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Commentary: Tiller's shooting was domestic terrorism

One man shoots another man dead at church because of a vehement disagreement with the victim over an issue with deep political, ideological and moral implications.

That's just wrong.

But it's more than that. When one American takes the life of another in the nation's heartland over an issue with deep political, ideological and moral implications, that's domestic terrorism.

And regardless of anyone's perspective on abortion, such violence is unacceptable as a tool for changing the way society or any individuals treat that difficult and divisive issue.

As a legal matter, Scott P. Roeder, 51, who is facing a charge of first-degree murder, is presumed innocent until and unless the government proves him guilty of killing Dr. George Tiller.

News reports have depicted Roeder as someone who stopped paying his taxes; who was in league with fringe groups that resisted federal authority; and who equated Tiller with a Nazi concentration camp doctor. Holding extreme beliefs isn't a crime in this country – but acting on them with violence, or inciting others to do so, most certainly is.

Tiller had gained fame and notoriety for running a clinic where he performed abortions on women whose pregnancies were in the second and third trimesters, the time at which a fetus usually can survive outside the womb.

Tiller was ushering May 31 at his Lutheran church in Wichita, Kan., when he was gunned down by an assailant who then drove off.

Whether a late-term abortion is a tragically necessary option or a murder itself is a question that arouses passions, and reasonable people can disagree about the morality of Tiller's practice.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.