Colby Cosh has a longish piece about the murder of George Tiller, which he concludes thusly:
No: Like most pro-lifers, [Jim Hughes, of Campaign Life Coalition] is simply a purveyor of beliefs whose literal truth he does little or nothing to act seriously upon. (As I’ve pointed out in this space, you can make Henry Morgentaler a member of the Order of Canada, thus offering the grossest provocation imaginable to Catholics and evangelicals who have received the honour, and literally 99% of them will suck it up.) But, very occasionally, some ardent religious loner is confused enough to hear those beliefs, conclude they are true, and follow through. And a doctor somewhere ends up maimed or dead. And we blame only the individual who pulled the trigger.
I can’t speak for others, only for me. Here’s why I blame only the individual who pulled the trigger. For the same reason I don’t blame Muslims (or even “just” the hard-core ones, or even peaceful anti-Iraq war activists) for the shooting death, on Monday, of a young soldier outside a U.S. Army recruiting station in Arkansas. Because every individual is responsible for his or her own actions. You can’t blame those of us who say Dr. Tiller made a living taking innocent lives, or even that he was a murderer, for his death the same way you can’t blame the folks who claim U.S. soldiers are murderers for the death of that Arkansas soldier.
Ideological disagreement, moral confusion, religious bigotry, anger or even blind hatred are not the same as murderous intent, as any first-year law student can tell you.by