The tragedy of Dr. George Tiller's assassination stunned me to the core. Regrettably, it hasn't shocked me, nor should it shock anyone. I worked in the pro-choice movement when Dr. Tiller was shot in both arms in 1993 and when Dr. Barnett Slepian was assassinated in the kitchen of his home. The extreme-right wing in America contributes to a climate of fear, hate and intolerance that gives rise to acts of violence. Consider Exhibit A, the despicable cartoon above.
Also consider the comments of columnist Cal Thomas. Writing for Fox News, he strongly, and of course rightfully, condemns the assassination. But like many purveyors of intolerance, he just can't help himself. Less than a few hours after the assassination, he said.
There is no doubt that Tiller engaged in grisly activity - the destruction of babies in the third trimester. Thanks to advances in technology, many of those babies might have lived outside the womb at a time when they were being killed inside the womb.
And that's exactly the inflammatory language that fuels not debate, but violence. And it also overlooks the fact that for conservative pundits like Thomas, late-term abortion is a political red herring. The procedure represents approximately one percent of all abortions in the nation and is performed in most cases to preserve the health or life of the woman. Thomas, with his educational and journalistic stripes, knows better.
The late wife of slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin believed that pundits and politicians fanned flames of hatred which led to the slaying of her husband at a Tel Aviv peace rally. Today, we see the results of our own right-wing opinion leaders. And they have American blood on their hands.