William Saletan thinks Vigilantism is OK; Doesn’t understand pro-lifers or Christians at all.

In my post on Jill Stanek, I quoted a recent column by William Saletan, the “liberal Republican” columnist at Slate magazine.  The column is called, “Is it Wrong to Murder an Abortionist?” and contains a lot more salient material than what I quoted. 

“If abortion is murder, the most efficient thing you could have done to prevent such murders this month was to kill George Tiller.”

Well, yes, the most efficient thing one can do is blow up the entire abortion clinic with its staff.  Just like abortion is the efficient way for a woman in a crisis pregnancy to resolve her crisis . But the efficient solution is very rarely the right one, which is the problem with utilitarian ethics.

If I find out my neighbor is a mafia hit man, getting paid to kill people, that doesn’t mean that I, in turn, have the right to come up to him in his home or place of worship and shoot him.  It means I should call the cops.

However, the more that has been revealed about Tiller in the past week, the clearer it is what a despicable human being he was.

Tiller was the country’s bravest or most ruthless abortion provider, depending on how you saw him. More precisely, how you see abortion.   The pregnancies he ended were the latest of the late. If your local clinic said you were too far along, and they sent you to a late-term provider who said you were too late even for her, Tiller was your last shot. If Tiller said no, you were going to have a baby, or a dying baby, or a stillbirth, or whatever nature and circumstance had in store for you.

So, in other words, Tiller took the abortions that no other doctor was willing to do: medically, ethically or emotionally. 

In other words, he was the Dr. Nick Riviera of abortion.

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 Rush Limbaugh gets accused of “doctor shopping” for going to different doctors to get Vicodin for a documented back problem that caused him severe pain, and yet now the Left is praising this guy for doing what no other doctor would do in good conscience?

Why not charge Dr. Tiller’s patients with “Doctor Shopping”?

To me, Tiller was brave. His work makes me want to puke. But so does combat, the kind where guts are spilled and people choke on their own blood. I like to think I love my country and would fight for it. But I doubt I have the stomach to pull the trigger, much less put my life on the line.

Yeah, except in combat both sides have a fighting chance.

Tiller’s murder is different from all previous murders of abortion providers. If you kill an ordinary abortionist, somebody else will step in. But if you kill the guy at the end of the line, some of his patients won’t be able to find an alternative. You will have directly prevented abortions.

And how many of these abortions are actually medically necessary? None, according to Phil Kline’s investigation.

Speaking of which,

Peaceful pro-lifers have already tried to prosecute Tiller for doing late-term abortions they claimed were against the law. They failed to convict him.

Only in the same way we “failed” to save Terri Schiavo: an unjust court was stacked against us. The Democrats launched a massive national campaign to get Phil Kline voted out of office (I remember wondering, when I first read of Phil Kline, why this was such a big deal). The new DA simply refused to use any of the evidence Kline collected, and asked all the witnesses softball questions.

Of official statements condemning the Tiller murder, Saletan continues:

I applaud these statements. They affirm the value of life and nonviolence, two principles that should unite us. But they don’t square with what these organizations purport to espouse: a strict moral equation between the unborn and the born.

This is the most absurd logical leap he could have made. No, they’re saying that they think murder is wrong, period. It is precisely establishing the equation of the unborn with the born.

If pro-lifers support the death penalty, we’re called hypocrites who “only care about people before they’re born.” If we say, “Don’t kill abortionists,” we’re accused of not equating abortion with murder.

Next comes

The reason these pro-life groups have held their fire, both rhetorically and literally, is that they don’t really equate fetuses with old or disabled people. They oppose abortion, as most of us do. But they don’t treat abortionists the way they’d treat mass murderers of the old or disabled.

??? Apparently, Saletan thinks someone should go out and shoot Dr. Jack Kevorkian or Michael Schiavo, because Saletan says that the proper way to deal with those who murder the old and disabled is to kill them. Saletan is applying his ethical standards to us and accusing us of hypocrisy because we fail to adopt his view that murder is sometimes necessary.

Make sense?

1) I believe murder is always wrong. Therefore, because I equate all human life, I believe it’s wrong to kill unborn babies, disabled people, and the elderly. I also believe it’s wrong to kill abortionists.
I do believe it’s morally justifiable to kill an assailant if you are trying to stop that assailant from a direct act of assault and you are aiming at incapacitating him. I also believe it is sometimes right for the state, with due process, to take the lives of individuals or groups by war, capital punishment or even assassination.

I do not believe it is right for individuals to take the lives of other individuals, without due process, regardless of how despicable those individuals may be.

John Paul II forgave his would-be assassin, who is now a Catholic serving life in prison.

Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty, whose life is fictionalized in The Scarlet and the Black, would visit his former adversary, Col. Herbert Kappler, in prison.  Kappler eventually converted to Catholicism.

I could think of so many other examples.  What about St. Therese of Lisieux and Pranzine? 

Oh!  Here’s one! 

A mass murderer named Saul of Tarsus went on to become St. Paul the Apostle.

No, Saletan is just completely ignorant of Christianity.

But while he accuses us of inconsistency, he shows his own consistency, that he *does* equate the unborn with the born.  After all, he compares abortion to war, and says that the deaths in abortion are necessary like the deaths in war. 

Saletan says in this column that he thinks vigilantism is OK.  He says that, if pro-lifers think abortion is really murder, we should support shooting Tiller because he got off on a technicality in his trial.  Well, gee, does Saletan think someone should go shoot O.J. Simpson?  Does Saletan think it’s OK for civilians to go out and shoot all murderers who get off on technicalities?

Then, proving the reason why American Life League and Human Life International exist, he points to the National Right to Life Committee’s strategy of Incrementalism as further evidence of our alleged hypocrisy:

And this self-restraint can’t simply be chalked up to nonviolence or respect for the law. Look up the bills these organizations have written, pushed, or passed to restrict abortions. I challenge you to find a single bill that treats a woman who procures an abortion as a murderer. They don’t even propose that she go to jail.

Now, he wittily paraphrases his earlier statement about abortionists, saying that Scott Roeder is the George Tiller of anti-abortionists:

The people who kill abortion providers are the ones who don’t flinch. . . . But like most of the other people who say such things in polls, you don’t mean it literally. There’s you, and then there are the people who lock arms outside the clinics. And then there are the people who bomb them. And at the end of the line, there’s the guy who killed George Tiller.

False dichotomy.  There is a third option. 

First, going back to his underlying argument (which is specious), does Saletan suggest that anyone who really opposes the Mafia would hunt down the local Don and kill him?  Does Saletan support vigilante justice in civilians shooting street gangs?  Of course he doesn’t. 

Second,  those who lock arms outside the clinics are not the only pro-lifers outside the clinics. 

There are those who stand outside the clinics, without necessarily block them, who engage in sidewalk counseling and in prayer vigils. 

Between the two armies fighting in combat come a humble band of nuns, already refugees, who plead them to stop the fighitng, if only just for Holy Week.

There is the Pope (Leo the Great) who leads a Eucharistic Procession out of the city of Rome to meet the Saracens on the battlefield and drives them away with his courage and faith.

There is the Man who takes up His Cross and wins the greatest battle in history–indeed, the only battle–by sacrificing His own life.

Saletan cannot comprehend this. 

Or is it something less, a tragedy that would be better avoided? Late term abortions “for medical reasons” can be avoided.  It’s called bed rest.  It’s called C-Section.  It’s called medicated childbirth.  Most of us think it’s the latter. We’re looking for ways to prevent abortions—not just a few this month, but millions down the line—without killing or prosecuting people. While saying it’s a fundamental right.  While saying we should pay for women who want abortions.  While saying abortion is  a necessary back-up. Come and join us.

“Join me, Luke.  Come over to the Dark Side.”

See what he’s done?  Now he’s questioning the very practice of prosecuting Tiller for violating Kansas’s law against medically unecessary late term abortions. 

He is totally skirting the issue of infanticide.  How easily could he make all these arguments about born alive protection or infanticide? 

We’re not talking about the “vague” situation of a 7 week old fetus.  We’re talking about full-grown babies who could survive outside the womb if born prematurely, albeit with some artificial assistance.

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