Bleeding Kansas

I remember a bumper sticker: I’M PRO-LIFE. I’M AGAINST SHOOTING DOCTORS.

But that was years ago. Surely no one would — oh, wait:

George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.

Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.

No information has been released about whether a suspect is in custody. Police said they are looking for white male who was driving a 1990s powder blue Ford Taurus with Kansas license plate 225 BAB.

Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group I once satirized, has denounced the killing:

We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down. Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller’s family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

“Vengeance is mine,” saith some guy in a Ford. Boy, is he in for a shock.

Update: Suspect caught near Kansas City.

Says Robert Stacy McCain:

I cannot think of a single instance in which assassination has produced anything good, no matter how evil or misguided the victim, nor how well-intentioned or malevolent the assassin.



  1. Jeffro »

    31 May 2009 · 2:21 pm

    Couldn’t have happened. Guns are illegal at churches.

  2. McGehee »

    31 May 2009 · 3:05 pm

    I approve that bumper sticker, even as I vehemently disapprove of abortion. That shooter ought to have remembered something Somebody once said about being without sin and casting the first stone.

  3. Jeffro »

    31 May 2009 · 3:17 pm

    That same someone said something about vengeance being his.

    There are going to be all kinds of issue advocates piling on to this – well, it is a tragedy, even though my sympathy meter is running pretty low for the Doctor.

  4. Lisa Paul »

    31 May 2009 · 3:48 pm

    Once again, proof that our War on Terror should start with our own home-grown kind. I once got lost in the tangle of freeway ramps and off-ramps that is the East Bay. I pulled into a parking lot to make a U-turn and get back on the highway. Turns out, I’d unwittingly entered the driveway of a family planning clinic — in a convertible. I was instantly surrounded by pro-life protesters who started hitting me with their signs and screaming Bible verses with foam-flecked lips. Believe me, I was afraid for my life in this innocuous suburban neighborhood. I have no doubt, had I not peeled out at an alarming speed, those protesters would have done serious harm to me — for no other reason than that I entered the wrong driveway. Thank God, none of those nuts had a gun.

  5. McGehee »

    31 May 2009 · 4:14 pm

    Once again, proof that our War on Terror should start with our own home-grown kind.

    Agreed. Bill Ayers would be a good start.

    <ducks and runs>

  6. Lisa Paul »

    31 May 2009 · 5:14 pm

    Except, I’m with you, McGehee. Anyone CONVICTED of domestic terrorism should be soundly punished. In fact there should be special penalties for domestic terrorism. The only way we avoid anarchy is to stick to the rule of law. No matter how strongly felt the issue, no one has the right to take the law in their own hands and mete out justice. Especially since these “self-help” vigilantes tend to mete out “justice” to people who under the law are innocent. Like kids in an Oklahoma City day care center. Or people who happen to be in the proximity of a family planning clinic. Or graduate students who happen to be working in a medical research lab that uses animal testing.

  7. Jeffro »

    31 May 2009 · 8:38 pm

    I’m with ya, Lisa. Too many people get caught up in moral relativism – they point to the ELF without acknowledging Timothy McVeigh, or vice versa. There are dangerous fringe elements on both sides of the aisle, and none of them seem to be too worried about the rule of law. The ends justify the means for them.

    But, I fear I’m pretty polarized – I see this incident as an opportunity for some to push for more gun or right wing thought control (the recent DHS report, for instance?). Color me cynical.

  8. CGHill »

    31 May 2009 · 8:47 pm

    The word from the President, off the AP wire:

    However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.

    He’s right about that.

  9. Lisa Paul »

    31 May 2009 · 9:35 pm

    Well, Jeffro, the anti-abortion groups (that are law-abiding) are rightly worried that this will hurt their cause. Just as the radical wing of PETA did more to set back animal rights than any logger chainsawing through owl habitat. (For a while, in Sonoma, they were firebombing small family farms that they suspected of producing geese for foie gras or even selling to restaurants that had it on their menus!)

    Yet, I still say, if you don’t believe in abortion, don’t get one. Or if you want to enforce pregnancy on anyone, be prepared to fork over the tax dollars for childcare, children’s services, welfare, or whatever else might be needed as a result of that unwanted child being brought into the world. At the very least make birth control and sex education widely available so that abortion is cheap, available and rare. Bristol Palin will attest that just telling kids to abstain doesn’t work.

  10. Dwayne "the canoe guy" »

    31 May 2009 · 10:30 pm

    Wow, Lisa, thanks for waiting so long before taking a kick at Bristol Palin. Do you laugh when people stumble off the sidewalk?

  11. Lisa Paul »

    31 May 2009 · 11:57 pm

    Not taking a kick at her. Practically quoting her. In several recent interviews, SHE said abstinence programs don’t work and that they, obviously didn’t work for her. Here’s a link to just one such interview she gave to Fox News:

  12. McGehee »

    1 June 2009 · 1:13 pm

    They do work for enough kids that a blanket statement that they “don’t work” is simply ridiculous. The “doesn’t work” meme originates from the same ideological commitment against teaching abstinence as this Kansas murderer apparently has against abortion.

  13. Lisa Paul »

    1 June 2009 · 2:06 pm

    Sorry McGehee, didn’t really make myself clear. The operative word in my sentence was “JUST telling kids to abstain doesn’t work.” I think everyone agrees that abstinence is the best course for teens. They’re too young to handle sex emotionally or its possible consequences. I just think, along with teaching abstinence, it’s important to teach about birth control and disease prevention. Just saying “don’t do it” doesn’t really give kids the whole picture. Which is why a recent study showed that kids who signed abstinence pledges were more likely than others to engage in risky behavior like unprotected anal and oral sex.

    I look at the Palin family and I think, there’s the kind of family where abstinence only education SHOULD work. You have a strong, stable, religious family with two hands-on, involved parents. Yet, abstinence only didn’t work in that case. Who knows why not? Bristol’s kiss-and-tell boyfriend says they weren’t very consistent with condoms. Perhaps the kids were misinformed about when and how pregnancy is likely to occur as they were only told “don’t do it.”? (Surely you remember all the rumors that circled around the high school about “sure-fire” ways not to get pregnant. Most of them were laughable.) Perhaps if they’d been educated on birth control, since they were clearly ignoring the abstinence warnings, they could at least have avoided pregnancy.

  14. Lisa Paul »

    1 June 2009 · 2:11 pm

    I also think teaching birth control and disease prevention is a sure-fire way to get abstinence. I remember in my sex ed classes in high school, a teen mom came to talk to us about her life. Then they showed those graphic slides of advanced syphilis. Boy, I was scared straight!

  15. narciso »

    1 June 2009 · 10:04 pm

    Except that the Governor is a Feminist for Life, which means she’s in favor of birth control, and Wasilla High wasn’t an abstinence only school.
    Now you’re relying on your information supposedly abour their status, from someone who sold their story to the tabloids, to cover the mother’s legal bills for drug distribution (the judge in the case, BTW,
    allowed the mother to travel to NY and LA and Florida, on the grounds of a medical emergency)

  16. Lisa Paul »

    2 June 2009 · 6:28 pm

    Hmmm. I could be misinformed, but everything I’ve read tells me that Sarah Palin is staunchly in favor of Abstinence Only and opposes sex education and disease-prevention education that discusses anything but abstinence. She’s certainly on record opposing any access to birth control for teens.

    As I admitted, I don’t know what caused this unexpected pregnancy. Bristol isn’t really talking. I’d take her boyfriend’s word with a grain of salt, but his story that they weren’t very consistent about condom use does have the ring of truth, given the outcome.

    One thing we do know for sure, even in what looked like the best case scenario for Abstinence Only, the message was not heeded by someone closest to the Governor and her message.

  17. CGHill »

    2 June 2009 · 7:37 pm

    I thought everyone knew what causes unexpected pregnancy. :)

    This is closer to what I remember from Sarah:

    Palin’s statements date to her 2006 gubernatorial run. In July of that year, she completed a candidate questionnaire that asked, would she support funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs instead of “explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?”

    Palin wrote, “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.”

    But in August of that year, Palin was asked during a KTOO radio debate if “explicit” programs include those that discuss condoms. Palin said no and called discussions of condoms “relatively benign.”

    “Explicit means explicit,” she said. “No, I’m pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues. So I am not anti-contraception. But, yeah, abstinence is another alternative that should be discussed with kids. I don’t have a problem with that. That doesn’t scare me, so it’s something I would support also.”

    Not the hardest of hard-core, I’d say. (KTOO is a radio station in Juneau. There is also a KTOO-TV; despite its call letters, it’s on channel 3.)

  18. Lisa Paul »

    2 June 2009 · 10:10 pm

    Color me misinformed. But I was sure I remembered hearing and reading much less moderate views from her during the campaign. Or maybe I got her views mixed up with McCain’s.

    McCain’s stance which is, to paraphrase, that teaching about birth control methods, other than abstinence, is to create a double standard. (I guess he thinks arming teens with information will cause them to run wild. Yes, it’s been awhile since I was a teen, but I seem to remember most of my mistakes were made as a consequence of not having enough information or not understanding the full consequences for my actions.)

  19. CGHill »

    2 June 2009 · 10:26 pm

    I’d blame the McCain organization; in an effort to present something resembling a unified front, they put out all manner of stuff intended to minimize the real differences between the top of the ticket and the bottom. This is a problem Obama/Biden seldom encountered.

  20. narciso »

    3 June 2009 · 8:46 am

    That’s certainly part of it, Chaz, but the deliberate misinformation campaign created by the Obama campaign and spread by the MSM
    certainly was a factor. This was the only way they could sell such a flawed product like Obama and Biden, to our everloving regret.

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