Rachel Maddow Exposes Equal Opportunity Executioners
Days before Rachel Maddow’s documentary on Dr. Tiller’s murder comes out, new information reveals that a Federal Grand Jury is convening to determine if his killer, Scott Roeder, acted alone or was a part of a right wing conspiracy.
Doctors who provide abortions have been targeted by right wing extremists for years, and all too often after being targeted, they have been murdered. Rachel Maddow has an upcoming documentary about the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a prominent Kansas abortion doctor who was fatally shot on May 31, 2009, by anti-abortion extremist Scott Roeder. “The Assassination of Dr. Tiller” premieres on Monday, October 25th, at 9 p.m.
But it wasn’t just Dr. Tiller and it may not have been a lone gunman.
Tonight Rachel took us down the long path of targeted doctors to Dr. Tiller’s murder.
Dr. David Gunn was shot in Pensacola Florida and killed. He had been the target of a wanted poster, claiming he was wanted for “killing children”. Then Dr. George Wayne Patterson was targeted by another wanted poster with the year, make and model of his car along with much more personal information. Dr. Patterson was murdered. His killing is still unsolved. Dr. Britton was another abortion provider targeted with wanted posters for “crimes against humanity,” complete with photos of his home, office, and car. He was murdered as well, again by an anti-abortion extremists.
Then Dr. Tiller was targeted by a poster titled: “Auschwichita,” claiming Dr. Tiller was like Hitler because he claimed to be a Christian, as did Hitler. The poster also included the language “Tiller the Killer,” as heard on Fox News, specifically on O’Reilly’s show. The poster goes on with the words “equal opportunity executioner”. Dr. Tiller was killed last year at this church in Wichita by Scott Roeder. While this attempt was successful, it was not the first attempt on his life. Dr. Tiller had been shot 5 times at point-blank range by anti-abortion extremist Shelley Shannon in 1993.
This history establishes a pattern in the extreme anti-abortion movement.
Three “Wanted Posters” in Charlotte, North Carolina showed up shortly after Dr. Tiller’s death last year. These posters feature three doctors with pictures, exact address of their offices along with the home address of one doctor.
A Federal Grand Jury is now investigating if Dr. Tiller’s killing involved a broader conspiracy among an anti-abortion network rather than one lone killer. Many providers believe a network exists and they feel as if they are waiting for another murder.
Rachel gives us preview of her documentary:
Abortion is a legal medical procedure; it is a necessary legal right within a secular government. There is nothing small government about wanting to repeal abortion rights. But we aren’t talking about a group who want to repeal a law, we’re talking about an organized strategy, perhaps conspiracy, to terrorize doctors into not providing legal medical services.
“For people working to help women exercise their freedom to choose, the threats of bombings and arsons are quite real. Between 1977 and 2009, at least 41 bombings, 175 arsons, 96 attempted bombings and arsons, and 642 bomb threats have been directed at abortion providers. Moreover, abortion clinic arsons and bombings have resulted in over $8.5 million in damages since 1990.”
Any group that advocates murdering providers of a legal procedure and terrorizes said providers is partaking in terrorism and need to be treated as such. As a nation, we need to stop being so complacent over the freedoms and rights of doctors and patients partaking in a legal procedure.
It goes without saying that any group that claims to be pro-life but murders those with whom they disagree is not a legitimate movement. Here’s an example of the sort of anti-life messages these folks aim at family members of doctors who provide women with legal medical procedures:
“Dallas physician Norman Tompkins and his wife have received hundreds of anonymous phone calls and pieces of hate mail. A message left on Dr. Tompkins’ answering machine stated: “I’m going to cut your wife’s liver out and make you eat it. Then I’m going to cut your head off. . . .”.”
While O’Reilly has the right to label someone a killer, it’s irresponsible to do so at the helm of a megaphone like Fox News. It is obvious that there are unhinged people who take that kind of careless opining to heart and take action that can not be undone. In other words, O’Reilly can’t unring that bell once it’s been rung. While the Tides Institute is asking advertisers on Fox how much blood they want on their hands, we need to stop wondering when it will be enough and instead consider if mass terrorism against those with whom they disagree is not Fox News’ agenda.
Doctor Pablo Rodriguez explains, “[I]n the beginning, the harassment consisted of just nasty letters and graphic pictures of dismembered fetuses. Then I began receiving strange packages with dolls inside, as well as subscriptions to gun magazines. . . . Then the ‘Wanted’ posters with my picture on them began to appear. . . . Then the doors and locks to our clinic were glued several times, and protesters blockaded the clinic three times. . . . Just after Dr. Gunn’s death, . . . I realized that my car was steering poorly. I checked my tires and found 45 nails embedded in them. . . . That evening, my wife painfully discovered with her foot that our driveway had been booby-trapped with roofing nails cleverly buried beneath the snow. . . . My home, my haven of safety – violated.”
If one single “liberal” shot and killed innocent people after watching Keith Olbermann call said person a “killer” and ranting about them day after day and talking about armed insurrections, we would never hear the end of it. But we’ve had three killers who quoted Beck and read various Fox “hosts” go on killing sprees where they shot at children in a church and shot at police officers on top of the relentless pursuit of clinics, doctors and women pursuing their medical rights.
All life is precious, even life that does not agree with you.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.