The disparity of coverage and reaction to the cold blooded killings of Dr. George Tiller and James Pouillion is very telling, both about the media and those on both sides of the abortion issue.
For those unfamiliar with the latter story -- although it appears to be gaining traction -- yesterday 63 year-old James Pouillon was gunned down in cold blood in front of an Owosso Township, Michigan, High School while protesting abortion. I first found out about it when Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life sent an update via Facebook. While some news has begun to trickle out about it, partially because the accused killer also took another life and attempted to take a third as he set out to settle scores in that small town, it has garnered nowhere near the attention that the shooting of late-term abortionist George Tiller this past May. President Obama issued no statement condemning the killing of a 63-year old man who wore oxygen to breathe (as he did following the Tiller shooting), Attorney General Eric Holder did not dispatch Federal Marshals to protect pro-life activists around the country (as he did following the Tiller shooting), and, perhaps most telling any response that I've been able to find from pro-abortion groups has generally come from them being questioned by the media -- they haven't fallen all over themselves to condemn the shooting like the vast majority of the pro-life movement appropriately did following Dr. Tiller's shooting.
That's hardly surprising because media coverage on this issue is incredibly one-sided, almost invariably treating pro-lifers as Kool-Aide swilling nuts and kooks and those favoring legalized abortion as kind and compassionate champions of right. Even here in the Charleston area, an assault on a nine-year old girl by a volunteer at the local abortuary garnered little attention in the local media.
It is reported that the killer of Mr. Pouillon was upset that the used graphic signs showing the results of abortion in his protests. I agree that such images are disturbing and, as passionately pro-life as I am, don't like their use in public protests either (I do think that they have a place in counseling those thinking about aborting their babies -- to allow them to consider the gravity of what they're about to do -- but I think such use should be discrete, not on signs); that still hardly justifies homicide.
I mourn the murder of Mr. Pouillon and I also mourn the murder of Dr. Tiller; as a Ugandan bishop said following the death of Idi Amin, I regret that he died before he repented; I commend both to God's mercy. Both are despicable acts, but the coverage of and response to both killings says much about both sides of the issue.
Follow up (11:00pm, 13 September 2009): President Obama did issue a statement deploring the Pouillon shooting today, two days after it occured; I applaud him for doing so. It is telling, though, that his statement expressing shock and outrage at Dr. Tiller's shooting came within hours of that crime.