Dr. George Tiller was one of the highest-profile abortion providers in America. In socially conservative Wichita, Kansas, Tiller provided not only early-term abortions, but also the rarely-utilized late-term abortions. There's a tremendous body of case law that's built up over the abortion protests in Kansas. In the 1980's and early 1990's, the Buffalo, NY area was probably the epicenter of the battle between abortion providers and the militant anti-abortion movement. Since then, Kansas—a state that's also home to anti-gay lunatic Fred Phelps and a state board of education that pushed the teaching of creationism over evolution—has become a new burned-over district of radical right culture war fervor.
Even if he only provided more common family planning and abortion services, Tiller would have been subject to tremendous pressure in Wichita, Kansas. But as a provider of late-term abortions, he was a major target of domestic terrorists. In 1985 his clinic was bombed. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by Shelly Shannon, whose arrest eventually exposed a far right domestic terrorist network called the Army of God. Earlier this month Tiller reported damage to his clinic, including sliced wires to surveillance cameras.
Today the rightwing domestic terrorists finally succeeded in assassinating Tiller:
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.
Wichita police said that the shots were fired from a handgun in the church lobby during the morning service. The authorities gave few details, but said they were searching for a powder blue Taurus made in the 1990s that had been seen leaving shortly after the shooting. They said witnesses had described seeing a white man departing.
Surely whichever terrorist committed this assassination, and whichever fellow-terrorists may have been involved in planning and perpetrating the act, will claim that their murder in a church was done to enact God's will.
Violent and conspiratorial talk is not something limited to fringe low-wattage radio stations and secret publications; one only need tune in to Fox News' Glenn Beck to hear the rhetoric and conspiracy theories that inspired Timothy McVeigh.
But the one-world crew isn't focused only on fears of the UN, black helicopters and cabals of Jewish financiers. Kossack Frederick Clarkson, who helps run the excellent blog Talk to Action, is one of the nation's most diligent and expert followers of the far right, especially where the religion merges with the violent radical right. Clarkson has written extensively on anti-abortion violence, showing in particular how anti-abortion extremists have linked with rightwing domestic terrorists:
More and more, anti-abortion extremists, white supremacist groups and the conspiracy-minded "Patriot" movement have come to share the same enemies list. Many in these previously separate movements agree that everything smacking of "one-worldism" — the Olympics, the United Nations and any other global agency — is part of a massive plot to subject Americans to tyranny.
Activists in all three movements describe homosexuals as "sodomites," people who deserve capital punishment. And in the latest development, many of those involved in these groups are bitterly attacking abortion.
"Eric Rudolph is symbolic of this new merger," says Dallas Blanchard, chairman of the University of West Florida's sociology department in Pensacola. "Militia types have shown more and more interest in the abortion issue, while anti-abortionists are becoming more and more militant and allying themselves with the militia movement."
Since the early 1990s, Patriot and white supremacist groups have used mainstream issues like gun control and land and environmental regulation to draw people into their organizations. Now, they are taking up the banner of fighting abortion.
In 2007, Meteor Blades wondered whether a Democratic win in 2008 would generate rightwing violence:
The hatred that led Tim McVeigh or Eric Rudolph to commit their murderous acts is still with us, indeed, deeply embedded, and spouted by the likes of Ann Coulter, Hal Turner and others of their ilk from their high-wattage podiums. We ignore this hatred and its fascistic purveyors at our peril.
Most Americans believe the country has begun moving in the right direction. But there has always been an element in American society that hates progress toward tolerance and inclusion, and see in social change a grave threat, and vast conspiracy, a threat to their liberty. Vigilantism of the kind that we saw today demonstrates that not all Americans are ready for change and disagreement within civil society, and will oppose tolerance, progress and the legitimacy of the government with whatever violent means they can employ.
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