A fine, Christianist patriot killed Dr. George Tiller as he attended his Wichita Lutheran church on Sunday.
The 67-year-old late term abortion doctor was shot in the church's vestibule and in the head because the shooter knew that's where he'd be and because he knew Tiller always wore body armor... even to church where he served as an usher, and his wife sang in the choir.
The ambush brought instantly to mind the last time Tiller was ambushed. It was in November 2006, by Bill O'Reilly's producer, Porter Barry.
PORTER BARRY: Why are you one of the only doctors who does these kind of abortions?
BARRY: They call you Tiller, the baby Killer. Is that appropriate?
(photo: Dr. George Tiller)
TILLER: I'm think I'm going to get in my car and go to work.
BARRY: Dr. Tiller, don't you think...
TILLER: Hi, is this 911? This is Dr. George Tiller. I am at Edgemoore and Harry at QuickTrip. I'm being accosted by the people from O'Reilly. Yes, and they are preventing me from getting in my car and leaving.
BARRY: You can get in your car and go, Dr. Tiller.
O'Reilly always called Tiller the "so-called baby killer" and referred to Tiller's clinic as a "death-mill, which is exactly what it is." Tiller's name first appeared on "The Factor" in 2005. He has featured or mentioned Tiller in eliminationist terms dozens of times since.
Bill O'Reilly is an accomplice to this murder by many definitions of the word. .
If the suspect in Tiller's murder (he's been arrested) got inspiration, justification and succor from Billo's long on-going and flaming condemnations of Tiller, it wouldn't be the first time the Big Fat Head's words were in the mind of a murderous, ultra-conservative church shooter. O'Reilly's books were on the shelf (along with those of Hannity and Michael Savage) of a rageful nutter who ran amok shooting and killing in a Knoxville Unitarian church last year. The killer wrote in a document obtained by a teevee station that he did it because of the church's liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country. He said Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.
Tiller, who was never proven to be practicing medicine in any way but legally and ethically, was long singled out by right-wing extremists.
Protesters blockaded Tiller's clinic during Operation Rescue's "Summer of Mercy" protests during the summer of 1991, and Tiller was shot by Rachelle Shannon at his clinic in 1993. Tiller was wounded in both arms, and Shannon remains in prison for the shooting.
The clinic was bombed in June 1986, and was severely vandalized earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, his lawyer said wires to security cameras and outdoor lights were cut and that the vandals also cut through the roof and plugged the buildings' downspouts. Rain poured through the roof and caused thousands of dollars of damage in the clinic. Tiller reportedly asked the FBI to investigate the incident.
No arrests were made in the 1986 bombing.
Billo and other right-wing, women's rights opponents based opposition to President Obama's appointment of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health & Human Services on that Tiller had made a contribution to her last campaign.
"No question, he says, "Dr. Tiller has blood on his hands. But now so does Governor Sebelius. She is not fit to serve. Nor is any Kansas politician who supports Tiller's business of destruction. I wouldn't want to be these people if there is a Judgment Day. I just -- you know ... Kansas is a great state, but this is a disgrace upon everyone who lives in Kansas. Is it not?"
Sounds like somebody took Billo's Judgement Day into their own hands... But who can be against you if Bill O'Reilly and God are for you?
Billo made charges that were never proven to be anything but tabloid-teevee speculation:
On Friday, November 3, 2006, Bill O'Reilly featured an exclusive segment on his show, The O'Reilly Factor, saying that he has an "inside source" with official clinic documentation indicating that George Tiller performs late-term abortions to alleviate "temporary depression" in the pregnant woman. According to reporting data provided to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts for the year 1998, all of the post-viable partial-birth (dilation and extraction) abortion procedures performed in Kansas during that year were performed because "the attending physician believe[d] that continuing the pregnancy [would] constitute a substantial and irreversible impairment of the patient's mental function." Tiller responded to O'Reilly's statements by demanding an investigation into the "inside source" through which the information was leaked, suggesting that Phil Kline, then the Kansas Attorney General, was responsible. Kline denied the charge.
O'Reilly has often fallaciously linked Tiller to child molestation and rape by claiming that since a teenage girl who got an abortion from him could, by definition, have been a victim of statutory rape, that Tiller was covering up for child rapists by refusing to release records on the abortions performed.
A Wichita jury ruled in March that Tiller was not guilty on 19 criminal charges that he'd violated a state law requiring an independent second physician's concurring opinion before performing later term abortions. He faced a bombardment of lawsuits by anti-abortion organizations across the country.
When the right feels the most frustrated and desperate because they're out of power, the bombs and shootings begin. The superheated rhetoric of O'Reilly, Hannity, Michael Savage, Glennn Beck et al adds heat and gives cover to that most dangerous breed of wing-nut splinter-fringies: Christianist dittoheads with guns.
But why would Bill O'Reilly care what the body count is if he's kicking Keith Olbermann's ass in the ratings?