Sunday, September 13, 2009

We're All Diminished: the murder of James Pouillon

Bill asks where all the bloggers--and the UUA--are regarding the murder of James Pouillon.

Well, murder is wrong. The murder of Pouillon is a reprehensible act. The fact that I disagree with his views about abortion doesn't change the reprehensibility of his murder.

But the blogosphere on the left didn't just ignore this. It got addressed at DailyKos, where the murder was decried, and decried again when the facts trickled out that it wasn't a politically-unrelated killing. Front-paged, too. I suspect that the news of the killing didn't spread as widely--Pouillon was a relative unknown, while Tiller had a far higher profile and people had been targeting him for a long time. The analogy breaks down, the cases are only loosely similar. I've seen nothing (which may only mean that I've not seen it) suggesting that this killer was associated with pro-choice groups or attended a church or participated in some other group that demonized Pouillon and talked about how good it would be if he were to be dead.

That still doesn't bear on the murder of Pouillon--only on the larger politics and newsworthiness of the case.

Harlan James Drake, Pouillon's murderer, seems to have targeted people he held grudges against--the other person he killed, Mike Fuoss, ran a gravel pit. The police caught up with Drake as he was--the police believe--he was on his way to kill a third individual he had some grudge against.

It's a damned shame. James Pouillon was, from all reports I can find now, steadfast in his beliefs, and equally a gentle, non-violent man.

I think that the case hasn't been addressed much because it's lower profile and murkier; Pouillon was--it appears--killed because the images he protested with offended Drake. That's not an excuse--murdering people because they show pictures that offend isn't tolerable, nor acceptable, explicable, or reasonable. But it's not clear that Drake was on some sort of crusade against anti-abortion protesters. And it's usually an error to leap off into a posting when the facts aren't available or clear. That's the sort of thing people did when McVeigh bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City--started insisting that this must have been an attack by anti-American Muslims....

None of which makes Pouillon's murder any less regrettable.

Just that presumptive politicizing of murders is... highly inflammatory, and socially unwise.


Bill Baar said...

James Pouillon, aka "the sign guy," was shot dead because of the sign he carried. If that isn't a political murder I don't know what is.

ogre said...

Bill, the fact is we don't know that it was political.

Drake had a set of grudges--again I'll point out that he went and murdered a gravel pit owner next...--do we *know* that his reason for committing murder was the political content of the sign? Simply being viscerally disgusted at the sign and angry (and, presumably, somewhat unhinged to start with...) doesn't mean that it was political.

When I wear a t-shirt with a message and someone snarls at me, is it because of the message? Possibly. But assuming that it is is an assumption. Not a fact.

Bill Baar said...

When I wear a t-shirt with a message and someone snarls at me, is it because of the message?

Yes, almost certainly...almost, but probable.

FSM_Ed said...

In the words of James M. Pouillon's eldest son:

It will be impossible for some to believe, but my dad really didn’t care about aborton.

He did this to stalk, harass, terrorize, scream at, threaten, frighten, and verbally abuse women. He had a pathologic hatred of women: his mom, my mom, everyone.

After my mom finally left him and he lost his favorite punching bag the violence and abuse that was always contained within our 4 walls was unleased on the people of Owosso.

My dad used the pro-life movement and 1st Amendments foundations to defend him, support him, and enable him. He fooled them all.

He was at the high shool because my niece was there, and female family members were always his favorite targets.

Again, my dad didn’t care about abortion. He wanted to hurt people, upset people. He enjoyed making people suffer.

His goal was to be shot on a sidewalk. His goal was to make someone so angry, to make them feel so terrorized, to make them feel the only way they could make him stop was to kill him.

His pro-life stance was the most perfect crime I personally know of. He hid behind the 1st Amendment and was allowed to stalk, terrorise, harass, be obsene, ect. These things are crimes. Offending people isn’t a crime, and having different political views isn’t a crime, but he committed several crimes over the last 20 years and got away with it.

Yes I really am his oldest son. Owosso is now rid of a mad man.