The other night I watched a documentary entitled “The Assassination of Doctor Tiller.” The film followed the events leading up to the brutal murder of Doctor Tiller, a physician in Wichita who performed late term abortions.
I hated the film.
No, let me clarify that. I think it was dangerous and irresponsible.
Let me remind everyone that I knew George Tiller very well. We were good friends, spent a lot of time together. We had informative conversations about his controversial work. He was an amazing, dedicated man. And while I appreciated how this documentary discussed to some extent his life and his work, I am very concerned that the film could incite more violence.
Of course, the mainstream pro-choice groups all think it was a wonderful film in that it documented how abortion providers have been stalked, bombed, threatened and, yes, killed. They say it’s important for the public to know about the “domestic terrorism” that took place or is still taking place around the country.
Now, I am not naïve. I understand there are anti-abortion protestors who continue to stand in front of clinics and harass women. I know that some of the more unstable ones call clinics and threaten the staff. Those with too much time on their hands will follow the doctors to and from the clinic. Basically, a lot of stuff is still going on and abortion providers cannot let their guard down.
But the fact is that, compared to the 1980’s and 1990’s, when anti-abortion groups like Operation Rescue could get hundreds of people to block the front door of an abortion clinic at a moment’s notice, these days things are relatively quiet. There are a few reasons for this trend. Years ago, the pro-choice movement (with my assistance) passed federal laws that protected clinics and women entering clinics. Meanwhile, the number of protestors on a general scale is smaller as the anti-abortion leadership has become older and has moved on to other issues (issues that might be able to raise them more money). Then there is a very cooperative Administration that is making sure the FBI and BATF do their jobs. Surely, things are not perfect by any means. For example, there are still people like Bill O’Reilly who continue to preach hatred (and who was particularly focused on “Tiller the Killer.”) But my point is that things are much quieter compared to a decade or two ago when the shit was hitting the fan everywhere.
The film, meanwhile, focused on the heyday of Operation Rescue, particularly that time when they surrounded George’s clinic for a whole month as part of their “Summer of Mercy.” And I guess it’s good to have a history lesson lest we forget. But what really bothered me – and concerns me – is that the film spent a lot of time focusing on Scott Roeder, the man who assassinated Doctor Tiller. In my opinion, that was totally irresponsible.
I am not a criminologist but I do know that history is replete with cases where someone killed
someone after being “inspired” by some other violent event. There’s always a copy-cat killing after a sensational murder. Just remember the rash of school shootings that occurred after Columbine. The fact is that there are idiots out there, total losers, who are looking to depart from this world with a large bang. They’re thinking how they’ve got nothing to lose so they decide they might as well take out 20 people at a local McDonalds and get their name on the front page of all the newspapers in the country. These people are violent extensions of all of those folks who feel a need to go on Doctor Phil or Oprah and talk about their sex change operation or their fight against obesity. We are a nation of narcissists and sometimes those narcissists take their need for attention a little too far.
So, imagine there is this guy sitting in his dark bedroom, which is located in the basement of his parent’s house. He is 30 years old, he just lost his job and his wife and two kids are living in another state. He spends all day playing video games or watching reruns of “Cops.” He’s got nothing to look forward to. And he’s got several guns in the closet.
Then, while channel surfing, he runs across “The Assassination of Doctor Tiller.” He is mesmerized at the films of Scott Roeder, the confessed killer of Doctor Tiller. He watches his wedding ceremony films and learns how Roeder lost his job soon thereafter and his wife threatened to leave him. He listens to the ominous background music while he watches grainy films of Roeder standing quietly in front of an abortion clinic. The film then jumps to Roeder testifying during his trial about how he started thinking of killing Doctor Tiller. He is impressed with Roeder’s cool demeanor on the witness stand, how he admitted right up front that he did it, that he put the gun to Tiller’s head and fired. He finds himself getting excited at all of the attention Roeder is getting and how Roeder is cool, even relieved, as he testifies. He does not sweat a lick, even though he is going to jail for the rest of his life. Fucking A – he is the man!
Then maybe this guy in this dark basement starts to get his own ideas…
It happens every day. It’s the same pattern. And that’s what concerns me about this documentary. The pro-choice movement has basically done all it can to protect themselves. They have passed every law imaginable. But they cannot stop a lone madman from taking the law into his own hands. If a person wants to kill and give up his own life, you’re not going to stop him.
And what bothered me about this film is that it may have given some wacko out there another idea.