Your Friendly Neighborhood Terrorist

So the guy who shot up the Holocaust Museum is James W. von Brunn, Holocaust denier, neo-Nazi, and generally swell guy:

James W. von Brunn holds a BachSci Journalism degree from a mid-Western university where he was president of SAE and played varsity football.

During WWII he served as PT-Boat captain, Lt. USNR, receiving a Commendation and four battle stars. For twenty years he was an advertising executive and film-producer in New York City. He is a member of Mensa, the high-IQ society.

In 1981 Von Brunn attempted to place the treasonous Federal Reserve Board of Governors under legal, non-violent, citizens arrest. He was tried in a Washington, D.C. Superior Court; convicted by a Negro jury, Jew/Negro attorneys, and sentenced to prison for eleven years by a Jew judge. A Jew/Negro/White Court of Appeals denied his appeal. He served 6.5 years in federal prison. (Read about von Brunn’s “Federal Reserve Caper” HERE.) He is now an artist and author and lives on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

jvbrunn.jpgSwell fellow. Lovely that he’s part of Mensa; really, that’s become almost a badge of douchebaggery.

Von Brun’s web site features a few quotes, including this one from Cicero: “A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.” Obviously, in von Brun’s mind, the treason was on the part of white people who weren’t willing to put down the Jewish menace. His website boasts of his book, Kill the Best Gentiles, which is said to be “A new, hard-hitting exposé of the JEW CONSPIRACY to destroy the White gene-pool.” The book includes:

350pp of FACTS condensing libraries of information about the Talmud, Democracy, Marx, Genetics, Money, Aryans, Negroes, Khazars, The Holy Bible, Treason, Mass-media, Mendelism, Race, the “Holocaust” and a host of suppressed “bigoted” subjects, all supported by quotations from many of history’s greatest personages. Learn who is responsible for the millions of Aryan crosses covering the world’s battlefields. Why our sons and daughters died bravely but in vain.

[...]

This carefully documented treatise exposes the JEWS and explains what you must do to protect your White family. Kill the Best Gentiles! Is a must for every concerned parent and a manual for every student of World History.

So yeah, he completely sucks. But he sucks in a consistent way. I don’t see it as accidental that this is yet another in a series of shootings by conservative white males, striking out violently against the forces of multiculturalism. Whether it’s Scott Roeder killing a doctor providing medical care for women, or Richard Poplawski killing police because of his fear of the “Obama gun ban” and the influence of Jews, or this attack on Jews by a neo-Nazi, we’re seeing exactly the sort of desperate, searing, homicidal anger from the extreme right that we expected we’d see, once an African-American had the temerity to actually win the presidency. I fear that we’ve reached our tipping point, that we are getting close to a point where political violence, and especially right-wing violence, is going to become the norm. I hope not. But hope is awfully hard to find on a day like this.

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70 Responses to Your Friendly Neighborhood Terrorist

  1. 1
    DaisyDeadhead says:

    The day after election day, I blogged about some guy in a nice Lexus tailgaiting me and giving me the finger for no discernible reason, and I thought it was due to my Obama bumper stickers (this is one of the most conservative counties in the USA). A politically-liberal preacher/elder of my acquaintance emailed me that he had gotten the same treatment.

    He told me that the real danger with Obama’s election was that it would bring out all the crackpots in full force. He said he voted for him anyway, but he knew it was really gonna set them off. He said I should brace myself.

    I just emailed him, once again thanking him for the advice.

  2. 2
    Myca says:

    God I hope this von Brunn bastard lives to see trial.

    And I hope the judge is Jewish.

    —Myca

  3. 3
    Jake Squid says:

    Remember when Bush was “elected” and the loony left-wing fringe started killing people? This is just like that. Except that the first sentence never happened. This is why liberal ideology (as weak and unhelpful as it may be) is noticeably superior to conservative ideology.

  4. 4
    Skwrr says:

    And I hope the judge is Jewish.

    Are there any gay black Jewish socialists on the bench in the DC area? Just sayin’.

  5. 5
    Laura K says:

    Von Brunn has been out there frolicking with the white supremacists for many years. I recognize his name from years ago. He’s a big Free Republic contributor; there are lots of his writings available if you really want to wade through them.

    I’m surprised somebody so old decided to do this (he’s nearly 90), but he’s been advocating this kind of violence for a long time. I hope the internet-based cliques of vicious-talking wingnuts aren’t goading each other into action. It’s hard to tell by reading their material; they have sounded so violent for so long that it’s hard to tell if anything is changing.

    Poor Mensa are trying to distance themselves from him right away. The Washington Post is saying that:

    An executive assistant at Mensa, Joy Martin, confirmed that von Brunn was a member for a year starting April 2, 1987. But he was dropped from the membership rolls in 1988 for failing to pay dues.

  6. 6
    chingona says:

    This is from Jeffrey Goldberg’s blog, but it’s worth posting. He talked to the head guy at one of the Holocaust denial groups, and the rhetoric is startlingly similar to the rhetoric from Operation Rescue, et al, after Tiller’s murder. Who? Us?

    Weber said that the shooting is a “terrible and stupid and criminal thing, and any reasonable person would condemn it.” He said he knew of Van Brunn because “people have sent me things from him, but that’s all I know about it.”

    I asked him if his far-right organization, which sponsors conferences and magazines that deny key aspects of the Holocaust, has created an atmosphere in which white supremacists feel compelled to attack Jewish targets. He got angry and said “every movement and organization has insane people in it. What was this guy’s point? I can’t even figure that out.”

  7. 7
    Angiportus says:

    Concerning Mensa: I aced a test in one of their ads one time, but decided that if they really valued my intelligence they would pay ME to join them. Now more than ever, I think I made the right choice, to steer clear.
    Echidne has a thread going about hateful words online and their effects. Now I am scared too.

  8. 8
    Blake says:

    Is the attack and killing of George Tiller really an attack on multiculturalism? I would label anti-choice terrorism misogynistic but not anti-multicultural.

  9. 9
    ballgame says:

    Lovely that he’s part of Mensa; really, that’s become almost a badge of douchebaggery.

    Christ, what did Geena Davis and Jean Auel ever do to you, Jeff? You know, I’ve never thought that the way to counter bigotry was with more bigotry, but I suppose embracing America’s peculiarly strong anti-intellectualism isn’t surprising coming from a “progressive” who thinks Reagan was a “great” president, and Carter one of the worst.

  10. 10
    Mandolin says:

    I don’t think it’s having the intelligence to join Mensa that’s seen as douchebaggery, just the need to carry a Mensa card.

    That said, I totally rolled my eyes at that line.

  11. 11
    Jeff Fecke says:

    I don’t think it’s having the intelligence to join Mensa that’s seen as douchebaggery, just the need to carry a Mensa card.

    Indeed. Nothing wrong with being smart; my ACT scores would have automatically qualified me for Mensa, if I’d wanted to be in it. But there’s something creepy about joining an organization based on one’s ability to score high on an IQ test. It’s not just being smart, it’s rubbing people’s noses in it.

    As for Mensa being a hallmark of douchebaggery, I’ll clarify that it’s the need to point out that one is a member of Mensa that’s the real warning sign. Whether von Brunn, Vox Day, or Debbie Schlussel, it seems like a lot of the usual suspects feel the need to prove their intellectual superiority — and it usually seems to go hand-in-hand with the idea that “others” are just naturally intellectually inferior.

  12. 12
    Mandolin says:

    I hear you, Jeff, I just wonder how many people there are who are in Mensa who never bring it up because they aren’t douches. I mean, the visible members may be the asses just because they make a point of talking about it as if it makes them awesome.

    Edit: You said this, I just didn’t register it. Sorry.

  13. 13
    Ampersand says:

    When I was a kid, in the 70s, one of my favorite aunts was in Mensa. It was a nice way to meet bookish, slightly nerdy types who enjoy brain teasers and crossword puzzles and reading Games Magazine.

    (Agreed with above comments re: people who show off that they’re in Mensa, versus those who just happen to be members.)

  14. 14
    chingona says:

    And here’s Schlussel on the shooting:

    Make no mistake. Muslims created this atmosphere where hatred of the Jews is okay and must be “tolerated” as a legitimate point of view. The shooting today is just yet another manifestation emanating from that viewpoint-another manifestation of the welcome mat that Muslims rolled out for fellow anti-Semites of all stripes to no longer be afraid to come out of the closet.

    h/t Pandagon

  15. 15
    sanabituranima says:

    Yes, blame the Muslims for white supremacism. It makes so much sense.

    Because Islam has always been an intolerant religion. And nobody else has a long history of anti-Semitism.[/sarcasm]

    I say that as a practicing* Christian.

    *”Practicing” as in “believing Jesus is divine and that Gospel accounts of His life are more-or-less accurate, attending church weekly and making a vague effort to be like Jesus” rather than “actually succeeding in loving the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength and loving my neighbour as myself”

    Re mensa: I agree showing off about being in Mensa=douchebaggery, wheras just being in it is a fun way to meet nerds. I used to be in a similar, now defunct organisation called NAGTY (not saying this as any kind of “I’m superior” statement) that was only for teens, and I made some great friends through it. Having said that, I’m highly sceptical of IQ tests. I have dyspraxia caused by a brain injury at birth, so some parts of my brain work much better than others. I had an IQ test to determine my support needs for university and my skills ranges from the bottom two percent to the top point one percent of the pouplation. I have friends and relatives on the autistic spectrum with similarly huge discrepancies. And I also have a friend with a verbal IQ that puts her in the “retarded” range who is a gifted writer. IQ scores have little relevance to real life. But I digress.

    I do think it is worth pointing out that this guy went to college, played football, did stuff that human beings do. Not to make his beliefs and behaviour seem normal or acceptable, but to point out that terrorists and others who commit horrible acts don’t have horns or fangs or big flashing “I am evil” signs on their heads. I remember after the 7/7 bombings on this side of the Atlantic, everyone was shocked to read that the bombers had had ordinary lives. One had worked in a special school. Another had owned a small takeaway. One of them loved watching games of cruicket.The newspapers said (although not in so many words) “How can this be? Terrorists don’t do things like that. They don’t watch sport or run bisinesses or have jobs. They sit in caves cackling and eating falafel.”

  16. 16
    Sailorman says:

    Muslims aren’t the same as white supremacists, obviously, since many white supremacists would presumably also hate Muslims along with Jews and anyone else who wasn’t a white christian.

    There is some overlap, though, w/r/t the Holocaust. The Muslim world contains a relatively large concentration of Holocaust deniers, including many prominent Muslim leaders.

  17. 17
    chingona says:

    Sailorman,

    If you read the whole Schlussel link, she’s basically saying von Brunn would never have acted if we had a more hard-line stance toward the Muslim world. Given that this is a guy who tried to take the Federal Reserve Board hostage with a shotgun and that his ex-wife said he always promised to “go out with his boots on” and that he’s been a Holocaust denier since at least sometime in the 1970s if not longer, blaming “Muslims” seems a bit disingenuous. Just a bit.

  18. 18
    Jeff Fecke says:

    blaming “Muslims” seems a bit disingenuous. Just a bit.

    Hey, everyone knows the Nazis got their ideas from time-traveling Muslims. They were totally peaceful before that. /snark

  19. 19
    Jon says:

    Angiportus wrote:

    Concerning Mensa: I aced a test in one of their ads one time, but decided that if they really valued my intelligence they would pay ME to join them. Now more than ever, I think I made the right choice, to steer clear.

    Now more than ever? A horrible act occurs from a 90 year old guy who was in an organization for ONE YEAR over 20 years ago (per Laura at #3) and you advocate avoiding the organization? What nonsense.

    Ampersand wrote:

    When I was a kid, in the 70s, one of my favorite aunts was in Mensa. It was a nice way to meet bookish, slightly nerdy types who enjoy brain teasers and crossword puzzles and reading Games Magazine.

    This — and don’t forget Boggle

  20. 20
    PG says:

    Sailorman,

    That’s a “correlation vs. causation” error. The fact that some Muslims are Holocaust deniers simultaneous with a white Christian being a Holocaust denier does absolutely nothing for Schlussel’s claim that the Holocaust-denying Muslims caused the crime committed by the white Christian.

    As for the 7/7 terrorists, I think what was puzzling about their seeming integration into British society is that they were acting to attack British society. It’s not that they’re expected to have no lives outside terrorist plotting, but that those lives are thought more likely to be an effort to get away from those they consider infidels. It would be like von Brunn joining Mensa and then shooting up a Nobel Prize conference … if you seem to like the smart people culture, why are you trying to destroy it?

  21. 21
    Sailorman says:

    I was responding to sanabituranima and the limited similarities between Muslims and white supremacists without referencing Schummer. Obviously in retrospect I should have made that clear; sorry for the confusion.

    So:

    PG Writes:
    June 11th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Sailorman,

    That’s a “correlation vs. causation” error. The fact that some Muslims are Holocaust deniers simultaneous with a white Christian being a Holocaust denier does absolutely nothing for Schlussel’s claim that the Holocaust-denying Muslims caused the crime committed by the white Christian.

    Yes, I agree. It wasn’t actually an error as I was talking about something else, but I agree with what you are saying here.

  22. 22
    Kai Jones says:

    PG writes: the crime committed by the white Christian.

    What white Christian? This guy thinks Christianity is a Jewish conspiracy. This man is not a conservative, he’s a nutcase.

  23. 23
    PG says:

    Kai Jones,

    You are correct that von Brunn is not a believer in Christianity — sorry for using terms unclearly. My understanding is that von Brunn disliked that the Savior in Christianity is supposed to be a Jew, but he seemed to identify with Christianity as part of the white Western culture of which he considered himself a champion. See, e.g., this essay where he says, “We fought two disastrous wars for the JEWS against Christian Aryan Germany.” His URL was holywesternempire.org, presumably a play on “Holy Roman Empire,” and the “holy” in that refers to Christianity (the Holy Roman Emperors were crowned by the popes).

  24. 24
    RonF says:

    Blaming right-wing organizations for this white supremeacist nutbag’s killings makes about as much sense as blaming Islam for that Moslem nutbag’s killings down in Little Rock of the two American soldiers.

  25. 25
    PG says:

    RonF,

    If you can identify a significant environment in American culture that advocates for Muslims to kill soldiers, that analogy might be meaningful, but it doesn’t really work here. I can identify lots of U.S.-based websites, newsletters, etc. that push the idea that the federal government is illegitimate; that the 2nd Amendment right to arms exists so we can overthrow tyrannies; and that the Holocaust is exaggerated or a hoax, and that in any case it didn’t occur in the U.S. so there shouldn’t be a museum about it here. One of Von Brunn’s essays about how Christianity was tainted by its association with Jews was published on a website run by a self-identified Ron Paul supporter. I don’t know of anything comparable for the Muslim convert alleged to have killed the soldiers.

    Personally, I think the only reason that American Muslims haven’t been treated worse is that they have been policing Islam in America. Take the guy Colbert interviewed the other night — this young man entered the military after 9/11 with the specific purpose of demonstrating that American Muslims love their country. Of the few domestic terrorist plots in which Muslims are accused, often the accused weren’t even involved in the Muslim community (as with the accused in the Bronx synagogue plot). American Muslims know that the Michelle Malkins can’t wait for a reason to treat them the same way the Japanese were treated in WWII. Contrast with von Brunn or Scott Roedel, who were very much part of a thriving far-right community that gave them approval for their views right up until they made the evening news. These guys had long track records of expressing hatred. Paul Hill, before he murdered an abortion provider, gave plenty of notice that he thought murdering abortion providers was a necessary step. He passed around a petition that advocated this view; one of the signatures was by a far-right Catholic priest. I seriously doubt that you can find a petition from the guy who killed the soldiers that has the signature of an American imam, or an essays from him describing his violent hatred of the U.S. military that would be published on any website associated with an American mosque or U.S.-based Muslim organization.

    Obviously, the people who commit crimes bear the primary responsibility. But secondary responsibility goes to those who fostered the beliefs that motivated the crime, particularly the belief that such a crime would be acceptable because one’s opponents are so much in the wrong.

  26. 26
    RonF says:

    that the 2nd Amendment right to arms exists so we can overthrow tyrannies

    You think that’s an extremist position? I think it’s true – more specifically, that one of the reasons for the 2nd Amendment is so that the general population can resist an attempt by the States to use the State militias against them.

    If you can identify a significant environment in American culture that advocates for Muslims to kill soldiers, that analogy might be meaningful, but it doesn’t really work here. I can identify lots of U.S.-based websites, newsletters, etc. that push the idea that the federal government is illegitimate; that the 2nd Amendment right to arms exists so we can overthrow tyrannies; and that the Holocaust is exaggerated or a hoax, …

    The Islamic killer in Conway is cited by the AP as having said the following:

    “Yes, I did tell the police upon my arrest that this was an act of retaliation, and not a reaction on the soldiers personally,” Muhammad said. He called it “a act, for the sake of God, for the sake of Allah, the Lord of all the world, and also a retaliation on U.S. military.”

    Muhammad, 23, said he wanted revenge for claims that American military personnel had desecrated copies of the Quran and killed or raped Muslims. “For this reason, no Muslim, male or female, sane or insane, little, big, small, old can accept or tolerate,” he said.

    “U.S. soldiers are killing innocent Muslim men and women. We believe that we have to strike back. We believe in eye for an eye. We don’t believe in turning the other cheek,” he said.

    “I didn’t know the soldiers personally, but yes, it was an attack of retaliation. And I feel that other attacks, not by me or people I know, but definitely Muslims in this country and others elsewhere, are going to attack for doing those things they did,” especially desecrating the Quran.

    Do you not think that there are a large number of web sites aimed at Moslems promulgating these ideas and more and that this man may well have been influenced by them? Whether or not they are American-based is immaterial. If right-wingers who strenously oppose abortion are responsible for the killing of Dr. Tiller, then Moslems who strenously oppose the U.S.’s actions in Iraq and elsewhere are reponsible for the killing of Pvt. William Andrew Long.

  27. 27
    Sailorman says:

    PG Writes:
    June 11th, 2009 at 11:44 am

    RonF,

    If you can identify a significant environment in American culture that advocates for Muslims to kill soldiers, that analogy might be meaningful, but it doesn’t really work here.

    Why would it have to be “in American culture?”

    White supremacy is quite prevalent in America and has been for a long time. As a result, there is little incentive for white supremacists to reference tons of stuff outside the country except in relatively unusual circumstances like Nazi Germany. In fact, the KKK is a relatively well known feature worldwide, and since the nazis passed out, America may well be one of the stronger white supremacist places in the world. You can find plenty of white supremacist leaders here.

    Islam is a rapidly growing segment of America and does not have the same in-country background as does white supremacy. Also, unlike white supremacy, there are more publicly known Islamic leaders outside the U.S. than in it, and as a result arguably Islam is more influenced by forces outside the U.S. As we all know, there are plenty of external forces advocating for such killings.

    That doesn’t make them equal. “U.S. Islam” is by and large populated by normal people, while “U.S. white supremacy” is by and large populated by nutcases. But nonetheless, using the restrictor of “in the U.S.” as you did there seems to be biasing the comparison.

  28. God I hope this von Brunn bastard lives to see trial.

    And I hope the judge is Jewish.

    Much as I relish the poetic justice of this, a WASP judge would mean Neo-Nazi groups would have nothing to put in their newsletters.

    Well, they’d find, I’m sure, but …

  29. 29
    PG says:

    RonF,

    Do you think that the Japanese citizens who were being dragged off to internment camps during WWII should have responded with force of arms? That is, do you think they would have been constitutionally and morally justified in shooting the government agents who came to take them away from their homes? And should their neighbors have been morally obligated to support them in doing so, because of this exercise of government tyranny? Or do Japanese-Americans being singled out by the government not count as part of the “general population”?

    Whether or not they are American-based is immaterial.

    No, it isn’t. I can point you to subcultures in India that say that people of a particular caste are dirty and should not be allowed to handle food that will be eaten by people of a higher caste. But for me to find that view online, I’d quite possibly have to learn how to read Hindi (or Tamil or Malayalam or the gods know what all). There aren’t people around me who adhere to anything close to that view. There’s no political party for which I can vote that has anything like that. If I wanted to meet with lots of like-minded people, I’d have to go to another country. Whether an idea is one that people around you support makes a significant difference in how emotionally comfortable you can be with it.

    I can’t swear to you that my grandmother doesn’t still have some messed-up ideas about caste, but she is conscious that in the U.S., it’s not socially acceptable to talk about caste or mention concerns about it. I would bet that my grandmother’s caste prejudices have diminished considerably since she stopped living among people who might share them. She does read a couple of Indian languages, so if she wanted to go look for those ideas, she probably could find them, but she no longer lives in a subculture where those ideas are readily available to her.

  30. PG,

    I think RonF’s point about it being immaterial where Muslim websites advocating the kind of revenge thinking that Muhammed expressed has some validity, because you need to take into account the degree to which Muslims feel themselves to be part of a community that is much larger than the country where they happen to be living at any given moment, and you have to take into account the fact that some portion of those people is going to feel that their religious community–its demands, needs and expectations–supersedes any other community in which they might live. (The Jewish community has a version of what I am talking about here; some version of it was certainly part of my Jewish education.) Nor do I have a problem in suggesting that the specific Muslim groups that put up such websites have some complicity in the murder Muhammed committed, assuming that he indeed did get from those sites, form their text, the specific information they provide, not only some vague anti-Americanism, but a specific motivation/incentive to go out and kill American soldiers in acts of retaliation–which is very different from “blaming Islam,” which is how RonF first put the point up in comment 24.

    RonF–

    That last point, about the specific information being provided, is crucial. It is of course wrong to blame “right wing organizations” en masses for the murder of George Tiller (or any of the other acts of violence committed against abortion providers). However, when an organization publicly posts the kinds of information about Tiller that some organizations publicly post, for the explicit purpose of aiding and abetting not just protests, but active, consistent, persistent harassment of that person, and when they employ rhetoric–such as the comparison to the Nazis and the Holocaust–that cannot help but imply the possibility that murdering someone like George Tiller is for the greater good (at least by their reasoning), then those organizations also share complicity, I think, in his murder, even–and here’s the point–even if they are entirely sincere in their assertions that they do not advocate this kind of violence. I am not saying they are guilty in a legal sense; I am saying that they share complicity and to the degree that they are unwilling to examine themselves, their rhetoric, their methods, then that complicity begins to rise to that status of “commission” rather than “omission.”

  31. 31
    PG says:

    RJN,

    Agreed that someone might feel his allegiance to his faith supersedes, say, his allegiance to his country. However, that’s not what I was talking about. I think it would be somewhat unusual for a Jew to decide what Judaism “really is,” in a way that diverged greatly from what the Jews in his family, his synagogue, his local Jewish community thought it was, based on an Israeli website.

    An American Muslim who decides it’s right to start killing American soldiers at a recruiting center has adopted ideas that are not, so far as I know, being promoted in his local Muslim community — that are, in fact, being actively pushed against by the American Muslims most prominently featured in American media. The American Muslims who join the military get interviewed on the Colbert Report and multiple series in the NYTimes and other major newspapers.

    I also don’t have any problem in assigning some responsibility for the soldiers’ murders to a Muslim website that suggested this idea to the killer. What I am trying to make clear is that such a website would be very clearly divergent from American Islam, in a way that Operation Rescue or some of the Ron Paul types are NOT clearly divergent from the American right-wing. You would not see the guys who run a website promoting violent action against U.S. soldiers showing up as speakers at CAIR, for example.

  32. PG,

    I hear the distinction you are making, but I am not convinced it’s as important a point as you want to make it, mostly because I am not sure why national or local community boundaries matter so much in these cases.

  33. 33
    PG says:

    RJN,

    Because I think they are relevant to whether the people committing these acts believe they are acting in a way that “their” community will approve. Scott Roeder, for example, claims to have been getting letters in jail from people telling him he did the right thing. If I started gunning down Dalits in the American food-service industry (who are probably not a whole lot more common than abortionists willing to do late-term procedures), I’d essentially feel isolated and alone in my determination to free us from that scourge. I’d have to do the work of finding them on my own, I wouldn’t have anyone to call to talk to (not about the violence, of course, but just to reassure myself that my victims were indeed heinous and deserving of death), I’d not even be sure that the people who agreed with me would hear about my great deed, because they live on the other side of the world and don’t consume much American media. Who’s going to write me a letter while I’m in jail?

  34. 34
    chingona says:

    PG and Richard,

    I think the distinction PG’s making is significant in terms of looking at the domestic political implications. The groups that could be seen as complicit in Dr. Tiller’s murder have connections to key Republican constituencies and the Republican Party itself, and the Republican Party is, whatever its sorry state right now, one of two major parties in this country and the one that ran the country for the last eight years and is now the loyal opposition.

    In contrast, Muslim extremist groups who may have said or written things that would have motivated the recruiting center shooter do not have connections, even remote ones, to anyone holding elected office in this country.

    In that sense, I think we are justified being more worried about the big-picture implications of violent rhetoric from the American right-wing than from overseas jihadist groups. There are politicians who equate abortion with murder holding public office here, but none advocating we go to a Shariah legal system. (Also, we expect violent jihadist groups to use violent rhetoric. We tend to expect major political parties or advocacy groups to engage in debate through the politic process or, at worst, through civil disobedience – edit.)

    But I don’t think the level of BLAME to the Web sites/groups using violent rhetoric is actually different. And I also think it’s legitimate, if violent Islamic extremists are successful at recruiting Americans, to look at how and why and what can be done to counter it.

    (And in all of this, I think the museum shooter is a little different because Holocaust denial really is a very fringe position in this country. I think it’s plausible the museum shooting has some tie to a black man being president and the level of racist and “he’s destroying our country” rhetoric or even a black man being elected President and then publicly denouncing Holocaust denial – but I don’t see von Brunn really advancing a political agenda the way that Roeder was by murdering Dr. Tiller.)

  35. 35
    Kai Jones says:

    I think they are relevant to whether the people committing these acts believe they are acting in a way that “their” community will approve

    But the point is that their community isn’t necessarily a local (geographic) community, anymore than everyone who reads and comments on this blog lives in Portland, Oregon with me. This is a community, and if it can be considered to have a geographic location that locale would be The Internet. Certainly I worry more about what my online community thinks of my actions than about what the people who live next door to me, or across the street, or across the river (that one especially, westsiders can bite me) think.

  36. 36
    RonF says:

    PG:

    What I am trying to make clear is that such a website would be very clearly divergent from American Islam, in a way that Operation Rescue or some of the Ron Paul types are NOT clearly divergent from the American right-wing. You would not see the guys who run a website promoting violent action against U.S. soldiers showing up as speakers at CAIR, for example.

    First, it’s not at all clear to me that such a website would be clearly divergent from American Islam. On what basis can CAIR claim to represent American Islam? Islam is not structured like most Christian denominations are, with some kind of central body that sets rules and bylaws. From what I understand mosques and their clergy are pretty much independent. Just because someone promoting violent actions wouldn’t be supported by CAIR doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be supported by a significant fraction of American Moslems. Nor, I hasten to add, does it mean that they would. I’m saying that there’s insufficient data to either support or deny your claim.

    Second, Islam has a very strong concept that all Moslems are members of a world-wide community, to the point that a great many believers feel that allegiance to that community overrides allegiance to any other political or geographic entity. So I don’t see that a lack of support from Moslems in a particular area or political entity is material. When we’re talking about “should Islam be held reponsible for violent acts by their adherents” it doesn’t really matter if we’re talking about American Moslems being held reponsible or not. Support – all kinds, including monetary as well as spiritual and emotional – can be effectively conveyed across national and international boundaries.

    Finally – I have to say that I’m not all that familar with the work of Operation Rescue or Ron Paul, especially with regards to any encouragment or support they have provided to people proposing or committing violent acts. But I would say that to propose that any such work is not, in fact, divergent from American right-wing thoughts and philosophies demonstrates an inaccurate viewpoint of what constitutes conservative thought in America. If you wouldn’t expect to hear someone espousing killing American soldiers at a CAIR meeting, you wouldn’t expect to hear someone espousing killing abortion providers at a Republican party caucus either.

  37. 37
    chingona says:

    If you wouldn’t expect to hear someone espousing killing American soldiers at a CAIR meeting, you wouldn’t expect to hear someone espousing killing abortion providers at a Republican party caucus either.

    When Sarah Palin (vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party) was asked during the campaign if she would consider bombing an abortion clinic terrorism, she would not call it terrorism. She said it would be wrong, but she would not call it terrorism.

    No, it’s not calling for murder or violence. No, it’s not condoning. But it is excusing it and downplaying it.

  38. 38
    Manju says:

    The groups that could be seen as complicit in Dr. Tiller’s murder have connections to key Republican constituencies and the Republican Party itself…In contrast, Muslim extremist groups who may have said or written things that would have motivated the recruiting center shooter do not have connections, even remote ones, to anyone holding elected office in this country.

    Well CAIR has connections, more than remote, to Islamic terrorism. A founding board member was convicted of terrorism charges, another high ranking official had ties to front groups funding terror and agreed to be deported after being found guilty of wire fruad. there’s more. CAIT, in turn, has connections with many prominent democrats (and repubs too).

  39. 39
    PG says:

    Manju,

    Has the GOP or any other conservative organization that promotes the idea that abortion constitutes murder ever issued a petition stating that it is unacceptable to kill abortion providers?

    In 2004 CAIR launched a “Not In the Name of Islam” petition, which stated,

    We, the undersigned Muslims, wish to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror, murder and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives, but are also betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent. No injustice done to Muslims can ever justify the massacre of innocent people, and no act of terror will ever serve the cause of Islam. We repudiate and dissociate ourselves from any Muslim group or individual who commits such brutal and un-Islamic acts. We refuse to allow our faith to be held hostage by the criminal actions of a tiny minority acting outside the teachings of both the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
    As it states in the Quran: ‘Oh you who believe, stand up firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even if it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor; for God can best protect both. Do not follow any passion, lest you not be just. And if you distort or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do.’ (Quran 4:135)

    The petition was posted on CAIR’s homepage and garned over 691,591 signatures in two years.

    Also, could you provide the name of the “founding official” and “high ranking official”? It’s difficult to know of whom you are speaking and to be able to do independent research when you’re so vague. If the names aren’t coming to mind immediately, try checking CAIR’s Urban Legends page.

  40. 40
    Manju says:

    Has the GOP or any other conservative organization that promotes the idea that abortion constitutes murder ever issued a petition stating that it is unacceptable to kill abortion providers?

    even operation rescue issued a statement saying this is unacceptable. but this doesn’t trigger your petition criteria, which i assume is the technicality that makes all the difference.

    Also, could you provide the name of the “founding official” and “high ranking official”?

    Ghassan Elashi, Bassem Khafagi

  41. 41
    Ampersand says:

    anymore than everyone who reads and comments on this blog lives in Portland, Oregon with me…

    Forgive the offtopic question, but Kai, do I know you in real life? (Just wondering because I have a terrible memory and live in Portland.)

  42. 42
    Auguste says:

    Certainly I worry more about what my online community thinks of my actions than about what the people who live next door to me, or across the street, or across the river (that one especially, westsiders can bite me) think.

    Ahhhh, yer mama.

  43. 43
    PG says:

    Manju,

    CAIR and every other American Muslim organization I know has issued scads of press releases over the last two decades saying that terrorism is wrong and incompatible with the teachings of Islam. The consistent response from the right has been skeptical, saying that those statements are merely PR and not representative of what American Muslims really think. So they put up a petition. The only petition associated with the pro-life movement of which I know was Paul Hill’s statement that because abortionists are murderers, it is morally right to kill them in defense of the unborn. That petition got dozens of signatures, including that of a Catholic priest.

    Just a few months before Hill murdered an abortion provider, he attended a national pro-life conference at which the question of whether killing abortionists was justifiable homicide was a panel topic and major issue of debate. Several pro-life leaders admitted that Hill had plenty of supporters, and Flip Benham even said that he felt himself to be in the minority in arguing against Hill’s statements about justifiable homicide. I really wonder if Operation Rescue could garner that many signatures from its members affirming that killing an abortionist is NOT justifiable homicide. Certainly OR’s own position seems to be more about how murdering abortionists is wrong because it breaks the law and makes the pro-life movement look bad.

    Do you have any information to counter CAIR’s statements on those individuals?

    FACT: GHASSAN ELASHI WAS NEVER AN EMPLOYEE OR OFFICER OF CAIR

    CAIR has hundreds of board members and employees and some 50,000 members. It would be illogical and unfair to hold CAIR responsible for the personal activities of all these people.

    The fact that Elashi was once associated with one of our more than thirty regional chapters has no legal significance to our corporation given the fact that any actions taken by him were outside the scope and chronology of his association with one of our chapters.

    FACT: DR. BASSEM El-KHAFAGI WAS NEVER AN EMPLOYEE OF CAIR AND WAS NEVER CONVICTED ON TERRORIM CHARGES.

    El-Khafagi was an independent contractor for CAIR, effective November 2, 2001. According to the Associated Press (AP) article announcing his plea, federal officials stated that he was charged with writing bad checks in February and June of 2001, before any relationship with CAIR had commenced and without any knowledge on CAIR’s part of any wrongdoing on his part. According to federal officials, on September 10, 2003, EI-Khafagi pleaded guilty to charges of bank and visa fraud.

    Bank and visa fraud are criminal offenses and not crimes of terrorism. Surely if there had been strong evidence of terrorist activities, the Justice Department would have vigorously pursued those avenues and not allowed him to plead guilty to non-terrorism related charges.

  44. 44
    RonF says:

    chigona:

    No, it’s not calling for murder or violence. No, it’s not condoning. But it is excusing it and downplaying it.

    I disagree. To say that a given violent act does not meet the definition of terrorism is not in any way excusing or downplaying the act.

    PG:

    The fact that Elashi was once associated with one of our more than thirty regional chapters

    Not that you are responsible for coming up with the information, but I wonder what the nature of that association was? After all, it’s reasonable to consider that CAIR might downplay it if it was to their advantage to do so. And they were pretty specific with the nature of their association with the other person referenced here.

    Bank and visa fraud are criminal offenses and not crimes of terrorism.

    In and of themselves, no. But they are often associated with crimes of terrorism in order to fund their activities and get people into the country where the terrorist act is to be committed. So you can’t dismiss the possibility of a link out of hand.

    Surely if there had been strong evidence of terrorist activities, the Justice Department would have vigorously pursued those avenues and not allowed him to plead guilty to non-terrorism related charges.

    Again, these are not your words and I do not hold you responsible for them directly. But it could be that they screwed up and obtained evidence in such a fashion that it was not admissible. Faith in the proper workings of the Justice Department has not previously been a hallmark of this blog.

  45. 45
    PG says:

    To say that a given violent act does not meet the definition of terrorism is not in any way excusing or downplaying the act.

    It does downplay the extent to which the act is motivated by politics, or to be more precise and use the statutory language, is done “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” By saying that killing abortionists is not domestic terrorism, Palin was denying that such murders are done to intimidate or coerce civilians who provide abortions. Palin wants to put such killings in the category of “Well he musta just been crazy,” rather than acknowledge that the stated intent of such killers is the same as the pro-life movement’s: to stop doctors from providing abortions — and the killers are succeeding in this intimidation and coercion, not only by taking down one abortion provider at a time but by terrorizing new doctors away from becoming abortionists.

    As for your stream of fact-less responses to CAIR, I’m really not sure what you expect me to say. Sure, everything you say could be true, and then again it may not be, which is why I asked if Manju had information — which is not quite the same as speculation — to counter CAIR.

  46. 46
    chingona says:

    RonF,

    Under what definition of terrorism is bombing an abortion clinic not terrorism? I think of terrorism as violence designed to achieve a political goal by instilling fear in your opponent. Do you have a different definition of terrorism?

    This isn’t some abstract fucking point. And yes, I’m really angry right now because a man who saved women’s lives was murdered in his fucking church last week. This is about specifics. Under what definition of terrorism is bombing an abortion clinic not terrorism?

  47. 47
    chingona says:

    About CAIR … I wouldn’t fall out of my chair in surprise if someone associated with CAIR was funneling money to a group like Hamas or a charity with close ties to Hamas, anymore than I would fall out of my chair if you told me some Irish American politician attended an IRA fundraiser in Boston in the 1970s or 1980s (or that Sen. Chuck Schumer attended a “pro-Israel” rally whose sponsors included groups whose members are on the DOJ terrorism watch list).

    If that’s the case, then I would not condone or downplay that. But it would not actually be all that relevant to the point under discussion here.

    CAIR as an organization is not advocating for Shariah law in the United States, nor is it advocating that American Muslims stop the war in Iraq using whatever means possible or similarly suggestive rhetoric like that. Yes, CAIR lobbies on the issues that matter to its members, and it cultivates relationships with elected officials. But to suggest its political clout is somehow comparable to the far-right, particularly the Christian religious far right, in this country is ludicrous.

    Do you think that a CAIR representative could get away with saying he doesn’t think attacking an Army recruiting center (or a JCC or whatever) is terrorism and have RonF – who, as much as he pisses me off, doesn’t seem to be a nutjob at all – saying “to say that a given violent act does not meet the definition of terrorism is not in any way excusing or downplaying the act”?

  48. 48
    Kai Jones says:

    Kai, do I know you in real life

    Amp, I don’t think so. Not yet anyway. I mean, we could compare histories and try to figure it out–I’ve lived here most of my life.

  49. 49
    PG says:

    Paul Krugman‘s noticed the same thing I have — that there was no violence against abortion providers during the Bush Admin (although there was property destruction and a hoax anthrax letter), and that the same forces who hyped outrage toward Clinton are back in gear now for Obama. I hope that the Administration has put significant security around federal government buildings — what with the tea parties, Glenn Beck’s bizarre claims about FEMA and other hysteria about OMG THE TYRANNY, I fear that we’re due for another OK City type bombing.

  50. 50
    RonF says:

    Well, my initial reaction to the news from Conway wasn’t that it was terrorism, either. I figured it was a single crazed individual. But the point to me is not whether or not you or I think that either of these acts were terrorism. The point is whether the fact that Gov. Palin did not consider bombing an abortion clinic to be terrorism means that she downplays the wrongness of the action and whether that in turn means that conservative groups can be more closely tied to such actions than Islam can be tied to acts such as the recent killings in Conway, AR. I don’t think so.

    When I think of a terroristic act, I think of something like blowing up a bus full of civilians in Baghdad. The bus in and of itself was not taking those civilians anywhere to accomplish any particular aim that the people looking to blow it up wanted to stop. The civilians on board were not a bunch of soldiers, nor were they workers at some military or government installation whose deaths would stop some effort or action from taking place. It’s reasonable to presume that the motive was to spread terror among the population and drive them towards submitting to the terrorists’ authority.

    OTOH, killing an abortion doctor or blowing up an abortion clinic is specifically targeted to stop an activity that the criminals that did it oppose; it stopped abortions from being performed by that doctor and at that clinic. It may well have the effect of motivating others to not perform abortions, but that doesn’t seem to be the motive.

    So then I ask, to what extent does the definition of a terroristic act involve either the primary motive or the primary effect of the act? If people are blowing up buses and setting off bombs in market places this creates a general atmosphere of fear; there’s no rhyme or reason as to whether or not I will be the next target, and there’s no escape from the possibility of being a target regardless of what I do. OTOH, if a bunch of insurgents attack a Coalition military installation and some civilians are cut down in the crossfire, is that a terroristic act? Or even if no civilians are affected? If I don’t join the military or live next to the installation I have little to worry about from such action.

  51. 51
    RonF says:

    Let’s hunt around a bit for definitions of terrorism.

    From Wiki (and I take them as a starting point, not as an unassailable authority):

    Terrorism is a policy or ideology of violence[1] intended to intimidate or cause terror[2] for the purpose of “exerting pressure on decision making by state bodies.”

    Terrorism is more commonly understood as an act which is intended to create fear (terror), is perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a materialistic goal or a lone attack), and deliberately targets (or disregards the safety of) non-combatants.

    In November 2004, a United Nations Security Council report described terrorism as any act “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act”

    The targeted killing of a specific abortion provider would seem to fail these definitions. If the abortion clinic was empty at the time that it was bombed, it also would seem to fail these definitions. OTOH, if a bus was blown up in the middle of the Loop in Chicago and an announcement came out that “The bombings will stop when abortions do”, that would be an act of terrorism.

  52. 52
    chingona says:

    It may well have the effect of motivating others to not perform abortions, but that doesn’t seem to be the motive.

    What’s the basis for this statement, given that the killer has said from jail that more attacks are coming?

  53. 53
    Sailorman says:

    chingona Writes:
    June 12th, 2009 at 9:44 am
    This is about specifics. Under what definition of terrorism is bombing an abortion clinic not terrorism?

    I have hard times with definitinos of terrorism, but isn’t it a subjective issue?

    If I take a rifle into a shopping mall and kill 10 people because I am depressed or crazy it isn’t terrorism.
    If I take a rifle into that same shopping mall and kill those same 10 people because I think that they stole my company and killed my dog, it also isn’t terrorism.
    But if I take that same rifle into that same shopping mall and kill those same 10 people because I am trying to scare Americans away from shopping malls, it is terrorism. (or at least attempted terrorism. Is there an element of whether or not it actually terrorizes anyone other than the direct victims?)

    Right?

    So if Tiller’s murderer was trying primarily to stop Tiller, and/or if the bombing of the clinic was trying primarily to stop that clinic from operating, it’s not terrorism.

  54. 54
    chingona says:

    See, this is the thing. You don’t see the doctor as innocent. Neither did Roeder. Von Brunn didn’t see the people visiting or working at the Holocaust Museum as innocent. Al Qaeda doesn’t see the people working in the World Trade Center as innocent. Because this is a democracy and we elect our leaders, any resident of the United States is fair game. You can play this game to infinity. What I don’t understand is why you want to.

  55. 55
    chingona says:

    Sailorman and Ron,

    You’re telling me you seriously believe that the difficulty finding an abortion provider in most parts of the country has absolutely nothing to do with the shootings and harassment? Completely unrelated phenomenon? Nothing to do with the lists that were maintained, with the names crossed out when another one was killed? Each one is just an isolated incident, targeted only at that provider?

  56. 56
    RonF says:

    Von Brunn didn’t see the people visiting or working at the Holocaust Museum as innocent.

    I haven’t seen any quotes from him in any of the news stories that cite his feelings regarding the people in the Holocaust Museum. Have you? Can you cite them?

    Al Qaeda doesn’t see the people working in the World Trade Center as innocent.

    I’ve done a search on that and couldn’t find anything that directly addressed any Al Qaeda spokespeople discussing the people in the World Trade Center. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, but I’d appreciate something backing up your statement. My understanding was that they struck the World Trade Center because it is a symbol of American and Western culture and that destroying it was a symbolic blow (especially since a previous attempt had failed) and would get our attention and evoke fear. I would welcome correction, however.

  57. 57
    Sailorman says:

    chingona Writes:
    June 12th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Sailorman and Ron,

    You’re telling me you seriously believe that the difficulty finding an abortion provider in most parts of the country has absolutely nothing to do with the shootings and harassment? Completely unrelated phenomenon? Nothing to do with the lists that were maintained, with the names crossed out when another one was killed? Each one is just an isolated incident, targeted only at that provider?

    Um, no, not at all. I was responding to your question “under what definition…” don’t confuse a philosophical discussion with a personal one.

  58. 58
    chingona says:

    Sailorman, you wrote:

    So if Tiller’s murderer was trying primarily to stop Tiller, and/or if the bombing of the clinic was trying primarily to stop that clinic from operating, it’s not terrorism.

    The killer has said from his own mouth that there will be more violence. Given that we’re talking about an actual case and not some abstract theoretical, why are you speculating that he was primarily trying to stop one particular clinic from operating and not also sending a larger message to other providers?

    Because of the context of abortion politics in this country and the history of violence against providers, I would suggest it is actually not possible to attack one provider without spreading fear to the rest. And given the stated political aims of the anti-abortion movement, it is not possible that they would only care about shutting down one clinic and not another.

    Your example is so counter-factual, it suggests bad faith.

    Furthermore, because of the type of abortions Dr. Tiller performed, the message sent by his murder is that if I become pregnant and develop a life-threatening complication, I should just go ahead and die. So it’s a little hard not to take it personally. Maybe I should leave you and Ron to have a rational, philosophical discussion.

  59. 59
    RonF says:

    You’re telling me you seriously believe that the difficulty finding an abortion provider in most parts of the country has absolutely nothing to do with the shootings and harassment?

    No, I’m not. But that’s not what calling those actions terrorism hinges on.

  60. 60
    RonF says:

    And yes, I’m really angry right now because a man who saved women’s lives was murdered in his fucking church last week.

    This has me curious. I’m not specifically aware of what Dr. Tiller’s work was, except that he apparently was one of the few doctors who would perform late-term abortions. Is your comment that he saved women’s lives based on specific knowledge of any of the cases he was involved in, or is it a supposition?

  61. 61
    chingona says:

    No, I’m not. But that’s not what calling those actions terrorism hinges on.

    Let’s back up.

    You wrote:

    It may well have the effect of motivating others to not perform abortions, but that doesn’t seem to be the motive.

    I believe it is self-evident that the motive is cause others not to perform abortions. You seem to agree with me that the attacks have the effect of causing others not to perform abortions. We have the words of the attackers saying they will keep attacking until everyone stops performing abortion. But you think that “doesn’t seem to be the motive.” Why do you think that isn’t the motive? Why do A and B not equal C here?

    Let’s go to your definition of terrorism:

    Terrorism is more commonly understood as an act which is intended to create fear (terror), is perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a materialistic goal or a lone attack), and deliberately targets (or disregards the safety of) non-combatants.

    I think (hope?) we can agree that we have 1) fear and 2) an ideological goal. I’m left to presume you don’t think Tiller is a non-combatant. You think a man who performed a legal medical procedure that was necessary to save people’s lives is a “combatant.” And I presume the governor of Alaska does as well. Because that’s the only way to get to this not being terrorism.

    People who are part of mainstream political discourse think doctors who perform legal medical procedures are “combatants.” I feel much less terrorized now. Thanks.

  62. 62
    chingona says:

    This has me curious. I’m not specifically aware of what Dr. Tiller’s work was, except that he apparently was one of the few doctors who would perform late-term abortions. Is your comment that he saved women’s lives based on specific knowledge of any of the cases he was involved in, or is it a supposition?

    I am astounded that you have not bothered to learn this and yet you would advocate for these abortions to be illegal. I have some work I need to finish. I’ll provide some links later, but yes, he saved lives.

  63. 63
    chingona says:

    Sorry it took a bit to get these. Real life kept me off-line most of the weekend, and because I have read so many of these stories, it took a while to track them down, remember where I had seen each one, etc. In my search, I found many, many stories of abortions that saved either a woman’s life or her health (health being, forestalling major organ failure and even brain damage) that were not done by Dr. Tiller, so I feel pretty secure saying he saved more lives than just these that I have linked. But that would be supposition.

    I would also note that any time a fetus has already died or is at high risk of dying prior to delivery, an abortion may well save the woman’s life. When a fetus dies, a woman’s body may go into labor on its own, or it may not. If it doesn’t, the risk of sepsis is high, and even with modern antibiotics, that’s a very risky state of affairs. And yes, it’s still an abortion even if the fetus is dead. What’s “terminated” is the pregnancy, not the fetus. But I haven’t linked those.

    We have a nine-year-old girl who had been raped by her father. I suppose we cannot be certain that carrying to term would have killed her, but I’m okay with them not waiting to find out.

    This story doesn’t name the doctor, but it refers to traveling across the country to a specialist, so it likely was Dr. Tiller.

    In comments on a Feministe post about Dr. Tiller, one woman wrote:

    Dr.Tiller saved my life when a very wanted pregnancy went wrong. He kept me alive to care my 2 beautiful children who were waiting at home to love me. Not waiting to be orphaned. Love and appreciation for all that Dr. Tiller and his staff face to stand up for what they believe in.

    And this story that I came across in my search is of him saving a woman’s life separate from his abortion practice.

  64. 64
    RonF says:

    I am astounded that you have not bothered to learn this and yet you would advocate for these abortions to be illegal.

    Actually, I’m fine with a “necessary to save the life of the mother” exception to a ban on abortion.

    Concerting your last post:

    The 2nd and 4th links are both to an old thread on this blog that doesn’t seem to have any relevance to the question at hand.

    As far as the 9-year old having been raped, not only can I go along with the surgical procedure performed on her, I could recommend a couple for her rapist ….

    Regarding the procedures listed in the Feminique blog – I can see where abortion would be acceptable based on the judgement of the mother and her physician, noting as you said the risks to the mother of bringing them to term.

  65. 65
    chingona says:

    Links are messed up, not sure why, and it’s too far gone to edit it.

    Here’s what they should have been:

    http://www.barryyeoman.com/articles/gina.html

    and

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/5/31/737320/-The-George-Tiller-I-Knew

  66. 66
    chingona says:

    And I apologize for misstating your position on late abortion. I had interpreted the link you posted the other week (the one that summed up what you wanted to say about the murder) as pretty unsympathetic to Dr. Tiller. I interpreted your positioning of him as a “combatant” on this thread the same way. I had assumed you based your position on some notion that he should not have done the work that he did.

  67. 67
    RonF says:

    I seek to understand the work he did. And when his work is justified on having saved women’s lives, I wanted to understand whether or not that was factual or hyperbole – Lord knows there’s plenty of hyperbole on both sides of the debate.

    Also, please understand that I do not seek this information so as to judge whether or not he should have been killed. The man was murdered, and his murderer should be subject to the full extent of the law.

  68. 68
    chingona says:

    RonF,

    This Slate piece provides a pretty neutral description of the types of abortion procedures Tiller did.

    It used to spell out the parameters of his practice quite clearly on his clinic’s Web site, but the site is down, and my Google searches are getting bogged down in a lot of stuff from the anti-abortion side about what a monster he is, so I’m going from memory here. Tiller performed elective abortions up to the legal limit in Kansas, and he performed medically indicated abortions after that (I believe the limits were 24 and 36 weeks, respectively, but I could be off – might be 22 and 34). Medically indicated meant threat to the life or health of the mother or serious fetal anomalies. Every medically indicated abortion had to be signed off on by another doctor. I couldn’t find a break down of which abortions fell into which category.

    Chances are that he performed abortions that you would not approve of. Chances are he performed abortions I would not approve of. Reading about him, it seems he felt pretty strongly that women were the best ones to decide the right course of action for themselves. But I did come across cases where he turned women away, in one case a woman with a healthy triplet pregnancy whose husband wanted her to have an abortion because he felt overwhelmed at the idea of three newborns at once.

    Everything I have read indicates that even doctors who had the training and facilities to provide those late abortions preferred to refer their patients to Tiller because he was the best – meaning his patients had very few complications, were likely to preserve their fertility so they could try to have another baby, and were likely to get an intact fetus they could hold and photograph and mourn. He also offered funeral services, and many doctors apparently felt he was better positioned to handle the emotional needs of his patients than someone in a less specialized practice. He also maintained a list of families willing and ready to adopt a child with very serious needs if a patient felt she preferred not to have an abortion and was willing to give up her baby for adoption.

    So … that’s what he did.

  69. 69
    Elusis says:

    Reading the last comment, I feel profoundly sad in a way I haven’t thus far since his murder.

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