Do you remember the New York Times article about Scott Roeder's preliminary hearing? If you did, you were probably left with the impression that the anti-abortion movement is staying away. But Amie Newman at Feministe heard otherwise.
New York Times scribe Monica Davey had this to say about how many anti-abortion Roeder supporters were in evidence at Tuesday's hearing.
But only a small cluster of observers sat in the courtroom on Tuesday, and at least seven were uniformed law enforcement authorities in the tightly screened gallery. Dr. Tiller's family was not seen there, nor were the best-known leaders of Operation Rescue and other anti-abortion groups here, which have denounced the killing.
Upon reading that, I had the impression that the law enforcement presence — and Tiller's absent family — were part of an overabundance of necessary caution, but that the crazies and the antis were avoiding.
I attended Roeder's hearing yesterday, and while Operation Rescue was not officially in attendance, I can say people who support [Operation Rescue] were. They talked casually about Troy (Newman, pres of OR) and Mark (Gietzen, Kansas Coalition for Life). And just as casually about knowing "Scott" for several years and reading "Paul's" book (first names, no last). I was sitting amongst the groupies! One even shouted out for a wave from Roeder. At least one traveled from out of town, and they all seemed to have known each other for years. It was mortifying, to say the least.
Fugit, by the way, is a local political blogger in Wichita (and one of the ones followed by the Wichita Eagle as one of their favorite area Twitter users).
So, Roeder has a fan base, and they're at his trial to support his murder of George Tiller, which is probably the biggest reason for the overt police presence and the obvious familial absence. But any trial lawyer will tell you: for the sake of a prosecution, you want the jury to be able to see the victim's grieving family in the gallery. How safe are Tiller's relatives going to feel knowing the audience is full of people that feel the murder of their father is justified, and who are glorifying the actions of his murderer?
Earlier: The Devil, The Details