When I first heard the news about the murder of Dr. George Tiller, two feelings came to the fore: one of shock and the other of dread.
I don't have explain the shock, but I feel I need to share the reason for the dread. My reasoning is that once the news of this spread, bloggers and columnists would start pointing fingers and using this shocking event for political ends. And of course, it has begun.
Now, I have to say that I am pro-choice. But I am always amazed at how some use this as a way to paint those who are pro-life as zealots waiting to lead the next crazy person to shoot a doctor. Or, that if they think abortion is murder, that they must support the killing of Dr. Tiller.
This is nonsense. I disagree with those on the pro-life side, but I have enough sense to know that most of them are good, decent folks. They would not hurt a fly.
So, what about the Bill O'Reilly's of the world who have used pretty strong rhetoric over the years? Well, let us remember that those who opposed President Bush also used pretty harsh language over the past eight years as well. If something had happened to the President at that point, would we hold those who used passionate speech responsible?
I'm not saying that people should say what they want about issues. I think we have become a very uncivil society in many ways. But I have a hard time seeing a direct link between those who call abortion doctors, "baby killers" and those who actually end up committing violence.
The sad fact is, whether it's the abortion, or war or any other push button issue, you are bound to find someone who uses over-the-top speech to stir up those in the crowds. But that doesn't mean that it will lead to someone getting a gun and it should not be used as an excuse to shut down the other side.
Maybe the unconfortable thing about this is that there might be no good answer. It could be a troubled mind that just decided to kill someone for no good reason, I don't know.
But I wish the finger pointing would stop. Unless O'Reilly and others told this person to kill someone, then we to not provide an answer as much as greive with those left behind after this tragedy.