As I write this, there’s news from Colorado about a shooter who has wounded and maybe killed an undetermined number of people in or near a Planned Parenthood facility. The assailant has been apprehended. I have no idea at this point how the victims are doing or whether they were attacked inside the PP office.
This much I know already: whatever the motives, premeditated killing and assault is every bit as ghastly outside the abortion-procedure room as in it. I wrote as much to the friend who alerted me to the Colorado news. One of her social media contacts saw my reply and commented “fallacy.”
As I saw televised updates about the atrocity (Twitter coverage at that point was already too befouled with invective to read), someone who regularly participates in peaceful pro-life witness outside abortion facilities forwarded a nasty email she had just received. It contained an excerpt from a news bulletin about the shooting, with “Congratulations!” added by the (of course) anonymous sender.
And so a slanderous, persistent narrative continues, equating bloodshed and terrorism with nonviolent witness and action in resistance to abortion.
Now there’s a fallacy. It has a grip. Look at the Twitter feed that followed the initial reports from Colorado, if you have the stomach for it. (Did someone say “viciousness“?)
Nonviolent witness needs to grow, not recede. It isn’t passive. It takes practice. It’s essential. Pope Benedict, 2007: “It is thus understood that nonviolence, for Christians, is not a mere tactical behavior but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is convinced of God’s love and power, who is not afraid to confront evil with the weapons of love and truth alone.” That applies at all times, in the face of abortions and Colorado shootings and whatever vileness the Twitterverse may be throwing up.