Saturday, November 04, 2006


James Kopp, who shot abortion doctor, says case should be dismissed

James Kopp, who was convicted of shooting abortionist Barnett Slepian, is asking for the Federal charges against him to be dropped.

Now, let's get this clear off the bat: I think shooting Slepian was wrong. Period. Paragraph. I've made it clear why here.

With that out of the way, I do agree that Kopp ought not to be charged under the FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act), because nothing Kopp did prevented any woman from entering any place at all, either for reproductive health services or for an abortion. What Kopp did wasn't blocking access to a medical or abortion facility. What Kopp did was murder. FACE simply isn't appropriate.

Where I part ways with Kopp is on the idea that he was "saving babies" by killing Slepian. Slepian was in his house, making breakfast, engaged in peaceful and innocent activities with his family when he was gunned down.

The only circumstance in which Kopp (or anybody else) could logically claim the "defense of others" defense for shooting an abortionist would be if Slepian had instruments in hand and the only way to stop him was to shoot him. But it's difficult to imagine that scenario. Pulling a fire alarm would have achieved the same end -- the clinic would have been evacuated, and the reprieve used to -- I dunno, steal the curettes? Cut the electrical cord on the aspirator? Some non-violent means could have been used. And all that would have done was what shooting Slepian did -- buy some time. Another day or week of life for a few fetuses. Because unless you reach the mothers, the babies are going to die. And shooting an abortionist just convinces the mothers that the abortionists are the good guys, and prolifers the bad guys. It makes them afraid to approach the sidewalk counselors and the CPCs. It doesn't exactly drive them into our arms, does it?

Aside from being unjustified, shooting abortionists is just plain stupid and counter-productive. And to make matters even more pointlessly tragic -- as if a man shot dead in his kitchen while his helpless family watched isn't already pointlessly tragic enough -- the local prolife activists, who had befriended Slepian, held that he was near conversion when Kopp gunned him down. The man was -- staggeringly, in fits and starts, slowly -- moving toward the Kingdom. And Kopp stopped him short.

Who, precisely, does that serve? Certainly not God.

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