Hate Speech and the Assassination of Dr. George Tiller
Posted by dave on
This story has been churning in my stomach for the last few days and really makes me sick. For anyone living in a cave:
Not surprisingly, the suspect, Scott Roeder was heavily involved in the “pro-life” movement. He obviously isn’t your typical pro-lifer, among whom are many of my close friends, but rather a subscriber to the extreme positions of the “pro-life” movement.
In the last few days many anti-choice activists and groups have come out with statements condemning the killing, however, some of these statements seem only to try to distance themselves from the killing without actually condemning the act.
Randall Terry, founder of anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, a group that Roeder had associations with and whose Senior Policy Advisor’s phone number was taped to his car dashboard.
Others just come out and say it with joy.
Admittedly, the second group isn’t one of the well known anti-abortion groups, like National Right to Life, and is as far from mainstream as it gets, but in this case, it is groups like these that lead to the idea of justifiable homicide. If you don’t like the extremist groups and think it is unfair to lump the pro-life movement in with this kind of hate speech, how about someone a little more prominent? How about a TV and Radio host whose shows reach an audience of millions?
Lets take a look at some of Bill O’Reilly’s comments during his 5 year war against Dr. Tiller. Since 2005, O’Reilly has ranted at least 29 times about Tiller on his Fox News show The O’Reilly Factor.
Now, I would never say that Bill O’Reilly or any of the other people mentioned in this post were complicit in this murder. Scott Roeder did this. He made a choice to murder someone whose views differed from his own. What I will absolutely say is that people like Bill O’Reilly should be held accountable for the words they use. It is clear that his words were meant to dehumanize Dr. Tiller, to make him into a monster rather than a man. For a person like Scott Roeder, these kinds of words work. There must be some accountability for public figures who use language to demonize a person to the point that people no longer view them as a human being.
Anyone who brands a man as “Baby Killer” is a part of the reason why someone would feel it was justifiable to kill that person. Bill O’Reilly obviously sees it differently.
Rather than condemn the murder, O’Reilly joins the “It’s bad to kill someone, but he got what was coming to him” crowd. As if anyone would expect him to do differently.