Whatever one thinks of what George Tiller did for a living, and for the thousands of women who visited his East Kellogg clinic over the decades, the only appropriate response to his murder Sunday was shock, followed by condemnation.
Tiller was a divisive figure, dedicated to the cause of providing women with abortions even late into their pregnancies. His fortress of a clinic along the city's busiest thoroughfare was the site of almost constant sidewalk protest, peaking with the 1991 Summer of Mercy blockades and arrests. The nature of his practice made him impossible to ignore in the community.
Yet it's unimaginable that Tiller – or anyone – could be gunned down in his place of worship on a Sunday morning in our community, in what appeared to be a cold-blooded assassination.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the doctor's loved ones and friends, for whom the murder had to be the realization of a long-held fear.
Obviously, the overwhelming majority of those who consider themselves pro-life in the community and country do not advocate or condone the killing of abortion providers. Several local and national pro-life groups responded to the murder with unequivocal condemnation.
Still, sadly, it won't be surprising if the searing heat of the debate, and the extreme name-calling directed by some toward Tiller, once again motivated someone to think such an act of violence was justifiable. Tiller was previously shot in 1993, and his clinic was bombed in 1986 and has been subjected to numerous acts of vandalism.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Wichita Eagle.