I have waited until now to comment on the shooting last week. I had hoped for us to understand a little more clearly what happened and why.
Details are still murky, but I’m sure more will be clear soon. As I write this, the gunman has yet to make his first appearance in court, but he will do so later today. As we await details, here are my thoughts based on what we know now:
- The shooting was an unmitigated evil. Full stop. The gunman—no matter his motivation—committed unconscionable acts of violence. We need to have the moral clarity to declare that he violated the sanctity of human life with his assault on people created in the image of almighty God. His actions deserve every bit of moral opprobrium we can muster.
It is not yet clear what his motivation is. His mugshot offers an image of someone who looks deranged. News reports have been able to piece together a profile of a man who has had frequent run-ins with the law—from alleged peeping-tom incidents to shooting his neighbors’s pets with a pellet gun. He lives alone on patch of land and scares the neighbors when he passes by. He said something about “baby parts” after his arrest, but authorities are still loathe to attribute a motive for his crime. Apparently it is not yet clear. The suggestion that this guy in any way represents the pro-life movement is absurd. He has more in common with the Gerasene Demoniac than the Little Sisters of the Poor. I think most rational people can see that. But then again, not everyone is rational, are they?
Some are already suggesting that pro-life rhetoric has contributed to this man’s crime. The logic goes like this. Pro-lifers who exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby parts have angered people. This anger translates into violence like we saw last week. Ergo, pro-life rhetoric leads to murder. Here’s a sampling of this kind of talk:
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