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Rachel Maddow: Right-Wing Terrorism Must Be Stopped

The tactics of anti-choice extremists are designed to change policy by terrorizing Americans. How do we stop them from committing violent acts?

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But we can‘t do what we‘ve done in the past and say, “Because there was an attack, our system must not be working.”  I think we have to accept that, unfortunately, we‘re not going to be able to protect against all attacks.  And this guy represents the greatest vulnerability in the law and in terms of law enforcement.

The guy who‘s out there, you know, some dark corner, filled with hate, against the world, and he takes it upon himself to personify it into one person—we may not be able to stop that.  And efforts to try to stop that, I think, are going to likely be fruitless.

But the reason I appreciate what you‘re saying is that you‘re very mindful that we walk this careful line ...

MADDOW:  Yes.

TURLEY:  ... in protecting speech and looking for that speech that presents imminent threats.

MADDOW:  And looking for the—yes, exactly, protecting our constitutional values, protecting the reason that it matters that we have an America, as opposed to any other country, but also taking these threats to security seriously.  It‘s what we‘ve been talking about in all of these different contexts for eight years now.

Constitutional law professor, Jonathan Turley, thank you so much for your time tonight. It‘s really helpful.

TURLEY:  Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  In the context of an extremist anti-abortion movement that has seen the murder of seven abortion providers and clinic workers in a five-year period during the course of the ‘90s, that saw another doctor shot by a sniper in his own home in the late ‘90s, a movement that publicly, openly celebrates the people who have killed these doctors as heroes—what should we make of it when figures in the media denounce other doctors already targeted by these groups as Nazis, as killers, as people with blood on their hands?

Back in April, the Department of Homeland Security was lambasted by conservatives for publishing a report on the potential for violence from right-wing extremist groups.  It was the Bush administration that had actually commissioned the report and they had done one on the potential for violence from left-wing groups, too, but that did not stop conservatives from getting very, very angry about that report.

At least three Republican members of Congress, Michele Bachmann, John Carter, and Michael Burgess said that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano should resign for having issued that report.  Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said that report meant that Napolitano had an awful lot of explaining to do.

That report actually warned for the potential for violent behavior from far right-wing groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion.  DHS got even more specific in March, warning about, quote, “antiabortion extremism” groups and “sovereign citizen movement” such as a group called the “Freemen.”

We know now the man who is the chief suspect in the killing of Dr.  George Tiller was reportedly associated both, with extremist anti-abortion groups and with the sovereign citizen movement known as the Freemen.

Still think Janet Napolitano ought to resign for that outrageous warning about guys like Scott Roeder?

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BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST:  Tiller the baby killer out in Kansas, acquitted—acquitted today of murdering babies.  I wanted George Tiller, Tiller the baby killer, going—hey, I can‘t make more money killing babies now.  Tiller the baby killer.  As “The Factor” has been reporting, this man will terminate fetuses at anytime for $5,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What do you think about Dr. George Tiller?