For years now, pro-torture advocates have given us the same scenario to justify enhanced interrogation: What if a terrorist had information of more violence, murder, and attacks on Americans to come? Wouldn't torture be justified to get that information and save lives? It's the ticking time bomb plot, that scene from "24," where if we only force the information out of the terrorist, who knows how many lives will be saved?
Today, that real life terrorist is Scott Roeder, the man alleged to have shot and killed Dr. George Tiller because Tiller performed abortions. Roeder has not been convicted of anything yet, but he has been charged and sits in prison and told the AP yesterday that there are more planned assassinations of doctors who perform abortions. If, like the detainees of Guantanamo Bay, provable guilt isn't the standard for torture, we can get started on Roeder, correct? Here is a man who tells us he knows of more murders to come -- do we torture him to save lives?
The only thing that doesn't fit the pro-torture scenario is that Roeder is a white man and not a Muslim. Let's ask the question anyway: where is the right wing pro-torture faction when it comes to water boarding a domestic terrorist who happens to be a right-wing American?
Roeder puts into perfect perspective why we don't torture -- it's not about the truth, it's about revenge. Like the death penalty, who we decide to hand out these punishments to has a lot more to do with it than what they did or why they did it. The statistics show that when convicted for the same capital punishment crimes, men get the death penalty more than women, and men of color get the death penalty more than white men. These decisions are based on cultural issues that have nothing to do with justice, seeking justice, or getting the truth.
So no, Scott Roeder is not worth torturing, nor is anyone.