Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Swine flu, terror and Susan Boyle

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  • Grant Dexter,

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall anyone here doing so.

    From the blog:

    The murder of Dr George Tiller in Kansas yesterday can only be regarded as American domestic terrorism.... The suspect arrested has ties to right-wing extremist groups

    The murderer might well be correctly regarded as a terrorist. But it is dangerous to paint right wing organisations as extremist simply on association when the groups do not condone, condemn and disassociate themselves from the murderer.

    If you can show these groups identifying with and celebrating Tiller's murder then Russell might have a point. Until then his ideas are dangerous.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    "Do not condone, do condemn, do disassociate" ... sorry.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Russell. If you can point to the pro-life organisations that are celebrating Tiller's murder then you might be justified in linking the pro-life label to terrorism.

    "George Tiller was a mass-murderer and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed."

    That's Randall Terry, head of Operation Rescue, in the last few hours.

    Scott Roeder, the man charged, is a longtime member of the Freemen group, whose tenets include the reversal of Roe v Wade and the prohibition of abortion. These militias very commonly take what they describe as a "pro-life" platform. Eric Rudolph, who committed the deadly bombing at the Atlantic Olympics, was part of the same crowd -- indeed, he graduated to murdering concertgoers in Atlanta from bombing an abortion clinic.

    Roeder was a subscriber to Prayer and Action News, a periodical that advanced the "justifiable homicide" philosophy. He posted on the Operation Rescue website. And he seems to have personally participated in countless pro-life group protests at clinics.

    Is that enough for you?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Saying the suspect arrested has ties to right-wing extremist groups is not the same thing as saying all pro-lifers are terrorists. You're attempting to deny a link that hasn't been made here. Thus you're arguing with yourself. I hope that goes well for you.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Is that enough for you?

    I'm going to look into my crystal ball and guess... no.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6201 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    "George Tiller was a mass-murderer and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed" is not a celebration of the murder or a condoning of the murderer's actions. From that very same link, "The man who shot him was responsible".

    We are on different sides of the abortion debate, but you cannot use the illegal and immoral actions of one man in order to win points on that issue.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    Saying the suspect arrested has ties to right-wing extremist groups is not the same thing as saying all pro-lifers are terrorists. You're attempting to deny a link that hasn't been made here. Thus you're arguing with yourself. I hope that goes well for you.

    If you believe there is no reason to be suspicious of right wing groups as being the source of and promoters of terrorists then I have no quarrel.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    "pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, playing cricket is not".

    Teach me to use a phrase I originally heard on Laidlaw's Sunday Morning ...

    I was not attempting to define terrorism, Mikaere. It is just profoundly disingenuous and dangerous to start painting entire groups of people as potential terrorists on the actions of one man.

    What do you call people who promote (either explicitly or implicitly) "justifiable" killings of doctors who perform abortions ? I know that the existence of extremists within a group does not mean that the whole group are extremists. However, if the group does nothing to distance themselves from these calls for terrorist actions, they surely run the risk of being seen as terrorism enablers ?

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 455 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Does anyone else see a parallel with the "smacking" thread?

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    From that very same link, "The man who shot him was responsible".

    So (I paraphrase) "nothing to do with us, but the guy got what was coming to him" isn't condoning?

    But hey, let's go with this: I believe al Qaeda has never formally claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, so perhaps some history needs re-writing there.

    But honestly Grant, I've already lost track of whatever it is you're trying to argue.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    What do you call people who promote (either explicitly or implicitly) "justifiable" killings of doctors who perform abortions ? I know that the existence of extremists within a group does not mean that the whole group are extremists. However, if the group does nothing to distance themselves from these calls for terrorist actions, they surely run the risk of being seen as terrorism enablers ?

    Sure. I can agree with that. Could you show us some groups that are acting in such a manner? I have yet to read one statement from a pro-life organisation that has endorsed Tiller's murder as the right thing for the killer to do. If you can show us those groups then you will have some evidence on your side.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Teach me to use a phrase I originally heard on Laidlaw's Sunday Morning...

    The quote originally comes from the legendary sports journalist T.P. McLean: "Sport is the study of the human being under pressure."

    I've been dining out on it ever since.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    But honestly Grant, I've already lost track of whatever it is you're trying to argue.

    Do you think right wing or pro life groups should be regarded as the source of terrorists?

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    However it is grossly unfair and dangerous to paint all pro-life people as groups potential terrorists on the actions of one man.

    Nobody has painted all pro-life people as potential terrorists, I think you might be projecting your way of thinking onto others there.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Blake Monkley,

    That's Randall Terry, head of Operation Rescue, in the last few hours.

    The Operation rescue website claims Terry left in 1991 and there seems to be trademark issues. This is Terry official website.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The quote originally comes from the legendary sports journalist T.P. McLean: "Sport is the study of the human being under pressure."

    I hope the human beings from a Pittsburgh team are going to behave under pressure better than other human beings from a Detroit team tomorrow. Or at least score more goals.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I really don't care how Grant manages to overcome his cognitive dissonance over people committing murderous violence in support of ideals he holds. I'd rather not accompany him on that particular personal journey, so I'd like to contribute to steering him elsewhere by counting up his PA posts on this subject and donating a commensurate amount to a pro-choice charity.

    I don't know if there's a NZ equivalent to Medical Students for Choice, but I'm sure Family Planning would appreciate a bit of help. Perhaps $10 per post?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 812 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    Make it $20.

    I'll be posting every day now! :)

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    Do you think right wing or pro life groups should be regarded as the source of terrorists?

    Well it's unarguably demonstrable that they are a source of terrorists.

    And because I can't really be bothered engaging you in the theological debate your trying to pick, I'll point you in the way of the enlightened Marcus Brigstocke. He says everything I'd like to, just in a more comedic fashion. I implore you to pay particular attention around the 6 minute mark:

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    arrgh. Grammar fail. that should be "you're".

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Susan Snowdon,

    Is there *any* sense in which the evidently premeditated gunning down of an unarmed man is *not* murder? Seriously?

    No. And that includes capital punishment. State santioned murder/terrorism.

    Since Mar 2008 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    Well it's unarguably demonstrable that they are a source of terrorists.

    On what evidence?

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    "Sport is the study of the human being under pressure."

    Though that would also apply to exams, debates, job interviews, poker and the performing arts. Oh, and most jobs.

    Personally, I'm happy with a definition that includes non-physical activity, and always used to defend my school mates from the thugs who scorned the fact that they could get sports blazers because they represented the school in chess. Whaddarya?! However, the definition with which I'm most comfortable is "a competitive recreational activity with an element of skill".

    That would include chess and most card games, but exclude pure gambling. It would exclude things such as work, which are often competitive but not usually performed as recreation. It would also exclude purely recreational activities such as going for a run, catching fish or climbing mountains, unless you're explicitly trying to do those things faster, bigger or earlier than someone else. Dancing, cooking, drinking or spelling? Probably.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Grant might also wish to refer to the case of James Kopp, a very close associate of Terry's in the foundation of Operation Rescue. He's kind of off the scene now, on account of having been jailed for 25 years for murdering a doctor in 1998.

    The Operation rescue website claims Terry left in 1991 and there seems to be trademark issues. This is Terry official website.

    Yeah, just catching up with all that craziness. There's some more in the link above. Terry also shunned his daughter after she got pregnant out of wedlock (WTF?) and tries to pretend he doesn't have a gay son.

    Meanwhile, a Kos diarist has memories of Tiller that don't fit the "killer" image.

    I really think the role of various right-wing media demagogues needs to be questioned here. There are already various video montages of Bill O'Reilly claiming over and over that Tiller "specialised" in the killing of "thousands" of "babies about to be born", as if he did so unmolested.

    In reality, Kansas is one of only 10 US states that requires two independent doctors to verify a prognosis of "irreparable harm" to the mother of the pregnancy proceeds.

    About 1% of US abortions are carried out at or after 21 weeks. No statistics are kept on terminations very late in pregnancy, but it's reasonable to assume the number is vanishingly small, and that those cases resemble the one I linked to in the original post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    That we allow Police to use force & even kill is a cultural construct. That no crime has been committed due to the lack of intent is a cultural construct. It is pretty clear that American shooting is a murder, by our shared cultural construct.

    We simply pick and choose as fits our culture at the time.

    There's a sense in which some of that is true, but it's a fairly banal observation. I agree with your original comment that it can be interesting to look at the different cultural constructs around what society considers to be legitimate killing, but the specific comparison you were alluding to was pretty spurious.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1156 posts Report Reply

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