Wichita Is Familiar with the Insane:
The Rude Pundit doesn't know if Scott Roeder was in the crowd outside the Women's Health Care Services clinic, where Dr. George R. Tiller was working, on that godawful hot day in Wichita, Kansas in late July 1991, during Operation Rescue's Summer of Mercy protests, but the Rude Pundit was there. He had been driving across the country pell-mell, stopping where he had the whim, and he was on his way across Kansas, driving all night from Limon, Colorado, when he veered off track into the Wichita morning to see what this Randall Terry fucker was up to.
He didn't need a map of the town. He just followed a car plastered with "Jesus Loves Fetus"-type signs off the interstate and right into town to the crappy-looking little building, the clinic that was, for all intents and purposes, the Alamo. Parking a few blocks away to make an easy exit if it was needed, the Rude Pundit walked the sidewalks over to the street near the gate surrounding Tiller's place of work. Moving through the scene was like watching a long tracking shot in a Fellini epic.
When he wasn't stepping over praying families, including children with their eyes scrunched tightly closed, the Rude Pundit was having papers shoved in his hands, gruesome descriptions and photographs, as if he thought any medical procedure was a clean, bloodless act. The signs all around, "Tiller the Killer" (popular before Bill O'Reilly started saying it), "Baby Killer," and other variations on murder, as well as the condemnations to hell. The Rude Pundit's been around angry, hateful people before, but he's rarely ever been around hundreds of deluded assholes who were screeching, speaking in tongues, and calling out to God to smite others. Imagine being on a street with a thousand people tripping on bad acid trip. And they're also on angel dust. You can punch them if you want, and, oh, the Rude Pundit wanted to, but it's about as useful as punching a wall of Jello.
Occasionally the cops would arrest someone for crawling to block the gate. More often one or more of the anti-abortion protesters would get into a screaming match with the pro-choice supporters, who were holding signs about what a fucktard Randall Terry was (is). The Rude Pundit hadn't slept. The President was George H.W. Bush, and he was trying to avoid doing jack shit so as not to piss off the base for next year's election. The Operation Rescue zealots were arrested for loitering. The only way to win was for the clinic to goddamn open.
The Rude Pundit got back on the road, getting the fuck out of Wichita, drive until he could find a Stuckey's or something. He knows dozens of women who have gotten abortions. For every single one of them, it was a significant decision, not taken lightly. For most, it is just a circumstance of their lives as women. For some, it is a burden they must bear. Almost none regret the act.
The Rude Pundit left before the clinic opened, which it did. Tiller had gone inside (he thinks). No, he never got a look at the now-dead doctor. But he remembers thinking that nearly every person he walked past had the potential to commit violence, that violence is never far from those who believe that another is committing an act against a voice in their heads. Randall Terry made Wichita into a war zone. He pushed it to this moment of crisis all those years ago. And, finally, now he has another scalp he can hang from his belt.