It's almost a syllogism.
1. Anyone who is engaged in the pursuit of killing someone falls into the Talmudic category - "Rodef" - pursuer - and you can kill that person to save the life of the person being targeted.Now to be completely Talmudic, you rightfully may reply to this with what appears at first to be a valid counterargument.
2. On the air, Bill O'Reilly identified Dr. George Tiller as, "Tiller the Baby Killer" i. e., as a full-fledged Talmudic Rodef who is engaged in killing babies.
3. Thereby O'Reilly gave his sanction to others to kill Dr. Tiller.
You may say - aha - that the abortionist himself is the Talmudic Rodef because he is engaged in killing babies - and it should therefore be sanctioned to kill him.
The weakness of this argument is however dramatic and clear.
The Talmud does not deem a foetus to be a person. Nor does American law. So a doctor who performs abortions cannot be classified as a Rodef.
[Brad Hirschfield on Beliefnet discusses issues related to these arguments in his post, "Killing Doctors Who Perform Abortions: A Jewish Perspective." Psst. We like it better when a writer doesn't give a "perspective" and rather offers greater clarity on an issue.]
Accordingly our decision of law in Talmudic terms must be that Bill O'Reilly bears responsibility for falsely labeling Dr. Tiller a Rodef and for thereby causing his death.
In a further step of Talmudic analysis, it remains to be determined if O'Reilly, after falsely accusing Tiller of being a Rodef, thus leading to his ultimate murder, himself became a Rodef - a pursuer of Dr. Tiller - attempting to cause his death.
If that were the case, it would have been permissible for someone, say perhaps Keith Olbermann, to act against O'Reilly and kill him first before he caused the death of Dr. Tiller.
We are glad that Olbermann speaks up against the O'Reillys of our world and does not go out and commit violence.
We want to make this clear. In this blog - on Talmudic or on any other religious or logical grounds - we do not sanction acts of vigilante terrorist violence.