What defines a terrorist anyway?

What Defines A Terrorist

by digby

Pro-choice activist Ann Rose has written an important heads up on DKos today about Rachel Maddow's upcoming piece on the murder of Dr George Tiller. She writes:

True to Rachel's history and character, I expect this to be a telling expose of the "connections" between Scott Roeder, Dr. Tiller's convicted assassin, and the various anti-abortion groups who terrorized and harassed Dr. Tiller, his family, his staff, and his patients for years.

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I realize that killing doctors who perform abortions and blowing up clinics doesn't concern those who think the far right fundamentalists who are increasingly dominant in Republican politics is no big deal. But to some of us, the ongoing tolerance for this particular form of "protest" says volumes about their eagerness to see such things as individual crimes rather than a violent assault on women's rights.

You'll have to pardon me for being a little bit concerned about further legitimizing and validating people like this. And you'll also have to pardon me for being just a little bit taken aback when people find it more offensive to compare these terrorists to the Taliban than they seem to find the acts they are perpetrating. As I've said before, it's a matter of scale not degree. No, they're not executing women for adultery. But they are throwing them in jail for having an illegal abortion. Or even falling down the stairs:

Last month, after an upsetting phone conversation with her estranged husband, Ms. Taylor became light-headed and fell down a flight of stairs in her home. Paramedics rushed to the scene and ultimately declared her healthy. However, since she was pregnant with her third child at the time, Taylor thought it would be best to be seen at the local ER to make sure her fetus was unharmed.

After Taylor was treated by a nurse at the private hospital and deemed fine, she confided to the nurse that she was upset and scared and wasn't sure she wanted to continue the pregnancy. Her husband recently left her after she told him she was pregnant with their third child:

"I never said I didn't want my baby, but I admitted that I had been considering adoption or abortion," she said. "I admit that I said I wasn't sure I wanted to continue the pregnancy. My husband sends me money, but money doesn't make a parent. I don't have anybody else to turn to."

Although Taylor was in the first part of her second trimester, the nurse noted on her chart that she was in the first week of her third trimester - the time when, under Iowa's fetal homicide law, a violent act perpetrated against a pregnant woman could be considered criminal. The nurse called over the doctor who then called the police - which is when Christine Taylor found herself arrested and sent to jail for admitting uncertainty about her pregnancy and fear about raising three children on her own.

Luckily we don't live in a country where religious fanatics use the power of the state to control women. And I'm sure we have nothing to worry about if these people gain total control of one of the two political parties in the nation.

Update: Ms Magazine published a very interesting story about Dr Tiller's assassin and his violent associates. A lonewolf he wasn't.