('76 Contributor) I’ve been asked to comment on the theater massacre. I think there is just one cause; a crazy shooter with God only knows what, going through his brain. Unfortunately discussions will go far and wide from this obvious fact and range from gun control to societal issues. So here are my thoughts. I think societal issues led up to this massacre. I’m not going to spend much time on gun control other than to say I am firmly for our second amendment, no exceptions. I blame our obsession with political correctness, the destruction of the family and the lack of God in our society.I read a child’s quote where he asked God, why do you allow all this violence in our schools? God replied, I’m not allowed in schools. Just substitute the public square for schools and you have America in 2012. A godless society is a society without a moral compass. And then there’s political correctness; you can’t speak the truth…plain and simple. You want some truth? Natalie Holloway would be alive today if her friends were responsible and didn’t allow her to go off with a stranger. The massacre at Columbine probably wouldn’t have happened if Harris and Klebold’s parents had done their job and gone down into their rooms to see what they were doing. You want more truth? How about we’re going to find out real soon how mentally disturbed the theater shooter was. His mother reportedly said “that sounds like my son” when contacted by police. Could this be another case of parenting decisions gone wrong? Time will only tell how the role of kids’ rights and medical records privacy rules might have changed the outcome.
On Sunday, May 31, Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas was killed as he was walking into his church. Dr. Tiller was perhaps one of the most controversial practitioners of abortion in the United States. He repeatedly and defiantly performed late term abortions at the Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, where he worked.
Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, one of our nation’s strongest and most eloquent opponents of abortion, wrote the following upon learning of Tiller’s killing:
Whoever murdered George Tiller has done a gravely wicked thing. The evil of this action is in no way diminished by the blood George Tiller had on his own hands. No private individual had the right to execute judgment against him. We are a nation of laws. Lawless violence breeds only more lawless violence.
The point made by Professor George is identical to the concern expressed by Abraham Lincoln in his Lyceum Address of 1838. The title of Lincoln’s speech was “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions.” Lincoln addressed his concern about a growing attitude of lawlessness as exhibited by increasing instances of public vigilantism. In what he described as an ill omen, Lincoln explained the circumstance:
I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions, in lieu of the sober judgment of Courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice. This disposition is awfully fearful in any community; and that it now exists in ours, though grating to our feelings to admit, it would be a violation of truth, and an insult to our intelligence, to deny.
Lincoln referenced some of the instances of lawlessness: the hanging of gamblers in Vicksburg, Mississippi and the burning to death of a black man in St. Louis who had committed murder. Lincoln recognized his audience’s skepticism and whether there was in fact any great loss to society, now rid of these people, and what difference it made to the larger matter, the topic of Lincoln’s address:
But you are, perhaps, ready to ask, "What has this to do with the perpetuation of our political institutions?" I answer, it has much to do with it. Its direct consequences are, comparatively speaking, but a small evil; and much of its danger consists, in the proneness of our minds, to regard its direct, as its only consequences.
So perhaps society was better off having fewer gamblers. And wouldn’t the man who had committed murder ultimately have been executed had he been put on trial and been found guilty? Didn’t the mob simply expedite the inevitable?
This was not, according to Lincoln, a justification for lawlessness. For a spirit of lawlessness begets a greater spirit of lawlessness. For “the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice; and having been used to no restraint, but dread of punishment, they thus become, absolutely unrestrained.”
So what did Lincoln prescribe in order to prevent our degeneracy into lawlessness?
Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; -- let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children's liberty.
Many opponents of abortion may be tempted to conclude (like the mob in Vicksburg or the vigilantes in St. Louis) that society is better off with one fewer abortionist. But our society, based upon the Rule of Law, does not permit citizens seeking individual vengeance. The temptation to find a good that justifies murder is the same temptation of lawlessness that so worried Lincoln.
The means of ending abortion in the United States are not by murdering abortionists. They are by winning the minds of the American public through persuasion and prayer, and by legislating through proper means the end of state-sanctioned abortion. Tiller did indeed have blood on his hands, but the evil of his murder is in no way diminished by that fact.
Dr. George Tiller's murder in cold blood at a Wichita church today should shock the conscience and grieve the heart of every thinking person -- especially persons of faith, and above all, those of us who defend the right to life.
This evil and lawless act deserves absolute condemnation. It is in no way excusable, regardless of the slain man's inexcusable career as an abortionist.
I hope you will join me in praying for Dr. Tiller, for his family and loved ones, for his killer, and for the quelling of passions on all sides that would threaten peace and order in our land.