Considering they belong to a movement whose leaders have spent years hurling epithets at pro-choicers and according respect to those who advocate and excuse murder, it's funny how whiny anti-abortion activists sound in the wake of the Tiller assassination.
As many know already, Tiller's assassin Scott Roeder, who sat down briefly with the Associated Press last week to whine about how it sucks being in jail. Not willing to stay silent, Roeder called the Associated Press back to threaten more abortion providers and whine about his cough. First up, the threats:
"I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal," Roeder said. When asked by the AP what he meant and if he was referring to another shooting, he refused to elaborate further.
Anti-abortion movement leaders deny it, but the Justice Department isn't exactly listening to them anymore.
Roeder spoke a lot longer about how bad it sucks to be sitting in jail after having assassinated a doctor operating within the bounds of the law.
Roeder said it was freezing in his cell. "I started having a bad cough. I thought I was going to have pneumonia," he said.
He said he called AP because he wanted to emphasize the conditions in the jail so that in the future suspects would not have to endure the same conditions.
Roeder also said he wanted the public to know he has been denied phone privileges for the past two days, and needed his sleep apnea machine.
Yeah? Suck it.
The leaders of the anti-abortion movement aren't much better, as they publicly whine to today's New York Times about not having anyone to demonize in Kansas anymore and how much damage has been done to their reputations by a person who took the demonization "too" seriously.
Although Operation Rescue worked for years to close down Dr. Tiller's clinic, his death was never the outcome Mr. Newman wished for, he said. Of the man charged with killing Dr. Tiller, he tearfully said, "This idiot did more to damage the pro-life movement than you can imagine."
And there's this guy, who's so disappointed with dissension in his movement.
"There's so much disagreement," said Mark S. Gietzen, president of the Kansas Coalition for Life. Mr. Gietzen spent his time last week juggling calls from volunteers who wondered what would come of their regular shifts outside Dr. Tiller's clinic, where they planted rows of crosses each day and tried to talk to women going in.
"If you went to a meeting, sometimes you would think the enemy was other pro-life people, not abortion," he said.
Aww...people are fighting!
Off the record, they're all worried that Tiller's assassination will shock the pro-choice movement out of a sense of complacency.
Still, even some anti-abortion advocates wondered whether donations and interest levels might drop without the tangible presence of Dr. Tiller and his patients. There was backlash to face, too, they said. Some callers have been blaming the groups for the killing, a notion their leaders said was inevitable but absurd.
Yeah, how absurd that demonizing someone for the better part of two decades might lead to violence!
But back to the teary-eyed Mr. Newman.
Dr. Tiller's clinic was the one - the big one - Mr. Newman had always hoped to close. Still, he said, if it closed now it would be no victory for Operation Rescue.
"Good God, do not close this abortion clinic for this reason," he said. "Every kook in the world will get some notion."
Mr. Newman and other anti-abortion leaders here say the timing could not have been worse.
Yeah, for George Tiller, his patients and his family. What a bunch of self-absorbed, empathy-less pricks.
The thing is, stories like these stand in stark contrast to coverage of George Tiller's memorial service this past weekend, which focused on his life outside of his work. No one there was wallowing in self-pity.
Tiller's youngest daughter, Krista, said her father loved "exercise, reading, art, James Bond films, coffee, Elvis and Johnny Cash."
His daughter Rebecca recalled that her father once bought her a poster of "Star Trek" quotes. "If you read these every day," he told her, "you will be successful in life." Among the "Star Trexioms," she said, were: "Enemies are often invisible. Like Klingons, they can be cloaked."
Fellow abortion provider Warren Hern was there as well to pay his respects and serve as a pall-bearer.
Warren Hern, 70, one of the few other physicians in the country who provide late-term abortions, served as a pallbearer. He is under the protection of U.S. marshals. At the Denver airport Friday, he said he was shaken by Tiller's death, but when asked whether he would consider retiring, his response was terse: "Never."
One of his oldest friends spoke of Tiller's character.
The only allusion to the political climate came from Larry Borcherding, Tiller's friend of 50 years and fraternity brother from the University of Kansas. "George's constant challenges over these last decades have been exemplary of his brave, courageous, passionate and dedicated attitude . . . which the common man can't even comprehend," he said.
At the end, Tiller's wife rose and sang "The Lord's Prayer." The people who had the most reason, and the most right to bemoan the hand they were dealt, to cry to the heavens and ask why, were the people who chose to actually celebrate a life. Interesting, that.
Suspect In Abortion Doctor Warns Of More Violence [Associated Press]
Closed Clinic Leaves Abortion Protesters At A Loss [NY Times]
Hundreds Attend Memorial Service For Slain Abortion Doctor George Tiller [LA Times]
Kansas Doctor Remembered as Devoted to Family And Women [NY Times]