Make no mistake. Yesterday’s murder of Dr. George Tiller was an act of terrorism. A single whack-job committed the murder, but that whack-job slithered out from a deliberately instilled climate of hate that makes such murders inevitable. One need look no farther than the words of Operation Rescue’s founder, Randall Terry, following the murder:
George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God.
The entire statement is here. Note the complete lack of remorse that the murder occurred in the first place and the total lack of any statement repudiating violence. A group washes its hands of an act of violence, makes a vague reference to peaceful protest while simultaneously failing to condemn violent acts directly, all in the midst of a statement full of provocatively violent rhetoric that blames the victim. It’s a tactic reminiscent of the PLO or the IRA around 25 years ago. If this is how Operation Rescue operates, then Operation Rescue is a terrorist organization. Period.
Clearly, there are also many slimeballs out there who don’t happen to be the founder of Operation Rescue who are actively celebrating this murder. Many of them don’t phrase their public pronouncements as carefully as Randall Terry.
Here are some scary numbers suggesting that what we saw yesterday may be just the start of a new cycle of “pro-life” violence. I hope this isn’t the case. At least there are also some cooler heads out there.
Unfortunately, April’s Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism (download the full PDF here), much maligned by conservatives at the time of its release, is beginning to look all too prescient.