Note: Relevant updates will posted to the bottom. By all means, read all the way to the end, where it gets interestinger and interestinger.
Dr. George Tiller was murdered at his church this morning. According to the New York Times:
Dr. Tiller, who had performed abortions since the 1970s, had long been a lightning rod for controversy over the issue of abortion, particularly in Kansas, where abortion opponents regularly protested outside his clinic and sometimes his home and church. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent but recovered.
He had also been the subject of many efforts at prosecution, including a citizen-initiated grand jury investigation. In the latest such effort, in March, Dr. Tiller was acquitted of charges that he had performed late-term abortions that violated state law.
The shooting occurred at around 10 a.m. (Central time) at Reformation Lutheran Church on the city’s East Side, Dr. Tiller’s regular church.
MSNBC’s Web site is reporting that authorities have a suspect in custody, although no details are yet available.
Of course, we’re not a breaking news site and that’s not what this story is about. Instead, let’s speculate a bit.
Here’s the wager: the murderer will turn out to be a right-wing Christian terrorist. I’ll also offer a side bet: his media consumption includes the like of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly and/or Glenn Beck.
If I’m wrong, check this space. I’ll gladly post an update noting my mistake. But as of this moment, would you bet against me?
Let’s hypothesize that I’m right for a second. What does it mean? Well, in the short term it probably means nothing for the doctor, his family, colleagues and friends. Whatever the reason, he’s dead, and tragically so, and at times like this the what probably means a whole lot more than the why.
From a big-picture perspective, though, from the perspective of the culture war that has claimed another victim, the slobberingly ignorant wide-right nutjobs have given the cause of Progress another martyr, and in doing so have made the case against their reactionary jihad a little clearer than it was before. Even in a nation as unrelentingly bassackwards as the US, the tide of enlightenment is slowly but surely washing them and their violent, Stone Age ideology away. The repudiation of their 8,000 year-old code of ethics in the last election may well make them more dangerous for a time, but with each passing day more and more mainline Americans are standing and looking them dead in the eye, at last seeing them for what they are.
Your gutless thugs may assassinate a librul or two in church every now and again, especially if you’re sneaky enough to catch them unawares. You may win a school board battle or two. But the war? The war is lost. It’s not about if, merely when.
I won’t bother with the arguments over why the Jesus’s Jihadis are doing what they’re doing. We know those details, and our friend Sara Robinson predicted this very sort of terrorism less than a week ago. Besides, I’ve already had my say on why we’re not having an honest conversation on abortion itself, and so far there’s been no evidence whatsoever suggesting that I’m wrong.
All I’ll do is say, with 100% certainty, that if I’m right about what happened this morning in Wichita, our wild-eyed war god-worshiping right wing has done little more than pound another nail into its own coffin.
UPDATE 1: Operation Rescue is apparently making the same assumptions that I am, offering a faux-condemnation of the assassination:
The anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, which has led numerous demonstrations at Tiller’s clinic, condemned the shooting as a “cowardly act.”
“Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice,” the group said in a statement. It offered its prayers for Tiller’s family, “that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”
Why would I question the sincerity of the statement, you ask?
On its Web site, Operation Rescue refers to Tiller as a “monster” who has “been able to get away with murder.” And Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, who is no longer affiliated with the group, called Tiller “a mass murderer.”
Find the dumbest mob possible, whip them into a lather, point them at Satan’s personal emissary on Earth, and then play innocent when the predicatble happens.
Sure, why not.
UPDATE 2: Hmmm. This isn’t officially confirmed, but if it proves to be true … well, everything I said above, times 10.
KMBC-TV in Kansas City reported that the suspect had a post-it note with the phone number of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue in his car, however that group issued a statement this morning denouncing the shooting.