Thursday, June 4, 2009

More Details Emerge on the Murder of Dr. Tiller

Scott Roeder, the man who is charged with gunning down Dr. George Tiller as he attended a church service on Sunday, has had a pattern of vandalizing abortion clinics and even had FBI complaints filed against him.

In a piece written yesterday, Amy Goodman explains:

George Tiller did not have to die. He was assassinated while in church in Wichita, Kan., on Sunday, targeted for legally performing abortions. His death might have been prevented simply through enforcement of existing laws. His alleged killer was seen vandalizing a Kansas City clinic, Aid for Women, both the week before and the day before the murder, putting glue into its door locks. The manager of that clinic, who calls himself “Jeff Pederson” to protect his identity, told me he called the FBI and local police both times, but the vandal, the alleged killer Scott Roeder, was not arrested. Pederson had Roeder’s first name and his license-plate number. He had images of him on the security video. He recognized him from previous protests.


Roeder was picked up shortly after the shooting Sunday in his Ford Taurus. On Tuesday, he was charged with first-degree murder.

I asked Pederson if he thought Tiller’s murder could have been prevented if the authorities had simply arrested Roeder after he vandalized the Kansas City clinic. Pederson paused. “I don’t know,” he said.

But Dr. Susan Robinson was adamant. She flies to Wichita every month to perform abortions in Tiller’s clinic. She said, “It is generally regarded amongst those who do clinic security, if local authorities are not responsive, if they don’t show up or they don’t vigilantly enforce the law, that it encourages the anti-abortion people to push it further and further.”

She said: “In Wichita, Dr. Tiller was constantly dealing with the same lack of enforcement. Wichita prohibits placing signs on city property. But they allow the anti-abortion protesters to set up dozens of crosses and leave them all day. Dr. Tiller went to the city attorney over the crosses, and complained that people block the clinic driveway. He told me that the city attorney said, ‘I would rather be sued by George Tiller than the anti-abortion folks.’ ”

Interesting since damaging the property of facilities that provided reproductive health services is a federal crime. Rachel Maddow expands on this and also exposes an interesting connection between Roeder and the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue last night on her program:


trey said...

Chris, how bout examining the recent political assasinations of the Little Rock Army recruiters? Or would that be too balanced?

Chris Johnson said...


The incident that you reference is quite sad and seems to have been committed by a man who ran into some trouble in Yemen and may have had some connections to radical Islam while imprisoned in that country. This act of terrorism, like Scott Roeder's, should be condemned. I am not sure what "balance" you refer to in your comment. There are many issues and stories that I would like to get to and comment on but am simply unable to get to due to time constraints.

trey said...

Chris, I think you're being coy. We had an amazingly conincidental (and I do believe it is mere coincidence)occurance of two highly likely political assassinations-one by a crazed rightwinger and one by a crazed leftwinger- and you only focus (to what could be argued an almost obsesive degree) on the one that makes the right look bad. Its your right to do so but it makes your analysis seem odd.

trey said...

Chris, I think I may be unusually naive and don't connect the dots easily but I was wondering when you say you work for a media company, do you mean one of those watchdog groups on the left that tries to counter right-wing media. That is, are you on the payroll of some kind of political organization? You seem to know a whole lot about right-wing media and you seem to be 100% on board with left politics (when I would guess most hard core political ideologues who aren't getting paid (like me) probably only are 90% on board). It doesn't really matter (everybody has to make a living someway) but it is useful for your fellow debaters to know how free you are to leave the reservation. E-mail me at if you don't want to say here.

Chris Johnson said...


No, I do not work for nor do I receive money from any political organization. My comments on this blog, my interviews, and my observations of various issues are my own and are separate from the work that I do for my employer. Should I write anything in which there would be any type of conflict, I would make a note to that fact in order to provide full disclosure.

Your analysis that I seem to be "100% on board with left politics" and your belief that "most people who aren't getting paid" are "probably only 90% on board", seem to be random percentages that you have just ascribed to this situation and are no indication of my being on a political payroll, or in this case, lack thereof.

trey said...

Good to hear. I'll take your word on it. But I do think statements like "there are many issues ...that I would like to comment on ...but (have) time constraints" defense about why you focused intently on a right-wing political murder and completely ignored a left-wing political murder (that happenened at almost the exact same time) sound too much like the cant you hear from political PR spokesman.