Monday, June 22, 2009

LTG 06/10/09 - There are terrorists, and there are terrorists

From the 06/10/09 issue of the Omaha CityWeekly (


Law Talking Guy
Terrorism in the Heartland
By: Patrick Runge
Issue: June 10, 2009

So, when is a terrorist not really a terrorist?

On May 31, 2009, Dr. George Tiller was murdered as he was handing out brochures at his church in Wichita, Kansas, as his wife was singing in the choir. Tiller was famous for being one of the few physicians in the country who would perform late-term abortions.

The suspect in custody for Tiller’s murder, Scott Roeder, is a long-time anti-abortion activist with a history of criminal behavior. If Roeder did in fact kill Tiller, and did it because Tiller was an abortion provider, then Roeder’s murder was to advance a particular political view through the use of violence. That, gentle readers, is the textbook definition of terrorism. And Tiller’s killing isn’t so much a murder as it is an assassination.

If Roeder did kill Tiller, it certainly wouldn’t be the first incident of anti-abortion violence. According to the National Abortion Federation, there have been 6,143 incidents of violence against abortion providers in the United States and Canada since 1977. Of that number, there were eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 41 bombings and 175 arsons. Plus, Roeder has told the Associated Press that he knows of more people in the anti-abortion movement planning more violence in the near future.

Think about those numbers for a moment. Taken as a whole, it’s staggering. But what do you think the country’s response would be if those numbers were committed by al Qaeda in America rather than by anti-abortionists?

You know what would happen. We saw what happened in the wake of 9/11, with the passage of the PATRIOT act, the militarization of law enforcement, warrantless wiretapping, and indefinite detention of “suspected terrorists.”

We were told after 9/11 that we couldn’t possibly have a “law enforcement” reaction to terrorism. We were told that in a post-9/11 world, we had to surrender certain liberties and give the government certain powers to keep us safe. Trust us, we were told by those in power, as they used our fear to remain in power.

So, if that’s the proper response to terrorism, then where are the similar calls to such action in response to Tiller’s assassination? If terrorism can’t be stopped without resorting to – shall we say – extra-constitutional methods, then why haven’t we employed such methods to stop anti-abortion violence?

As soon as you stop and think about how that would work – employing Special Forces to “rendition” American citizens and black-op agents to kick down doors of American houses – you realize exactly why we don’t do that. Even the hardest of the security conservatives would realize that it would be completely unacceptable to allow American citizens to be swept off the streets and detained indefinitely on suspicion of being involved in terrorism.

But isn’t it interesting that we’re willing to accept exactly those kinds of police-state procedures for one kind of terrorist, but not at all willing to accept them for another? Why?

It certainly isn’t because we haven’t used law enforcement tactics before. After the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, law enforcement was able to locate and arrest everyone involved, locking them away in Federal prison and keeping us safe. When Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Building in 1995, killing 168 people, law enforcement was able to locate and arrest him, locking him up before a death sentence was imposed in 2001.

And, of course, Roeder was arrested hours after Tiller’s assassination. By law enforcement. No black-ops, warrantless wiretaps, or any other nonsense was needed, just solid and smart police work.

Please, don’t understand me to be saying that all anti-abortionists are terrorists. Far from it. As I discussed in a previous column, I struggle with the ethical and moral issues surrounding abortion. Like President Obama told the graduating class at Notre Dame, there are reasonable people on both sides of the debate and we must all work to find what common ground we can on the issue.

Unfortunately, Roeder is right. We are likely to see more violence – more terrorism – targeted towards abortion providers. And we will continue to see law enforcement respond to prevent the violence they can, and prosecute the violence they cannot prevent.

Why, then, do we continue to tolerate a disregard of our basic liberties when it comes to the “War on Terror”? See, this is what happens when you attempt to declare war on a concept. If the war goes beyond metaphor, then the lines get blurred. People get scared, rules get changed, and we move step by step towards a totalitarian state and away from the very freedoms we claim to be fighting for.

We must always, I believe, remember what Benjamin Franklin told us, that “those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Patrick Runge has practiced law in the Omaha area since earning his degree from Creighton University in 1994. He has also written for the Omaha Pulp, Millard Avenues and UNO’s Gateway. E-mail him at


Anonymous said...

"If Roeder did kill Tiller, it certainly wouldn’t be the first incident of anti-abortion violence. According to the National Abortion Federation, there have been 6,143 incidents of violence against abortion providers in the United States and Canada since 1977. Of that number, there were eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 41 bombings and 175 arsons. Plus, Roeder has told the Associated Press that he knows of more people in the anti-abortion movement planning more violence in the near future."

Flip that around on the pro-choicers:

Human Life International has documented more than 8,519 acts of violence and illegal activities by pro-abortionists. These crimes include:

1,251 homicides and other killings
157 attempted homicides
28 arsons and firebombings
904 assaults
1,908 sex crimes (including 250 rapes)
106 kidnappings
420 cases of vandalism
290 drug crimes
1,616 medical crimes

Also, 520 murders and 360 fatal botched abortions by pro abortionists, including;

145 pregnant women
360 abortion clients
71 other women
110 born children
164 wanted preborn children, and
30 men (including two pro-life activists,
two abortionists, and a sheriff’s deputy)
Deadly pro-abortion violence has been reported at least since 1965 and is escalating rapidly, with an incredible 269 homicides and other killings committed in just the last six years (since 2000). 2005 was the bloodiest year, with pro-abortionists murdering 77 people, including 28 pregnant women (and their 28 wanted preborn babies), two baby boys, one little boy and five little girls, four men and two women, and seven other wanted preborn babies. The pro-abortionists almost matched this bloody slaughter in 2002, with 58 deaths, and in 2003, with 53 deaths. In fact, pro-abortionists have averaged more murders per year since 1967 (that’s 39 years in a row) than so-called “pro-lifers” have in the history of the entire conflict over abortion!

Anonymous said...

This is what I mean by pro-choicers have no business throwing stones at pro-lifers on issue of violence:

Skewed Statistics and Misrepresentations

To track pro-lifers’ “offenses,” pro-abortion groups tally acts of “violence and disruptive actions” the former allegedly perpetrate in the United States and Canada. The NAF publishes a table of the data they accumulate.[7]

At first glance the numbers are impressive, indeed. According to the chart, the total disruptions and acts of violence since 1973 is a full 156,961. However, a closer look reveals that 141,837 of these incidents are peaceful picketing of abortion mills, 13,995 are “hate mail” or “harassing” telephone calls – which certainly include many peaceful and legal actions –, 1,993 are trespassing violations and 1,400 are generically termed “vandalism.”

The section of the NAF chart on violence is even more misleading. Under this heading it lists trespassing violations, vandalism, invasion, threats and butyric acid attacks. The latter may look violent at first glance. However, butyric acid is a harmless but foul-smelling liquid. Thus, the frightful sounding “butyric acid attacks” amount to nothing more than the use of stink bombs. Admittedly this costs money to clean up, but to classify it as “violence” is simply dishonest.

Furthermore, a 1995 Life Research Institute study investigated all available claims of pro-life violence and uncovered major inconsistencies. The study is titled: Abortion-Related Violence and Alleged Violence and is readily available online.[8]

It shows that many claims made by NAF and other groups are simply not substantiated nor is any evidence provided. Readers are expected to accept many incidents without proof.

Furthermore, an investigation of the more detailed “offenses” reveals major flaws. For instance, pro-lifers are assumed as the culprits of any act committed against an abortionist or even near an abortion mill.

Other examples include:

The 1993 murder of abortion doctor Wayne Patterson is categorized misleadingly as a murder that forced the closing of two abortion facilities. The truth is that Wayne Patterson was robbed and killed by an unknown assailant while leaving a pornographic movie theater. What his killing has to do with the pro-life movement is not explained.[9]

On October 21, the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Redding California burnt down. The event and was designated a pro-life arson, despite police reports that identified an electric fan as the cause of the blaze.[10]

In June of 1990, the Minnesota director of Planned Parenthood was supposedly assaulted, although he escaped the event without a scratch. His assailant, who certainly attacked other clinic employees, was an escapee from a mental institution. It was proven in court that he had no links to any pro-life organization.[11]

Anonymous said...

Those Who Live in Glass Houses…

In addition to greatly exaggerating (and even inventing) incidents of pro-life violence, the pro-abortion movement is deathly silent about the violence from within its ranks against pro-lifers.

In fact, the vast majority of active pro-lifers have endured acts of pro-abortionist violence. A common example is abortion mill workers who try to run over pro-lifers demonstrating in front of clinics.[12] Dr. Tiller, himself, ran over a pro-lifer and rammed a policeman on a motorcycle in a 1989 incident at his Wichita clinic.[13]

Pro-life organization Human Life International (HLI) has documented cases of pro-abortion violence for years. Their research is published online at: and on a blog titled: Tree in the Sea (see: The latter has a list that is over 100 pages long and contains more than 2,000 cases.

For example:

Seven-year-old Ekaternia Engelke was kneeling in prayer at a Wisconsin abortion mill when leftist Catherine Doyle approached and screamed profanities at the little girl. When the latter replied: “You are killing babies!” the former kicked little Ekaterina in the face, injuring her. Afterwards, a hotline for Doyle’s pro-abortion group, Milwaukee Clinic Protection Coalition, instructed fellow pro-abortion activists to “brush up on their football skills.”

Despite numerous witnesses, charges were never brought against Doyle. Incidentally, her sister was Wisconsin Attorney General at the time of the attack.[14]

Worse yet, in Los Angeles, three pro-abortionists were arrested in 1989 for trying to burn down a church, packed with pro-lifers. Police also found concussion grenades underneath a speaker’s platform that was set up for a rally scheduled later in the day. There were 2,500 pro-lifers at the event.[15]

In Tennessee, Byron Looper, pro-abortion candidate for the state senate, shot his pro-life opponent Senator Tommy Burks in the face, killing him. Afterwards, he bragged about the murder to his friend Joe Bond, saying: “I did it, man, I did it! I killed that dude.”[16]

Last, activist Eileen Orstein Janezic shot pro-life talk show host Jerry Simon at his home. She proceeded to hold the police at bay for six hours, while she recited quotations from Antoin LeVey’s Satanic Bible.[17]

These four events are merely the tip of the iceberg. There are literally thousands of documented cases of pro-abortion violence.[18] In fact, these substantiated incidents greatly outweigh the alleged acts committed by pro-lifers.

Law-Talking Guy said...

Well, Anonymous (if that is your real name), I will admit those numbers are sobering. You're the first I've heard mention of these statistics, and I will be looking at the facts behind the claims you've made.

But it's sort of beside the point. Even if every statistic is accurate, does that justify violence as a response? Is there a magic number of "pro-abortion violence" that excuses or justifies "pro-life violence?"

Actually, the point of the column was more about using the incidents of domestic terrorism that we've seen recently to demonstrate the dangerous fallacy of the "War on Terror" assault on the rule of law. Sorry you missed that.