...will never happen, of course. But, if I had a chance to cross-examine the man who shot George Tiller to death in his church, I know what I'd ask. And, given his willingness to speak at length on his views and ethics, I think I can guess what his responses might reasonably be.
Bain: My Roeder, you admit that you killed Dr. Tiller by shooting him in broad daylight, and in a public place, his church. Is this true?
Roeder: Yes. He was guilty of murdering innocent children, and deserved death.
Bain: Do other people, similarly, deserve to die?
Bain: Given that you have not killed everyone who deserves to die, I have to assume you had some specific goal in mind when you killed Dr. Tiller. Why did you decide to shoot him to death? What did you believe this would accomplish?
Roeder: It was the only way to stop him from ripping infants limb from limb. That's what he did, you know. So-called partial-term abortion is basically taking a viable baby and cutting it into pieces. It's pure murder, and by killing him I stopped him from doing it anymore.
Bain: I'll agree that a dead person cannot do anything, so you did indeed prevent him from taking any actions whatsoever from this point forward, including performing abortions. But, could you not have accomplished the same thing by kidnapping him and imprisoning him in some dungeon?
Roeder: I don't have the resources to do that. Only the government can put someone in jail for life, and they refused to do their job. It was left to people like me to deal with this murderer.
Bain: Could you not simply have crippled his hands, or even removed them? He could no longer perform abortions if you did that, but he'd be alive.
Roeder: He got what he deserved. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, the Bible teaches us. He killed, and so he deserved to be killed.
Bain: So, preventing him from performing abortions was not your only motivation. You were also seeking justice for the abortions he had already performed.
Roeder: Yes. Again, dispensing justice is the government's job, but since they refused to do their job, it was left to those who do God's will to punish the wicked.
Bain: So, to summarize, you killed Dr. Tiller to punish him for his past acts aborting the unborn, and to prevent him from doing so in the future.
Roeder: Yes, that's right.
Bain: Then why do it in public? You could have kidnapped him, or confronted him in his home, and killed him just as easily. Also, you might have been able to escape capture and reamined free to deal with some of those others who equally deserve, in your view, to die. Why did you kill Dr. Tiller in a public place?
Roeder: People need to know what happens when you ignore God's law, and when you victimize the innocent. I was willing to give up my own life for this, to make sure that the public sees the harvest of such sin. If you kill the innocent, you yourself will be killed. If I did this in private it would have been far less visible.
Bain: You feel that this will deter others from performing these abortions?
Roeder: It already has. The planned parenthood-types are already complaining that women are having trouble getting access to what they obscenely call "reproductive health". Most doctors won't do abortions, especially in the heartland of this country. Hopefully there will everntually be none at all.
Bain: So, in truth you had three motivations in killing Dr. Tiller. To punish him for past acts, to prevent future abortions, and to deter others from performing abortions as well. Correct?
Roeder: Yes. All three things are important.
Bain: Which is the largest issue, in your view?
Roeder: The last one. Stopping one abortionist murderer is important, but if the example I set, that we will kill you if you kill innocent children, if that stops large numbers of other doctors from doing the same then the good I will have done is much larger.
Bain: By killing doctor Tiller, you put the fear of death into others who might otherwise support abortion rights in this country?
Roeder: I certainly hope so.
Bain: In what way, Mr. Roeder, does this not constitute terrorism?
I don't know what Roeder would say about this. Maybe he would say terrorists kill innocent people to make their points... but I'd point out that terrorists do not consider the people they kill to be innocent any more than Roeder would consider the fact that Dr. Tiller's acts were lawful (they were) makes him innocent.
Terrorists always feel that they are doing the right, moral thing. Whether they quote the Quoran, the Bible, whatever, they feel justified by moral ascendence to commit acts that take the lives of others.
"I think I know what's right" is in the mind of every truly dangerous person; people who kill their spouses for infidelity believe that this punishment fits the crime. People that kill for money obviously feel their gain is more important than the loss of life on their victim's part.
I know. I'm right. My view is more important. These attitudes are at the center of most represensible behavior. You may feel abortion is okay, or wrong, or murder, but a firm belief that you are right and others are wrong, to a moral certainty, and your willingness to act based on the certainty, is what makes for a terrorist.
Let's question ourselves, practice humility, and work to persuade.
Why don't the Roeders of the world work to repeal the laws they hate, work to register voters who believe as they do, do the hard work of systemic change? The left recently got a black man with the middle name "Hussein" elected president, mostly by creative use of the internet to organize and findraise. No easy task, but they did it.
It's a lot easier to pull a trigger, I guess.