Intelligent Design

Slain officer in Colorado Springs was a pro-life pastor

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Amid media speculation about the possible motivation of the Colorado Springs shooter who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic last Friday, one thing seems to have been overlooked: the slain officer, The Rev. Garrett Swasey, was actually a pro-life pastor (h/t Terry Mattingly).

Time magazine reports that the officer was “heavily involved in his church, a non-denominational evangelical place of worship called Hope Chapel where he was a co-pastor.” Hope Chapel’s doctrinal statements can be viewed online here. The Chapel’s statement on marriage is doctrinally conservative, firmly opposed to gay marriage, and its affirmation that “children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord” is staunchly pro-life (emphases mine – VJT):

It is the belief of Hope Chapel that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

We believe marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in a covenant commitment for a lifetime. Marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church. Marriage also provides the man and the woman the framework for intimate companionship, the channel for sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race. 1

We believe the husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image.2 The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband, even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.3 Being made in the image of God, as is her husband, and thus being equal to him, she has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband, and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.4

We believe children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.5 Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values, and to lead them to make choices based on biblical truth, through loving discipline and the consistent example of their own lifestyle.6 Children are to honor and obey their parents.7

We express our enthusiastic support for those public policies and programs which aim to strengthen the marriage commitment and to reverse the trend of the disintegration of the nuclear family.

As Christian ministers, we are bound to uphold the integrity of Scripture. We will only perform weddings for believing couples.8 We do not view marriage as a civil union, but as a covenant between a man and a woman, and almighty God.9 Therefore, we reserve the right to refuse to marry any who, according to the Bible, are ineligible. This includes those who are unrepentant with regard to pre-marital sex, those who are co-habiting together,10 and anyone who has not made a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ.

1 Gen 2:24; Eph 5:32; Gen 1:22; 8:17; 35:11; Prov 5:18; Mal 2:15
2 Gal 3:28, 1Pet 3:7; Gen 1:26-27
3 Eph 5:22-25; 1Cor 11:3
4 Gen 2:18; Eph 6:4; Prov 31:10-31
5 Psa 127:3; Psa 139:13-16
6 1Cor 11:1; 1Pet 2:21; Prov 13:24;
7 Exo 20:12; Eph 6:1; Col 3:20
8 2Cor 6:14
9 Jer 31:31-32; Mal 2:14
10 2Cor 12:21; Eph 5:3

In plain English: The Rev. Garrett Swasey believed that abortion is homicide.

Hope Chapel’s doctrinal statement also forcefully declares: “The Scriptures are fully and verbally inspired by God as the prophets were moved by His Spirit.” No room for ambiguity there.

In his report on the Colorado Springs shooting, Terry Mattingly includes a telling quote from the late Cardinal John O’Connor of New York City :

“If anyone has an urge to kill someone at an abortion clinic, they should shoot me,” said the late Cardinal John O’Connor, preaching to his New York City flock in 1994. “It’s madness. It discredits the right-to-life movement. Murder is murder. It’s madness. You cannot prevent killing by killing.”

Mattingly adds that the slain officer, The Rev. Garrett Swasey, “made this statement to the gunman as he tried to protect people whose lives were at risk: ‘Shoot me.'” A recording of Rev. Swasey’s final sermon can be heard here.

Meanwhile, Mother Jones magazine, in an indignant article titled, “The New, Ugly Surge in Violence and Threats Against Abortion Providers,” suggests that the shootings at Colorado Springs may be connected with “an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral—and widely debunked—videos.” However, the cases of violence which the article cites go back almost 20 years, to the 1990s. (There have been cases of vandalism since then, but property offenses fall into a different moral category from crimes against persons.)

I might add that the Planned Parenthood videos, far from having been debunked, are in fact truthful and accurate (see here, here, here and here). Planned Parenthood has broken the law on at least four counts: illegal profiting from the sale of fetal tissue; performing illegal partial-birth abortions; illegally manipulating abortion procedures; and illegally performing abortions with the knowledge that the fetal body parts will be “donated” to research. As if that were not bad enough, these 39 Yelp reviews of the “services” provided by Planned Parenthood make horrific reading. As one reviewer put it: “If You Can Possibly Avoid Coming Here, Do It.” Reviewers describe Planned Parenthood clinics as “filthy,” “dirty” and manned by staff who displayed “complete indifference and a lack of compassion” and who were “not qualified for a consultation.” Summing it up, one reviewer wrote: “Worst service ever.”

Whatever the reasons may be for the appalling “services” provided by Planned Parenthood, money isn’t one of them: the organization boasted assets of more than $800 million in 2005-2006. Citing a 2007 report in the Weekly Standard, Slate Senior Editor Rachael Larimore writes that Planned Parenthood “gets at least a third of its clinic income — and more than 10 percent of all its revenue, government funding included — from its abortion procedures.” The oft-repeated the claim that abortions make up only 3 percent of the services that Planned Parenthood provides is therefore a shoddy statistic: Larimore describes it as “the most meaningless abortion statistic ever.” (Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson writes that 12 per cent would be a more accurate figure.) In addition, Planned Parenthood gets one-third of its entire budget from taxpayer funding – a figure which belies its frequent assertions that American taxpayers’ dollars do not to pay for abortions.

Ironically, Planned Parenthood, which performs just under one-third of all abortions in the United States, was founded by a women’s rights activist named Margaret Sanger, who opposed abortion and viewed it as an evil practice. In 1932, Sanger wrote: “Although abortion may be resorted to in order to save the life of the mother, the practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and vicious.”

Meanwhile, the media reports that the shooting suspect allegedly made a comment to police about “no more baby parts.” However, it turns out that the suspect, who appears to have been an independent art dealer with a degree in public administration, had no political affiliations: he was registered as an unaffiliated voter in Colorado (where he owns a trailer on a piece of land in a town located 100 kilometers west of Colorado Springs), and people who knew him say that religion or abortion never came up in conversation. The man also had no on-line presence that anyone has yet found. Fr. Bill Carmody, a Catholic priest who has celebrated Mass regularly for 20 years in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs where the shootings took place says that the suspect was not part of his group, adding:“I don’t know him from Adam. I don’t recognize him at all.” Readers can learn more about the suspect’s history here.

Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson have forcefully condemned Friday’s shootings in Colorado Springs, which former Arkansas Governor Huckabee described as “domestic terrorism.”

In the wake of the shootings, President Obama has called for tighter gun control laws. Given the shooting suspect’s history of alleged domestic violence and his previous arrest records (including two counts of cruelty to animals), I have to say that I agree with the President.

What do readers think?

115 Replies to “Slain officer in Colorado Springs was a pro-life pastor

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    VJT, useful information. Otherwise hard to find in one place. It is clear that we know very little of this man so far, but it is plain that he did grievous wrong, indeed murder. Exposure of one evil, abortion and abuse of human remains obtained through such is not a justification for murder or arson. Nor would it justify continued cultivation of a climate of extreme polarisation against Christians in particular, something with serious consequences at the hands of other mad men as Umpqua clearly shows . . . but was largely met with studious silence. Nor would it be fair to say that leadership of the pro life cause over the years has generally been irresponsible in this regard. And, as your own article shows, there has been no significant attempt to cover up the wrong, though there are signs of wariness at best about anything the major media say on a topic such as this, itself a warning sign — and not without cause. As for gun control debates, I would suggest that much of our liberty across the world (including in jurisdictions with much tighter restrictions) has been secured over the past century by the US and its approach to rights in its constitution, including self defence and defence of the local community. Was it Adm Yamamoto who counselled Japan against any invasion of the US as there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass? Nor should we overlook the significance of the US Navy’s surface fleet in securing freedom of the seas and of trade for the whole world, as successor to the Royal Navy which carried that burden for over a century since the Napoleonic wars and arguably long before that. I suggest, more to the point, that on the face of it this man likely broke several laws even before his attack, and the enforcement of reasonable law is more likely to have a good effect than what appears to be an agenda that could easily end in convincing millions that the state has embarked on tyranny. Or, even just cynical polarisation by points scoring rhetoric. A couple of weeks back, too, even a few armed citizens with the equivalent of concealed carry permits could likely have made a difference in Paris. So, reasonable restrictions yes, but the reasonableness of far too much of the political class, the opinion shapers and the public at large is increasingly an open question — at best. Under these circumstances, I have a very pessimistic view of our civilisation’s prospects. KF

  2. 2
    jimmontg says:

    The left’s first solution to domestic terrorism is of course to restrict guns, a mantra I’m tired of listening to. If the shooter is mentally ill or a felon then it was illegal for him to purchase a firearm. I’m tired of the left’s calls to restrict my freedoms because of the acts of a few. They do not believe in true freedom so I would expect nothing less than them to try and remove one. I’ll say this only because it’s necessary. If they want to restrict the sale of firearms to the people then change the Constitution, do not violate it. There has been enough violations of the constitution already like Roe vs Wade and parts of the Patriot Act and don’t even get me started on SSM!

    I also saw an article that talked about how the gunman wasn’t killed because he is white. He is a murderer, nothing less and he wasn’t killed because he surrendered not because he was white. The leftist media incitement of racial divisiveness borders on the criminal use of free speech considering how divided they and this administration have made this country. It was getting better and then the Great Divider became President with most of the American news media working as his PR firm.

    The media will report this incident far more than the Islamist who killed the military personnel in a recruitment center. In the process they will compare conservative Christians as no more than American versions of ISIS.They have already attacked the Republican candidates who didn’t come out and immediately condemn the shooting never letting them hear what really happened and then decide to make a statement. That’s more than this President can claim with his kneejerk reactions. Now I guess my tax dollars will be spent to protect these houses of infanticide.

    A good man was murdered along with others and the Media will make a circus out of it instead of rendering the proper honor owed to a fallen member of the police and two others, who if what I hear is correct didn’t even work there.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Robert Byers says:

    Abortion is the killing of a human being with a eternal destiny. Yet its not homicide if the abortionist and the mother DO NOT believe they are killing a human being. Motive is everything in killing people.
    I am a strong pro lifer but insist this murder/homicide accusation must not be made. most pro lifers don’t.
    this murderer should be executed for murdering three people.
    The abortion contention is not a moral one but only a intellectual one as far as man is concerned. I do think Satan is behind abortion but thats another matter..
    Pro lifers and pro choicers are equally moral, in such matters, and act consistently from the presumption of whether think a fetus is a kid or not yet a kid while in the mother/not yet mother.
    if i didn’t think it was a kid i would be pro choice.
    Pro lifers must persuade enough pro choicer s that the fetus is a kid and pro lifers do this education indeed.
    Pro choicer s must persuade pro lifers its not a kid to stop the aggressive resistance to abortion. they don’t do this. They lose credibility because they can’t prove the fetus is a kid and don’t want to talk about.
    Thats why pro life probably will prevail one day.
    We are intellectually right and strive to persuade the other side. pro choicer s just dig in their heels.
    Including the illegal use of the courts .

  5. 5
    EDTA says:

    You cannot prevent killing by killing.

    This is a rather simple-minded statement. After all, whether one killing prevents multiple later killings by someone else depends on who you are considering killing. Some well-placed killings inside Nazi Germany might have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands. And nobody (today) (except for Neo-Nazis) would be complaining about those assassinations–had they occurred.

    Now I’m not defending what happened, as I hadn’t even heard this bit of news. But I have been studying ideas about evil lately, from multiple perspectives. Biblically, the word used most frequently for evil (ra’, or rah) is used for the acts of wicked people, but also where God takes responsibility for harming/eliminating some of His own creatures who are themselves evil.

    I just don’t buy the simple-minded moral equivalency which says that all killing is wrong or that well-placed evil can’t stop even greater evil from happening. Even God Himself harms His creatures in order to stamp out evil (Noah’s flood, e.g.). The very existence of evil seems to throw so many things out of whack, that no simple statements about evil seem to hold universally.

  6. 6

    I lived in Colorado Springs at one time. It’s a beautiful family oriented city with several military installations, including the Air Force Academy. I still have family and friends there. This city is practically the evangelical Christian capitol of America. The Navigators, Focus on the Family and several other parachurch organizations have their headquarters there, and the number of churches per capita far exceeds the national average. It would be more surprising to find someone who isn’t a Christian than who is, living there.

    So the left media would have us believe that this Planned Parenthood clinic was in serious peril since it opened, given the number of people surrounding it who are diametrically opposed to abortion. Yet the purpetrator was………from out of town and not particularly religious, while the protector of potential victims was….surprise, THE DANGER!

  7. 7
    awstar says:

    Mattingly adds that the slain officer, The Rev. Garrett Swasey, “made this statement to the gunman as he tried to protect people whose lives were at risk: ‘Shoot me.’” A recording of Rev. Swasey’s final sermon can be heard here.

    Didn’t the officer who was slain have a gun?

  8. 8

    Let’s assume he owned his weapon legally. Do you want to extend gun control to exclude anyone arrested a couple of times, or anyone whose ex-spouse called the police to report domestic abuse? Note the wording on those claims … was he ever convicted of anything?

    Perhaps you don’t like the idea of people owning what has been termed “assault” weapons. Why?

    Do you think any amount of gun control is going to stop crazies from getting their hands on a gun (legally or otherwise) and going out and killing people?

    What further gun control would you advise, VJT?

  9. 9

    Also, BTW, I would wait a while before passing judgement on what the guy said, if anything. The mainstream media is in the business of inventing lies at the beginning of such events so that the meme carries through even after it is thoroughly debunked.

  10. 10
    Jon Garvey says:

    I guess VJT, being like myself not in the USA, means the kind of gun control that works pretty well in most other parts of the world.

    You really can’t comprehend just how strange the position of many American Christians on the ownership of lethal weapons sounds to us overseas.

    As Oliver Cromwell said to Charles 1, “Consider it possible you may be wrong.”

  11. 11
    Dionisio says:

    EDTA @5

    God Himself harms His creatures in order to stamp out evil

    Could the above quoted text relate to Job 1:19?

    Hint: Job 1:21

    We don’t know how to create life from scratch. No one knows. In the mid of the second decade of the 21st century, science has some clues, but very far from knowing it well.

    Only the Maker of Life can dispose of it at His will. He doesn’t need our validation or opinion.

    Thank Him for His love and mercy.
    Thank Him for His amazing grace.

    His perfect justice will be fulfilled at His time, in His terms.

    Praise Him only.

  12. 12
    vjtorley says:

    Hi everyone,

    A number of people have made comments on the issue of gun ownership, as I expected. It’s a complex issue. My main concern is that unstable people, such as the Colorado Springs shooter, should not be allowed to buy a gun, period. Of course, I can understand people’s concern about some bureaucrat or government agency deciding who’s stable and who’s not, but I think it would be possible to frame a law that would enumerate some fairly clear-cut criteria (based on an individual’s history of aggressive behavior, or run-ins with the law, or diagnosed mental illness) for determining who is mentally stable enough to own a gun and who isn’t. There would be an element of arbitrariness in determining how much of a “history” would disqualify a person from owing a gun, but that’s true for all laws, I would say. Anyway, my main point is that nuts should not be allowed to own guns. I’d also be inclined to say that people under 25 shouldn’t be allowed to, either. Some young people are mature enough to own a gun, but other young people still lack the maturity required to keep their violent impulses in check.

    As far as ordinary people are concerned, I think that in countries where the crime rate is high (e.g. in many Latin American countries) or where there is a real danger of the government becoming tyrannical and assuming despotic powers (e.g. in countries with highly centralized governments), citizens should be allowed to own guns, as a way of protecting themselves against those who would take their liberty and/or their property away from them. Personally, I think that the government of the United States has shown an alarming tendency in the last two decades to arrogate special powers unto itself and to abrogate individual rights. (That applies to both political parties: think of domestic spying, for instance.) Also, in some areas of the U.S., people don’t feel safe walking the streets at night. Consequently, I think that if I were an American, I might want to own a gun.

    On the other hand, in countries (such as Japan, where I now live) where the crime rate is low, where people can walk the streets freely at night and where the government has not displayed any tendency to arrogate special powers unto itself, there is no real need for people to own guns, and you could probably make a good case (on sociological and utilitarian grounds) that making guns legally available would increase the number of deaths nationwide, as well as the number of crimes, and that banning guns would be rational. So I would say that the answer to the question of whether guns should be legal or not depends on the country where you live.

  13. 13
    vjtorley says:

    Robert Byers writes:

    Abortion is the killing of a human being with a eternal destiny. Yet its not homicide if the abortionist and the mother DO NOT believe they are killing a human being. Motive is everything in killing people.

    Just to be clear: I deliberately used the word “homicide” to characterize abortion, rather than murder. An online legal dictionary defines homicide as follows:

    The killing of one human being by another human being.

    Although the term homicide is sometimes used synonymously with murder, homicide is broader in scope than murder. Murder is a form of criminal homicide; other forms of homicide might not constitute criminal acts.

    Murder, on the other hand, was defined in common law as “the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought,” where malice aforethought referred to “a level of intent or recklessness that separated murder from other killings and warranted stiffer punishment.” Note the word “intent.”

    A woman who has an abortion but who does not believe that the fetus is a human person is not guilty of murder, as she has no intention to kill anyone. However, her action still destroys a human being, so it can fairly be characterized as homicide.

    The Colorado Springs police officer who was slain was a pastor at a church which taught that “children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.” There’s absolutely no doubt that he would have considered abortion to be a form of homicide, and that he would have regarded such an action as wrong (at least, in the vast majority of cases). That makes him pro-life, in my book.

  14. 14
    vjtorley says:

    Awstar,

    You make an excellent point when you ask why the officer didn’t use his gun. Perhaps he had no time to draw. I’m not sure. Does anyone else know?

    William J Murray,

    I think you make a valid point when you argue: “I would wait a while before passing judgement on what the guy [i.e. the suspect – VJT] said, if anything.” The true picture of what happened still eludes us. Actually, the “no more baby parts” comment strikes me as decidedly fishy: it’s just too pat. Something does not smell right.

  15. 15
    markf says:

    I have studiously avoided UD for the last few months and been glad of doing so – but I have been doing some research into gun control recently and really want to get out this point whereever I can.

    “I think it would be possible to frame a law that would enumerate some fairly clear-cut criteria (based on an individual’s history of aggressive behavior, or run-ins with the law, or diagnosed mental illness) for determining who is mentally stable enough to own a gun and who isn’t.”

    I am afraid it is not practical.

    * US federal and many state laws already place several constraints on the mentally ill owning guns. It doesn’t seem to work. Anyone got any ideas on how to make it effective?

    * Even it could be made effective, there are about 10 million people who are seriously mentally ill in the US of which at most a few hundred will be homicidal at some stage. Although it is possible to rate some as higher risk than others it is a sliding scale and most uncertain. In practice if you want to stop the mentally ill using the guns for violence then you would have to stop all 10 million getting access. Why should 10 million people be deprived of their constitutional right to own a gun because a tiny majority are homicidal?

    * The vast majority of homicides are done by people with no history of mental illness.

    If the US people really want to lower the gun homicide (and suicide) rate then they need to do something about gun culture and not be misled by the mental health canard. This might involve some kind of restriction on gun ownership but there is no justification for limiting that restriction to those that are mentally ill.

  16. 16
    Virgil Cain says:

    I have studiously avoided UD for the last few months and been glad of doing so

    And we have been very glad that you have done so.

    Death by abortion outnumbers death by guns over 10 to 1. I will start caring about gun deaths when they start approaching the abortion death numbers.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    VC, Here at UD, recent evidence has shocked me out of not taking up abortion as a top level moral issue as too controversial and polarised. It seems that the number I saw years back that pointed to many hundreds of millions of global victims over the past generation is backed by PP’s Guttmacher Institute, that IIRC points to some 50 mn abortions per year. The US number is about 1 mn. Firearms deaths in the US numbers point to homicide 10k+, suicide 20k+, accident LT 1k c 2013. Those are two orders of magnitude down. Number of drownings (accidental) seems about 4k, auto deaths is 30k+. KF

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    VJT, I fear we are moving to a deeply unsettled and chaotically violent time globally. As Paris is witness to. KF

  19. 19
    vjtorley says:

    Hi markf,

    Thank you for your post. You raise several interesting points:

    US federal and many state laws already place several constraints on the mentally ill owning guns. It doesn’t seem to work. Anyone got any ideas on how to make it effective?

    Yes. About 5.3 million U.S. adults have severe bipolar disorder (2.2% of the population), and of these, 40% are untreated. About 2.6 million U.S. adults have schizophrenia (1.1% of the population), and of these, 51% are untreated. How about mandatory testing for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, for anyone wishing to obtain a gun license, as well as mandatory testing for family members living with them, in order to determine whether a person who is awarded a gun license should also be legally required to keep his/her gun locked up at all times? (I realize that in the event of a burglary, this requirement would reduce the gun owner’s ability to respond quickly and defend him/herself, but the risk of the gun falling into the wrong hands if it is not locked away is far higher. The number of deaths resulting from gun owners not being able to unlock their guns in time to stop a burglar is likely to be far lower than the number of deaths caused by mentally unstable people or children accidentally getting hold of a gun and misusing it.)

    Also, how about very stiff jail sentences for people who are certified as mentally competent and who are licensed to own a gun, but who, as a result of negligence, fail to keep their guns out of the hands of mentally ill (or very young) family members living with them?

    Even it could be made effective, there are about 10 million people who are seriously mentally ill in the US of which at most a few hundred will be homicidal at some stage… Why should 10 million people be deprived of their constitutional right to own a gun because a tiny majority [I presume you mean minority, markf] are homicidal?

    Even if the percentage of mentally unstable people who are homicidal is very low, it’s still far higher than the percentage of mentally stable people who are homicidal. In other words, mentally unstable people are a very high risk group. On top of that, a mentally unstable person is unlikely to possess the discretion required to know when to fire a gun and when not to, in a real crisis – i.e. what kind of behavior counts as life-endangering. Consequently, on both utilitarian and legal grounds, allowing mentally unstable people to own guns is a very bad idea.

    The vast majority of homicides are done by people with no history of mental illness.

    Actually, about 10% of homicides committed each year in the U.S. are committed by adults with severe mental illness, despite the fact that they make up only 3.3% of the population. 10% is quite a significant proportion. Any measure that would reduce the homicide by 10% is well worth undertaking.

    Finally, regarding the “gun culture” in the United States, I can’t claim to fully understand it, but I do know that it will probably take centuries to change it, if that ever happens.

  20. 20
    daveS says:

    vjtorley,

    Finally, regarding the “gun culture” in the United States, I can’t claim to fully understand it, but I do know that it will probably take centuries to change it, if that ever happens.

    As someone who is immersed in gun culture, I think your statement is very accurate.

  21. 21
    vjtorley says:

    Hi Virgil Cain and kairosfocus,

    You are both quite right to point out that the number of gun deaths in the United States is orders of magnitude lower than the number of abortions. That’s a valid moral point. However, the sad truth is that gun deaths are disruptive of social harmony (without which there cannot be any society at all) in a very unique way. Even a single high-profile shooting can make millions of people feel unsafe. The number of firearm-related homicides in the U.S. each year is about 10,000 (compared with over 1 million abortions), but let’s face it: if the number of firearm-related homicides suddenly doubled to 20,000 per year, people would panic. Abortion is a great evil, but it doesn’t cause that kind of social panic.

    On the topic of homicides, about 50% are caused by people aged 15 to 24. I’d say that’s a good argument for limiting access to firearms to people aged 25 and over.

  22. 22
    Bob O'H says:

    Yes. About 5.3 million U.S. adults have severe bipolar disorder (2.2% of the population), and of these, 40% are untreated. About 2.6 million U.S. adults have schizophrenia (1.1% of the population), and of these, 51% are untreated.

    Irrespective of gun control, aren’t these frightening statistics? Wouldn’t it be better to look to improve mental health care? People with mental illness are more likely to slip through the health care safety net, which means they are more likely to be a danger to both themselves and others.

  23. 23
    LarTanner says:

    This case is deeply saddening, for the loss of all the lives and not only that of the officer.

    Whatever his personal beliefs, Officer Swasey’s job was to protect and serve the public. After all, one signs up to be a police officer, or a soldier, or a Planned Parenthood employee knowing full well the heightened potential for encountering lethal violence. Had this officer chosen out of ideology not to put himself in front of the shooter — well, that would have been frightening in and of itself. In any case, Officer Swasey discharged his duty admirably and honorably, and so it is unsurprising that he is reported to have been a wonderful husband, father, and human being.

    If there’s any good that can come out of this senseless event, I hope that people realize it’s time to stop equating legal abortions with homicide, murder, or similarly damning terms. Abortion is a legal medical procedure. The legality can be challenged and protested, and the definition of abortion contested, but court is the responsible forum for dealing with the matter. Incendiary rhetoric against abortion and Planned Parenthood is uncalled for and irresponsible. The rhetoric likely contributes to some people’s twisted decisions to attack facilities that are legally allowed to provide services to people who voluntarily seek to learn about and use such services.

    Words matter and ideas have consequences.

  24. 24
    vjtorley says:

    Bob O’H,

    Thank you for your comment. I agree that governments need to do a lot more for people with mental health problems. That means: a lot more funding for medical services designed to cater to the needs of mentally ill people. However, as long as they are allowed to live and wander around unmedicated, unsupervised and unmonitored, I don’t think their situation is likely to improve. The biggest problem is to make sure that people with mental health problems are getting regular treatment. That means they will have to either be supervised or tracked via electronic monitoring, on a continual basis. To some people, that might sound like 1984, but I would argue that governments have the right to monitor mentally ill people who, through no fault of their own, pose a danger to themselves and/or others, and to make sure that they take medication which reduces that danger, whether they want to or not. Paternalism isn’t always a bad thing.

  25. 25
    vjtorley says:

    Lar Tanner,

    I have a simple question. Suppose that in 25 years’ time, the government passed a bill allowing parents to kill their newborn babies during the first week or month after birth, if they decided that they didn’t want them after all. Would you stop calling that homicide just because it was legal? I don’t think you would.

    Abortion, like the slave trade of old, is a monstrous injustice. It needs to be denounced from the housetops. I might add that the pro-life movement has shown itself to be highly disciplined in its conduct.

    Finally, abortion may be a legal medical procedure, but as I argued above, Planned Parenthood is in clear breach of the law, on four counts.

  26. 26
    LarTanner says:

    Abortion, like the slave trade of old, is a monstrous injustice.

    A fair position to take, but not the only reasonable one and surely there are sensible nuances in most every position. It would be something to have a proper case argued fully and successfully in the courts. Rooftop denunciations are no longer responsible.

    I might add that the pro-life movement has shown itself to be highly disciplined in its conduct.

    I agree. The pro-‘life’ movement has indeed been highly disciplined in its conduct.

    Incidentally, readers might be interested in the story of an evangelical leader who realizes that pro-life and pro-gun are incompatible.

  27. 27
    markf says:

    VJ

    How about mandatory testing for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, for anyone wishing to obtain a gun license, as well as mandatory testing for family members living with them, in order to determine whether a person who is awarded a gun license should also be legally required to keep his/her gun locked up at all times?

    That’s quite an overhead! I am not sure how easy it is to test for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia but having to test the applicant and his/her entire family is not going to be cheap or quick. What about private purchases?

    Also, how about very stiff jail sentences for people who are certified as mentally competent and who are licensed to own a gun, but who, as a result of negligence, fail to keep their guns out of the hands of mentally ill (or very young) family members living with them?

    I guess it depends on what counts as negligence.

    Even if the percentage of mentally unstable people who are homicidal is very low, it’s still far higher than the percentage of mentally stable people who are homicidal. In other words, mentally unstable people are a very high risk group

    I don’t think it is far higher.  People with severe mental illness are more likely to be violent than average but not hugely so. If you prevent a group having access to guns on the basis that it is high risk without them actually having committed a crime then you are onto a very slippery slope. There are plenty of other high risk groups: young black men for example.

    a mentally unstable person is unlikely to possess the discretion required to know when to fire a gun and when not to, in a real crisis – i.e. what kind of behavior counts as life-endangering.

    Are you sure? Surely it depends on the nature of their condition and there are plenty of people without any mental problems who have poor judgement in a crisis.

    Actually, about 10% of homicides committed each year in the U.S. are committed by adults with severe mental illness, despite the fact that they make up only 3.3% of the population. 10% is quite a significant proportion. Any measure that would reduce the homicide by 10% is well worth undertaking.

    This recent metastudy suggests the figure is less than 5%. Of course it would In any case a move which fails to address 90% of homicides is hardly a solution.

    Finally, regarding the “gun culture” in the United States, I can’t claim to fully understand it, but I do know that it will probably take centuries to change it, if that ever happens.

    Agreed it would take a long time – so the sooner they start the better!

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    VJT: I would suggest that Schaeffer and Koop were right forty years past and the rise of abortion has increasingly corrupted law, politics, family life, sexuality and general public morality through the power of institutionalised and pervasive blood guilt. Even the murder statistics generally likely reflect that. And that many do not perceive the matter and do not feel it to be utterly socially and personally corrosive and destructive to law and justice, would be major red warning flags. This is a major part of why we are where we are, the upcoming generation are abortion survivors — 55+ millions in the US alone is half a generation slaughtered in the womb and maybe 5 – 10% of the global total . . . the worst holocaust in history — indoctrinated in the view that human life in the womb is of no worth or sacred dignity, and from that all else follows. KF

  29. 29
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    I have a simple question. Suppose that in 25 years’ time, the government passed a bill allowing parents to kill their newborn babies during the first week or month after birth, if they decided that they didn’t want them after all. Would you stop calling that homicide just because it was legal? I don’t think you would.

    Abortion, like the slave trade of old, is a monstrous injustice. It needs to be denounced from the housetops. I might add that the pro-life movement has shown itself to be highly disciplined in its conduct.

    Would you help me understand something about the anti-abortion position? If we assume arguendo that a fetus is a human being with the same right to life as a one-week old, a one-year old, a teenager or an adult, then why is it not a moral imperative to use violence to stop abortions?

    Let us assume that concentration camps were legal under German law, and that we all agree that it would have been virtuous and right for the resistance to use violence to disrupt the camps’ operations. That is to say, very few people would say it would be wrong to ambush a truck and free Jews on their way to the camps, even if it required killing the guards. Why does that logic not apply to the bombing of abortion clinics, if such attacks have the result of discouraging some number of abortions?

    To be clear, I understand that the anti-abortion movement in general does not endorse or defend the use of violence to stop abortions. The very rare outliers—those who would endorse violence to stop abortions, and those who would reject it even to liberate a concentration camp—are not relevant. My question is directed at the mainstream.

    I don’t want this to be taken as a rhetorical device or a “gotcha” question. So to be clear, I think the answer is that in fact virtually no one actually believes that a fetus is fully a person, and that this explains why many people treat abortion as something less than homicide even when they take the position that a fetus is a person. I don’t think that you would agree with me there. So I’m very curious about your position.

  30. 30
    Virgil Cain says:

    LarTanner:

    If there’s any good that can come out of this senseless event, I hope that people realize it’s time to stop equating legal abortions with homicide, murder, or similarly damning terms.

    No, it’s time that everyone sees abortion as what it is- the murder of innocents.

    Abortion is a legal medical procedure.

    THAT is the problem. In a society that accepts the senseless slaughter of millions of innocents the concept of homicide is confusing.

    People see the senseless slaughter of million of innocents and they try to stop it by any means necessary. In a different context those people would be considered heroes.

  31. 31
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    How about mandatory testing for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, for anyone wishing to obtain a gun license, as well as mandatory testing for family members living with them, in order to determine whether a person who is awarded a gun license should also be legally required to keep his/her gun locked up at all times?

    This would be impossible for two reasons. First, the gun culture in the United States makes such steps virtually impossible to even discuss, much less implement. Any potential restriction on firearm ownership is seen as an affront to fundamental principles of liberty, and communities cohere around resistance to such affronts. Those communities range from the serious and rational (the Eugene Volokhs of the world) to the passionately mad (the Sandy Hook “truthers” of the world).

    Second, as a legal matter, the right to firearm ownership is embedded in the US Constitution. This is an oversimplification, but under our laws a regulation that substantially impairs access to a right is seen as the same thing as denying that right. Requiring someone to get an expensive license to start a blog would be just as unconstitutional as banning blogs, even if the licenses were granted to all applicants, because the fees would keep people from exercising their rights. (This is why laws requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting procedures are constitutionally suspect.) Your proposal would be seen as such a restriction, because the tests would be costly and time consuming. I think the odds of such a law surviving in court are virtually zero.

    Also, how about very stiff jail sentences for people who are certified as mentally competent and who are licensed to own a gun, but who, as a result of negligence, fail to keep their guns out of the hands of mentally ill (or very young) family members living with them?

    This is more likely to be constitutional, but would run afoul of the gun culture. What would be negligence, for example? Being forced to keep their guns locked and unloaded would be seen as an unconscionable denial of the basic right to bear arms by many Americans. They’d see it as negligent to not have a gun readily accessible. That may seem like an unbelievable statement, but consider one response to school shootings: many people want teachers and school staff to be required to bear arms. (It’s a minority position, of course.)

    (I realize that in the event of a burglary, this requirement would reduce the gun owner’s ability to respond quickly and defend him/herself, but the risk of the gun falling into the wrong hands if it is not locked away is far higher. The number of deaths resulting from gun owners not being able to unlock their guns in time to stop a burglar is likely to be far lower than the number of deaths caused by mentally unstable people or children accidentally getting hold of a gun and misusing it.)

    This logic is irrelevant. The gun culture is motivated by a perception of fundamental rights, not utilitarianism.

  32. 32
    Virgil Cain says:

    If we assume arguendo that a fetus is a human being with the same right to life as a one-week old, a one-year old, a teenager or an adult, then why is it not a moral imperative to use violence to stop abortions?

    It is. However most people are trying other methods and that makes us feel better so we stick with it. Also there isn’t any real unified pro-life and violence, unless totally successful, just seems to embolden and empower the opposition.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    PHV, You are talking to the same movement that by peacefully surrendering to murder rather than compromise conscience, changed the world 1700 – 2000 years ago. KF

  34. 34
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    KF, does that mean that you would disclaim violence as a tool for disrupting the Holocaust?

  35. 35
    Axel says:

    It was reported on an American, liberal forum yesterday that a baby, believed to be 24 to 36 hours old, was heard crying by two deputies. On investigating they discovered a baby girl half covered under asphalt and rubble by a cycle path – surely, abandoned when the person burying the baby took fright.

    The respondents sounded quite compassionate, but no-one seemed to want to join the dots, and I found myself wondering if their commitment to abortion made them feel so confused as to feel ambivalent, even about this gruesome, attempted infanticide. After all, I wondered if maybe being buried alive might have been a kinder way of being dispatched than being pulled limb from limb. A surreal world we live in.

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    PHV, the holoucaust occurred during a war and it was first exposed by the White Rose Martyrs at the cost of their lives. Christian martyrs. Six students some also serving in the German Army, a professor. BTW, their pamphlets were picked up by the Allies and were printed and dropped by bomber all over Germany. The Allies should have bombed the key rail junctions and should have done much more, but truth is the death camps were fairly late, most of the mass murder was in the East in the war zone captured by the Germans. The White Rose took the first, crucial step of exposing the evil. At the price of being caught, kangaroo courted and executed by a vicious tyrant. By speaking out early, we trust evil will not be sufficiently established that truth costs you your life. But, judging by a parallel thread it is doubtful that you are seriously listening. KF

  37. 37
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    PHV, the holoucaust occurred during a war and it was first exposed by the White Rose Martyrs at the cost of their lives.

    Does that mean the distinguishing factor was the formal declaration of hostilities, or that the perpetrators of the Holocaust were given sufficient notice? I don’t think either makes sense. Would it be justified to shoot a gynecologist if you leafleted her clinic first? I don’t think you believe that. Would it be unjustifiable for the White Rose to shoot an SS guard prior to the formal declaration of war? I don’t think you believe that, either. So what distinguishes the use of force in the two cases?

    By speaking out early, we trust evil will not be sufficiently established that truth costs you your life. But, judging by a parallel thread it is doubtful that you are seriously listening.

    I appreciate your loving threats. If you mean that force is not justified in stopping abortions because it is “early,” then I don’t understand that position either. There are more than a million abortions per year in the US, so how many have to happen before the use of force is justified? Not that I think you have or need a specific number in mind, of course–but is that it? There’s some point at which the use of force would be justified, and we haven’t reached it yet?

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    PHV,

    Do you really want me to summarise Shirer, Churchill and others or shove you off to Wikipedia?

    All I will say is Hitler started on WWI crippled veterans and children before WWII, and dressed up conc camp prisoners in polish uniforms and murdered them near a radio station to pretend the Poles launched the war. Just in Poland 3 mn Jews and 2 mn Christians were murdered with the Russians helping out with 40,000 officers. The Russians lost, what, 25 millions with maybe 5 – 8 mn on the actual battlefield, with a plan to confiscate the food in the Ukraine and leave the people to the winter being one of the most stomach churning things I ever saw. Lebensraum, in a twisted version of Mackinder’s Heartland-World Island rise of Rail to make a new base for power in the global pivot Geopolitical thesis.

    Let me simply clip one slice of what the White Rose Martyrs said in warning:

    WR, II: Since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way . . . The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals . . . Each man wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty!

    WR, IV: Every word that comes from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might is at bottom accursed. True, we must conduct a struggle against the National Socialist terrorist state with rational means; but whoever today still doubts the reality, the existence of demonic powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand the metaphysical background of this war.

    You should be thoroughly ashamed of your lack of seriousness and respect in the presence of heroes who warned their nation and the world at the cost of their lives.

    KF

  39. 39
    joehalfgallon says:

    I think PHV has a point. If a one week old fetus is as human as a ten year old child, why would we accept violence to interrupt the holocaust, but not to interrupt abortions?

  40. 40
    joehalfgallon says:

    But, getting back on topic, I have great respect and admiration for this police officer. He took an oath the protect citizens who are obeying the laws of the land, and he did that IN SPITE of his religious beliefs. Now, let’s compare that to a certain county clerk who will remain nameless (because her name slips my mind), who refused to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple IN SPITE of the oath she took.

    Now, who is the real hero?

  41. 41
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    KF, if you think you answered the question, all I can say is that I doubt any person reading this could summarize your answer. If you’d like to communicate your thoughts, perhaps you could make a concerted effort to be brief and to the point. You might answer in the form of a simple, declarative statement that does not digress into dire pronouncements or threats–something like, “Violence used to stop abortions is distinguished from violence used to stop the Holocaust because…”

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    JHG, you have wires crossed and ethics inside out. The thing you miss in both places is the moral principle. We still have enough liberty to stand and warn so we should. And, murder is never justified though under certain circumstances in the face of overwhelming evil the community under its legitimate leaders has a collective right of self defense. In the case of abortion, exposure and legal pressure are actually winning the day bit by bit. In the case of the holocaust genocidal war was already in progress but Hitler et al so feared the truth they murdered those who stood up to warn. Including beheading a young girl and her brother the same afternoon, robbing their parents of both their children, by way of kangaroo court. KF

  43. 43
    joehalfgallon says:

    KF, with respect, you are still evading the question. Let me simplify it for you.

    Scenario 1) You can derail a train full of Jews heading to Auschwitz (let’s say five hundred people) but it would involve killing two guards. Would you do it?

    Scenario 2) You can stop five hundred abortions by killing an abortion doctor. Do you do it?

    I can tell you that I wouldn’t think twice about killing two guards in scenario one. I absolutely wouldn’t do it for scenario two. Now, without obfuscating and equivocating, can you provide as clear and concise a answer to those scenarios?

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    JHG, You are again utterly twisted. In a war, soldiers do carry out special ops, even in cases where there are unintended deaths. Think, Heydrich assassination in Czechoslovakia. In a peaceful state, there is no basis for murder. It is the abortionist who is guilty of the 500. To warn is enough. KF

  45. 45
    joehalfgallon says:

    JHG, You are again utterly twisted.”

    KF, I have been respectful. If you can’t answer without insulting me, you are not worth my effort. But, if you are serious about your position, I welcome a real response. Please explain why killing to protect innocent lives is OK in war, but not in peace? I am seriously curious

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    JHG, I suggest to you go look up the theory of the just war and of collective self defense and compare that of policing, law enforcement and reformation in the civil state. KF

  47. 47
    goodusername says:

    KF,

    So it would be ok to kill the guards in scenario one to save the lives of hundreds of Jews – but only because there was a formal declaration of war? And even then only if the person killing the guards is a soldier?

    So if the person who killed the guards and saved the lives of the Jews was not a soldier, he would be “utterly twisted”? I think most would consider him a hero.

    If someone is about to slaughter a classroom of children, I hope you’re not the first on the scene if all you’re going to do is warn him and think that is enough.

  48. 48
    Eugen says:

    kairos

    it takes patience to talk with notevenagallon and his friend pro hac vice. partgallon’s scenarios are so silly and forced, almost nonsense.

    Do these people understand that war and peace are two totally different situations, hard to compare?

  49. 49
    joehalfgallon says:

    JHG, I suggest to you go look up the theory of the just war and of collective self defense and compare that of policing, law enforcement and reformation in the civil state. KF”

    OK, I take that as a “No, I refuse to answer your question.”

    Why? WWII wasn’t declared a “just war” until after the war. Western countries turned boat loads of Jews back to Europe (mine included) long after we knew what was happening.

    I asked you a very simple question. In both cases, refusing to kill will result in 500 (or more) dead. Why are you equivocating? Would you kill to save 500 people between the age of two and ninety? (I would, and I will defend my decision). Would you kill to save 500 blastocysts? (I wouldnt and i will defend my decision).

    Why are you not willing to do the same?

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN: I suggest to you go look up the theory of the just war and of collective self defense and compare that of policing, law enforcement and reformation in the civil state. KF

  51. 51
    joehalfgallon says:

    GUN: I suggest to you go look up the theory of the just war and of collective self defense and compare that of policing, law enforcement and reformation in the civil state. KF”

    OK. It is obvious that we have to use small words to get our points across. Recently, there were over 100 people killed by terrorists in Paris. You wrote about it. If you had the chance, would you kill their ringleader, during the event, to prevent this?

    Would you do the same to an abortion doctor?

    If not, why not? Were they not both premeditated? Did they not both end innocent lives? What is the difference? Could it possibly be that the abortions are ending the existence of something that we consider of less human value?

  52. 52
    goodusername says:

    KF,

    I have. And they have no relevance here.

    If I were to encounter a situation where someone was about to slaughter a classroom of children, I would feel that it is justified to use force, or even kill the man, to save the children.

    Even without a formal declaration of war or a UN resolution.

    But I take it from your posts that you’re going to do your best to make sure your responses have nothing to do with what anyone here is talking about.

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    GUN, If you fail to see the relevance of the civil peace of justice and the importance of reform over vigilantism, then no reasonable person can help you. KF

  54. 54
    joehalfgallon says:

    GUN: “But I take it from your posts that you’re going to do your best to make sure your responses have nothing to do with what anyone here is talking about.”

    And this surprises you?

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers, notice the insistent diversion and refusal to understand justice, the civil peace and its defence from enemies foreign and domestic. And at no point has the word and sacrifice of the White Rose Martyrs been heeded. KF

  56. 56
    goodusername says:

    KF,

    So you would let the classroom of children die for the sake of “civil peace”? I hope your view never becomes popular.

    And at no point has the word and sacrifice of the White Rose Martyrs been heeded. KF

    What do you believe isn’t being “heeded”?

  57. 57
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    KF, I have noticed your insistent diversions and your refusal to address the question. So has everyone else. It’s a very hard question, but you aren’t required to bluster and insult us if you can’t answer it. You could just say, “I don’t know,” or “I’m still thinking about it.” Insulting us instead for not reading your mind to divine an answer you can’t put in words is… well, characteristic, if unhelpful.

    The closest you’ve come to an answer, I think, was your comment at 42 suggesting that violence is unjustified while persuasion and legal advocacy may yet be successful. It’s an interesting point, but it doesn’t really address the issue here. Why would it be right for a civilian to use force against the Paris attackers but not a gynecologist preparing to perform an abortion? The fact that abortion may be outlawed in a decade is hardly relevant to the human life at hand.

  58. 58
    EDTA says:

    Dionisio @ 11:

    Could the above quoted text relate to Job 1:19?
    Hint: Job 1:21

    No, I was thinking more of Isa 45:7: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (KJV) This is the Lord choosing to use the word “ra”, which other translations render as “disaster” or “calamity”, but which in many places is rendered “evil” (even in the NIV and NAS versions).

    Only the Maker of Life can dispose of it at His will. He doesn’t need our validation or opinion.

    He does not need it, that is for sure. Yet in OT times, He sent the Assyrians against His chosen people, which is to say He took responsibility for willing people to kill other people. (The Assyrians would think they were acting on their own initiative. Then, God would turn and judge the Assyrians themselves for their haughtiness.) This is the same God that makes allowance for killing when someone attempts to kill you. And the God that allows governments to punish lawbreakers with death, and by extension, permits individual agents of governments to kill lawbreakers.

    There is more to the matter of evil, and who can kill and under what circumstances, than a simple black/white dividing line. (As other responders are pointing out.)

    His perfect justice will be fulfilled at His time, in His terms.

    May He bring it to a culmination soon.

  59. 59
    Eugen says:

    Don’t set up silly scenarios. In times of peace we seek peaceful solutions, in times of war we seek violent solutions.

  60. 60
    goodusername says:

    Pro Hac Vice,

    The closest you’ve come to an answer, I think, was your comment at 42 suggesting that violence is unjustified while persuasion and legal advocacy may yet be successful. It’s an interesting point, but it doesn’t really address the issue here. Why would it be right for a civilian to use force against the Paris attackers but not a gynecologist preparing to perform an abortion? The fact that abortion may be outlawed in a decade is hardly relevant to the human life at hand.

    I just noticed KF at post #1. Everything he’s said since then seems to contradict that post. If it’s not justifiable to kill a Nazi to save hundreds of Jewish lives, or to kill someone about to kill a room full of children, than how would it be justifiable to kill the terrorists in Paris?

  61. 61
    Jack Jones says:

    @40

    “Now, let’s compare that to a certain county clerk who will remain nameless (because her name slips my mind), who refused to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple IN SPITE of the oath she took.”

    It’s not possible to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple, same sex marriage is a contradiction in terms. You may be one of those kind and if you are then you can never really be married.

  62. 62
    joehalfgallon says:

    KF, I support PHV’s comment. Admitting that a moral quandary is insolvable is not the weakness. Admitting that one does not exist, is.

    Yes, what we presented was a loaded question. But what you have to ask is, why is it a loaded question? Talking about just wars and nonsense like that is just equivocation at its best.

    1) why is it OK to use violence against terrorists killing people in a Paris night club?

    2) why is it not OK to use violence against abortion doctors killing babies in the womb?

    Until you can resolve this inconsistency, all other arguments are pointless.

    Are you willing to answer this question? Yes or no?

  63. 63
    Jack Jones says:

    @55

    What I am noticing KF is that all of these lefty loonies posting here all of a sudden are probably one person with sock accounts.

  64. 64
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    In times of peace we seek peaceful solutions, in times of war we seek violent solutions.

    So if no one had ever declared war on Germany, it would have been wrong to use violence to stop the Holocaust? It’s a bold position, and one I think few people share.

  65. 65
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    Hello, Jack. Can you resolve the quandary for us? What distinguishes situations in which it’s OK to use force to protect human lives from those in which it’s wrong to use force to protect human lives?

  66. 66
    joehalfgallon says:

    Joe: “It’s not possible to issue a marriage license to a same sex couple, same sex marriage is a contradiction in terms. You may be one of those kind and if you are then you can never really be married.”

    Canada has been doing it for over a decade. The US is now doing it. The fact that you are homophobic does not change these facts.

  67. 67
    Jack Jones says:

    @29 Pro Hac who is probably a sock of joehalfgallon

    We have a good idea of what ideas sickos like you have with your pro abortion and pro homosexual views etc

    The question is, Why do you think that people that do not share your extreme left wing views have to answer to you?

    @66 joehalfgallon the other account says “Canada has been doing it for over a decade. The US is now doing it.”

    Nope, they can issue a license but it is not really a marriage license because a same sex marriage is a contradiction in terms. It is a pretense.

    You can pretend to be married but you never truly can be married. Logic trumps your perverse lifestyle.

    “The fact that you are homophobic does not change these facts.”

    The fact that people are disgusted by your lifestyle does not mean they fear you, The fact you enjoy your disgusting behavior does not change the fact you never can really be married.

  68. 68
    Eugen says:

    PHV

    To understand you better: who should declare war on who in N.America today?

    Jack

    if you don’t share extreme left wing views you are a (something) phobe ….it’s that simple 😀

  69. 69
    joehalfgallon says:

    Virgil: “The question is, Why do you think that people that do not share your extreme left wing views have to answer to you?”

    Nobody is asking you to. The bigger question is why you think it necessary to justify your views by insulting others? As KF would say, “very telling”.

  70. 70
    Jack Jones says:

    @68 “Jack if you don’t share extreme left wing views you are a (something) phobe ….it’s that simple”

    That is usually how it goes with mentally lazy militant lefties and homosexuals like joehalfgallon aka Pro Hac Vice and what ever other sock account he has.

  71. 71
    joehalfgallon says:

    Frankie: “That is usually how it goes with mentally lazy militant lefties and homosexuals like joehalfgallon aka Pro Hac Vice and what ever other sock account he has.”

    Thank you for the kind words. I’m sure that Pro Hac Vac and I appreciate them as much as you, Joe, Virgil and Jack enjoyed writing them.

  72. 72
    Robert Byers says:

    vjtorley
    Thanks for the correction. i thought homicide only meant murder. I didn’t know it was motive neutral. I bet most don’t. I’m glag you picked it on purpose and didn’t say abortion was mirder like too many of my fellow pro-lifers do.

  73. 73
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    It’s a shame this conversation has bypassed the thoughtful UD regulars. I’d be curious how they square what seems like a circle to me; I think there’s probably a principled position that justifies behaving differently under the hypo, but not in these responses.

    I’m not joehalfgallon or any other poster. I’ve only ever posted here as PHV and Learned Hand. I think I probably use both from time to time, depending on whether I’m on my old computer or my new one (saved logins), but I don’t think anyone is confused about who I am. Especially since I’ve introduced myself by my real name and linked to my paltry Twitter feed and occasional blog postings from time to time.

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    JJ,

    that resort to disposable sock puppetry is a distinct possibility, one long since noticed.

    However, that is not the true answer.

    The true answer is to recognise and expose moral blindness, incompetence and willful irresponsibility in the face of the requisites of the civil peace of justice. And in extreme cases, demonic motivation.

    Let us hear again the White Rose Martyrs, standing for truth and exposing demonic evil at the cost of their lives:

    WR, II: Since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way . . . The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals . . . Each man wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty!

    WR, IV: Every word that comes from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might is at bottom accursed. True, we must conduct a struggle against the National Socialist terrorist state with rational means; but whoever today still doubts the reality, the existence of demonic powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand the metaphysical background of this war.

    A greater voice, that of their Master, and mine — the Martyr of Martyrs, from the greatest sermon ever given:

    Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

    The answer to great, and especially demonic darkness is to turn on the light of great moral truth. Then, comes the test and the verdict: light is come but men love darkness instead of light as their deeds are evil; nor will they come to the light for fear that their evil deeds will be exposed. But he who is of the truth will come to the light that it may be seen that what he does has been done through God. (Jn 3:17 – 21.)

    A glance at the above is sufficient to see the reaction to light.

    Going beyond, we have a great basis for addressing reform and transformation of government and civil society, in the charter of modern democracy, the US DoI, 1776. In this, we see the answer to grave injustice and abuse within a civil society, and coming from without:

    When . . . it becomes necessary for one people . . . to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 – 21, 2:14 – 15], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . .

    Light shines in and dispels darkness, which can only rage and seek to put it out, by distraction, discrediting, polarisation and in the end, murder.

    To which, the answer of any decent society is to honour martyrs of truth such as the officer who gave his life in Colorado.

    Let us therefore refresh our moral vision from his example and the teachings of his church; thereby seeing truth afresh and exposing those who would suppress the truth in wickedness, by lies, by rhetorical attacks to the man, and in the end by murder.

    For such are of those who, BECAUSE they are told truth that runs contrary to their proclivities and determined bent, will reject it and will hoggishly turn on those who have put pearls before pigs.

    KF

  75. 75
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    Stirring! But it avoids the question, again. If we assume it would be right to take up arms to stop the Holocaust, even in the absence of a declaration of war, why would it be wrong to take up arms to stop abortion? Is it that abortion is legal? Well, so was the Holocaust (I assume). Is it that abortion might stop over time without violence? I don’t think anyone here would give that answer to a Jew being dragged away–“Sorry, but the Holocaust just started, you have to die so that we can see whether this thing is amenable to democratic pressure.”

    Why is it moral to use violence to stop the Holocaust, but not abortion? “The White Rose martyrs!” is not an answer. Why is it moral to use violence to end slavery (which many people believe would have ended peacefully over time, although I disagree) but not abortion? “You people are evil and destroying society!” is not an answer. An answer would be an answer. Would I be foolish to expect one, in lieu of another stentorian sermon?

  76. 76
    joehalfgallon says:

    KF: “JJ, that resort to disposable sock puppetry is a distinct possibility, one long since noticed.

    KF, I would think that you, of all people, would abhor the attempts by someone to out and cyber-bully another commenter. But I guess I was sadly wrong.

    For the record, I am not PHV, or William Spearshake, or whoever else JJ is accusing me of being.

    However, that is not the true answer. The true answer is to recognise and expose moral blindness, incompetence and willful irresponsibility in the face of the requisites of the civil peace of justice. And in extreme cases, demonic motivation.”

    Translation:I can’t explain why it is OK to kill a terrorist in a Paris night club to save 100 human souls, but not OK to kill an abortion doctor to save 500 human souls.”

  77. 77
    Dionisio says:

    EDTA

    Thank you for your comments @58.

    I think you correctly answered ‘no’ to the question relative to Job 1:19.
    I believe the events described in Job 1:19 are validated by what is said in Job 1:21. Only the Maker of Life can dispose of it at His will.

    Also you made an interesting reference to Isaiah 45:7. Here are a few related comments:

    I form light and create darkness,
    I make well-being and create calamity,
    I am the LORD, who does all these things.
    [Isaiah 45:7 (ESV)]

    light . . . darkness.
    The Lord asserts His power over two fundamental poles of reality, as described in Gen. 1:3-4. The parallel terms “well-being” and “calamity” include the political realities that Cyrus was going to disturb in fulfilling the counsel of God

    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.
    [Genesis 1:3-4 (ESV)]

    God said.
    God’s free act of creation through the divine Word (Ps. 33:6, 9; cf. John 1:1, 3) signifies that the universe is not an emanation or part of the divine being, thus ruling out all forms of pantheism. Though creation is not part of God’s being, all creation is utterly dependent on God for its existence, for He creates and sustains all that is by the power of His own being.

    Let there be.
    God’s will is irresistible. It is carried out by divine imperative.

    light.
    God is the ultimate source of the daylight that alternates with darkness; the sun is later introduced as the immediate cause (vv. 14–18; v. 5 and note). Light symbolizes life and blessing (Ps. 4:7; 56:13; Is. 9:2; John 1:4, 5).

    good.
    Brought within God’s constraints, even the darkness and watery deep (vv. 2, 10) are now “good,” serving God’s benevolent purposes (Ps. 104:19–26). The creation bears witness to God’s handiwork (Ps. 19:1–6).

    separated.
    The Hebrew here is also translated “set apart.” Separation is fundamental both to creation and to Israel’s existence (3:15; 4:1–17; 12:1; Lev. 20:24, 25; Num. 8:14).

    When its boughs are dry, they are broken;
    women come and make a fire of them.
    For this is a people without discernment;
    therefore He who made them will not have compassion on them;
    He who formed them will show them no favor.
    [Isaiah 27:11 (ESV)]

    boughs.
    The mighty city will become brittle like dried out branches.

    people without discernment.
    The city is inhabited by foolish idolaters (2:8 note; Rom. 1:20–23).

    he who formed.
    A frequent designation of God as Creator, Ruler, and Redeemer of His people. The verb denotes planning (“purposed,” 46:11); authority, as of an artisan over his materials (41:25); creation and providence (45:18); and the formation of a new people (43:1, 21; 44:2, 21; 49:5; 64:8).

    favor.
    This is the undeserved grace of God (26:10; 30:18, 19; 33:2).

    You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.
    [Isaiah 22:11 (ESV)]

    old pool.
    Probably the Gihon Spring, also known as the “upper pool” (7:3; 36:2).

    did not look . . . see him.
    While busying themselves with planning and fortifying Jerusalem, they forgot the Lord.

    planned it long ago.
    God had planned the future of Jerusalem when He determined long before to create it (37:26). No one could change His plan or avert His judgment.

    For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
    [Romans 1:20-23 (ESV)]

    Note: Commentaries from the Reformation Study Bible provided by Ligonier Ministries.

  78. 78
    kairosfocus says:

    Running sadly true to form . . .

  79. 79
    joehalfgallon says:

    Running sadly true to form . . .”

    Yes, unfortunately, you are. Why are you afraid to answer the question? I answered it honestly and in good faith. I think it is OK to use deadly force against a terrorist in a night club to save 100 lives, but not OK to use deadly force against an abortion doctor to save 500 fetuses. Do you have the same sentiments? If so, why? If not, why not?

  80. 80
    kairosfocus says:

    JHG, You have already been fully answered in the words of the US DoI and linked themes. Sorry, you do not get to distract, distort, denigrate and demand that your threadjacking prevails. Enough has been said for the serious. KF

  81. 81
    kairosfocus says:

    PHV, You have willfully ignored stated context that the holocaust took place during a war in zones where there were no competent and capable civil authorities to correct the evil and take those responsible in custody. We were dealing with those who usurped and corrupted the government of a major military power. As it was, brave people, Christian people, sacrificed their lives to sound the alarm to their nation and the world. Something you seemingly have no respect for, itself a big red warning flag. You have now proceeded to erect a strawman caricature soaked in slanderous ad hominems and have rhetorically ignited same to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere. That speaks volumes and removes you from the circle of civil discussion. Good day. KF

  82. 82
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    PHV, You have willfully ignored stated context that the holocaust took place during a war in zones where there were no competent and capable civil authorities to correct the evil and take those responsible in custody.

    OK, so the distinguishing factor is that violence is impermissible to save human lives where there are “competent and capable civil authorities to correct the evil and take those responsible in custody.”

    I think that’s a defensible standard, but–predictably–it’s totally irrelevant to the question at hand. Because of course, there are no “competent and capable civil authorities to correct the evil [of abortion] and take those responsible in custody.” The civil authorities in both cases, abortion and the Holocaust, take the position that the putative murder at issue is legal.

    That’s the point of the hypothetical: why is it permissible to arrogate the power of violent compulsion to ourselves in one case, but not the other? Both cases assume the authorities won’t do anything, so individual civilians must.

    So to say that the difference is that in one case there are “competent and capable civil authorities to correct the evil” is a bizarre and useless criteria. Who are those civil authorities? Who’s going to issue arrest warrants for gynecologists for providing abortions?

    If your argument is that eventually someone will start issuing such warrants, then I find that unserious. After all, as I said above, I doubt you’d tell the first truckload of genocide victims, “Sorry, I won’t take up arms to defend you–after all, someone might arrest these guys for gassing you, and we can’t tell until after you’re dead.” Nor would you demand people sit idly by while terrorists gun down a crowd, merely because there are cops waiting outside to take the perpetrators into custody.

    Your rule fails the most basic test: it doesn’t apply anywhere but in this one special circumstance.

  83. 83
    Dionisio says:

    KF @74

    Timely reference to the anti-evil movement in Munich during WWII. We can learn a few things from those brave young Germans, who resisted being brainwashed by the powerful repressive regime that terrorized their country. The WR stood firm against an evil doctrine that kept most of that continent in darkness for several years and caused so much death and destruction.

  84. 84
    joehalfgallon says:

    JHG, You have already been fully answered in the words of the US DoI and linked themes. Sorry, you do not get to distract, distort, denigrate and demand that your threadjacking prevails. Enough has been said for the serious. KF”

    You most certainly have not answered. You ave avoided, evaded, obfuscated and equivocated. But there was not an answer amongst the lot.

    I am being serious with the question. I am interested in the mindset of those who feel that abortion is murder and that a fetus has the same rights as a child or an adult. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t advocate for abortion; I would much prefer adoption. But I don’t feel that it is my call to make.

    I agree with you that pro-life advocates should not resort to violence. But in my case I believe this because I don’t think that abortion is murder. Yet, I certainly advocate for whatever violence is necessary to prevent the murder of children or adults. As, I assume, you do. But for those who honestly believe that abortion is murder, why wouldn’t violence against an abortion doctor be justified. Again, don’t get me wrong. I am glad that the vast majority of people don’t, I just don’t understand why not. If it is because they don’t believe in the use if violence to prevent the murder of anyone, fair enough. That person is a better man than I.

  85. 85
    Virgil Cain says:

    jokehalfbrain:

    If a one week old fetus is as human as a ten year old child, why would we accept violence to interrupt the holocaust, but not to interrupt abortions?

    Because we are a sad and pathetic society.

  86. 86
    Virgil Cain says:

    Abortion is murder for the simple fact that the entire life cycle is a developmental process that starts at conception.

  87. 87
    joehalfgallon says:

    Abortion is murder for the simple fact that the entire life cycle is a developmental process that starts at conception.”

    Every life may begin at conception, but not all conceptions end up with a living, breathing human. Even if we remove abortion from the equation.

  88. 88
    Virgil Cain says:

    jokehalfass:

    Every life may begin at conception, but not all conceptions end up with a living, breathing human.

    And not all deaths are murders. However abortion is murder in the same sense as a homicide.

  89. 89
    markf says:

    “Abortion is murder for the simple fact that the entire life cycle is a developmental process that starts at conception”

    This justification fascinates me because it is a materialist justification based on the physical process of development. Immaterial concepts such as the soul do not come into it. For those that are dualists isn’t the presence of the immaterial self what matters?

  90. 90

    VJT said:

    The true picture of what happened still eludes us. Actually, the “no more baby parts” comment strikes me as decidedly fishy: it’s just too pat. Something does not smell right.

    Exactly my reaction.

    As far as gun control, I’m not sure how you think decreasing the scope of who can legally own guns will prevent crazies or young adults from getting their hands on guns and using them.

    You cite Japan as a country that is almost free from gun violence. Do you think the Yakuza have guns? Do you not think the Yakuza use their guns to make sure people do what they want? Do you not think that it is in the Yakuza’s best interests to strictly control the flow of illegal weapons into Japan?

    Perhaps the reason there is no gun violence in Japan is precisely because ordinary people are prevented from acquiring guns by a sort of de facto partnership of government and Yakuza to keep guns away from ordinary citizens, leaving them entirely at the mercy of people in power, but governmental and the Japanese mafia.

    Is that a position you want to be in, as an ordinary citizen? Is reduced gun violence worth anything you have to give up, including the capacity to defy to the death the demands of a local branch of the underworld or corrupt government officials?

    Freedom and safety. The more of one you get, the less of the other you have.

  91. 91
    Bob O'H says:

    vjtorley @ 24 – What you suggest is, frankly, horrendous. Forcing people with mental illness to be tracked comes close to criminalising illness (would you do the same for someone taking antibiotics?). It would also have a detrimental effect on uptake of treatment. People with mental illness are vulnerable, and often have trust issues (that can become outright paranoia), so it can be difficult to get them to come forward for treatment. Telling them they have to be tagged if they want treatment is a quick and easy way to destroy any trust that has been built up. The net result will be the opposite of what you suggest: fewer people with mental health issues will be treated.

  92. 92
    Virgil Cain says:

    markf:

    This justification fascinates me because it is a materialist justification based on the physical process of development.

    No, it isn’t a materialist justification as materialism cannot account for humans nor development. You lose, again.

    Immaterial concepts such as the soul do not come into it.

    Cuz you say so?

  93. 93
    vjtorley says:

    Hi William J. Murray,

    Thank you for your comment. You write:

    You cite Japan as a country that is almost free from gun violence. Do you think the Yakuza have guns? Do you not think the Yakuza use their guns to make sure people do what they want? Do you not think that it is in the Yakuza’s best interests to strictly control the flow of illegal weapons into Japan?

    Actually, I happen to live just down the street from some yakuza. Seriously. The house has a high wall and security cameras, but the owners are very quiet people, and you seldom see them.

    Back in the 1980s, there was quite a bit of violence among warring yakuza crime gangs, but it’s much less common now, as public intolerance for that kind of violence has grown. My wife (who is Japanese) tells me that the yakuza have been hounded out of many neighborhoods by irate local residents. These days, they try to keep a low profile.

    You mentioned yakuza ownership of guns. The price of a handgun sold on the black market has recently risen from $2,500 to $10,000, as gang tensions have risen, but when the yakuza do fight, they usually fight each other, and they tend to leave ordinary people alone. I might also mention that the entire country of Japan had just 35 cases of firearm shootings in 2010.

    I don’t know of anyone in Japan who would like to see firearms legally available.

    I should add that I always feel perfectly safe walking the streets of Japan at night, no matter what the hour. Children commonly ride the trains unaccompanied, as late as 10 p.m., as they go home from cram schools. I’ve met Western women who tell me that they feel safer walking the streets of Japan at night than they do when walking the streets in their home countries.

    I can think of one more reason why I would not want guns to become legally available in Japan: the suicide rate, which is at least 50% higher than America’s, although considerably lower than South Korea’s. Most suicides are by hanging or overdoses – or occasionally, jumping in front of trains (which held the Tokaido line trains up for an hour this afternoon). Ready availability of guns would likely increase the number of suicides. If Japan wants to minimize the loss of human life, then a continued ban on guns would be a wise idea.

  94. 94
    markf says:

    “As far as gun control, I’m not sure how you think decreasing the scope of who can legally own guns will prevent crazies or young adults from getting their hands on guns and using them.”

    It is a fallacy to equate gun control with laws that limit ownership of guns. Gun control is above all a culture change where the cultural link between guns and violence is broken. In many stable Western democracies guns are not promoted or glorified as weapons and gun ownership is for sport or professional reasons. This is the case in most Western democracies and it affects not just the law-abiding citizen but the criminal. Not only do less people own guns but less criminals use guns (it is hard to be sure if they own them or not).

    Changing the law to limit who can own a gun can contribute to this culture but it is neither necessary nor sufficient. Famously most households in Switzerland own guns, but they do not have a gun culture. There are many reasons for this (one is the law against carrying a loaded weapon in public) but clearly a limit on gun ownership was not necessary. The UK famously banned hand-gun ownership in response to Dunblane in the late 90s but it did not have an effect on the use of handguns in crimes until it was enforced with police operations against gangs in the mid-2000s. The law by itself was not sufficient.

    If the US wants to reduce its homicide rate (which is still four times almost all other comparable countries) then you would think that a similar cultural change would at least be worth researching – but it seems to be an absolute taboo to even investigate gun control in some circles.

  95. 95
    vjtorley says:

    Hi markf,

    Regarding the immorality of abortion, you ask: “For those that are dualists isn’t the presence of the immaterial self what matters?”

    As you’re probably aware, I wrote an e-book back in 2011 arguing on purely materialistic grounds that abortion was immoral and that a zygote is just as important as you or I. My e-book was titled, Embryo and Einstein – Why They’re Equal. Briefly, I argued that a human embryo is a person, because it is a complete organism, embodying a developmental program by which it directs and controls its own development into a rational human adult, and in addition, it has already started assembling itself into a rational human adult. I contended that any organism which directs and controls its own self-assembly into a rational human adult is just as valuable as the adult it will become, and therefore has the same right to life as an adult. In a nutshell: since an organism’s value resides in its meta-information (which allows it to actively control its own development) rather than the information it acquires from its surroundings, it follows that nothing acquired by an embryo in the course of its development can possibly make it more valuable than it already is.

    If you’re a materialist, then you’ll identify the locus of control for an embryo’s self-assembly program with something in the embryo’s genome – and perhaps additionally, the epigenetic information in its cells. If you’re a dualist, you’ll maintain that the real locus of control is one level higher up: something immaterial directing the genome, or whatever. However, the important point is that because the self-assembly process is internally directed (i.e. controlled from within rather than without), the organism already has the same value as the rational adult it is building itself into. That point remains valid, regardless of whether you’re a materialist or a dualist.

  96. 96
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    If the US wants to reduce its homicide rate (which is still four times almost all other comparable countries) then you would think that a similar cultural change would at least be worth researching – but it seems to be an absolute taboo to even investigate gun control in some circles.

    I think this is correct–it’s not just seen as unwise or improper, but as a violation of closely-held cultural norms. Taking steps to reduce gun ownership is literally taboo for many Americans.

    What if it weren’t? What steps would detach Americans emotionally from our guns? I’m a lawyer, so I always think about legal solutions–but as you say, that’s not a terribly effective form of gun control. It’s easier to implement than cultural changes, though. I’m not even sure what a concentrated effort to change the culture would look like.

  97. 97
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    As you’re probably aware, I wrote an e-book back in 2011 arguing on purely materialistic grounds that abortion was immoral and that a zygote is just as important as you or I.

    Do you believe it’s acceptable to use violence in self-defense, or to defend another from unjustified homicide? If so, why would it be wrong to use force to disrupt the operations of an abortion clinic, if doing so would discourage some number of abortions?

  98. 98
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    I did a quick skim of your e-book, and you seem to address the question to a very limited extent at the end of Section J by reference to the comments of Jewels Green. Her position is that violent opposition to abortion is ineffective, based on her limited experience. I’m dubious; I think it’s reasonable to expect that violence at clinics will discourage some marginal number of women from seeking abortions, and some marginal number of doctors from becoming abortionists, limiting both the supply of and demand for abortion services. In other words, Ms. Green’s comments assume the dilemma away rather than resolving it. Do you address the issue elsewhere in your book?

  99. 99

    markf: If you’re willing to reduce the homicide rate at any cost, there is always totalitarianism and a police state. Right? Let’s condition the masses via state-controlled propaganda messaging. Right?

    VJT: I realize that there are a lot of people that feel grateful to mob enforcers for keeping the streets safe for their children. However, how does the Yakuza make money? Why are they considered the Japanese mafia and an organized crime syndicate? Is it a case of them agreeing not to poop in their own yard, and making their money elsewhere? When you say that irate locals “ran them out”, surely you realize that if there was nowhere else for them to run to,, there would be a different ending to that story?

    From the Ency. Brit.:

    They engage in extortion, blackmail, smuggling, prostitution, drug trafficking, gambling, loan sharking, day-labour contracting, and other rackets and control many restaurants, bars, trucking companies, talent agencies, taxi fleets, factories, and other businesses in major Japanese cities. They are also involved in criminal activities worldwide.

    Yakuza are viewed by some Japanese as a necessary evil, in light of their chivalrous facade, and the organizational nature of their crime is sometimes viewed as a deterrent to impulsive individual street crime. It is in part because of the dual nature of their relationship with police—as both criminals and sometimes humanitarians—and the idolization of criminal groups as “underdogs” in popular media that the Japanese police agency in the 1990s instated the name b?ryokudan in an antigang law to reinforce the criminal nature of yakuza organizations

    I don’t think that if the Yakuza depended on those local operations, an unarmed citizenry would have “driven them out”; rather, it is their corrupt relationship with the police that keeps the peace. In essence, the country has a de facto agreement to let the Yakuza operate in peace as long as it helps to keep violent crimes down.

    Question: what is Japan’s rate of unsolved disappearances? You say the suicide rate is very high there. Are you certain those are actually suicides? Food for thought. Here in America, the media refers to “gun-related homicides” as proof that guns are bad; but refuse to differentiate between justifiable homicides and criminal homicides. They also talk about gun-related violence (shootings), but refuses to inform the public that legal owners of guns have a lower gun-related criminal infraction rate than the police.

    I guess our rate of “homicides” would go down considerably as well if the government essentially endorsed a single nationwide crime syndicate and cooked the books so that the government could boast its low homicide rate.

    Freedom and safety. The more you have of one, the less you have of the other.

  100. 100
    markf says:

    “I’m not even sure what a concentrated effort to change the culture would look like.”

    I don’t deny it is a massive challenge. But there are precedents. One is the cultural change in attitudes to smoking. The law played a part in this – e.g. bans on advertising and smoking in public places – but so did communications and education (e.g. publicising the link between smoking and lung cancer) and things like getting role models such as sports heroes and film stars not to smoke (or at least not to be seen smoking).

  101. 101
    markf says:

    VJT:

    “However, the important point is that because the self-assembly process is internally directed (i.e. controlled from within rather than without), the organism already has the same value as the rational adult it is building itself into”

    This needs justifying (also perhaps clarifying). Where does the moral principle come from that says

    If A is a self-directed process that will eventually assemble itself into B then A has the same moral worth as B. After all we all eventually direct ourselves into being corpses. Do we have the same moral value as a corpse?

    But I don’t think, if you are honest with yourself, you really give the same moral value to a newly fertilized cell that you do to a new-born baby. Something of the order of 50% of all fertilized eggs never implant in the uterus wall and are passed on with menstruation probably without the mother knowing. Hardly anyone considers this a moral problem (of course, it might be a problem if you want to get pregnant). If the fertilized egg really had the moral value of a new-born baby this should be a disaster of megaproportions. We are allowing half of humanity to die almost immediately after conception! Why aren’t we devoting all our medical reseach to preventing this holocaust of holocausts? Why don’t we mourn and gnash our teeth and bemoan this disaster.

    The answer of course is because we don’t actually care much about a single fertilized egg and, I suggest, neither do you.

  102. 102
    vjtorley says:

    joehalfgallon and Pro Hac Vice,

    I’m going to answer your question, as it is one which I agonized about during the 1980s, when discussing the morality of abortion with some Catholic friends of mine who studied philosophy. We thrashed the issue out at some length.

    The position I eventually arrived at was this: it may sometimes be morally justifiable to use force to defend rights (especially inalienable ones) which are explicitly recognized under common law, but in societies where these rights were never explicitly articulated in the first place, the use of force by citizens in defense of these rights is morally unjustifiable.

    Prior to the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 (and similar court decisions in the UK and Australia in 1967 and 1977, respectively), society was pro-natal, but it wasn’t pro-life. A woman who had had four babies and one miscarriage would never have said: “I’ve had five children, but one died.” Nor would she have considered praying for the soul of her unborn child, let alone holding a funeral for it. (In Japan, by the way, people commonly do just that. Abortion is legal, but the fetus is viewed as a human being.) In Western countries, however, people used to describe miscarriage was “nature’s way,” and they tended to put it out of their minds, as much as possible. Birth was the big marker: I can remember, back in 1972, when I was 10 or 11 years old and in Year 7, listening to my Social Science teacher refer to the day you were born as the day your life began, and no-one in the classroom picked her up on that: it seemed like a perfectly natural thing to say. Abortion was commonly viewed as disgusting and unnatural and contrary to the will of God, but I don’t think many people would have actually called it “murder” until around the time when it became legalized. That was what really galvanized the pro-life movement.

    According to Thomist philosopher Dr. Ed Feser, “As late as the 1950s, Scholastic writers of unquestioned orthodoxy, in books having the Imprimatur, were debating the question of whether the rational soul was present at conception.”

    The law didn’t really recognize the unborn as human beings, either. A man who shot a pregnant woman would have been held guilty of one murder, not two, even if he knew she was carrying a baby. Blackstone’s influential Commentaries on the laws of England (published in 1765) decreed that life began at quickening, not conception: “Life is an immediate gift of God, a right inherent by nature in every individual; and it begins in contemplation of law as soon as an infant is able to stir in the mother’s womb. For if a woman is quick with child, and, by potion or otherwise, killeth it within her womb, or if anyone beat her, whereby the child dieth in her body, and she is delivered of a dead child; this, though not murder, was by the ancient law homicide and manslaughter. But the modern law doth not look upon this offence in quite so atrocious a light, but merely as a heinous misdemesnor (sic).” (Vol I, p. 129.)

    Thus if someone were to use force to defend the right to life of the unborn child, he/she would not be defending a right that was ever recognized in law – at least, not before the sixth month of pregnancy.

    If, on the other hand, some legislature passed a law tomorrow allowing parents to decide to put their newborn babies to death during the first week after birth, if they decided that they didn’t want them, that would be an altogether different matter. For the law of the land has recognized for centuries that newborn babies are legal persons with a right to life. Hence any legislature attempting to overturn that law would be trying to take away what the law already recognizes as an inalienable human right: namely, the right to life. Such an action would be null and void. and since the inalienable rights of citizens constitutes the basis of our society, any such legislative act would be tantamount to a declaration of war on society itself, which its members would be entitled to resist by force. Thus it would be morally lawful to use lethal force, where necessary, to prevent any doctor from performing infanticides, and to shut down any clinic where they were being performed.

    That leaves us with the interesting question of what concerned citizens should do if Ireland, whose citizens voted in a 1983 referendum to incorporate the rights of the unborn child into its Constitution, were to ever repeal that declaration. Would they be morally entitled to use force to prevent abortions from being carried out? Arguably so, for inalienable rights, once recognized by law, cannot be revoked. The only reason for not using force in that case would be a prudential one: that doing so would harm the pro-life cause, or alienate public opinion.

    However, the situation in America, the UK and Australia and New Zealand is completely different: the right to life of the unborn has never been incorporated into these countries’ constitutions.

  103. 103
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    That’s an interesting analogy. I think it would be virtually impossible to implement a similar top-down campaign, as with anti-gun advertising. The gun culture would go berserk. They’d see it as if it were anti-free speech advertisements, orchestrated by an untrusthworthy government for corrupt reasons. The backlash would probably swamp any positive effect.

    On the other hand, the idea of role models getting involved is very interesting. This would be harder (gun violence is much more entrenched in American media than smoking ever was) but probably more effective, especially if it was an organic change. But that presupposes some cultural shift; there’s a little bit of a cart in front of the horse. It may be that mass-shooting-fatigue is providing enough of a cultural shift, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of this starting already.

    It would be fascinating to see whether gun usage in media is tracked, and if so, whether it falls after mass shootings. Do you know if such statistics are available?

  104. 104
    markf says:

    WJM

    “If you’re willing to reduce the homicide rate at any cost, there is always totalitarianism and a police state. Right? Let’s condition the masses via state-controlled propaganda messaging. Right?”

    That would be an unacceptable cost. Luckily there are many alternatives.

  105. 105
    markf says:

    PVC #103

    I think you are right that the pro-gun lobby in the USA is so powerful that any kind of movement to change the culture would fail. One problem being that any kind of initial change – legal or otherwise – would have almost no effect. It would be the start of a long and slow process. So the gun lobby can immediately respond by saying “that didn’t work”.

    I am afraid I also have no idea about gun usage in the media. Maybe another PhD!

    I guess I will just appreciate my good fortune in living somewhere where it is not an issue.

  106. 106
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    VJT,

    I’m not sure if you were speaking to me or not–I’m not joehalfgallon.

    That’s a very interesting distinction! I’ll need to think about it; my initial reaction is that there will be huge grey areas in terms of defining whether a right has been “explicitly articulated,” but that’s not a fatal problem. (And it’s probably an inevitable one; humans find grey areas like pigs find truffles.) It seems like a workable approach.

    I’m assuming it’s possible for a society to change its articulation of rights over time. What sorts of things would you look for? In particular, do you think a consensus (or near-consensus) is necessary, or merely a strong and clear articulation that is heard and understood by most people, whether or not they agree with it?

    Slavery is the closest analog that jumps to mind. Let’s say the abolitionist message has inundated the South–the public has universally heard and understood it, but largely rejected it. What sorts of things would you look for to determine when violence is acceptable as a tool for ending slavery, despite the society’s refusal to accept the articulation of slaves’ rights? I assume that it would be impossible to land on a specific moment in time or indicator; I’m curious about the general indicators.

    (Edited to add: either my eyes are going or you edited your comment as I was drafting my reply. I don’t think in any way that changes my response, but sorry if I missed something.)

  107. 107
    vjtorley says:

    Bob O’H,

    You write: “What you suggest is, frankly, horrendous. Forcing people with mental illness to be tracked comes close to criminalising illness (would you do the same for someone taking antibiotics?). It would also have a detrimental effect on uptake of treatment.”

    Are you seriously proposing that people with a predisposition towards violent, bizarre and unpredictable behavior should be legally entitled to walk around the streets freely and to refuse to take medication which would reduce the risk of them injuring themselves or other people? That sounds like libertarianism taken to an absurd extreme to me.

    Here’s a stat for you, from Wikipedia: one-third to one-half of homeless people have severe psychiatric disorders, often co-occurring with substance abuse. Some people might call that freedom. I call it a tragedy. A truly civilized society wouldn’t allow that. But if you’re going to house the homeless, then they have to give up their independence. Every government benefit comes at some cost to liberty – as it should.

  108. 108
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    I think you are right that the pro-gun lobby in the USA is so powerful that any kind of movement to change the culture would fail.

    The “pro-gun lobby” as a formal institution is a symptom, not a cause. As a culture we see gun ownership fundamentally differently than most of the rest of the world. And we’re not only aware of the difference, it’s a point of pride and identity for many of us. People complain about the NRA, but if it went bankrupt tomorrow virtually nothing would change. The culture has to change itself, which is why I think your analogy to the cultural shift against smoking is so interesting.

    In particular, I think that you’re right that his will have to be a slow, long-term change. Whether it’s possible to accelerate, or how to do it, or even whether it should be done, I have no idea.

  109. 109
    markf says:

    “Are you seriously proposing that people with a predisposition towards violent, bizarre and unpredictable behavior”

    Doesn’t it depend on the extent of that predisposition? People with serious mental health problems are 3 or 4 times more likely to be violent than people without (on average) but that is still an extremely low risk.

  110. 110
    markf says:

    PHV #108

    You are right. I should have said something like “pro-gun movement”.

  111. 111
    joehalfgallon says:

    VJT at 102, thank you for having the courage to address the question directly and not try to evade it as others have.

    You have given an interesting and thought provoking answer. And I think that I would, to a large extent, agree with you. But the logical extension to this is that the categorizing abortion as murder by some is, if I am to be generous, misguided. However, the pessimist in me must conclude that the use of this term by many is intentionally and willfuly misleading.

  112. 112
    Virgil Cain says:

    Lost in all of this is the fact that Planned Parenthood could do a better job securing their facilities and providing safety for their clients and their personnel. Any and all facilities that offer abortions and support abortions need to ramp up their security. Have these places resemble militarized zones which should help drive down clientele.

    Or better yet, just stop abortions and let’s put those resources behind finding alternatives. It’s 2015 and we haven’t figured out how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. That seems like the best place to put resources. Men have to take more responsibility- fines, jail, public shaming, community service- that should also help.

  113. 113
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    Have these places resemble militarized zones which should help drive down clientele. Or better yet, just stop abortions and let’s put those resources behind finding alternatives.

    Literally letting the terrorists win.

  114. 114
    Bob O'H says:

    Are you seriously proposing that people with a predisposition towards violent, bizarre and unpredictable behavior should be legally entitled to walk around the streets freely and to refuse to take medication which would reduce the risk of them injuring themselves or other people?

    Yes. Because the alternative is that the refuse to get treatment: personally I’d prefer to have more people with mental health problems being treated (and also given social care). Plus, I don’t think civilised societies should be forcing its citizens to be under continual surveillance unless there is a clear demonstrable reason for it. Frankly, your criterion, that the person has a “predisposition towards violent, bizarre and unpredictable behavior” would mean we should tag all men between the ages of about 15 and 35.

    If people have severe mental health problems that would make them a threat to themselves or others then there is the option to hospitalise them. But I think that’s a decision that should be taken on a case by case basis, and by medical staff.

  115. 115
    Virgil Cain says:

    Pro Hac Vice:

    Literally letting the terrorists win.

    Who are you calling the terrorists?

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