Also, in reference specifically to the murder of Dr. George "Killer" Tiller, the murder of Dr. Tiller was a bad thing to do. (May 31, 2009)
Everybody Knows What Those Anti-Abortion Activists are LikeI'm one of those Catholics you read about, and don't think that killing babies is very nice: so you may want to skip to the next headline in this post, or look for something else to read.
Still with me? You've been warned.
If you follow the news at all, you've probably read that "anti-abortion activist" Scott Roeder has been sentenced to life in prison. (BBC) The short article is factually accurate, although I'm a bit tired of reading the term "anti-abortion activist" used to describe everybody from a convicted murderer to people like me.
It reminds me of the 'good old days,' when "Vietnam Veteran" was an inevitable description of nearly every man charged, tried, or convicted of a crime. (No surprise: America had the draft then, and crimes tend to be committed by men from our late teens to somewhere in our twenties or thirties - so most people who committed crimes were in a demographic that were heavily laden with Vietnam vets.)
And, a little later, when it was "former altar boy" - again, no surprise. In some neighborhoods it would be a rare lad who hadn't been an altar boy at some time.
The implication, that Vietnam vets and altar boys were dangerous people who had been horribly warped by an oppressive authoritarian hierarchical male-dominated power structure? I suppose it's possible that nobody even thought of that - and that reporters and editors alike assumed that, naturally, anybody subjected to military discipline or Catholic ideas would likely become a dangerous criminal.
Or maybe it just happened that those groups were selected as convenient identifying tags. Coincidences do happen, sometimes.
On the up side, the BBC identified Dr. Tiller as a "abortion doctor," instead of a something like a 'women's health care service provider.'
I'm Sorry that Dr. Tiller is Dead, and Glad that Scott Roeder will be RestrainedI don't think that what Dr. Tiller did was right: but I don't think that what Scott Roeder did was right either. I also think that all of us will be safer with Scott Roeder behind bars.
I could be wrong about this, but after someone has decided that it's okay to kill people who don't measure up to some standard - there's no telling who'll be on the hit list next.
Why Aren't I Ranting About Killing Scott Roeder?I think there's a pretty good chance that a tolerant and compassionate court won't release Mr. Roeder, on the chance that he's sorry and won't kill somebody again: so public safety is assured about as well as it I can expect it to be.
I also think that it's possible that Mr. Roeder, after considering the matter, will decide that it wasn't right to kill Dr. Tiller: and repent. I hope, for Mr. Roeder's sake, that happens. Although I should think that an impending execution would provide an opportunity for intense self-examination - I also think that, on the whole, it's better to give Mr. Roeder time to think things over. Under the circumstances, I'd say that the rest of his natural life would be about right.
I might believe that capital punishment was appropriate in America, if I thought that the Supreme Court could raise the dead - and believed that judges possessed perfect judgment. As it is, I simply don't trust that lot with the power to kill those who displease them.
About expressing a fervent wish that people whose actions I don't think were right burn in Hell? That kind of trouble I don't need. An authority I need to respect has a fairly dim view of that sort of thing. (Matthew 7:1-2, John 8:7) We have to make some judgments, just to make a society work. But opining about how God should decide another's eternal state? That's not even close to being in my jurisdiction.
(I've discussed hate and capital punishment before: January 22, 2010 and "October 2, 2008)
- "Hating People: Not a Good Idea"
(January 22, 2010)
- "Beach Killer Joseph Burges: A Case of Horribly Warped Christianity"
(July 24, 2009)
- "Dr. George Tiller, 'Domestic Terrorists and Violent Racketeers,' and Reality"
(June 1, 2009)
- "Dr. George Tiller Murdered: Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right"
(May 31, 2009)
- "Fear of Right-Wing Extremism: Commie-Hunting in Reverse"
(April 19, 2009)
- "Capital Punishment"
(October 2, 2008)
- "Killer of US abortion doctor George Tiller gets life"
BBC (April 2, 2010)