Move along. No terrorist conspiracy here.
Oh, how reassuring. (Boldface is mine.)
A Justice Department spokesman said the threat was being taken seriously and additional protection had been ordered for abortion clinics last week. But a leader of the anti-abortion movement derided the accused shooter as "a fruit and a lunatic."
Scott Roeder called The Associated Press from the Sedgwick County jail, where he's being held on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the shooting of Dr. George Tiller one week ago.
"I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal," Roeder said. When asked by the AP what he meant and if he was referring to another shooting, he refused to elaborate further.
It wasn't clear whether Roeder knew of any impending violence or whether he was simply seeking publicity for his cause. Law enforcement authorities including the Justice Department said they didn't know whether the threat was credible.
Tiller's clinic in Wichita was among only a few in the U.S. that perform third-trimester abortions. He was shot while serving as an usher at the Lutheran church he attended.
Asked if he shot Tiller, Roeder replied that he could not comment about that and said he needed to clear everything with his lawyer.
Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a written statement Sunday that "we take this matter seriously, which is why the Attorney General ordered increased protection of appropriate people and facilities last week."
Tiller's clinic had been a target of regular demonstrations by abortion opponents. Most were peaceful, but his clinic was bombed in 1986 and he was shot in both arms in 1993. In 1991, a 45-day "Summer of Mercy" campaign organized by Operation Rescue drew thousands of abortion opponents to Wichita, and there were more than 2,700 arrests.
The Justice Department opened an investigation Friday to see if the gunman who killed Tiller had accomplices. The DOJ said its Civil Rights Division and the U.S. attorney's office in Kansas will investigate whether the killing violated a 1994 law creating criminal penalties for violent or damaging conduct toward abortion providers and their patients.<SNIP>
Nancy Keenan president of NARAL-Pro-Choice America, said Roeder's comments "continue to escalate that kind of activity, that kind of violence. Quite honestly, I think it's imperative for anti-choice groups to tone down that rhetoric and keep the more extreme elements in their movement form copying Scott Roeder."
Troy Newman, president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, read about Roeder's statement and e-mailed The Associated Press, saying: "This guy is a fruit and a lunatic."
And those Operation Rescue people are rational and sane. Right.
Roeder, a 51-year-old abortion opponent, was arrested a few hours after the shooting just outside Kansas City.
He told the AP he refused to talk to investigators when he was arrested, and has made no statements to police since then.
''Mentally-ill?'' And we know this how? Was there an official psychiatric evaluation?
On Friday, the Justice Department
opened an investigation into whether Roeder, who had enough money to
stalk Tiller for years despite having little or no income, had help
Anyone who played a role in the killing will be prosecuted "to the full extent of federal law," said Loretta King, head of the Justice Department's civil rights division.
I hesitate to pick up on some of this because, despite his conversations with AP, I haven't heard of a confession. That said, that business about minimal income sure raises a red flag.
For years now, torture supporters have been using the "ticking time-bomb" scenario to argue that it's irresponsible to issue a blanket ban on torture. If we knew that a bomb was set to explode imminently, goes the argument, and that torture could help obtain information to avert the disaster and save hundreds of lives, who wouldn't do it?
This has always borne more relation to an episode of 24 than to the actual war on terror. Even torture supporters have admitted that no such ticking time-bomb case has ever occurred. But it looks like we may now be confronted with a version of it in a very different context -- and this time, it's hard not to notice that those same torture supporters don't seem to be rushing to call for the waterboard just yet.
In a jailhouse interview with the AP over the weekend, Scott Roeder,
the anti-abortion zealot who's been charged in the murder of Dr. George
I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal.
Roeder declined to elaborate. That means we have a suspect in custody who has admitted to having knowledge of specific terrorist attacks planned for the future. In order to thwart those alleged plots, we need more information from Roeder -- information he doesn't seem likely to give up voluntarily.
By the logic of the ticking time-bomb scenario, we should be waterboarding Roeder already -- or at least banging his head against the wall. After all, terror attacks could be imminent, with an unknown cost in terms of human lives and the creation of a climate of fear. It's a no-brainer, right?
UPPITY WOMAN DATE: Looks like the folks at TPM have been reading JJ.
... the FBI should get cracking on their investigation into Dr. Tiller’s murder. Whiiiirrrr chopchopchop whiiiiir chopchopchop — what’s that sound? Oh, that’s the sound of shredders going full-bore at the offices of Operation Rescue, American Right to Life, and the rest of the anti-choice scum across the country. The rock has been lifted, the cockroaches are scattering.
It’s all yours, anti-choice freaks. Own it. Wear it. Enjoy it.
CLEAR SOMETHING UPDATE: In the comments, Little Miss Sunshine makes the point that it isn't clear that the writer of the waterboarding piece is JOKING, and mocking the torture-is-tops types. Little Miss is right. So I am emphasizing that here.