Bill O’Reilly is morally corrupt. He incited the terrorist assasination of Dr. Tiller. Anyone who doesn’t understand this obvious fact, either lacks rationality or morality.
Yes, people have a right to free speech. But such freedoms are dependent on being used responsibly. There are various scenarios where the justification of free speech doesn’t apply. Yelling fire in a crowded theater is one and inciting violence is another. It’s true that O’Reilly treaded the edge of inciting violence, but I think it’s clear he went too far. He called Tiller a “baby killer” many times and he had been attacking Tiller for years.
O’Reilly said that the reason other doctors won’t perform late term abortions is because they know the fetus is a life. No, the reason they won’t is because they’re afraid for their lives. Dr. Tiller had survived an assasination attempt years before. He drove an armored vehicle and wore a bullet-proof vest. Dr. Tiller lived in fear for his life. The violence of anti-abortion activists is rampant. There is good reason to be afraid.
Knowing the violence against Dr. Tiller and knowing the atmosphere of violence, O’Reilly continued to incite violence and has since refused to take responsibility. O’Reilly said Dr. Tiller had blood on his hands, was a baby killer and executed babies, operated a death mill, and must be stopped. In light of all of this, how can O’Reilly or anyone else be surprised by the inevitable results?
On June 12, 2007, he said, “Yes, I think we all know what this is. And if the state of Kansas doesn’t stop this man, then anybody who prevents that from happening has blood on their hands as the governor does right now, Governor Sebelius.”Three days later, he added, “No question Dr. Tiller has blood on his hands. But now so does Governor Sebelius. She is not fit to serve. Nor is any Kansas politician who supports Tiller’s business of destruction. I wouldn’t want to be these people if there is a Judgment Day. I just — you know … Kansas is a great state, but this is a disgrace upon everyone who lives in Kansas. Is it not?”
Bill O’Reilly constantly draws lines between entertainers and the behavior of their fans, said David Knowles in Politics Daily, especially when he’s venting against gangsta rap. O’Reilly “never actually directed anybody to go out and shoot” Tiller. But it’s certainly fair to ask whether he incited the likes of Scott Roeder by accusing Tiller of “executing babies” and running a Nazi-style “death mill.”
Going by O’Reilly’s own logic, a case is easily made linking O’Reilly inciting of violence to the actual violence incited.
Some argue that the killing was justified since, as O’Reilly said repeatedly, Dr. Tiller was a “baby killer”. There are two responses to this. First, abortion is legal and assasinations are illegal. Second, late-term abortions are only legal when the mother’s health or life is threatened. No one is advocating late-term abortions for anyone who happens to want it. And all of those who argue that late-term abortions are never morally justified must be ignorant of the facts.
Let me use the very example that O’Reilly used. He interviewed a woman who had an abortion by Dr. Tiller when she was 13. The girl was on O’Reilly’s show because she regretted it. Did O’Reilly think to interview Dr. Tiller, some other abortion doctor, or a medical expert about the specifics of this case? Nope. Because of O’Reilly’s shoddy reporting, I can only guess about this woman’s case. The most obvious possibility is that young girls aren’t fully developed and it can be a severe health risk for them to try to carry a fetus to full-term and give birth. Who would advocate for the future potential life of a fetus at the risk of the future potential death of the mother?
Dr. Tiller saw his work as a moral obligation. It was his moral strength that helped him to continue despite his very real fears. He was his purpose as helping women. You may disagree with individual decisions he made about specific cases, but the inciting of violence is unforgivable.
According to the Nation Abortion Federation, Dr. Tiller is the 8th doctor to be killed by anti-abortion activists and there are another 17 who have been targeted.