Not to be pedantic, but Dr. George Tiller is not “our (Theo) Van Gogh”, as a commentor writes to Andrew Sullivan. Theo Van Gogh was an obnoxious, deliberately provocative lout who called Muslims “goat-fuckers” and milked anti-Muslim sentiment for television ratings. He was at times extremely funny, but if he were working in the US he would have been kicked off the air for racism and bigotry in five minutes. He wasn’t a one-trick pony, he’d done good viciously satirical “Borat”-type stuff before he started going after Muslims and he actually made a rather touching “Romeo and Juliet” teledrama about a romance between a Muslim and non-Muslim teenager. But he was a slovenly provocateur who got killed because he was playing with fire in an ammunition dump.
Dr. George Tiller was not a provocateur. He was a professional doctor. He ran a fertility clinic that, along with many other reproductive services, conducted late-term abortions. He practiced medicine according to his convictions and refused to be cowed by political intimidation and harassment. He must have been a very stubborn man, but he fell into a civil war by accident, because he was treating patients in the fashion he felt they needed to be treated. Theo van Gogh deliberately stirred up the conflict that killed him. George Tiller was dragged into a conflict he never sought.
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