and center, by some of the most prominent folks who claim the conservative mantle. People who have crafted very successful public careers as spokespeople for American conservatism.

Those people don't speak for me, aren't the public face of any point of view I advocate or espouse. Plus, I have a pretty thick skin. So the violent, bullying rhetoric that has become commonplace is neither here nor there to me.

Not my problem.

It becomes my problem when people whose general point of view I share become actual targets of actual violence.

So, yeah, personally, I think it's time for the speech to be dialed back a bit. I think it's time for folks who say things like "when the ATF agents enter your home, shoot for head", or "we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity", or "we need to execute people like John Walker Lindh in order to physically intimidate liberals", or who describe political and social differences between people in this country as a "holy war" to no longer be rewarded with radio shows, television shows, invitations to important conservative conventions, book contracts, etc.

You can include links from this blog to the website of magazines published by guys like, frex, Patrick Buchanan in that list if you like. The man is a bullying fascistic thug, and neither he nor his publications deserve the support or encouragement of being linked to by this blog. My two cents.

Violent, bullying rhetoric has been not only tolerated, but encouraged and rewarded on the right for at least the last thirty years. If it bugs you that I respond by saying "Y'all better knock that shit off", you need to grow a thicker skin.

And, y'all need to knock that shit off. Because rhetoric is spawning reality.

Who's stocking up on guns and ammo? It ain't people like me.

Who's claiming that Obama is going to round up everyone's kids and send them to liberal re-education camps? It ain't people like me.

Who is buying these fascistic thugs' books, listening to their radio shows, watching them on the TV, inviting them to their political conventions, voting them into office, and generally lavishly rewarding them for spewing their violent crap?

It ain't people like me.

If the cap fits you gotta wear it. If you don't like it, do something about it.

But don't come bitching at me if I take exception to people being gunned down in the street after listening to thirty years of the kind of violent, aggressive, fascistic bullshit that is the normal daily product of the American conservative movement.

Settle your own hash.

And yeah, I have no problem with the Islamic community making it very clear, not just with rhetoric but with concrete action, that they don't support violence.

And by "concrete action" I'm not talking about restricting speech, or beating people up, or shooting anyone. We lefties and liberals don't roll that way. Not these days anyway.

I'm talking about NOT SUPPORTING PEOPLE THAT ESPOUSE VIOLENCE. Don't hire them as imams, don't buy their books, don't give them access to your public platforms. Don't support them.

It ain't that hard.

If what I'm saying bugs you, too bad. It's not my problem, and I'm gonna make a point of not letting it become my problem.

If you're a conservative, it's your problem. Violent fascistic nutjobs are speaking for you, at very high volume, with little or no apparent moderation from others in your community.

You can change that. I'd say it's a very good idea if you do so.

Thanks -

"Should O'Reilly be punished, or have his speech restricted? Of course not. Should he have his moral authority thrown into doubt? Absolutely."

Wait -- Bill O'Reilly has moral authority?

Should we assume that many such people are complicit?

Well, probably not all such people, and the assumption alone is not grounds for arrest, let alone conviction. But did you know that when Eric Rudolph was arrested after five years as a fugitive mostly if not entirely in Appalachia he was clean-shaven, even with a trimmed mustache, and wearing new sneakers?

Of course, maybe he scavenged them from the trash; indeed, he was arrested while Dumpster diving. Or maybe he spent five years as a petty thief, shoplifting or breaking into peoples' houses.

Maybe. You never know. But then, considering that a t-shirt supporting him sold well and songs were written encouraging him, maybe he had help. Maybe he had fans. People who would have been, to use your word, complicit in sheltering a terrorist.

Again, maybe it was just one or two families in a rural area who actually, materially helped Rudolph, and all the people who bought the t-shirts and the songs would have turned him over to the police in a second. Do you believe that, though? It seems unlikely to me.

Did you happen to notice a same day press release from the WH condemning the killing? Me neither.

Well of course not, because it's obvious to everyone with a brain that the administration condemns it. On the other hand, millions of people say they agree with Roeder, even though they apparently fail to live up to their standards and/or follow the beliefs to the logical conclusion. While the current administration has earned the presumption that they don't agree with Roeder - Obama gets accused from the left of being too willing to compromise with the other side, but I don't see too many people actually accusing him of being on the other side - pointing out to Roeder's fellow travelers that they are wrong seems a worthy goal.

Schroder is a lone wacko. Period. He is no more a terrorist than the West Virginia University killer or the Columbine killers.He bears about the same relationship to Operation Rescue as Lee Harvey Oswald did to the Soviet Communist Party. Only those deep in conspiracy nut land blame the death of President Kennedy on the Communist Party these days.
It's time for all those who called Tiller's murder an act of terrorism to start walking back their overheated rhetoric.
If Tiller is a victim of anything, he is a victim of America's crazy gun laws that lets every paranoid schizophrenic get a gun any time he wants. We should focus on THAT.

Plus, it's been said, but Sebastian's syllogism is both inaccurate and offensive:

George Tiller's murder : the pro-life movement

::

William Long's murder : all of Islam

I was gonna say something, but Jeff Eaton said it better than I would have.

This Althousian 'I'm just posing some questions here' thing is as disngenuous as the questions are fatuous. I'll focus on one:

"Should trying to empathize with why they would do such a thing subject the person broaching the topic to suggestions that he secretly is ok with the violence?"

The commentary on this blog and in the comments largely focused on Megan Mcardle's effort to have it both ways: to issue a pro forma denunciation of the violence while also offering a moral justification for it. Witness this for instance:

"We accept that when the law is powerless, people are entitled to kill in order to prevent other murders--had Tiller whipped out a gun at an elementary school, we would now be applauding his murderer's actions. In this case, the law was powerless because the law supported late-term abortions. Moreover, that law had been ruled outside the normal political process by the Supreme Court. If you think that someone is committing hundreds of gruesome murders a year, and that the law cannot touch him, what is the moral action? To shrug? Is that what you think of ordinary Germans who ignored Nazi crimes? Is it really much of an excuse to say that, well, most of your neighbors didn't seem to mind, so you concluded it must be all right? We are not morally required to obey an unjust law. In fact, when the death of innocents is involved, we are required to defy it." [ed. note: Interesting that Mcardle seems to think that laws prohibing murder are "unjust" laws that "we are required to defy"; maybe she's a real libertarian after all]

McGlib was not taken to the cleaners here because she's a "pro-lifer" who has not sufficiently denounced Tiller's murder. She was systematically dismantled because of the moral and logical atrocity quoted above. So, my dear namesake, if you meant to be talking about the drubbing that Mcardle received 'round here, you're barking up the wrong tree. Indeed, you're not even in the right forest.

If you weren't talking about the main focus of discussion here (which would be odd, frankly), why not make some specific arguments rather than throwing around these Althousian questions? Such questions are not enlightening; they appear designed to avoid actually engaging the issue and arguing specifics as well as giving you plausible deniability if anyone tries to argue with the implications that you are clearly trying to draw. Really, leave that to Althouse.

Recruiters are literally run off campuses in fear of physical harm…

I followed the link included in this shocking assertion of OCSteve's to the documentary evidence, and folks, he has a point. Military recruiters take their lives in their hands every time they visit a college campus, knowing that even their bulletproof vests might not be enough. The antiwar movement has a very long history, clear up to the present day, of violence and intimidation against the military and its would-be recruits all across the country. Why, an entire cadre of antiwar activists relocated to Wichita, just to harass and intimidate one particular military recruiter where he lived.

And when you consider the "chilling effect" the Arkansas shooting will have on those who run recruiting stations and people seeking to join the military, and the fact that the shooter had the phone number of the local Code Pink coordinator on him, it does seem reprehensible that the antiwar movement hasn't stepped up to denounce the killing while reiterating that military recruiters are murderous monsters.

Meanwhile, the antiwar Muslim is getting charged with murder and terrorism, since his target was members of the military rather than a civilian physician in a church. Which just makes the equivalence even stronger.

to OCSteve's examples: just note that the people who condone, justify, rationalize and actually do those things are not the leading lights of liberalism. shutting down recruitment centers isn't part of the Democratic party platform. i really have no idea who these people are, where they organize, how i could get in touch with them, etc.. in other words, the people who harass recruitment officers really are far outside the mainstream of American lefty politics.

on the other hand, there is always a network TV camera ready to broadcast whatever Randall Terry wants to say that day. conservative magazines are full of people who support abortion protests. the protests themselves are full of Christian priests who seem to have no problem encouraging the ongoing violence against clinic employees. leading voices in the GOP support anti-abortion protests. "pro-choice Republican" is almost an oxymoron these days.

in other words: one group of people is so fringe that most people don't even know they exist. the other group is proudly represented by conservatives at every level.

OCSteve: Surely you are aware that...

...and OCSteve once again demonstrates his gullibility in the face of right-wing propaganda.

Honestly, OCSteve, doesn't it ever occur to you to go check what you read in the right-wing blogosphere from a more reliable source? Or even just, you know, to think about what conforms nicely to your prejudices?

I'm very sorry that Private William Long has been killed: his family and friends are suffering just as much as the family and friends of Doctor George Tiller. There are differences to how Doctor Tiller was treated by the media before he was killed and afterwards, to how Private Long was treated - will be treated: one of the most significant differences is that there had been no nationwide hate campaign specifically directed against Private Long for his work, and there are no widespread claims in the blogosphere or elsewhere, that while Long's death is not condoned by the anti-war movement, he was doing evil in his daily work and the people who might have been recruited to the army can now rest easy. These claims would be appalling if they were being made - but they are not. For George Tiller, despite his grieving family and friends and former patients, they are being made.

President Obama's failure to make a statement about Private Long's death probably corresponds to President Bush's failure to make a statement about the death of any of the firefighters, police officers, or priests, who were killed in New York on September 11, but who did not die as a result of the WTC attack.

I'm really glad russell weighed in on pulling up his quote. I've been trying to write somthing to get at the problematic nature of pulling a quote from him, a person who has been unfailingly polite and thoughtful, and taking that quote to somehow represent if not the totality, the large portion of his feelings as well as the majority of the commentariat on this blog, but it always seemed to morph into some hi octane fuel to get the blaze going. But he clearly has a thicker skin than I do, so, what Russell said.

However, a smaller point, I thought that there was a line, albeit hazy, about pulling up quotes from commenters and highlighting them in isolation to make points. Needless to say, that is my own view, and you are welcome to ignore it, but I believe that it is not a very good policy.

OCSteve: are you seriously trying to posit any sort of equivalency between the harrassment campaigns directed against abortion providers and those directed against military recruitment facilities?

(And a reminder: the Little Rock attack seems not to have been directed against the recruitment center as such: the shooter had an obsession against the military; the two dudes he shot just happened to be standing -in uniform- in front of the Center)

For one, Steve: there's an enormous difference in size and scale of the two movements: anti-military-recruiting actions (vs., frex, university policy disputes) have pretty much amounted to about, what? A dozen or so occasions of vandalism/harrassment since the start of thr Iraq War? I know cretins like Michelle Malkin have been trying, for years, to gin up outrage at this "leftwing terror"; but the cases aren't similar. At all. When anti-military radical activism grows to the point where it is comparable in scope to the nationwide network (often church-related) of fanatical anti-abortion obsessives stalking doctors, picketing clinics, maintaining online deathlists, posting bloodthirsty threads on hundreds of blogs - IOW, anti-military activity on a scale not seen even at the height of Vietnam - then you might have some cause to claim some sort of equivalency between the two "movements", Until then? Not so much.

BTW, I am aware that there is a large network of "jihadi" organizations with numerous websites accessible to violent-minded Muslims to egg on any particular rages they might want to stoke: but in terms of the US, and its population, we are still looking at a vastly smaller audience (and pool of potential violent nuts).

This is ultimately all a result of fundamentalism of belief combined with fanaticism of conviction. Even secular war protesters who blow stuff up and kill people are described by this combination. In order to do such horrible things you have to have an unambiguous, unnuanced (and usually ignorant and wrong) view of what is right and wrong as well as the zealotry to carry it out.

I lay the blame at the foot of any organization or ideology that requires unquestioned faith of any sort. This sort of sickness becomes especially bad when that faith is placed in one source, whether that source is an individual (God, Allay, Stalin, or the Pope, etc.) or a text (Bible, Koran, etc). Once you check your skepticism at the door, you've opened a path for any number of things that simple reflection would tell you is wrong.

It's time for all those who called Tiller's murder an act of terrorism to start walking back their overheated rhetoric.

Why do you keep on saying things that are not true? Are you compelled to pontificate about subjects on which you resolutely remain ignorant, or are you congizant of your error but believe that misrepresenting the facts is more likely to win the argument?

Most of the debate so far has been about to what degree Roeder can be considered representative of the anti-abortion movement. I feel and others feel that he is representative to at least a somewhat substantial degree (forgive me if that sounds wishy-washy) and the movement is at least somewhat complicit. Sebastian apparently disagrees, although either I didn't understand his argument or I don't think it holds water. Fine, fair enough.

And then you try to argue that not only does Roeder have nothing to do with the anti-abortion movement (or at least, Operation Rescue, although your specificity seems like setting up a strawman), but he has nothing to do with even terrorism? That's obviously false. Terrorism, even under the more narrow definitions, is the threat or actual use of high-profile but low-intensity lethal force against civilians to achieve a political end. Please explain how that doesn't describe Roeder.

Cyrus: Why do you keep on saying things that are not true?

Because he's a troll. *shrug*

I agree with your views, Sebastian.

"He bears about the same relationship to Operation Rescue as Lee Harvey Oswald did to the Soviet Communist Party. Only those deep in conspiracy nut land blame the death of President Kennedy on the Communist Party these days."

Not "Communist Party" but maybe you should read the recently declassified CIA documents that demonstarte Oswald's ties to the Soviets. I recommend Legacy of Ashes by Time Weiner.

"It's time for all those who called Tiller's murder an act of terrorism to start walking back their overheated rhetoric."

But that's exactly what it is. Textbook definition.

It's time for all those who called Tiller's murder an act of terrorism to start walking back their overheated rhetoric.

take it up with Congress. it's terrorism as defined by the laws of the US.

So, basically, this post can be summed up as, "Here are two unlike things which I am forcing to try to be alike. Now, don't all you lie-berals feel like a bunch of hypocrites?"

"Does anyone think that the tactics routinely practiced by antichoice protestors outside clinics would be toleraated for more than 60 seconds outside a recruitment office?"

This sounds like a joke. I live in San Diego. About 2 miles from a recruitment center. Where there were protests. Including nasty-sloganeering posterboards, harrassment of people going in, and screaming of murderer (not much praying I'll admit). It was tolerated for months, not just 60 seconds. And so far as I know there was absolutely no legal action taken against them at any time. Also no special speech zones, unlike those proposed in abortion protest cases.

"If you're a conservative, it's your problem. Violent fascistic nutjobs are speaking for you, at very high volume, with little or no apparent moderation from others in your community."

Russel, maybe I'm crazy, but I would swear that you weren't thrilled with people who said almost the EXACT same thing to Muslims. Whose fascistic nutjobs have done 3 orders of magnitude more in the way of killing in the United States than pro-life nutjobs. But in THAT case, it was important for us to remember that most Muslims are moderate. That the nutjobs, while louder, don't actually speak for the majority. That lack of instant denunciation isn't complicty, Etc., etc. etc.

And that is right.

In both cases.


"However, a smaller point, I thought that there was a line, albeit hazy, about pulling up quotes from commenters and highlighting them in isolation to make points."

I actually didn't have a problem with Sebastian pulling my quote. Even in its full original context, it is arguably not clear where I was going with statements like "you need to get the fringe elements of your demographic to..." or "there's gonna be hell to pay". And, am I accusing all conservatives of having the blood of Tiller on their hands?

So, allow me to clarify.

I do not think that all conservatives have the blood of Tiller on their hands. Tiller's blood is on the hands of the man who shot him, and possibly on the hands of folks who either directly supported the assassination in his efforts, or knew what was afoot and did nothing.

That's likely a pretty small community.

What I am calling for is for an end to the kind of violent, bullying, fascistic rhetoric that has been as common as the air we breathe in the conservative community for at least a generation.

Not through legal repression, but through the withdrawal of support on the part of folks who our verbal bullies claim to speak for. Stop listening to their radio shows, stop watching them on the TV. Respond, publicly and visibly, as a conservative, to their public statements and make it extremely clear that they do not speak for you.

I gave the example of the link to the TAC website. TAC is probably the conservative publication I most enjoy reading. The folks who write there are almost uniformly thoughtful and articulate. It's also published by Patrick Buchanan, who I consider to be openly fascist.

Is it overkill to not link to the TAC site because it's Buchanan's publication? Maybe, maybe not. What does a "zero tolerance for bullying rhetoric" look like? How would the folks who write for TAC respond if a blog like ObWi chose to remove the link because of Buchanan's statements?

Note that removing a link is not suppressing anyone's free speech, it's a gesture of NOT SUPPORTING that speech.

I want it to no longer be acceptable for conservative (or any) public figures to traffic in violent and bullying rhetoric.

Not illegal. Unacceptable. We've had enough.

Rights incur responsibilities. It's naive to traffic in language like "kill them", "hit them with 2x4s", "physically intimidate them", and then say that you bear no responsibility whatsoever when people are killed, beaten with 2x4s, or physically intimidated.

I'm calling for reasonable conservatives to extend zero tolerance for violent rhetoric. I call for the same from liberals, however our task there is easier. Not claiming any moral high ground there, it just is.

I'll start with myself. No more calls for kicking Dick Cheney in the nuts from me.

Thanks

"Russel, maybe I'm crazy, but I would swear that you weren't thrilled with people who said almost the EXACT same thing to Muslims."

Is anywhere here saying these things to Christians, as Christians?

von: I agree with your views, Sebastian.

What, you see an equivalence between being a Muslim and being a pro-lifer?

"Russel, maybe I'm crazy, but I would swear that you weren't thrilled with people who said almost the EXACT same thing to Muslims. "

I don't know, I'd have to go back and look at what I said.

Also, I think context is important. At a time when people were openly calling for herding Muslims into camps, I may have leaned more in the direction of cutting the majority of Muslims some slack rather than not.

But, I'd have to go back and look at what I said to really answer your question.

For the record, I would wholeheartedly support and encourage the Muslim community to do the same things I'm calling on conservatives to do. Present a strong public voice disavowing violent rhetoric, and offer zero support for folks who traffic in it.

Thanks

fascistic nutjobs are speaking for you

No. No, they're not.

A clever post of course -- but I disagree that the situations are similar (much less equivalent).

My point was that in interpreting the scope of restrictions you should consider historical patterns, etc. (i.e., the real world). For instance, cross burning hasn't occurred in a vacuum. To call it "speech" is to willfully ignore its sordid history. Same deal with violence against abortion providers.

That said, if there were some sustained pattern of violence against military recruiters, then I think it makes perfect sense to interpret the First to allow greater restrictions for protesters surrounding these offices.

But until then, the protest is speech.

Sebastian: "I live in San Diego. About 2 miles from a recruitment center. Where there were protests. Including nasty-sloganeering posterboards, harrassment of people going in, and screaming of murderer (not much praying I'll admit). It was tolerated for months, not just 60 seconds. And so far as I know there was absolutely no legal action taken against them at any time. Also no special speech zones, unlike those proposed in abortion protest cases."

And these were all Muslims, right? Months of all these screaming, nasty protesting Muslims, right there 2 miles away from you in San Military Heaven Diego? Why didn't you just say so in your post?

Publius,

What about protests against military recruiters that, while still speech, in context with related violence can lead to an infringement on people's ability to conduct legal actions.

In my example, I'd say that anti-recruiting people who show up at recruiting offices and shout some of the things that Sebastian says he's heard. I would suspect we'd consider this, in the context of a violent act, to be worthy of restriction. (What about a bunch of teenagers standing outside a school in trench coats after Columbine, holding signs that say, "Klebold is my hero." and shouting about how these students will all go to hell.)*

But even if that group did show up at the recruiting office, that still wouldn't make the original shooting a functional act of terrorism in the way that Tiller's murder clearly is.

So, wouldn't the context suggest that these kinds of restrictions would be reasonable?

*I'm know these details about the Columbine shooters are myths, but that's completely beside the point for both the intent and effect of the protests.

"My point was that in interpreting the scope of restrictions you should consider historical patterns, etc. (i.e., the real world). For instance, cross burning hasn't occurred in a vacuum. To call it "speech" is to willfully ignore its sordid history. Same deal with violence against abortion providers."

And my point remains that you aren’t very consistent with what you are willing to take in to account. In the past you have correctly diagnosed the overreaction in civil rights which took place in response to the murder of 3,000 and attempted murder of then of thousands in New York. You correctly note that, for example authorizing torture isn’t what we need to do as a nation, suppressing the free speech of Muslims (even those who don’t loudly denounce violence) isn’t what we need to do as a nation, and that causing people with distantly similar views to be investigated isn’t what we need to do as a nation.

And yet with one high profile murder, you are already willing to start insinuating the need for evading the 1st amendment. Or, if you will, with 8 murders in 20 years, you are already willing to start insinuating the need for evading the 1st amendment.

And on what basis? Because he fulfills your stereotype of a scary Christian? How can you distinguish that reaction from that of someone who is vaguely afraid of his stereotypes of scary Muslims? Because he posted on a pro-life electronic bulletin board? You’re aware of how Muslim terrorists groups communicate via the internet, right? Because he was a member of the Freeman (which is neither a pro-life organization, nor a Christian organization)? That seems like a stretch considering that your targets are pro-life. Because heated rhetoric can cause mentally ill people to do crazy and bad things? That is at least as true in the Muslim population.

The large groups ought to denounce terrorist violence. And they do, if somewhat more tepidly than we might like. They ought to work against it both internally and externally. But we don’t need to sacrifice any of our basic civic values to fight them. We aren’t in that kind of existential threat situation.

You recognize it with Muslim extremists who have done vastly more damage. Overreacting to 8 deaths in 20 years on this issue isn’t necessary either.

urprisingly, Ellen Goodman seems to have addressed this issue today. The piece is called "The Myth of the Lone Shooter."

Why, I think I'll just turn a blind eye & fill the room with lots of words.

"And yet with one high profile murder, you are already willing to start insinuating the need for evading the 1st amendment."

Who has called for, or even insinuated, this?


I think this question looks substantially different whether you think this is the last accident like this, at least for the proximate future, or whether there is a danger of more violence.

If you presume that Roeder is the last person out there liable to kill an OB/GYN, then perhaps it makes sense to turn the page not assign blame for inflammatory rhetoric. I don't agree, but then we're only talking about blame after the fact.

If, on the other hand, you assume that there might be people out there watching TV right now, picking up on the way Dr. Tiller is described even in death, listening intently to the claim that he was a mass murdered, and you think some of those people might eventually act on the rhetoric they hear ... well, this is a very different question.

Interestingly:

-- Sebastian's been responding to posts on a pretty regular basis.
-- He has taken none of these opportunities to defend his central syllogism:

**"George Tiller's murder : the pro-life movement
::
"William Long's murder : all of Islam"

-- This point has been raised repeatedly (not just by myself).

Just one brief comment. I want to declare russell one of the most balanced commenters on this or any other blog.

Even when he goes on one of his rants he is unfailingly civil. Well, mostly civil.

"Who has called for, or even insinuated, this"

Publius, four days ago. Which is why the section you quote is directly from my response to him.

Cleek: just note that the people who condone, justify, rationalize and actually do those things are not the leading lights of liberalism. shutting down recruitment centers isn't part of the Democratic party platform. i really have no idea who these people are, where they organize, how i could get in touch with them, etc.. in other words, the people who harass recruitment officers really are far outside the mainstream of American lefty politics.

I didn’t make any claim any other way – I was responding to the implicit and explicit statements that similar tactics were never used against recruitment centers – when many of the exact same tactics are used. But to your point - is the Berkley city counsel really anathema to the Democratic Party?

JayC: Ditto – I didn’t make the original comparison, I was responding to the statements that similar tactics where not used and would not be tolerated if they were. That’s just not the case. Scope and longevity are obvious differences – but many of the exact same tactics are used, and officially sanctioned by at least one local government.


Well of course not, because it's obvious to everyone with a brain that the administration condemns it.

How so? Two violent terrorist acts that occur a short time apart. And IMO both are exactly terrorist acts. One calls for a timely and special condemnation from the WH – the other doesn’t even get a mention. Not even condolences to the family, not even yesterday when Obama spoke about the new Army secretary which would seem to provide an opening.

"evading" is a loaded term -- and it's not really about content. i think that's a key point you're missing.

there are legitimate public safety concerns in allowing protesters to be within a certain distance of clinics. to the extent being close is "speech," I think historical realities should inform that. just like i think they should inform putting a burning cross near someone's house.

Not even condolences to the family

You've talked to Private William Long's family? You know them personally?

Or you're just using a soldier's death to advance your partisan political beliefs?

I didn’t make any claim any other way

of course.

that's why i started out with "just note...".

But to your point - is the Berkley city counsel really anathema to the Democratic Party?

well, for starters, it did rescinded that order almost immediately after passing it; so even the Berkeley City Council realized how silly the Berkeley City Council was being. if they hadn't done that i can't imagine that a single Dem Congressman would've hesitated to do everything he/she could to show the country his/her disapproval. Dems really aren't anti-military, you know?

other than that, i don't know much about the B.C.C..

@OCSteve: Every one of the elements of the campaign of intimidation and harassment I mentioned has been documented (most in hilzoy's recent post) as having happened, and all were directed at the Tiller clinic itself. There are similar but less intense campaigns directed against many other abortion providers.

Not only is there not a single link in your collection of assertions about military recruiters, but even if they were all documented (unlikely), they'd be from incidents widely scattered in location and time (mid-1960s). There is nothing today remotely resembling the campaign of intimidation that Operation Rescue directs at abortion providers and women clients focused on military recruiters and potential recruits.

are there any websites showing the faces, names, addresses and daily habits of recruiters ? do they get red X's when one is killed ?

Court decisions are simply court decisions, until we don't like them, whereupon we begin attempting to rhetorically stack the deck by referring to a court decision as "judical fiat."

Brett writes: "The nuts extreme of the pro-life movement has considerably more sway in this country, that's true. That's because the Supreme court radicalized pro-lifers by imposing something close to the extreme pro-choice position by judicial fiat."

Yet I doubt he'd agree with the following: "The nuts extreme of the gun control movement has considerably more sway in this country, that's true. That's because the Supreme court radicalized pro-gun-controllers by imposing something close to the extreme pro-gun position by judicial fiat in District of Columbia v. Heller."

If "Roe" is "judicial fiat," so is every other Supreme Court case.

Either we should recognize that every single Supreme Court case is "judicial fiat," or better, we recognize that this is a meaningless term that begs the question, and people should quit trying that trick. It never works, anyway.

there are legitimate public safety concerns in allowing protesters to be within a certain distance of clinics. to the extent being close is "speech," I think historical realities should inform that. just like i think they should inform putting a burning cross near someone's house.

exactly. Ditto for harassing and stalking clinic staff, digging through their garbage, and following their cars. These are acts of harassment and intimidation, not speech: they are organized campaigns designed to pressure a single individual to change his or her career, not efforts to communicate a group's policy position. Not only that, but clinic protesters who get close to clinics have done things like glue the locks, block the doors, and try to disable the security system; they have also shot and bombed clinics. In the face of that real danger, don't you think it might be legitimate to restrict how close such protesters can get to a clinic, or to someone's home?

Sebastian, I don't understand why you can't make this distinction. No one is suggesting that we legally restrict Randall Terry's ability to call Tiller a demonic mass murderer - despite the fact that it's essentially a dehumanizing incitement to violence. Instead, we're saying that clinics are actually in real, tangible danger from which they cannot be protected without some minor First Amendment infringements.

I also think it's pretty important to recognize that the effects of this harassment aren't limited to the 8 murders in 20 years; they include the intimidation which has prevented many ob/gyns from providing abortions, and include the fact that 87% of US counties lack an abortion provider. This limits women's ability to access a basic, necessary medical procedure, and is a real and substantial consequence. (As is the collateral damage inflicted on women whose fetuses die in utero and have to wait days, bleeding, for surgery that may be the only way to preserve their fertility. I am not exaggerating.) Big consequences for women from this kind of intimidation; small consequences for anti-choice protesters from minor locational restrictions on where they stand. Not a hard question for me.

One calls for a timely and special condemnation from the WH – the other doesn’t even get a mention.

Hey, do me a favor -- when we're down to a total of three Army recruiters in the entire US, because the others have either been killed or harrassed into quitting, you let me know, OK?

"evading" is a loaded term -- and it's not really about content. i think that's a key point you're missing.

there are legitimate public safety concerns in allowing protesters to be within a certain distance of clinics. to the extent being close is "speech,"

I'm going to ask you to really clarify "not really about content" in the context of your post. Because your post reads as if you believe in special restrictions on the specific case of pro-life protestors. You specifically call out a court case that is about that. And not 'really' about content doesn't make me feel great about your formulation.

Are you talking about *wholly* content-neutral rules to be applied to all protestors (specific recent examples should include at least anti-war protestors, anti-globalisation protestors [who by the way have an extensive history of inciting riots], anti-Bush protestors, anti-death penalty protestors, anti-nuclear power protestors, and pro-animal rights protestors)? Or are you talking about special rules to be applied to pro-life protestors?

Also what are your thoughts on the rhetorical closeness between the terrorist acts of Earth Liberation Front (including highly dangerous firebombings in fire-prone areas) and the hyperbolic rhetoric of say GreenPeace?

Publius, four days ago. Which is why the section you quote is directly from my response to him.

And you're still not responding in any way at all to the queries about why you're comparing all of Islam to the pro-life movement.

Though on that one, Von says he agrees with you, so I guess if you have the support of a fellow pro-lifer in your attack on Islam, why do you need to respond to anyone else?

So what about that shooting of an Army Recruiter? Does it implicate Muslims who don't strongly enough denounce him?

If the Muslims who don't strongly enough denounce him are also ones who helped incite him -- as is the case with many of the more vocal forced birthers like Randally Terry -- then yes. The question is, do any of these individuals actually exist, let alone, like Terry, have a national forum?

Publius, four days ago. Which is why the section you quote is directly from my response to him.

Nonsense. There is no First Amendment right to threaten, intimidate, extort, or incite crowds to violence. It isn't "evading the First Amendment" to call these thugs' tactics what they are and -- at the very least in the first two cases, and arguably the second two -- are intended to be.

I see by other comments that the apparent linklessness of OCSteve's assertions about military recruiting centers is only apparent, due to their being stripped out by *&^%$#@ Typepad. So, apologies for the hasty accusation.

My larger point stands, and has been made by other commenters. The guy who shot two soldiers in Little Rock is a classic example of the lone nut. Dr. Tiller's assassin is part of an active, organized campaign of intimidation, harassment, and vilification amplified in the press.

That's why Dr. Tiller's murder (in a church!) is an act of terrorism and the Little Rock shootings are a horrible, sad crime. That's why Obama made an immediate statement about Tiller and not about the soldiers in Little Rock.

No one, including you, OCSteve, thinks there is a national campaign of intimidation and harassment to stop recruitment, of which the Little Rock shootings were a part.

It's time for all those who called Tiller's murder an act of terrorism to start walking back their overheated rhetoric.
The pro-life movement has, for decades, explicitly worked to harass and intimidate clinics that provide abortions because they are the weak link of "legal abortion." If they cannot change the law, they can make it impossible or dangerous to actually exercise those legal rights.

Tiller in particular had been threatened, chased, and shot. His family was targeted for intimidation. He received regular death threats. His employees were stalked and harassed and threatened. His employees' families were stalked and harassed and threatened. His daily movements were tracked by networks of volunteer stalkers who posted the information online, on websites emblazoned with dripping blood. Groups of pro-lifers relocated to Kansas just to participate in the ongoing campaign.

US presidential candidates publicly called him an inhuman monster. Church members taught their children that he was evil. Television and radio pundits campaigned against him. Radicals called for his murder and mainstream pro-lifers held thoughtful, abstract discussions about the moral implications of murdering abortionists. Was it justified? Probably not... But certainly, it was a question to be grappled with.

For decades.

The groups and individuals conducting this campaign were explicit about their motives: because they could not convince the rest of the nation that a specific medical procedure should be illegal, they would force those who performed the procedure to stop. By intimidating them. And in some cases by threatening them. And in some cases, by killing them.

Tiller's killing was an act of terrorism. It was an attempt to terrorize a group of people.

If you do not recognize this, I wonder if you've ever actually known any pro-life activists.

"I recommend Legacy of Ashes by Time Weiner."

Not to be confused with Time Warner.

ha

Also, what about the Unabomber?

Crazy man. Not deeply linked to the environmental movement, but operating during a time of radicalization of that movement--including violent action by other members of other groups and long term organized campaigns of harrassment by more mainstream groups (Greenpeace and Earth First I'm looking at you).

Does he count as someone who ought to be analyzed under this rubric? Do environmental groups need to be looked at that way?

"If the Muslims who don't strongly enough denounce him are also ones who helped incite him "

Are you playing on stereotypes about who you assume 'helped incite him' or do you have some sort of proof?

"And you're still not responding in any way at all to the queries about why you're comparing all of Islam to the pro-life movement."

Jesurgislac, that is because my point is about how people are lifting stereotyped traits from the killers and then broad-brushing them into ridiculous and panicky conclusions. At no point am I saying that Muslims OUGHT to be tarred with the killing. I'm specifically using the example because you shouldn't look at him and think "typical Muslim" or "typical anti-war protestor". You shouldn't use the stereotypes that way. You think I'm using it as an affirmative attack against Muslims because you refuse to engage your stereotyping of pro-lifers.

I hate coming back to echo myself, but it's also important to note that the pro-life movement had no problem with what was being done to Tiller, his family, his employees and their families -- until someone went just a liiiiiiittle too far.

Then it's all "Oh, goodness! That was wrong. And isn't it horrible that evil abortionists will try to use this against us?"

Hearing about Tiller's death reminded me why I left the pro-life movement. Hearing the pro-life movement's response to his death reminded me why I left God.

"But to your point - is the Berkley city counsel really anathema to the Democratic Party?"

It certainly isn't mainstream.

"Surely you are aware that recruitment offices have been shot up, bombed, and are routinely vandalized. Protesters block entrances and intimidate those who might want to enter. Recruiters are literally run off campuses in fear of physical harm… Protest signs include such gems as 'We support the troops – when they shoot their officers'. A long running protest to block the entrance to the Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley had the blessing of the city council.

And to clarify one point, the soldiers shot were not even recruiters."

It would be helpful to have links to all these incidents, so all of us could work off the same page. I, for one, pretty much don't know what you're talking about. Who was shot, when? Where around the country are these protests and bombings taking place? Etc.

Thanks, OCSteve.

"A long running protest to block the entrance to the Marine Recruiting Center in Berkeley had the blessing of the city council."

I don't know anything about this, but that doesn't sound very violent. In any case, if they're blocking legal access, than they should be arrested, and take what comes of civil disobedience. Did the city council prevent that, or what? Links, please?

"Not deeply linked to the environmental movement"

Was he linked at all?

Sebastian: that is because my point is about how people are lifting stereotyped traits from the killers and then broad-brushing them into ridiculous and panicky conclusions.

So, you acknowledge and you see no problem with, equating a global religion to a national political movement? That's your point?

Are you playing on stereotypes about who you assume 'helped incite him' or do you have some sort of proof?

You want proof that pro-lifers incited the murder of George Tiller? What kind of proof?

Are you asking for links to pro-life websites that referred to George Tiller as a baby-killer? If so, how many would you like? I think the maximum per comment is five.

Sebastian: Are you talking about *wholly* content-neutral rules to be applied to all protestors (specific recent examples should include at least anti-war protestors, anti-globalisation protestors [who by the way have an extensive history of inciting riots], anti-Bush protestors, anti-death penalty protestors, anti-nuclear power protestors, and pro-animal rights protestors)? Or are you talking about special rules to be applied to pro-life protestors?

There is at least one major difference between all of those examples and anti-abortion protestors protesting outside abortion clinics, which justifies treating those protestors differently than the ones you mentioned.

"pro-life protestors"

those people are no more pro-life than your average NOW member.

Are you playing on stereotypes about who you assume 'helped incite him' or do you have some sort of proof?
Sebastian, this is the part that just absolutely boggles me. I helped incite him. My friends and family did. My church did. Churches around the country did. Christian leaders in roles of great prominence did. National television personalities did. Writers, newspaper columnists, pastors...

All of these people -- me, my friends, my leaders, my loved ones -- shouted to the world that George Tiller was a mass murderer, and that to stand by while he killed was to be complicit in murder.

That is not hyperbole. That is literally what we said. And we believed it.

We can't even claim to be shocked by what happened -- people who actually took us seriously have been trying to kill Tiller for longer than most of my co-workers have been alive.

And we kept saying it. Over, and over. Louder, and louder. We held vigils and we wrote pamphlets and we went on television and we shouted on sidewalks and we put up our web sites and we posted his address and we hunted down the people he bought coffee from in the morning and shouted at them.

And then someone killed him.

And now, in the aftermath of his murder, posts about his life, and his compassion, are circulating. These are not attempts to idolize him, or to turn him into a saint -- they are attempts to counteract the decades of monstrous propaganda that we created, disseminated, and spread that led directly to his death.

Roeder poured glue into the locks of another clinic a few days before he shot George Tiller in the lobby of his church. He had the Operation Rescue hotline number on the dashboard of his car to be read through the windshield. He had the anti-abortion symbol painted on the side of his car. He contributed to OR website comment section -- with suggestions to confront Tiller at his church. He visited the woman who shot Tiller in the arms in prison. He took part in numerous protests at clinics and the meetings at which they were planned and organized.

It's not a stretch or stringing together coincidental circumstantial evidence to say that Roeder was part of the organized campaign of protest, intimidation, and harassment focused on abortion providers generally and on Dr. Tiller and his clinic specifically.

"I think the maximum per comment is five."

Four.

Sebastian's 1:17 comment clarifies a lot:

"I'm specifically using the example because you shouldn't look at him and think 'typical Muslim' or 'typical anti-war protester'."

But that seems to confuse the central point these many posts have been trying to make: that Roeder killed Tiller to further a cause and prompted by movement for that cause -- in other words, an act of terrorism.

All the policy suggestions made here -- an apology by the pro-life movement, more abortion protection, restrictions on the movement's activity -- stems from this analysis.

It makes little sense, in this view, to compare the pro-life movement's and Islam's respective relationship with these two killings -- as Jesurgislac pointed out, one is a national movement, one is a global religion.

Well of course not, because it's obvious to everyone with a brain that the administration condemns it.

How so?

Because, um, Obama supports the military and, uh, wants it to stay big? He's increasing the troop presence in Afghanistan; of course he wants recruiting to continue. His budget increased military spending.

You think I'm using it as an affirmative attack against Muslims because you refuse to engage your stereotyping of pro-lifers.

If you believe that all Muslims around the world are as monolithic, homogenous and coordinated as the adherents of the American "pro-life" movement, then yeah, that does sound like... maybe not an attack, but irresponsible and childish exagerration. A very myopic, "America, fuck yeah" view that almost all the rest of the world is alike. On the other hand, if you don't believe that, then what's the point of the comparison? Different things get treated differently based on their differences; this is banal.

(Obviously, the American anti-abortion movement isn't completely homogenous. But it's a hell of a lot more so than the second or third most popular religion in the world.)

With regards to the Unabomber -- first, I may have been young, but I'm pretty sure everybody at the time agreed he was a terrorist (so if Roeder's like him, sort of helps the pro-choice argument here).

But second, the rhetoric and world view of the Unabomber was pretty well documented, and it doesn't seem to mirror that of the eco-vandals at the time.* With Roeder, the case is that the same movement (the rhetoric, worldview, etc.) that motivated harassment (etc.) also motivated the murder.

*I'm pretty sure their big "concern" was animal "rights".

Does he count as someone who ought to be analyzed under this rubric? Do environmental groups need to be looked at that way?

Did environmental groups spend decades harrassing, BY NAME, the victims of the Unabomer, and picketing their homes and workplaces, etc., etc.? (Don't answer, as we both know they didn't.)

When an apparently crazed man goes and kills the object of his political or religious obsession, what conclusions should we draw about the those who agree, at least partially, with his political views, but not his violent methods.

The premise of this post postulates the issue in a false light, and predictably goes off the rails. Correcting the premise helps:

When a faction of a political movement regularly employs violence-laden rhetoric and thuggish tactics, what conclusions can you draw about that faction when one of its adherents acts on that rhetoric and engages in murder?

That the faction needs to be soundly condemned for its ways, and that the attempts to distance itself from the murder smacks of insincerity. Which, by the way, cannot be construed as an argument that they should be silenced (another false premise of this post).

I recognize that there are plenty of non-violent anti-abortionists of sincere belief that do not employ or support "baby-killer" and "holocaust" rhetoric, and this episode does not reflect anything as to them. To make that clear, they should have been condemning the rhetoric of the hard-line faction before the murder occurs. Otherwise, one can be reasonably suspicious of the sincerity of the condemnations of violence.

Late to the thread, but: based on what I know, I do not think that the guy who shot the two soldiers was a terrorist. I do not say this because I don't think what he did was abhorrent: I mean, I also don't think that Jeffrey Dahmer was a terrorist, and I'm not sure how much more abhorrent one can get.

It's not because he's not connected to an organization: as was noted above, neither was the Unabomber.

It is because I don't see any evidence, yet, that he was trying to alter people's behavior through terror. Maybe more info has come out since I last read about this (last night), but as far as I could tell, from the somewhat sketchy coverage, he hated the military, and was lashing out in a horrible way.

I do not support curtailing anyone's rights to free speech. I do think that if I were in the pro-life movement, I would be asking myself about the connection between my rhetoric and Tiller's death. But the reason for asking that would not be because I'd be wondering what rights to free speech I should have; it would be because I would be searching my conscience, asking myself whether anything I had done falls into the category of "things one ought to have a right to do, but ought not to do anyways."

I do not think that there is a similar history of incitement in the anti-war movement, insofar as there is an anti-war movement. And, as was noted above, I don't think that blaming Muslims, as opposed to people who oppose the war, is the right place to look, any more than "Christians" would be the right group to consider blaming for Tiller's death.

What matters is not demonstrations. (Think of a group of very polite Quakers demonstrating against something to see why.) It's incitement to violence.

"I would be searching my conscience, asking myself whether anything I had done falls into the category of "things one ought to have a right to do, but ought not to do anyways."

"What matters is not demonstrations. (Think of a group of very polite Quakers demonstrating against something to see why.) It's incitement to violence."

Thank you.

A question:

Seeing as how the victims in the Arkansas military recruiting center shooting were members of the U.S. armed forces, aren't they, by definition, 'not civilians'? Therefore, wouldn't the shootings be defined as 'not terrorism'?

This is more than a semantic quibble.

It's weird to just now get that Sebastian's analogy was more flawed than previously thought -- that while Roeder committed an act that fits just about any reasonable definition of terrorism you can think of, while the murder of William Long seems less and less like terrorism the more I learn/think about it.

Vox Day is a young Paleo-Conservative, and quite popular.
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Tiller should have been jailed and had his license revoked for the abortion-related midemeanors he blatantly committed; had justice been done then perhaps he would still be alive. Not that I care, as I wouldn't shed any more tears for dead abortionists than I would for murdered concentration camp guards. And at his church? What sort of church that calls itself Christian allows a totally unrepentant man with the blood of many children on his hands to attend it?

It should be amusing to watch the pro-abortion camp go hysterical with fear over this, as they still hadn't gotten over the previous round of abortionist shootings that ended over a decade ago. They know at heart that the issue will never be settled; the murder of unborn children will never, ever be acceptable to decent men and women. Abortionists have killed more Americans than every American military foe in history combined, so based on the body count alone, the post-natal termination of an abortionist is more rationally justifiable than the killing of a jihadist in Iraq or Afghanistan.


UPDATE: National Review: "It's hard to be anything but sick over the news."

Yeah, it's really not. And so-called "conservatives" are sick indeed if they can shrug off the death of innocent Iraqis and Afghans as collateral damage, call for military action that spells the certain death of innocent Iranians, and then be genuinely upset over the fittingly violent end of one serial child-killer.

From
Good Riddance

I think the comments are a trip. Apparently, liberal Protestants are the real problem.

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