Sunday, May 31, 2009

Words have consequences

In my last post, I shared the news that Dr. George Tiller has been murdered. I have absolutely no doubt this happened because of his willingness to do his job as a doctor and provide late-term abortions to his patients.

Now I see that Operation Rescue, an anti-choice organization, which has tried to stop Dr. Tiller in the past through lawsuits, have put up a post denouncing the murder.

It has been learned today that George Tiller was shot and killed while entering his church on Sunday morning, May 31.

Operation Rescue releases the following statement:

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.

This is an understandable reaction, but it doesn't absolve Operation Rescue of guilt.

One of David Neiwert's points in the Eliminatorists is that dehumanizing of people allows other people to commit atrocities against them, and Operation Rescue has been very busy dehumanizing Dr. Tiller indeed.

I took a screenshot of their denouncing the murder, and posted it below (click on it to see a larger version).

If you look closely at the image, you might notice a image in the lower right corner saying "America's Doctor of Death" bearing an image of the face of a man wearing spectacles. That man is Dr. Tiller, and clicking on the image on their website brings you to a category under their website called "Tiller watch" (the URL is

Calling someone "America's Doctor of Death" is dehumanizing him to an extreme degree, allowing people to ignore the fact that he is a person, which again allows people to do things like murdering him. Operation Rescue might not have pulled the trigger on Dr. Tiller, but they created an environment, where someone could pull the trigger on him.

Update: Jill Filipovic has written a piece in the Guardian which explains my sentiment a lot better: Who killed George Tiller?

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Blogger Sasha said...

Thank you for this post and especially for the screen shot. They are who they are and everybody should see that.

May 31, 2009 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That doctor received what was coming to him. i hope he burns in hell.

May 31, 2009 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He has fought for a woman’s right to choose for decades. He has been charged in a court of law and beat the politically-motivated case with an acquittal. They have shot him in both arms trying to end his practice of medicine. They have bombed his clinic and picketed his clinic regularly.

They finally silenced Dr. George. They murdered him this morning. On his way to church. From MSNBC:

He was acquitted in March of misdemeanor charges stemming from procedures he performed, but moments after the verdict the state’s medical board announced it was investigating allegations against him that are nearly identical to those the jury had rejected.
Prosecutors had alleged that Tiller had in 2003 gotten second opinions from a doctor who was essentially an employee of his, not independent as state law requires, but a jury took only about an hour to find him not guilty of all 19 counts.

Tiller, who could have faced a year in jail for even one conviction, stared straight ahead as the verdicts were read, with one of his attorneys patting his shoulder after the decision on the final count was declared. His wife, seated across the courtroom, fought back tears and nodded. The couple declined to speak to reporters afterward.

Tiller, 67, has claimed that the prosecution was politically motivated. An attorney general who opposed abortion rights began the investigation into Tiller’s clinic more than four years ago, but both his successor, who filed the criminal charges, and the current attorney general support abortion rights.

Tiller has been a favored target of anti-abortion protesters, and he testified that he and his family have suffered years of harassment and threats. His clinic was the site of the 1991 “Summer of Mercy” protests marked by mass demonstrations and arrests. His clinic was bombed in 1985, and an abortion opponent shot him in both arms in 1993.

They had to kill him to silence him. Sick bastards who say they are pro-life killed Dr. George. May they all rot in hell.

May 31, 2009 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

Operation Rescue made a mistake. But the mistake is not in "dehumanizing" the doctor. The mistake is in condemning the "murder."

If a fetus is a life, killing someone who will soon take that life is entirely justified and this act should be celebrated not denounced. Doing otherwise devalues the fetus's life and gives the pro abortionists an advantage.

Operation Rescue should have the courage of their convictions and rejoice the way all righteous people do when a would be murder is killed by their victim.

May 31, 2009 9:27 PM  
Blogger Brenda Malone said...

Winston Smith, you worry me. And it really worries me that there are more out there who think as you do.

May 31, 2009 10:06 PM  
Blogger RMJ said...

What a tragic event. It's awful to see a life lived with such bravery be cut down by such cowardice.

May 31, 2009 10:11 PM  
Blogger Ghouldilocks said...

Dr. Tiller was a hero and his murderer is nothing but another anti-choice terrorist out to control women.

May 31, 2009 10:41 PM  
Anonymous red rabbit said...

Thanks for this post. Clearly Dr. Tiller had something in common with our Dr. Morgentaler, who went to jail repeatedly for defending the rights and lives of women.

Anon @8:39 and Winston Smith: Truly sick to call for the death of a fellow human for the sake of unwanted balls of cells. Do you not trust in judgement in the afterlife?

Me neither. Dr. Tiller was a hero and should be remembered as such.

May 31, 2009 10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another American hero killed by terrorists.

May 31, 2009 10:49 PM  
Blogger Michelle W. said...

The worst part of it is, there really are people celebrating this. There are people who call themselves Christians, and who are gloating over this murder.

Last I checked, Christ never advocated killing anyone as a solution to anything, much less as a way to get your point across.

The hypocrisy sickens me. How is killing someone you don't like "pro-life" in any way, shape or form?

Oh wait, it's NOT.

May 31, 2009 11:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

winston smith, you are a terrorist, plain and simple. i hope that the dept. of homeland security keeps a close eye on you.

May 31, 2009 11:13 PM  
Blogger Cecilia said...

Thanks for this post. I've always found it interesting that radical anti-choice organizations are the first to distance themselves from these atrocities, and yet they never seem to acknowledge the role their hateful, inflammatory tactics play in inciting them. As you so rightly say, their tactics are dehumanizing. Dehumanizing the "enemy" is hate-mongering, and what does hate-mongering do? That's right, it makes hate. And what does hate lead to? This.

I like to think it's possible to have differences of opinion on this issue without dehumanizing those who disagree with you, without such hateful and inflammatory images and words. But every day I lose a little more faith...

Anyway, thanks for your observations. Hell, maybe you'll get Operation Rescue to rethink their site.

May 31, 2009 11:27 PM  
Blogger FSM_Ed said...

The website you link for the "Tiller Watch" is currently down. I suspect that clown Winston Smith is a troll and is just after lulz.

June 01, 2009 12:39 AM  
Blogger FSM_Ed said...

The Operation Rescue site is functional but they seem to have replaced the "Tiller Watch" with recent press releases. Clever scumbags.

June 01, 2009 12:49 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Tiller saved the lives of women whose pregnancies would have killed them. He helped bring people through tragic situations. He is a hero, and he kept going even though he knew this would someday probably happen. Anyone who says he was killing babies does not understand what he did.

May God go with him.

June 01, 2009 1:56 AM  
Blogger grandma nancy said...

Both sides use similar tactics. I decry the murder of Dr. Tiller, but also mourn the loss os life of millions of unborn babies. I believe you are right that demonizing anyone makes it easier to act as if that person is less than human. This may have happened with Dr. Tiller and it is definitely true of the unborn human beings whose lives are taken in abortion. The language we use to describe them, e.g. "Products of pregnancy" as if they were not human or a lump of clay or something makes it easier to eliminate them as well. ALL life is sacred and requires our support, understanding and protection, including Dr. Tiller's and unborn babies and those on death row.

June 01, 2009 2:00 AM  
Blogger daedalus2u said...

I couldn't get to the site. The google cache still works. Some pretty extreme terrorist stuff there.

Posting pictures of Tiller employees? Why? To intimidate them. Trying to intimidate someone is terrorism.

I hope the Justice Department will take on these terrorists and bring back the rule of law.

June 01, 2009 2:34 AM  
Blogger dua said...

if you search on the organization in google, the hotlink for Tiller watch is still there.

June 01, 2009 3:31 AM  
Blogger Kristin Maun said...

Thank you for this post. This is absolutely true. So many anti-choice extremists have spouted hateful rhetoric aimed at Dr. Tiller but then denounce his assassination, refusing to acknowledge their part in this tragedy.

June 01, 2009 6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abortion is the choice to value ones lifestyle over the life of another. Paint it whatever pretty color you prefer, but ultimately it is a condensed act of selfishness.

Killing this doctor, if done by a pro-lifer, was an equally selfish act. No more, no less. According to our laws, the doctor was no more guilty than a hangman carrying out a death sentence. He should have been left alone. If the pro-lifers want to do something, then change the minds of the men on the hill.

As much as an unborn child is put to death for being guilty of nothing other than an unwanted inconvenience, this doctor was potentially killed by the same rationale in reverse. It is funny how the pro-choicers seem to see abortion as uber-innocent and yet the death of this doctor as a horror. Death is death. Killing is wrong, period. All human life if sacred.

June 01, 2009 7:26 AM  
Blogger Thomas Drance said...

@Anon above me

ur actually fuckt dude. There is no equivalence between providing abortions and shooting a man in his church in front of his family. None.

Abortion isn't to be taken lightly and I don't mean to diminish the cost in moral terms (also self-esteem, physical, psychic and emotional pain) to the women who choose it. But the choice is there (and theirs) for a reason - it's a PRIVATE matter. A woman's body is her body and the state, nor her husband, nor some white 51 year old has the right to proscribe what happens to it. Period. Every court in every civilized country agrees with me.

And also your sentence - "unborn child is put to death for being guilty of nothing other than an unwanted inconvenience" is basically retarded. You can't be put to death if you're unborn (obviously) and especially at a late-term abortion clinic like the one ran by Tiller many of the aborted fetuses would have been fetuses who if born would have been born without skulls and serious degenerative illnesses etc. Anyway it's not as simple as promiscuity vs. righteousness, and again there's just no equivalence between the act of terrorism that took Tiller's life and the LEGAL act of abortion. Further, no dirt-bag wing-nut gets to tell my mom, sister, daughter, girlfriend or girl friend anything about what they can and can't do with their own bodies. Please trust me, you're an idiot.

June 01, 2009 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Thank you for this post. I am so sad for the way people can be manipulated into committing horrible acts. Without thinking critically about an issue. It makes me want to become a hermit.

It's one thing to follow the proper channels to try and change the laws if you feel strongly about an issue, its another to manipulate extremists and all but put the gun in their hands. I mean really, that website never came out and said "murder this man!", but they sure supplied all the information needed to commit the act.

June 01, 2009 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can still find "Tiller Watch" using

June 01, 2009 3:07 PM  
Anonymous J said...

This murder is abhorrent, and those who celebrate it are indeed supporting terrorism (even if not the kind that threatens national security).

That said, with all due respect, it is somewhat absurd to post this under the title that "words have consequences." The people who came up with the "Doctor of Death" moniker have surely aided in vilifying this person, but that's a far cry from openly advocating murder. Words have influence, but we each have the opportunity to choose how to interpret them.

Political progressives mock the idea that messages turn people violent when it's being argued in defense of censorship. Let's not support a double standard here.

June 01, 2009 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of anonymous anti-choice cowards here. If you're so convinced, you pants-pissing little babies, then stand up and declare your identities. If you're so right, you have nothing to hide, right?

Cowards. Hateful, murderous cowards. You are complicit in this terrorism.

June 01, 2009 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

You people are way too unsympathetic towards the pro life cause. They are forced into using violence because all other avenues of protest have been taken from them.

They can't lobby the legislature to change the law because the activist courts made up constitutional right for woman to kill their fetus.' They can't even protest without being charged under RICO - I guess they're worse than mobsters. The real question should be who is attacked: The doctors or the judges that have usurped the democratic process.

And I don't see why people are criticizing me. I'll I did was to point out that Operation Rescue was being intellectually dishonest and hypocritical in their position on the killing of the doctor. I never said I personally agreed with killing abortion doctors.

To clarify, I personally am only against abortion when it concerns white people. If we are talking about other races, especially blacks and hispanics, I fully support abortion as this country certainly has way too many of them.

June 01, 2009 9:40 PM  
Blogger Michelle W. said...

Winston Smith, you are a racist.

And by saying "Well the pro-life cause has no other choice but violence" is not only intellectually dishonest and a lie, it's excusing that violence as okay.

Violence is wrong. Murder is illegal. There is no excuse

June 02, 2009 5:37 AM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Winston Smith, apart from being a bigot, a racist, and a murder apologetic, you're also spewing nonsense, or outright lies.

Anti-choice people can use the democratic venues to force other people to give birth to children. While the supreme court has found outright bans on abortion to be unconstitutional, it's actually possible to change the constitution.

June 02, 2009 1:48 PM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Oh, and fair warning Winston Smith (and any others who feel it's okay to say that sort of things). This blog is not a forum for racists, so any more racist comments like the one above, and your comment will be deleted.

June 02, 2009 1:51 PM  
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June 03, 2009 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winston Smith...same person as the co-host of The Political Cesspool radio show.

June 19, 2009 12:54 PM  

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