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George Tiller’s Murder: Not Domestic Terrorism

So sayeth Jonathan Turley on Rachel Maddow last night:

MADDOW:  I‘m making these observations politically just as a citizen, but I wanted to ask you tonight if it‘s legally appropriate, legally useful, to approach this problem as terrorism?

TURLEY:  Well, in some cases, it is.  You know, some of these past cases have elements of terrorism.  Rudolph is a good example of that—although, you know, he was not just anti-abortion, he was anti-homosexual.  He was sort of at war with the world.  And that makes this definition a little more difficult.

Some of us, particularly on the civil libertarian side, are uncomfortable with using the terrorism label because, you know, the Bush administration expanded this definition to the breaking point.  I testified not long ago in Congress of how the Bush administration would classify what were rudimentary criminal cases as terrorism cases and use these laws against them.

The problem we have, as you know, is to deal with lone actors like this.  I don‘t believe that the man who killed Dr. Tiller was a classic terrorist.  I think that he was a murderer.  He assassinated him.

But I don‘t see the elements of an organized terrorist plot.  And in many ways, he‘s the most dangerous thing that we face.

I think the Clinton administration got this right when they really saw the danger as the McVeigh type—this lone actor who goes out there, who may be fueled by rhetoric, but who‘s acting alone.  In this case, it looks like he targeted this very doctor who had been demonized by many.


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