...but that's how things work in a nation of laws.
The accused murderer of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller, Scott Roeder, had all the makings of a domestic Christian terrorist. In 1996, he was arrested for sporting bogus license plates. Police discovered bomb components and instructions in Roeder's car. He declared himself above the law, subject only to what he decided were "common sense" laws. The judge called Roeder a threat to public safety and sentenced him to probation. Roeder proceeded to violate that probation and get arrested a year later for tax delinquency. (See KAKE TV video here.) His religious fanatacism—"very religious in an Old Testament, eye-for-an-eye way" says his ex-wife—caused the collapse of his family. He subscribed to literature that justified the assassination of abortion providers. He associated with known anti-government groups like the Kansas Unorganized Citizens Militia and a Freemen group called "One Supreme Court."
Just a week ago, Roeder was caught on videotape vandalizing a Kansas City clinic, but a clinic worker said the video wasn't strong enough evidence to support a conviction. Another worker reported Roeder's license plate number to the FBI on Saturday, but the FBI said (CNN's words) "nothing could be done with the information until a federal grand jury convened."
There was as much evidence against this religious fanatic as there is against any detainee in Guantanamo Bay that he was a threat to public safety. Yet this man was not detained indefinitely without charge or subjected to torture. He received due process, and his original conviction was overturned on the technicality that the police had not followed the law in searching his vehicle. Due process and the Constitution allowed this religious terrorist to go free, to escape justice long enough to kill an American citizen on American soil.
But I still love the Fourth Amendment and the Constitution. I still want domestic wiretaps and the whole Patriot Act repealed. I still want all religious terrorists, whether in Guantanamo Bay or the Sedgwick County Jail in Wichita, to be charged and tried or, if the government doesn't have a case, to be set free.
Such is the price we pay for being America, for choosing laws over tyranny.
Note: I extend my appreciation to Ken Blanchard, who issues an unequivocal denunciation of domestic terrorism. Why can't Pastor Hickey and other abortion opponents speak that clearly?
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