A day after Dr. George Tiller was gunned down, one of his most vehement critics expressed no regret for the inflammatory rhetoric with which he has repeatedly denounced the Kansas doctor.
In a hastily convened press conference at the National Press Club, Randall Terry, founder of the group Operation Rescue, said that his main concern in the wake of Tiller's death was not that the culture wars had become overheated, causing his fellow pro-life advocates to flinch from the debate.
"The pro-live movement right now is in a crossroads," said Terry. "We have become steadily and politically irrelevant. Our leadership is either retiring or dying and many of the new leaders do not have the fortitude or clarity of thought to not flinch in an hour of crisis like this."
"President Obama, the pro-abortion groups and their friends on Capitol Hill are going to try to browbeat the pro-life movement into surrounding our rhetoric, our actions, and our images," he added. "We must not flinch. We must not retreat a single inch."
Speaking in a small room to a handful of reporters, Terry called Tiller, "demonic" and "diabolical," a "mass murderer" who "reaped what he sowed." But he denied playing any role in contributing to the frenzied environment that led to the doctor's shooting.
Indeed, Terry's main concern was not the murder itself, but the perilous state in which he believes the pro-life movement now finds itself. Terry made no effort to hide the fact that he was on a media blitz, saying at one point that he was playing "hardball" with the press right now. Later, he promised to give a reporter a "sound bite" after he offered a longer answer.
"There are going to be hostile elements that are going to try and derail the entire movement because George Tiller's death," he said. "And I'm not going to let that happen."