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June 2, 2009

Just A Typical Monday In Front Of The (Now Dead) Abortionist’s Office


This photo, published on the NYT front page today, is troubling me no end.

The captions reads:

Mark S. Geitzen, chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life, parked his truck outside Dr. Tiller’s clinic in Wichita on Monday morning. Mr. Geitzen was asked by the clinic’s security guards to move his truck, and he complied after leaving a sign at the site.

In a Wikipedia profile, the owner is identified as follows:

Gietzen is the chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life. One of the major projects of this organization is to place crosses each day on public property in front of George Tiller’s late-term abortion facility in Wichita. As part of this project, pro-life volunteers are present on public property in front of the facility whenever it is open for business. Gietzen has been protesting the facility since 1978.

Here are just a few of my questions/reactions:

* I don’t see how this truck and this image, positioned so, represents anything less than an act of domestic psychological terrorism.
* I was going to ask, ‘what sick mind would actually park this thing across from Tiller’s office the day after his murder?’, but this kind of sickness knows no bounds.
* Has this vehicle/signage appeared regularly in this proximity to the clinic? Is there no way to have it removed on any legal basis, or is it completely protected under free speech?
* Related question: Did Tiller have any recourse to challenge the use of his image this way?
* I can imagine these nut jobs following Tiller around with cameras 24/7 and capturing this photo in front of a hospital. On the other hand, however, I’m also wondering if it might have been (even partially) photoshopped?
* Isn’t the face of the female EMT blanked out? I’m further appalled by the meticulousness and the pinpoint targeting whereby, in the course of this horrific defamation, somebody thought to protect the privacy of the ambulance worker.

(The photo is also part of a NYT slideshow titled: “Suspect in Doctor’s Death in Custody.” Geitzen, himself, appears in front of the clinic in the fifth photo.)

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(image: Steve Hebert/Atlas Press for The New York Times. June 1, 2009, Wichita, KS)

  • vicki

    You nailed it with: …this kind of sickness knows no bounds.
    It is troubling because it is nothing short of impossible to imagine what goes on in these minds.

  • lq

    I lived in Berkeley, CA, for 17 years, using Bay Area Rapid Transit to commute. Several times, the local foaming at the mouth ‘right to life’ guy would bring his unbelievably horrific pictures of aborted foetuses and set them up right outside the fare gates; you HAD to walk past them. I learned the first time I passed them that if I challenged him, he would yell at me. Then I would walk to my home, call the police, and tell them he yelled at me. Within minutes (less than five) the police would be there and make him shut his side show down. Maybe that wouldn’t work elsewhere, but it worked in Berkeley.

  • donna

    I don’t ever want to hear these people describe themselves as “pro life” again. They are anything but.
    They are terrorists.

  • dada

    Why use “Abortionist” in your title?
    I suppose you’re referencing the activities of the protestors, but why help them along by spreading use of this term?
    Tiller was an OB/GYN doctor who provided abortion services including late-term abortions.
    Why not write instead: “Just a typical Monday in front of the (now dead) doctor’s office”.

  • bystander

    I suspect it’s protected under the first Amendment. Similar efforts have been made in other controversies, like this one in relation to California’s Proposition 8.

    She and her husband gave $30,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign and put a sign on their home. But in response, two women parked an SUV in front of their home, with the words “Bigots live here” painted on the windshield.


    When the “Yes on 8” sign Bob and Michele Sundstrom had placed in their front yard was stolen, the couple replaced it with a banner over their garage only to find some very public criticism of their position park in front of their house.
    On Sunday, two people parked an SUV on the street outside the couple’s home, painted it with the slogan “bigots live here,” locked the vehicle and left.
    Because the SUV outside the Sundstrom residence is legally parked, police said they cannot ticket or tow until the vehicle has been in the same spot for at least three days.

    I grant there is a magnitude of difference between the events which precipitated the behavioral choice, but it’d be hard, I think, to draw a legal bright line between them.
    That said, a crass disregard for this death seems to be typical for adherents of authoritarian christian anti-abortion fundamentalism. They play in crazy gear. And, there is no governor on the engine that drives them.

  • Cyranetta

    The EMT worker’s face being blanked out to me indicates the erasure of women as a whole as having any agency in their little drama. You have to make her disappear (and all the individuality of abortion causes and cases) to keep the energy of your deadly movement at fever pitch.

  • Vulture Breath

    Roeder’s wife said he changed suddenly a decade ago – he’d been looking for a scapegoat and stopped paying his taxes. Can’t you always trace a murderous sicko back to the tax issue?

  • san antone rose

    The most troubling aspect of the picture on the back of the truck is the EMT’s blanked out face. Wow. The only discernible woman in the photo has no identity. If that’s not a summary of this “culture war,” then nothing is.

  • vh

    It’s not about abortion, they just use this as a tactic to scare, and repress women’s choice, and their faces. They can’t even look into the faces of the women. If abortion was never to be done again, these people would use other means to get their world view across. The narrow lives they inhabit, stirred up in the abortion debate, is just a symptom of the views they hold. It’s home grown terrorism, no different than any other sort around the world.

  • Tena

    Can we just get rid of Kansas, please? The whole damn state is crazy; so is Oklahoma. We can live without them.

  • Tena

    “It’s not about abortion, they just use this as a tactic to scare, and repress women’s choice, and their faces”
    Of course, vh – that was classic terrorism. They murdered him in his church to terrify every doctor in the country. It was classic.

  • CF2K

    Everybody here in Wichita knows that Mark Gietzen is a sick f*ck who was convicted of spousal abuse. Hilariously, while running for public office, Gietzen tried to sue his opponent for libel for bringing up this criminal episode. Gietzen lost.
    In 2006, while sitting in a local Starbucks, I heard Gietzen and Cheryl Sullenger (Operation Rescue nutcase whose phone # was found in Scott Roeder’s car) grill a prospective gubernatorial candidate over whether he was a committed “culture warrior.” Creey beyond words. So sad that Wichita only makes the national media because of serial killers and zombies who commit political assassinations.
    What, while South Carolina and Alabma get to stay in the Union? Kansas was, at least, a Free State.

  • Serr8d

    Wow. Tiller had a great toupée, didn’t he? Who gets that now, I wonder?
    (Oh, and Tena, I vote we get rid of the bluest of the Left’s macrophage cities in California and New York; keeping the heartlands of both beautiful states intact. Oh, and let’s be rid of D.C. entirely.)

  • Rachael

    Could someone please tell me why, if a person doesn’t support the gays and they don’t support a women’s right to choose, why on earth are they living in the progressive state of California?? Drives me up a wall.

  • Kitt

    This is so about misogyny – and I’m sick of it.

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