Pro-lifers like myself get no satisfaction from Sunday’s cold-blooded murder of Kansas abortionist George Tiller, widely known in Kansas political circles as “Tiller the Killer.” While we are pleased that he will never kill again, we would have preferred a change of heart on his part, or his death or disability by natural causes.
Virtually all anti-abortion groups have reacted the same way, expressing sorrow for the death and condemning the vigilante act. A life is a life, whether it’s an unborn fetus or an adult provider of state-sanctioned genocide.
The sorrow expressed by Tiller’s supporters is really more worthy of surprise. After all, wouldn’t those folks appreciate the logic of Tiller’s murder merely being a 274th trimester abortion?
In this country, and in the conservative community in particular, we are a nation governed by laws, not rulers. We fully understand that “vigilante justice” is an oxymoron. We neither condone nor tolerate the arrogance of a single self-appointed person (or group) taking it upon himself to serve as prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. It was wrong when jailhouse vigilantes violently ended the life of convicted serial child-killer Jeffrey Dahmer a number of years ago, and Tiller’s death is entitled to the same mourning that was accorded to Dahmer’s.
While we pro-lifers regarded Tiller’s abortions, especially his gruesome partial-birth abortions, as murder, we also recognized Tiller’s right to be held to justice by our nation’s courts under our nation’s laws. Tiller had availed himself of those rights, and had prevailed. Our only recourse was to be disappointed, even outraged, by the results, such as we were with the acquittal of O.J. Simpson. While Tiller may have escaped secular punishment, he is probably experiencing the judgment of the Lord at this very moment.
We recognize that secular punishment can only be applied to violations of secular law as it is written at the time of the act, and that an accused person can only be held to account for violating such a law by evidence legally obtained. We knowingly prefer to let guilty people go free, to avoid the risk that innocent people are wrongfully denied their freedom.
Ironically, our system accords the same rights and protections to vigilantes, the very same rights and protections that they denied to their victims. The main stream media’s rush to judgment against Scott Roeder, the alleged suspect in this case, must not be repeated in our courts. Among the facts that an abortion-friendly press is using to attribute criminal intent to this suspect is that a magazine to which he subscribed (note that he wasn’t an editor or writer, just a someone who once bought a subscription) once suggested possible legal justifications for taking out abortion providers.
Roeder’s presumption of innocence includes a thorough examination into whether he was legally accountable when he committed the crime. Many of our nation’s most heinous crimes go unpunished because the perpetrator lacked the mental capacity to understand that what he did was wrong. Let’s face it, what sane person would do such a thing?
Let cooler heads prevail. If Roeder was competent to commit the crime – and is competent now to stand trial, let the prosecution proceed. Introduce all of the relevant evidence that was legally acquired. And if a jury is convinced of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, Roeder should stand convicted. And if Kansas allows capital punishement (I don’t know whether it does or not), the jury should decide whether Roeder’s acts met the requirements for the ultimate punishment. And if the death penalty is imposed, the same souls who regulary protest the execution of other murderers should hold a timely candlelight vigil for Roeder.