Here’s a situation where police must be wishing for a do-over: The suspect in Dr. George Tiller’s murder was caught vandalizing a clinic the day before Sunday’s shooting. Scott Roeder wasn’t arrested or questioned; he didn’t even have a patrol car intimidatingly cruise by his house late at night. Instead, Roeder was left undisturbed while he allegedly planned his next-day attack on the Kansas doctor. This news comes on the heels of Kate Harding’s excellent post about how difficult it is for abortion providers to get law enforcement to respond to harassment from pro-life groups, and it raises an important question: Could Tiller’s assassination have been prevented by law enforcement?
While I wouldn’t recommend they go full-metal-Patriot Act on every fetus fetishist who stumbles by a clinic (or in the case of Tiller clinic protesters, crawls on their hands and knees), law enforcement clearly has to start taking these creeps more seriously. A lot more seriously. Vandalism at a clinic — are you fucking kidding me? That should set off alarm bells and screaming red alerts. If they’d taken Roeder in and run a check on him, they would have found that he was arrested with a bomb 13 years ago and maybe put 2 + 2 together. This was a law enforcement failure of epic proportions.
Armed marshalls are now guarding some clinics (and about fucking time), but there’s something else that needs to happen immediately: bubble zones around clinics. Protests should never be allowed within high-powered rifle range of a clinic. Clinic protests serve no purpose anyway but to whip the deranged into an even more feverish frenzy, escalating their madness and contributing to the kind of wretched violence that happened on Sunday. It’s long past time that this ghoulish practice was ended — the fetishists can protest their shriveled little hearts out, 1/2 a mile away.