Updated -Tiller Murder: First Reactions

See Updates at the end of this post...

Oh no, oh no, oh no.

While the details are still sketchy at this point and nothing is yet known about the killer, what is clear is that the murder of notorious abortion doctor George Tiller is a horrible thing. It is a horrible thing for George Tiller for he has lost his life and lost any chance he had of repentance. I pray that he sought forgiveness before the end and I pray for his eternal soul. It is a horrible thing for his family and I pray for them as well.

It is also a horrible thing for the pro-life movement. The murder of Tiller validates in the minds of some (many?) that pro-lifers are every bit the extremists that they claim we are.

It is imperative that every single voice of the pro-life movement condemn his murder in unequivocal terms. Murder is murder. An intrinsic evil no matter what the end.

Please pray for George Tiller and pray for all the children whose lives hang in the balance. More to come.

Update: Foxnews, in its front page lede says that manhunt is on for the shooter. (Update: Shooter Caught - See Below)

Update II:
via KWCH

Latest Update:

Police say Tiller's body was removed from the church at 12:30 Sunday afternoon. The FBI is involved in the investigation.

Nationwide alert issued for car and suspect description.

Suspect: white male 50-60, balding in middle, gray hair, white shirt, dark pants, 6'1" 220

Powder blue 93 Ford Taurus, K-State vanity plate, tag "225 BAB".

Update 3 Horrible Crime + Stupidity = Bad News for us.

The folks over at the Daily KOS are already using the stupid comments of some at the Freep to paint pro-lifers as willing murders. This is just the beginning.

Update 4:
This Statement from Operation Rescue:

We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down. Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller’s family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

Update 5:

Statement from Fr. Pavone of Priests for Life
“I am saddened to hear of the killing of George Tiller this morning. At this point, we do not know the motives of this act, or who is behind it, whether an angry post-abortive man or woman, or a misguided activist, or an enemy within the abortion industry, or a political enemy frustrated with the way Tiller has escaped prosecution. We should not jump to conclusions or rush to judgment.

“But whatever the motives, we at Priests for Life continue to insist on a culture in which violence is never seen as the solution to any problem. Every life has to be protected, without regard to their age or views or actions.”
Update 6
Andrew Sullivan: "Christianist terrorism is no more defensible than Islamist terrorism." Indeed.

Update 7
More Statements
Statement from Kansans for Life:

"Kansans for Life deplores the murder of Dr. George Tiller, and we wish to express our deep and sincere sympathy to his family and friends.

Our organization has a board of directors, and a 35 year history of bringing citizens together to achieve thoughtful education and legislation on the life issues here in Kansas.

We value life, completely deplore violence, and are shocked and very upset by what happened in Wichita today."

Christian Defense Coalition Condemns Shooting of Dr. George Tiller

"Christian and pro-life leaders will hold a news conference in front of the US Supreme Court on Monday, June 1, at 10:00 A.M. to discuss the impact the shooting of Dr. George Tiller will have on the pro-life movement and the Supreme Court.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Washington, DC based Christian Defense Coalition is presently available for comment at 540-538-4741

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, national pro-life leader, former national spokesperson for Operation Rescue, had just completed leading two weeks of prayer vigils in Wichita during the trial of Dr. Tiller.

Rev. Patrick Mahoney condemns the shooting of Dr. George Tiller."

Update 8
Can we all agree that Randall Terry should SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!!!!!!!!!
Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue states, "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.
"Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches."

Update 9
They Got Him!
Eyewitness News has confirmed the suspect in the shooting of Dr. George Tiller is in custody in the Kansas City area. Wichita police say the man was arrested near Gardner, KS at around 2:00 Sunday afternoon.

Update 10: Please think about your comments. We're going to have a pretty heavy hand on this one in the combox. Our words will be used against us. Andrew Sullivan among others is hopping around and gathering up the worst comments. So please please focus on prayers for everyone involved in this.

Update 11: Abortion advocates are wasting little time in attacking pro-lifers. Says Life News: Saying that bringing the person who killed Tiller to justice is "not enough," NOW called on the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security to "root out and prosecute as domestic terrorists and violent racketeers the criminal enterprise that has organized and funded criminal acts for decades."

So, in short, they're calling for a federal investigation into the pro-life movement because of the actions of one man. Mind you, we don't even know the man's name yet, never mind his affiliation with the pro-life movement.

And something tells me the term "racketeer" was used carefully as there have been other attempts to use RICO statutes against the pro-life movement.

Update 12: Says the AP:
Law enforcement authorities in suburban Kansas City have identified a man detained by police after a late-term abortion provider was shot to death in a Wichita church.

Johnson County sheriff's spokesman Tom Erickson says Scott Roeder was the man whose car was stopped on Interstate 35 on Sunday, about three hours after the shooting of George Tiller.

Earlier in the day, Wichita police said the suspect was a 51-year-old man from Merriam, Kan., but they refused to identify him by name.

Roeder has not been charged in the slaying, but he was expected to be taken to Wichita for questioning.

The 67-year-old Tiller was serving as an usher Sunday when he was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Unfreakingbelievable. Someone has set back the pro-life movement at least 20 years. Shocking and incredibly stupid. A white male with a gun shoots and kills a high profile abortion doctor. We who consider ourselves conservative might as well fold up our tents. I for one am completely demoralized.

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  4. I agree with your sentiments, but what horrible irony that pro-abortion people would be so horrified over this murder, given the number of horrific deaths at the hands of this very man.

    I pray for his soul.

  5. The murder of the unborn is immoral but legal. How about the execution of the murderer?

  6. FYI, I noticed links to abortion clinics above the comments. Perhaps those are programmatically generated based on key words, but it is ironic to have those ads.

  7. It's actually even worse than "white male shoots and kills abortion doctor."

    It's "white male shoots and kills abortion doctor AT HIS CHURCH."

    (Reform Lutheran, in case anyone was wondering).


    And yes, Rick, I'm against execution of the murderer too. Anti-abortion doesn't automatically mean pro-death penalty.

    This is a little taste of the charges and counter-charges that will be bandied about in the days to come, I suppose.

  8. My prayers to the Dr.'s family and for his soul,and that the killer be brought to justice.

    Maybe this isn't the politcal disaster for the pro life movement we think it is. Not in the long term anyway.
    It may be the type of event which forces the fence sitters to have to actually debate the issue when faced with the inevitable bs about christians about to launched by the far left.
    Those who tried to avoid the controversy will have it thrust upon them,and be forced to defend themselves with facts...
    and the science is on our side.

    I've always thought God rewards complacency with adversity.

    my 2c.


  9. Whoever killed Dr. Tiller is also now responsible for the killing of even more unborn infants as this crime will only strengthen the forces that promote abortion. Unborn babies will not be saved as new aggressive tactics will be promoted against peaceful demonstrations, and two-for-a- penny media heroes will emerge like that paunchy know-nothing fellow Sullivan, ad nauseum. I hope that the murderer of Dr. Tiller gets a fair trial, and that his own pathetic sense of violence underscores that this is a rare act of a solitary, confused and disturbed man. In the meantime, we all have lots of praying to do...for the babies, the abortion doctor, the killer, and those pro-abortion forces that will profit ghoulishly from this very sad situtation

  10. I am at a loss for words. I can only have some hope that we in the pro-life movement don't get stigmatized even worse by this action. Yes, I find the irony in how people are going to scream about this murder but don't bat an eye at what he did in his "medical practice." But I also don't believe anyone should lose their life like this. I will pray for his family and for his soul. God will be his judge and in that, I can find hope.

    For the time being, can we have hope that at least a week's worth of abortions will not be done or will those be rescheduled for another doctor? Because didn't Tiller have a "back up" doctor anyway?

  11. I'm glad to see the almost unanimous condemnation of Tiller's murder by the pro-life movement. Of course that is absolutely wrong.

    It says a lot about human psychology, though, that people are so shocked and outraged. If there were a serial killer going around to local NICU's and committing grizzly murders of babies in their incubators, and the police would do nothing about it, it wouldn't be *that* shocking if someone eventually snapped and took the law into their own hands. (Again, it would be clearly wrong, just not shocking.)

    Tiller was murdering babies the exact same age as those in hospitals' NICU's, and yet because they lived inside the womb where nobody could hear their cries, he's seen by many to be a normal person just doing his job, perhaps even a hero.

    May God have mercy on us all.

  12. Someone just made the Department of Homeland Security go from looking like idiots to looking like geniuses with the squeeze of a trigger.

  13. If this horrible shooting follows the previous pattern, the killer will be of the "lone gunman" variety. Local pro-lifers will barely even recognize him, if at all. He won't have been one of the "regulars" who quietly prays the Rosary week after week in front of one of the clinics.

    This is just dreadful. Everyone wanted Tiller out of his line of work, obviously, but not in this fashion...

  14. For a Christian there is no worse fate than to die in a state of sin. Depriving someone of a chance to repent, however slim, is a terrible thing to do. My first thought when hearing this news was "Oh, no. God have mercy on his soul. God have mercy on his murderer and give him the grace to repent his crime."
    And God help the innocent: born and unborn, who will certainly suffer as a result of this.

  15. "Killing of Hitler sets back pro-Jew movement 20 years"

    pretty dumb headline, huh.

    The murder of Dr Tiller is abhorrent and I pray for the family of Dr Tiller and for the soul of his murderer. But to jump to the conclusion that his death negatively affects the pro-life movement is a stretch...

  16. We know that change of hearts do not come from murder, but from conversion. It's a shame because now we have lost any possible opportunity to have convert Dr. Tiller to be pro-life.

  17. By the way, Dr Tiller's death, especially if his soul was not prepared, is sad, for we all want God's children to enter heaven;

    we all should mourn the death of any human, but imagine the future children saved now that this man can no longer peddle his horrible trade...

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  19. Anon-
    if Hitler had been killed, at say, the opening of a hospital for the poor (Aryan) children, by a Jewish man, it would have set back Jewish relations by 20 years. The psychology of Martyrs works even outside of the Church.

    The guy they are saying is the main suspect has the same name as a guy, from Kansas, charged for having bomb materials in his car in 96 as part of the Freeman movement.

    Oh, might want to watch for AstroTurfing, too, Oh Host. If the Kos kids can't find enough juicy stuff, they tend to make it themselves.

  20. Obama's Reichstag Fire?

    I suspect there is a trail of acorns leading to a den of fellow-travelling anarchists at the end of the untimely bullet that tragically ended the tragic life of George Tiller.The Christian response to abortion providers and their staff has always been that they might establish an audience or camaraderie with people who have been in the same place like Bernard Nathanson and the Society of Centurions. Indeed, I asked my priest to offer an intention for the repose of George Tiller's soul at our 2 PM Latin Mass today that God would extend more charity and mercy to Tiller than he extended to God's children developing in the womb.


    Ezekiel 18:23,32
    Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, says the Lord GOD. Return and live!


    1 Timothy 2:1-4
    First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.


  21. God have mercy on us all.

    I doubt that one life will be saved by Mr. Tiller's demise and grieve wondering how many may be lost if the pro-life movement ends up distracted by having to defend against some trumped up RICO persecution? If this is a vigilante, he may have ended the life of one abortionist but furthered the pro-abortion cause.

    God have mercy on us all, Tiller and the perpetrator included.

  22. I'm very afraid that we'll now have NO ability to pray outside of abortion clinics and I'm almost afraid of what will happen at March for Life. The Obama Administration, being as strict as they are pro-abortion, this might have just sealed a deal about us not being able to have a March for Life while Obama is in the WH.

    (I know, total speculation here... but I'm not feeling good about all of this)

  23. Information has been released about the suspect. It appears that he does have ties to the anti-abortion group "Operation Rescue," as well as prior arrests and convictions. More here:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/20...r- Assassination

  24. Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue states, "George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.
    "Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches."
    Patrick asks: "Can we all agree that Randall Terry should SHUT THE HELL UP!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    Um, no. Terry's comments were entirely reasonable and accurate.

  25. It's not that he said anything untrue, it's that it will be used as a club to help those who wish to kill more children.

  26. What did Randall Terry say that would make us want him to "shut the hell up?" He has condemned the killing of Tiller and the comment you posted seems to be reasonable.

  27. Telling your wife that she looks fat in that dress may be true as well, and similarly unhelpful.

  28. It seems to me everyone is over-reacting a little bit. How many murders do we have in this country every year? You'd think this guy was a chief of state or something.

    All this is an isolated incident, anyone who is trying to make it more, NOW, etc., etc. simply has an agenda. They care about hsi death only insamuch as it benefits them.

    I care that he was murdered only insofar as he was a citizen, with a reasonable right to not be randomly killed. As he is far from the only one randomly killed, he is not special, or interesting, or particularily noteworthy.

    It does make me wonder, though. This man made his living through horrible violence - is it karma or poetic justice that he would die by the same? In essence, because he has killed so many people during his life, is it surprising that perhaps a relative of one of his victims go a little off his rocker? A "these are the risks that go along with the job" sort of thing? If not, if this is unreasonable, then why does the media not get upset whenever a policman is killed?

    It is unfortunate that Obama now has a sob story to use to beat us into FOCA submission. I hate to have to watch all the Pro-life organizations tying themselves in knots to suck up to the political opportunists, but politics is perception.

    I mean, it isn't as though liberals got gleeful when Ronald Reagan had a fatal illness, right? Anyone who buys into their nonsense deserves exactly what they get.

    I personally think that Randall Terry's statement is the most brave and manly along with being morally upright. With all due respect CMR, get the hell of his back. We should condemn the act without bending over.

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  30. C.L.-
    Over-use is no argument against accuracy.

    First thing that anyone in Operation Rescue should be thinking is this: "Will what I am about to say be twisted and used to kill more children, or will it possibly prevent their deaths?"

    Assuming, of course, that their goal is saving kids, rather than breast-beating about how wonderfully brave they are?

  31. ...breast-beating about how wonderfully brave they are?Where did Terry describe himself as wonderfully brave?

    He didn't.

    He called Tiller what he was - a mass murderer - lamented his spiritual state, observed that his unlawful killing would be used against the pro-life cause and called for a continuation of peaceful protest.

    That's my opinion. Would you mind telling CRM's readers why you want to delete such an observation? (Bearing in mind that I'm a person who opposed the execution of Saddam Hussein. I don't believe in killing people, for allegedly righteous causes or not).

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  33. Anon 3:22Am.

    Should we pray for those people? Yep.

    The difference with the Tiller situation is that "in context", the murder of an abortionist is seen as a terrible thing, when perpetrated by a pro-lifer. If he had been killed by an irate spouse he had cuckolded or a random mugger, it would be different in that it wouldn't be seen as an act of "anti-abortion terrorism" (yes, I saw that wording used in a comment by someone else on a different site).

    Foxfier is absolutely right about the idea of martyrdom. The pro-abortion party can, will, and has already made Tiller a martyr. They say that he was killed for courageously providing health services to poor women who can't obtain them elsewhere.

    By distancing ourselves from the killer, we can perhaps somewhat lessen the backlash that Tiller's "martyrdom" is sure to ignite. And, since we don't know the killer personally, praying for the soul of his victim is the best we can do to mitigate his actions, which were outside the law and certainly not going to win friends or influence people for the pro-life cause.

    And, yes, of course God has the final say.

    I hope that clears it up for you.

  34. People, people! Once we're hoarse from decrying the killing of an active murderer, this blog will surely pass the scrutiny of the pro-abortion lobby. Keep up the hand-wringing. The pro-aborts will surely be won over!

  35. I stand with every pro-life group in the world that condemns in no uncertain terms this horrific act. Regardless of any crime that Dr. Tiller committed against another human being, there is no justification for this depraved act.

    This does show how pervasive the Culture of Death can be when it infiltrates the Pro-Life movement and brings rationalization to completely unjust acts.

    I pray for the repose of the soul of Dr. Tiller. It is my sincere hope that he was able, in God's great mercy, to reconcile himself and that he will eventually see the Lord face to face.

    For his family, I offer my prayers and sympathy.

    For other members of the pro-life community who would applaud this action, I also offer my prayers for continued conversion and reparation. We cannot advance the cause of life by celebrating death.

  36. Horatius- I am apalled at your callousness and lack of compassion. No, this is not an overblown reaction to an "isolated incident." This is not a random murder, this was a calculated killing with a predetermined and very specific target. No one here will argue that Dr. Tiller was a good doctor or a great man. However, that does not mean that any among us should rejoice in his murder. Celebrating murder violates the most important principle of the pro-life movement: that all life is sacred. Murder, under any cicumstance, is unacceptable. No ifs, ands, or buts.
    If you can't see the significance of this murder and the reason that it's more than just an "isolated incident", step back and look at the big picture. The pro-choice movement has a fresh new rallying point and can paint the pro-life movement as full of hypocritical wing-nut terrorists. As a number of observers here have noted, perception is everything. It's certainly not a stretch to think that the MSM and abortiona advocacy groups are not going to take advantage of the acts of a single very ill individual, who certainly does not represent the ideals of the pro-life movement, and use that to create the perception that the pro-life movement incites violence by its supporters. Just look at all of the reports that are out already, many of which go beyond the story at hand to point out the history of violence against abortion providers by self-described pro-lifers.
    I pray for the doctor's family and for his soul. I pray for the suspected killer and his family. I pray for the abortion rights movement, and for the conversion of even the hardest of hearts among them. I pray for thr pro-life movement, that we may not tolerate this kind of vigilantism and that our success is realized through non-violence and compassion.

  37. Please think about your comments. We're going to have a pretty heavy hand on this one in the combox. Our words will be used against us. Andrew Sullivan among others is hopping around and gathering up the worst comments. So please please focus on prayers for everyone involved in this.You're kidding me right? you're afraid of Sullivan? Sullivan the pantywaist who is wringing his hands over the demonisation of Tiller instead of condemning his murder and the murder of hundreds if not thousands of children by Tiller's hand?

    You want your commenters to shut the hell up, and not speak the truth, like Randall Terry? Who is it that you serve again?

  38. Jonathon, you made quite a leap there. My comment is quite clear in NOT in anyway endorsing the act, nor does it anywhere celebrate it. I am not happy about it - strategically, this could be very bad for us.

    Essentially what I was saying was this was one murder among thousands this year, each one equally as senseless. What is it that makes this one so special? The answer is that it is political, that, just as he used death to make his living, now those who love death are using his to argue for more death. His murder was an isolated incident, something which 99.9% of pro-lifers would never do, and haven't been doing for the last 20 years. The hysteria is fake, the fear and outrage is fake. There is nothing to be frightened of - pro-life people are not Islamists.

    What I am getting at is everyone's over-reaction to this feeds into the hysteria and gives it legs. You can't use a old issue as a crisis to push your agenda. I mean, they are having to harken back to 1993 for any incident of pro-life violence, for heaven's sake! Clearly, they are trying to manufacture something here. Ok, so it sucks that he died, I am sorry for him, blah, blah, blah -but it is an isolated incident, by a clearly deranged individual. Let's move on.

  39. Horatius- I don't believe this is the appropriate forum for back-and-forth debate, so I will keep this brief and will have no more to say. This is not the kind of random act of violence that we all collectively feel bad for and then just move on together. It's more significant because of the victim. If David O'Steen were shot and killed by an over-zealous abortion rights supporter, would you still say "Ok, so it sucks that he died, I am sorry for him, blah, blah, blah -but it is an isolated incident, by a clearly deranged individual. Let's move on"? For some reason, I doubt it.
    This is a very big deal, and as much as you migth like it to go away, it won't.

  40. CRM-
    Might want to turn off annon comments for now, it'll cut down on trolls.

  41. Culture War SCORESHEET

    Media space devoted to reporting, opining, and commenting on the tragic killing of American abortionist George Tiller will be largely used to condemn pro-human-rights persons as violent and dangerous.

    Being familiar with a bit of hard data might be useful to your discussions over the next little while. I would not suggest that one use the data to defend acts of violence, but it is valid to be able to counter the mis-characterization of Pro-Human Rights advocates as violent, specifically if characterized as having acted "more" violent than the Anti-Human Rights/Pro-Death side has.

    Human Rights Culture War Violence Scoresheet:

    Violence Committed by Pro-Human-Rights "Extremists" or "Vigilantes" http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_viol.htm

    Violence Committed by Anti-Human-Rights "Extremists" or "Vigilantes"

    Deadly Violence by Anti-Human-Rights Mainstream Functionaries
    Executions by Abortion 1920 - 2008 (Low estimate):≈ 1,000,000,000

    Worldwide Wars, Genocides, Famines, Ritual Suicides. Human Sacrifices
    Combined Total (High Estimate):438,000,000


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