Monday, June 1, 2009

The real questions regarding Scott Roeder...

... have little to do with charged political rhetoric, but resids rather in who should be taking responsibility for not having him in jail or a mental facility a long time ago.

Arrested in 1996, after a traffic stop based on his sovereignty license plate caused police to look in his trunk and find ... explosives.

The DA was pretty explicit:

Roeder had associated with the Freeman movement - a right-wing, anti-government group - causing then Shawnee County assistant district attorney James Brown to label Roeder a "substantial threat to public safety."

"This defendant has chosen to exempt himself from our laws,"
Brown said during the August 1996 sentencing hearing. "He doesn't recognize your authority."

Unfortunately, the officer who stopped Roeder apparently did not follow the rules: an Appeals Court over-turned his sentence based on an illegal search.

Roeder did time again for parole violation [refusing to pay his taxes].

He visited the man in prison for a previous attempt on Dr. George Tiller's life.

He posted direct threats on anti-abortion websites, including plans to get inside Tiller's church.

His wife divorced him in 1996 because his anti-abortion views had grown so extreme:

Lindsey Roeder, who filed for divorce in 1996 after 10 years of marriage, said her then-husband's views on abortion grew so extreme she wouldn't talk about the issue with him.

"It scared me," she said.

His family recognized the signs of mental illness, but--as families are wont to do--couldn't make the leap to possible violent behavior:

We know Scott as a kind and loving son, brother and father who suffered from mental illness at various times in his life. However, none of us ever saw Scott as a person capable of or willing to take another person’s life.

The timeline is therefore quite revealing: Roeder had become rabidly--possibly even violently--anti-abortion since the 1980s, and was arrested in 1996 en route to the Montana Freemen stand-off with law enforcement carrying a trunk full of explosives. He went to jail rather than pay his taxes even after an Appeals Court over-turned his conviction. He had a long history of mental illness, and was open about his personal approval of violence against abortion providers:

"I know that he believed in justifiable homicide," antiabortion activist Regina Dinwiddie told the Kansas City Star. "I know he very strongly believed that abortion was murder and that you ought to defend the little ones."

That name Regina Dinwiddie should be a key clue, as dear old Regina is one of a number of people who do qualify as anti-abortion terrorists, having publicly issued the following statement (among others):

The Defensive Action Statement I of the Army of God:

We, the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life including the use of force. We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child. We assert that if Michael Griffin did in fact kill David Gunn, his use of lethal force was justifiable provided it was carried out for the purpose of defending the lives of unborn children. Therefore, he ought to be acquitted of the charges against him.

Mike Bray - Pastor, Reformation Lutheran Church, Bowie, Maryland

C. Roy McMillan - Executive Director, Christian Action Group, Jackson, Mississippi

Andrew Burnett - Director, Advocates for Life Ministries, Portland, Oregon

Cathy Ramey - Associate Editor, Life Advocate Magazine, Portland, Oregon

Matt Trewhella Pastor, Mercy Seat Christian Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Paul J. Hill - Director, Defensive Action, Pensacola, Florida

Paul deParrie - Author of Numerous Titles, Portland, Oregon

Regina Dinwiddie - Christian Pro-Life Activist & Producer of Rescue Radio, MO and KS

Michael Dodds - Leader of Wichita Rescue Movement, Kansas

Henry Felisone - Director, Queens Pro-Life Group, Queens, New York

Tony Piso - Pastor, Evangelical Mission Church, Forest Hill, New York

Jacob Miller - Evangelist, Assembly of Yahweh & Pro-Life Activist, Tampa, Florida

Dan Bray - Director, Defenders of the Defenders of Life, Bowie, Maryland

David Crane- Director, Rescue Virginia, Norfolk, VA

Donald Spitz- Evangelist & Assistant Director for Rescue Virginia, Norfolk, Virginia

Michael Jarecki - Ret. Pastor, Saint Mary's Church, Brushton, New York

Bill Koehler - Director of Project Awareness, North Bergen, New Jersey

Kenneth Arndt - Director, New Hampshire Rescue, Windham, New Hampshire

Dave Leach - Editor, Prayer and Action Weekly News, Des Moines, Iowa

Mike Walker - Leader in National Assoc. of Planned Parenthood Fighters, Alabama

Thomas Carleton - Catholic Priest, Presently Incarcerated in Billerica, Massachusetts

Joseph F. O'Hara - Director, Wyoming Valley Rescue Group, Pennsylvania

David Graham - Attorney at Law, Olathe, Kansas

David Trosch - Catholic Priest, Publisher Justifiable Homicide Cartoon & President
Life Enterprises Unlimited, Mobile, Alabama

Dawn Stover - Assistant Director, Advocates for Life Ministries, Portland, Oregon

Mike Meyer - Chairman, Tri-State Rescue Committee, Cincinnati, Ohio

David Craig - Former Presbyterian Pastor, Hope, Indiana

John Brockhoeft - Author of "The Brockhoeft Report," incarcerated in Burlington, Kentucky

Donna Bray - Co-Founder, Defenders of the Defenders of Life, Bowie, Maryland

Media Consultant - Gary McCullough; Publicist - Jerry McGlothlin

These assholes ARE supporting domestic terrorism, and doing so openly. The question then becomes one of why law enforcement agencies weren't looking closely at known mentally-ill individuals with criminal histories who had made public statements about infiltrating Dr. Tiller's church, and who were publicly known for believing in the concept of justifiable homicide?

Myabe they were, and they just missed it. It happens.

Plainly, an individual like Scott Roeder appears to have been an explosion waiting to happen. Yet the idea that the millions of people, like my friend Dr. Eric Schansberg in Indiana, who oppose abortion on moral or religious grounds are responsible for what he may allegedly have done is a blatant political smear campaign designed to stifle certain kinds of political free speech.

Curiously enough, not even President Obama wants to do that:

I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.

Notice that the President's statement allows for legitimate differences on the issue, while decrying violence.

Unfortunately, many of his partisans don't see it that way.


pandora said...

The real problem is that when you read Roeder's comments on those blogs/sites they don't stand out. His rhetoric fits in with the majority of commentary.

Was he mentally ill? Probably. But I'm not sure how you'd prove it unless the family forcibly intervened. (Not easy to do or to prove)

That said, Roeder isn't really the issue. If it wasn't him it would have been someone else. And it's this inevitability that causes me the most concern.

Steven H. Newton said...

You miss the point: it wasn't the statements on blogs, it was the criminal record....

If it wasn't him, it would have been someone else.Interesting premise, since this is the first homicide of an abortion provider in over a decade.

pandora said...

Is homicide where the bar is set, or do these incidents count?

# May 28, 2000: An arson at a clinic in Concord, New Hampshire on resulted in damage estimated at US$20,000. The case remains unsolved.[19]
# September 30, 2000: A Catholic priest drove his car into the Northern Illinois Health Clinic after learning that the FDA had approved the drug RU-486. He pulled out an ax before being shot at by a security guard.[20]
# June 11, 2001: An unsolved bombing at a clinic in Tacoma, Washington destroyed a wall, resulting in US$6000 in damages. [18]
# July 4, 2005: A clinic Palm Beach, Florida was the target of an arson. The case remains open.[18]
# December 12, 2005: Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe threw a Molotov cocktail at a clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana. The device missed the building and no damage was caused. In August 2006, Hughes was sentenced to six years in prison, and Dunahoe to one year. Hughes claimed the bomb was a “memorial lamp” for an abortion she had had there. [21]
# September 13, 2006 David McMenemy of Rochester Hills, Michigan crashed his car into the Edgerton Women's Care Center in Davenport, Iowa. He then doused the lobby in gasoline and then started a fire. McMenemy committed these acts in the belief that the center was performing abortions, however Edgerton is not an abortion clinc.[22]
# April 25, 2007: A package left at a women's health clinic in Austin, Texas contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death. A bomb squad detonated the device after evacuating the building. Paul Ross Evans (who had a criminal record for armed robbery and theft) was found guilty of the crime. [23]
# May 9, 2007: An unidentified person deliberately set fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[24]
# December 6, 2007: Chad Altman and Sergio Baca were arrested for the arson of Dr. Curtis Boyd's clinic in Albuquerque. Altman’s girlfriend had scheduled an appointment for an abortion at the clinic. [25]
# January 22, 2009 Matthew L. Derosia, 32, who was reported to have had a history of mental illness [26]rammed a SUV into the front entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota.[27]

Sorry, but certain pro-lifers have a history of violence and intimidation. NOT ALL, but enough to cause concern if you, or your loved one, worked in one of these clinics. There's just no denying that - and, no, I'm not advocating going after all pro-lifers, but a lot of these groups/spokespeople share some culpability.

Kinda like a fight that gets fed by a crowd.

ChrisNC said...

Please add me to the list that includes Eric Schansberg. I also believe in the non-initiation of force against preborn children.

Carolyn Marie Fugit said...

Anytime someone even *hints* that these online statements or actions could lead to violence, the right-wing screams about threats to their right to free speech. Look what happened when the DHS issued a statement about right-wing extremism. Fact is those of us who knew this was coming were silenced by the screams of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, etc. You're not the first to ask this.

Anonymous said...

Pandora, you've hit the nail on the head. I'm from the Wichita area, and I knew that his time was short once his latest court hearing was dismissed back in March. About a month ago, when Wichita was getting heavy rains and localized flooding, some people vandalized his women's clinic in Wichita, cutting wires to all the security measures and making holes in the roof so the rain would come through. It caused thousands in damage. Tiller asked for law enforcement to look into the matter quickly, but I never heard an update from the local news stations. Either the vandals were very expert about their infiltration, or the police were slower than usual in their investigation. I remember having the urge last month after hearing of the vandalism that I just wanted to find the guy and give him a hug. He's been through more than a person should have to go through. I don't care whether his business was right or wrong. It was legal. It was a public service. I don't know that I would totally agree with abortions on the brain-damaged fetuses, since I know one candidate that is a 3-year-old, and she's a real cutie. But you as a parent have to be ready for the HUGE responsibility that comes with that child. It's too much for most people. I don't know how her family does it.

Fredrick Schwartz said...

As soon as I can find a blue hen I'll give you a link in the sidebar. Great work you are doing here.

UNRR said...

This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 6/2/2009, at The Unreligious Right

Miko said...

He went to jail rather than pay his taxes even after an Appeals Court over-turned his conviction.So did Thoreau (the poll tax). So did 60,000 followers of Gandhi (the salt tax). Based on everything else, this guy is clearly a nut, but refusing to pay taxes isn't the reason why.

Anonymous said...

Rev. (sic) Spitz’s opinion on the beliefs or behavior of others should carry no weight whatsoever. He uses his own website to try to make heroes out of murdering terrorists like Paul Hill, Eric Rudolph, John Salvi, and James Kopp. Therefore, the recent designation of Spitz's Army of God as a domestic terrorist group by the Virginia State Police is very appropriate. Spitz is so delusional that he thinks that he was ordained by the International Gospel Crusade, a denomination that only exists in his imagination. This makes Spitz even more of a concern.