John Sides ponders psychological explanations for the alleged murderer/assassin of George Tiller’s behavior, noting recent research on the motivations of extremists:
Is there some salient new “threat” that would have heightened Roeder’s concern about Tiller? Lots of research suggests that threat is a crucial motivator of violence. ... However, I’m not sure what the threat is in the case of [alleged assassin] and Tiller. Some have suggested that Bill O’Reilly’s criticism of Tiller is to blame.
I’ll freely admit that if I owned a commercial television network I wouldn’t give Bill O’Reilly a platform to express his views (as, for that matter, I’d cancel any programming that featured latter-day Know Nothing nativist Lou Dobbs or someone who spends most of his program, as far as I can tell, whining about the guy who kicks his ass in the ratings in the same timeslot—namely, Keith Olbermann).* Sides goes on to explain this theory is lacking too, in any event.
There is a reasonably plausible threat hypothesis, however; for the first time in eight years, there is a Democratic, pro-choice president in the White House who just happens to have nominated a left-leaning, presumably (if we are to believe the White House’s spin machine) pro-choice candidate to a vacancy on the Supreme Court, which is where (for better or worse) our political system has decided abortion policy is to be decided. I’d imagine if you’re just a wee bit crazy to begin with that might activate the super-crazy neurons a bit, even if it’s just related to hearing people on the news yammer on about the nomination “reigniting” the abortion debate.
Then again, maybe his dog told him to do it.
* Clearly my network would go out of business for lacking viewership, but nobody ever believed I had much television programming acumen anyway.