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Posted by on May 31, 2009 in Society | 28 comments

Varying Responses to Dr. Tiller’s Murder

Some so-called pro-life bloggers are responding to Dr. George Tiller’s murder today in a manner that makes me question how much they really do value human life.

LaShawn Barber is a good example. In a post titled “Child Killer George Tiller Killed,” she writes:

Tiller made the case for infanticide by showing graphic photos of unborn babies with abnormalities. He admits on tape to having aborted babies a day before the mother’s due date. One murdered baby in Tiller’s photo collage was a child with three arms. I asked, “Why didn’t the mother carry the baby to term and consider corrective surgery after he was born? A baby with an extra arm isn’t worthy of life?”

Today, Dr. Infanticide was shot and killed while walking into a church. Is “ironic” the right word to describe it?

Who killed Tiller the child killer, cultivator of death?

MacRanger’s response is along the same lines. He titles his post “RIH: Baby Murderer George Tiller Shot Dead,” and explains at the bottom of the post that “RIH” means “Rot in hell.”

In fairness, however, I have to say that bloggers as hateful as these two are in the minority.

Charles Johnson has a one sentence post, straightforwardly reporting the news of the murder, with a quote from the news source but no commentary. Later, after a suspect was taken into custody, Johnson posted a photograph and a video of the arrest. In an update, Johnson condemned Randall Terry’s response to the murder, in no uncertain terms:

UPDATE at 5/31/09 1:10:28 pm:

A disgusting statement from Operation Rescue’s Randall Terry: George Tiller was a Mass-Murderer, says Randall Terry — We Grieve That he Did Not Have Time to Properly Prepare his Soul to Face God.

Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue states, “George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller’s killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.

“Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches.”

Jillian Bandes has a brief, respectful, neutral tone piece at Although there is no commentary per se, Bandes notably included the information that a candlelight vigil to support and honor Dr. Tiller’s life and work and to stand up against violence is being held in downtown Wichita tonight. Although I am not familiar with Bandes specifically, is Hugh Hewitt’s site, and very conservative, so I think this is an especially striking, and commendable, inclusion.

Don Surber writes, “The murder of Dr. George Tiller is pretty shocking and definitely the opposite of pro-life.”

Finally, there is this from AJ Strata:

Despite the denial on the right and the ranting of leftward nuts [like] Andrew Sullivan who raging about all Christians, there is a rational ‘center’ to this horrific news, best illustrated by a commenter at Gateway Pundit:

Despite peoples’ wishes, I think we’re going to find out that Tiller’s murderer was indeed associated, albeit on the fringes, with some sort of pro-life organization.

That association will indeed be used to tar the entirety of the pro-life movement, in precisely the same way that the entirety of Islam wasn’t after 9/11, or the Left in general wasn’t after a Weather Underground bombing.

Actually, the rightwing and many in this country DID tarnish all of Islam (can we forget [Ann] Coulter’s dismal ‘towel head’ comment at CPAC?), and the rightwing has been nailing every liberal with the heinous crimes of Bill Ayers (who should have been locked up since he is no better than the man who just killed Tiller).

This is how emotions get out of control. This is how zealots (left and right) are created. As long as it is ‘us’ verses those ‘traitors in America’ on the left or right (traitors are all the fringes ever see outside their echo chambers) we will see American-on-American violence like this.

Chill the hyperventilating, respect each other. Learn to disagree like adults.

Well said. I’ll just add that it’s not necessary to agree on every point, even in the context of this particular event, in order to give credit where credit is due. AJ Strata includes certain characterizations in his post — as do a few of the other conservative bloggers I’ve quoted — that I don’t agree with, or even find objectionable. But this does not take away from the fact that, overall, his reaction to Tiller’s murder is consistent with his own stated pro-life beliefs. That is not at all the same as the pro forma disclaimer followed by vile hatred — or vile hatred followed by pro forma disclaimer — that we see from, for example, LaShawn Barber and MacRanger.

I hope that most of us can grasp this distinction.