Private Long was a young man who was using his skills and abilities to help defend his country. Dr. Tiller was a mature man who had spent much of his life using his skills and abilities to kill babies in the third trimester.
And now, they're both dead.
America being the sort of country it is, their deaths are being investigated by agents of the law enforcement branches of government.
I've read headlines today with messages like The Associated Press's "Feds launch probe into abortion doctor killing."
'Trusting Your Feelings:' Less Effort than Thinking; Less Reliable, TooOne of my first reactions, reading those headlines, was to feel that great attention was being paid to the killing of an abortionist, while the death of an American soldier in a recruiting office was considered of little interest.
I haven't studied news coverage, across America, to see if that's actually happening in the news media.
I did, however, find that America's legal machinery is working on both cases. And, yes, there is a "federal probe" into the killing of Private Long. The FBI is even, if I'm reading a recent CNN article right, looking into whether Abdulhakim Bledsoe, AKA Carlos Bledsoe, AKA Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the person who shot and killed Private Long, was working alone or with others.
At this point, it looks like the person with many names was working alone. (CNN)
Federal Probe Into Plots To Kill Women's Health Care Provider - It Could be WorseThe "federal probe" that the news is talking about is an investigation being done by the Justice Department. It could turn into something reminiscent of the McCarthy era, but right now it looks like a government agency is doing what it's supposed to: investigating a crime, in this case.
Now, if that "federal probe" was a Senate sub-committee: I'd be quite concerned.
The third chapter of Ecclesiastes has some of the better-known verses in the Bible, thanks in part to that Pete Seeger song popularized by The Byrds and others: "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
The gist of the first part of that chapter seems to be: "There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens."
I don't think it's time to complain about how the federal government is handling these two cases. It would, in my view, have been irresponsible to view either of them as strictly a matter for local authorities.
Private Long died in an attack on an office run by the United States Armed Forces. Particularly since Long's killer said that the attack was a reaction to American foreign policy, the crime involved the federal government from the get-go.
Dr. Tiller's fame as a doctor who killed babies in the third trimester made in possible, however unlikely, that there were conservative analogs to liberal groups like the Earth Liberation Front. Again, federal involvement is not unreasonable.
So, How Do I Feel About These Killings?I'm far from uncaring about either of the crimes I've been discussing in this post. For what it's worth, I'm sad, disgusted, and somewhat angry about both.
Two people are dead. That shouldn't have happened. In both cases, whatever Private Long and Dr. Tiller might have done with the rest of their lives is lost.
On top of that, two other people are, in all likelihood, going to have severe restrictions placed on what their lives might have been. That is, I think, just. There need to be sanctions against unwanted, destructive behavior. It would have been nice, however, if both of the killers had made different decisions.
I think we get a glimpse into the confused perceptions of Dr. Tiller's killer, Scott Roeder, in a quote from The Associated Press: "...'I haven't been convicted of anything, and I am being treated as a criminal,' Roeder said...." (AP)
- "Late Term Abortions Reality Check"
(June 2, 2009)
- "Dr. George Tiller's Murder Link Page"
- -with links to posts discussing Dr. Tiller's killing
- "Recruitment Office Killing: Time to Take a Deep Breath"
Another War-on-Terror Blog (June 2, 2009)
- "Feds launch probe into abortion doctor killing"
The Associated Press (June 3, 2009)
- " FBI: Arkansas suspect researched locations in U.S. cities "
CNN (June 3, 2009)