Will George Tiller’s Murder Be Charged as Terrorism?

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Media outrage over abortion provider George Tiller’s murder in Wichita, Kansas has led to charges that the crime should be considered domestic terrorism, and that Scott Roeder should be punished accordingly. Arguments have ranged from Cenk Uygur’s sarcastic call in The Huffington Post for Roeder to be waterboarded to Joe Conason’s serious consideration for Truthdigof the government’s responsibility to guard us from extremists. Conason writes:

Although an overwhelming majority of abortion opponents bear no responsibility for the doctor’s murder and should feel free to exercise their constitutional freedoms to the fullest extent, there is a violent fringe on the far right that has earned the designation of terrorist. And the federal government is responsible for ensuring our safety from those menacing forces.

But, will the feds go so far as to call Tiller’s murder terrorism? Lindsay Beyerstein at Huff-Po thinks not. Beyerstein reports that although the Justice Department will investigate whether Roeder violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, to classify the crime as terrorism would exceed the feds’ capabilities.

“That designation would unleash vast federal powers to investigate large swathes of the radical anti-choice movement,” Beyerstein writes. “The feds are simply not prepared for the political fallout that would ensue if, say, Operation Rescue were officially designated as a terrorist organization.”

Regardless of the legal outcome, Tracy Clark-Flory over at Salon.com claims that the recent decision to close Tiller’s clinic proves that, in this country at least, terrorism works.

Sources:Washington Post, Salon.com, The Huffington Post, Truthdig

Image by pdeonarain, licensed under Creative Commons

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