Roundup: Motives Remain Unclear in Michigan Killings While Terry Plans to Push “Martyrdom” of Pouillon


Motives Remain Unclear in Michigan Killings While Terry Plans to Push "Martyrdom" of Pouillon

While the full range of motives for two killings and one additional intended murder thwarted by police in Owosso, Michigan last week remain unclear, Randall Terry, who now leads a group he is calling Operation Rescue Insurrecta Nex (see Right-Wing Watch), is planning a press conference to declare James Pouillon a "martyr." 

According to the Ponca City News, Drake was arraigned Friday without an attorney on first-degree murder
charges and ordered held without bond.

Police said little about what might have led Drake – a truck driver who
mostly lived on the road in his cab and had family in the area – to
kill, other than that he had a grudge against Fuoss and Howe [the realtor who apparently was Drake's third intended target] and didn’t
like Pouillon’s graphic anti-abortion signs.

"Pouillon, 63, was a polarizing figure in Owosso, a town of 15,000" says the news article.

While inhaling oxygen from a small tank, he could usually
be seen with his anti-abortion signs outside schools, the library, city
hall, even football games.
On Friday morning, Pouillon was in his usual place across the street
from the high school, holding a sign that pictured a chubby-cheeked
baby with the word "LIFE" on one side and an image of an aborted fetus
with the word "ABORTION" on the other. Authorities allege Drake pulled
up to him in a truck and opened fire.

Flowers marked the spot Saturday where Pouillon was shot. A note said,
"May you rest now."
Chief assistant prosecutor Sara Edwards said there didn’t appear to be
a "triggering event" but Pouillon’s presence outside the school seemed
to aggravate Drake.

It was "the fact that he was outside the high
school with his signs in front of children going to school," she said.

After shooting Pouillon, Drake drove seven miles and down a dead-end country road to Fuoss
Gravel Co. and killed Fuoss, 61, who owned the business, said
Shiawassee County Sheriff George Braidwood. 

While the two men knew each
other, "authorities didn’t detail what may have led to his slaying."

Someone wrote down Drake’s license plate number after Pouillon’s
shooting and called police, who said they arrested him before he could
fulfill a plan to kill Howe.

Drake’s stepmother, Susan Drake, said his family was in disbelief.
"I don’t know what to say. He was a big, gentle giant," she told The
Flint Journal on Saturday. "He has a heart as big as gold."
She said she’s known her stepson for half his life. He didn’t use drugs
or alcohol and never showed signs of an emotional breakdown, she said.
"I’ve called his mother and his wife, and they’re nauseated," she said.
"Nobody knows why this happened." 

A real estate agent told he was the third target of a shooting spree that left an abortion protester and a business owner dead said Saturday he fled his home after the violence that claimed two lives in their small Michigan city.
The man charged with the killings, meanwhile, was taken from jail to a hospital to undergo surgery for a self-inflicted wound to his arm, according to a county prosecutor.

There is as yet no evidence that Drake acted against Pouillon for his graphic anti-choice protests any more than if he were holding graphic signs near children of heart surgery or amputations.  Yet, notwithstanding lack of clear motives or the intentions or mental state of the killer, some media outlets and groups are treating the killing as a "pro-choice v. anti-choice" debate.

The Flint, Michigan news site, MLine.com, for example, writes:

Pro-life and pro-choice are noble names for the two sides of the
abortion debate — but an appalling amount of blood has been shed over
the decades since Roe V Wade supposedly settled the issue in the U.S.
Supreme Court in 1973.
Pro-life activist James L. Pouillon, 63, of Owosso Township, appears to
be the latest victim in that ongoing holy war — and the first
anti-abortion activist to be killed for publicly demonstrating his
beliefs, according to Reuters and other news reports.

Police say Harlan J. Drake, 33, of Owosso was angered by Pouillon’s
pro-life sign when he allegedly shot him several times from a passing
car in front of Owosso High School on Friday morning.
Residents said it was a familar spot to see the impassioned pro-life
activist, who used a walker and portable oxygen tank while out
demonstrating for his cause. He had been ticketed and arrested several
times over the years for his anti-abortion demonstrations.
Pouillon’s neighbors and friends said they’d often worried whether his
style of confrontational politics would someday endanger his life.

Planned Parenthood East Central Michigan president Lori Lamerand, quoted by MLine.com, expressed worry that Pouillon’s death could spark further violence.

"If this is related to his pro-life views, we find that tragic and do
not endorse such actions in any way, shape or form," said Lamerand.
"Unfortunately we also have to worry now whether this will cause folks
who are not very reasonable people to decide it’s time to retaliate."

MLine.com continues:

Indeed, websites and bloggers all over the nation are picking up the
story and running with it, some as a call to arms and others as a plea
against more violence.
The last violent death attributed to the debate occurred in May, when
Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation’s few providers of late-term
abortions, was shot and killed in a Wichita church. A 51-year old man
was arrested in Tiller’s death.
It wasn’t the first time Tiller had been attacked. According to news
reports, Tiller was shot in both arms in 1993 and his clinic bombed in
1985.
Flint Right to Life president Judy Climer said she also opposes
violence in the debate, but doesn’t believe it can be eliminated.
"I think both sides are pursuing their beliefs passionately. How you
compromise, I have no idea," said Climer. "I don’t think you’re ever
going to get the two sides to come together on it. It’s impossible."

According to the National Abortion Federation, 24 murders or attempted
murders of abortion providers occurred in a 16-year period from
1989-2004.
During that same time period, 179 bombings or arsons were attempted or
carried out against abortion providers, along with 3,349 incidents of
assault and battery, vandalism, trespassing, death threats, burglary,
stalking and other crimes of violence and intimidation.

"I have to make the observation there is much less violence on the
pro-choice side and it’s often in reaction," said Lamerand.
"I think that’s because many people who are vehemently anti-abortion
tend to draw their beliefs from their religion, and we have seen
violent acts in the name of religion all over the world for centuries.
If it’s done in the name of religion, people feel as if any
self-rightousness is justified."

Climer said she doesn’t know of any similar statistics for violence
perpetrated against pro-life followers, but said she considers abortion
itself to be murder.

"I don’t agree with the person who went into that church and shot Dr.
Tiller. That was as wrong as Tiller going into the womb and (killing)
babies," said Climer. "Either way, one doesn’t justify the other."

Climer also pointed to a 2004 Flint incident when a Davison woman was
arrested after driving her car up over a curb where a group of
pro-lifers were demonstrating. The yelling match turned into a brawl
after the woman slapped a minister in the face and he punched her in
return.
"I honestly don’t think there’s any way you can guarantee more of this
is not going to happen," said Climer.
At least on that point the leaders of the two sides agree.

"What Planned Parenthood has always felt is the main way to attack this
violence problem is to make abortion less necessary in the first
place," said Lamerand. "We all need to work on common sense solutions
so people can exercise their ability to be sexual…but give them the
tools they need to ensure pregnancies only happen when they want them
to."
Meanwhile, Climer said Pouillon’s death is already sparking an upsurge
among his fellow pro-lifers.
"We who believe there is a plan for every life will keep believing.
We’re not going away. This is energizing us even more," said Climer.

In the midst of all this, Reuters is reporting that Randall Terry plans a press conference at the National Press Club on Tuesday, September 15th:

Terry states:

"I’ve known Jim for nearly 20 years. He was dedicated,
articulate, and courageous. And he gave his life in the service of the babies
he sought to defend. We grieve his death, and we will not stop using ANY of
the tactics that cost him his life. He was known affectionately as ‘Jim the Sign Guy.’ May God grant him a
Martyr’s Crown."

 

Other news to note…

SEPTEMBER 14


SEPTEMBER 13


SEPTEMBER 12

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Follow Jodi Jacobson on twitter: @jljacobson

  • cscallan

    To hear youth voices discussing the Michigan killings, check out http://tr.im/yFu5!

  • progo35

    Jodi,
    This is one of the lamest posts I’ve read on RH. It’s all about you trying to gloss over the FACT that the shooter killed his man because of his abortion protests, and for no other reason than that. He had other reasons for killing/trying to kill the two other men, but in Pouillon’s case, the motive was clear. Stop trying to twist everything around to make it fit your agenda when the facts help the other side of the abortion debate.  It’s disgusting and intellectually dishonest. The man died because he was protesting abortion in front of a high school and the shooter was angry about it. That is a pro choice crime against a pro life individual. You all have been making a martyr out of Tiller and the other doctors who were shot because of participating in abortions, yet whn the pro life movement does the same thing with one of it’s members, you portray that move as irrational. Unlike some here, I, personally, do not hold an entire movement accountable when one person does something awful, but you seem to think so, since you are in a huge hurry to deny the facts and say that the shooter’s motives were unclear when he SAID that he shot Poiullon because of his abortion protest signs. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jayn

    "he SAID that he shot Poiullon because of his abortion protest signs."

     

    But was that because he disagreed with Poiullon’s ideaology, or his methods?  Graphic images can be seen as disturbing to people with varying morals, and if I lived in that community I’d’ve wanted Poiullon stopped too (though through different means), not because I oppose his position, but because what he was doing was vulgar.

  • jodi-jacobson

    Here are the facts:

    There is no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Drake considered himself "pro-choice." He was not linked, to anyone’s knowledge as of yet, to political movements, or to any "cause."

    When and if there is indeed a political motive established, we will report that.

    Mr. Pouillon was out every day in his capacity protesting–as his right–the right to freedom of choice. His death is a tragedy, as is that of Mr. Fuoss.
    Mr. Drake’s obviously unstable mental situation might as easily have led him to shooting someone whose pictures of kidney transplants in front of a high school were disturbing to him.

    When and if there is evidence that Mr. Drake was "prochoice" as opposed to being sensitive in his unstable way to the display of gruesome pictures of any kind in front of a high school, church childcare center or other, we wiil, again, report that.

    Until then, I frankly do not see a "pro-choice" v "anti-choice" agenda here, but rather the horrific killing of two–and potentially a third–man due to the acts of an unstable individual whose motives are not yet clear.

    Best,

     

    Jodi

  • jeornom

    Those anti-kidney transplant activists with their graphic images really agitate me, too. High school kids should be able to transplant their kidneys without that kind of intimidation.

  • dadumdumdada

    Regardless of one’s ideological beliefs or understandings, those posters of pictures of fetuses are aethetically gross. I fail to see how seeing them would encourage someone to have children – one might as well show young adults the movie “Eraserhead” in an effort to portray infants as cute, cuddly and adorable. It seems likely to me that, yes, the accused shot the victim because of the signs but, no, it wasn’t because of his pro-choice leanings – we don’t know, after all, if he even WAS pro-choice – but that he found the signs annoying. It reminds me of a line in the Beatles’ song “Revolution,” which could be changed to “But if you go carrying pictures of fetuses / How can you be safe from what some gun-nut does?”

  • paul-bradford

    Mr. Drake’s obviously unstable mental situation might as easily have led him to shooting someone…

     

    Jodi,

     

    Where do you get the idea that Drake was mentally unstable?  Here’s what you reported that his stepmother said:

     

    Drake’s stepmother, Susan Drake, said his family was in disbelief. "I don’t know what to say. He was a big, gentle giant," she told The Flint Journal on Saturday. "He has a heart as big as gold." She said she’s known her stepson for half his life. He didn’t use drugs or alcohol and never showed signs of an emotional breakdown, she said. "I’ve called his mother and his wife, and they’re nauseated," she said. "Nobody knows why this happened."

     

    Maybe Drake just woke up and decided he was going to kill somebody.  That has nothing to do with ‘mental instability’.  That has to do with the choices Drake made.  Besides, there are millions of people in this country who actually have a serious mental illness.  They’re no more likely to go off on a killing spree than anyone else.  Stop stigmatizing the mentally ill!

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    Flint Right to Life president Judy Climer said she also opposes violence in the debate, but doesn’t believe it can be eliminated. "I think both sides are pursuing their beliefs passionately. How you compromise, I have no idea," said Climer. "I don’t think you’re ever going to get the two sides to come together on it. It’s impossible."

     

    If you really want to oppose violence, then you ought to do something to eliminate it and, as an active participant in our national discourse about abortion, Judy Climer should not be descending into the despair of thinking that violence is inevitable.  What she should be doing is calling people out long before we get to the level of physical violence.

     

    Climer says that "both sides are pursuing their beliefs passionately".  That’s for sure, but there are ways of ‘pursuing your beliefs’ that are utterly unacceptable .  And you pass the unacceptability line long before you ever reach the point of murder.  Don’t let loose talk go by.  Nip it in the bud!

     

    To stand up against violence you need to be circumspect about what you say and what you do.  Lori Lamerland made an unwise comment when she said:

     

    "I think that’s because many people who are vehemently anti-abortion tend to draw their beliefs from their religion, and we have seen violent acts in the name of religion all over the world for centuries. If it’s done in the name of religion, people feel as if any self-righteousness is justified."

     

    She knocks violence, which is good, but she can’t hold herself back from knocking religion.  How is that a helpful contribution?  Lamerland should look in the mirror the next time she wonders why she has trouble talking to ‘religious’ people.

     

    What a stupid, stupid comment! 

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • jayn

    "Where do you get the idea that Drake was mentally unstable?"

     

    Can’t speak for Jodi, but the self-inflicted arm wound would be an indicator to me.

     

    "Besides, there are millions of people in this country who actually have a serious mental illness."

     

    Unfortunately, many of them go unnoticed or untreated.  It’s possible for some forms to go unnoticed for years, and they can build up until the sick person hits a sort of breaking point (speaking from experience here).  So it’s possible that there were some underlying mental issues that were unnoticed, but the cumulative effects built up and resulted in this.

     

    That’s kind of beside the point, though.  He still shouldn’t have done what he did, but this might explain why he did it.

  • progo35

    Jodi: As with Roeder, there is no evidence that the shooter in this case suffers from a mental disorder, thus, your comparison of mutilated fetuses to his possible, "mentally unstable" response to extracted kidneys is considerably unresolved, at least for the time being; secondly, mental illness would abregate any moral responsibility on the part of either shooter. Why are you so eager to write off their evil choices as the result of a mental illness when you yourself claim to understand the imporantance and significance of choice? Why can’t you accept that Roeder and this man both made evil choices, in their right minds, of their own free will?

    Moreover, Pouilon was not holding up pictures of kidneys, he was holding up pictures of mutilated fetuses. Moreover, when was the last time you saw someone holding up pictures of extracted kidneys to protest the moral horrors of kidney surgery? Pouillon was holding up highly divisive photos that have been known to case a lot of anger over the years, giving his murderer’s reaction to those photo’s a clear political context.  

    Paul B:

    That’s how I feel, re: religion. Even if I became an atheist tomorrow, my beliefs about abortion would remain the same because I have made a careful decision about it based on the biological facts of conception, pregnancy, fetal development, and social factors that contibute to pregnancy decisions. My position isn’t a "snap judgement" based on my religious convictions. My religious convictions are concurrent with my convictions regarding abortion, but they are not the only anchor to which those convictions hold. Although, in her defense, I think that Climer was expressing a frustration I have felt myself on many occasions, which, in fact, have lead me to this blog and other places to discuss that issue: it seems to me that the major reason that important things don’t get done is the animosity between people of pro choice and pro life convictions. It is so intense, that sometimes I feel that agressors on both sides are actually working to prevent any kind of compromise with the other side, because they won’t be happy unless they "win." I worry about this trend a lot in my work as a disability advocate, which requires me to address the sensitive issue of abortion and disability from a relatively unbiased point of view: ie, I present an argument that I feel is logical for people of the pro choice and pro life communities to hold: that abortion based on handicap is an act against human diversity and is often done because of social pressure that is exerted against the woman and her family when they are faced with a prenatal diagnosis. I believe this passionately, and would still believe it if I were pro choice. Many pro choice people in the disability rights community concur with this opinion.Yet, many people refuse to see this and just want to knock off the argument as a pro life smear tactic against women in a very painful situation. We have to get past this if people with disabilities are to make headway in gaining full inclusion into our society, and we need people on both sides of the abortion debate to make this happen. Like Clime, I sometimes feel discouraged by the lack of willingness on both sides to respect the other’s dissenting opinion, and worry that we will never reach a resolution, because the voices attempting to do this are drowned out by a chorus of antipathy. "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • ahunt

    Pouillon was holding up highly divisive photos that have been known to
    case a lot of anger over the years, giving his murderer’s reaction to
    those photo’s a clear political context.  

    This is a stretch…even for you, Progo. Get me from "known to cause" to "clear political context."  Not following, particularly since I’m not discerning the "political context" of  this murderer’s Hit List.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • phylosopher

    Paul, we do have a plea in this country’s judicial system (in most states) guilty but insane or not guilty by reason of insanity. Both legal pleas recognize that we do not hold a mentally ill person to the same standards as the sane. One of the criteria is that they do not recognize/are incapable of recognizing the wrongness of their actions. So, yes, when a person has an inability to ethically analyze their actions, that means they are more likely to act with violence to others on non-rational motives.

    Drake could just as well have killed Pouillon if he had been a PETA protester holding up signs of slaughtered cattle or shot wolves.

  • crowepps

    Mentally stable people don’t just wake up and decide to kill somebody.  I think most people recognize a difference between ‘mentally unstable’ (which can be a fleeting event due to temporary life stresses) and ‘seriously mentally ill’ which is most often a permanent disability.

     

    You’re absolutely correct that ‘serious mental illness’ does not predispose people to violence.  Substance abuse is a far better indicator.  That certainly doesn’t mean that there aren’t occasional cases of people with serious mental illnesses killing people (including themselves) during a psychotic break.  That isn’t ‘stigmatizing’, it’s the truth, an alarming one since treatment is inadequate and they are far more likely to be unable to function when they are not being treated at all or aren’t complying with treatment recommendations.  We would all be better off if better care was available for those with serious mental illnesses.

  • jodi-jacobson

    In investigations of these crimes and in examining possibilities for motives, several police have stated that "there was no pattern; they guy is a nutcase."

    I am using the colloquial language as it was stated to me, so please spare me a lecture about mental illness. I am aware of mental illness issues as I have had sufficient experience with it in my family. The fact is that people with certain kinds of untreated mental illness—certain forms of schizophrenia, for example–do indeed commit crimes and other acts of violence and murder in part due to their illness. That’s not stigma; it’s just fact.  Some people who are delusional find "reasons" to commit crimes they might not otherwise commit or see linkages in things they might not otherwise see.

    The quotes Paul uses to me could be the same for many such delusional people or people who commit horrific crimes.  The woman/wife who aided the guy who kept an 11-year old girl for 18 years, repeatedly raped her and made her pregnant with two children was "well-liked by her co-workers."  Some years back, it was found that one of the most well-liked firefighters in our local firehouse was abusing and starving his children beyond belief.

    Not everything is what it seems especially in the case of mental illness, and we do not know when and if a psychotic break might occur.  Again, just facts.

    I am not diagnosing Mr. Drake, I am reporting the facts that there is no evidence of a political motive in his killing of Mr. Pouillon, and obviously was deeply offended by the pictures Mr. Pouillon was displaying, which is not the same thing as killing him because he was anti-choice.  I am sorry…it just is not. 

    I repeat that when and if such causality is shown, we will report it. 

    The idea that this guy has or had some political agenda is looking increasingly remote.

    You may want to paint it otherwise.  We will report what facts come out of the case.

     

    Jodi

  • phylosopher

    we can see so many instances where acts that were truly horrific were done – and still are  – with religion as a justification.

    From antimiscegenation laws to those against same sex marriage – the argument devolves into a "my god says so, so there."

     

    From denying women the right to vote, to denying them education, from the 19th century patriarchs, to twentieth century Mormon extremists to 21st century Taliban, religion has been used to support injustice.  

     

    ANd before you counter with religion is also used to support good,  realize that any time we seek an outer locus of authority for our morality, it takes away form our humanity and makes us more susceptible to political control for others purpose – willing automatons.

     

     

  • crowepps

    Surely if you work with the mentally ill you’re aware that religion provides a handy framework for some of the irrationality generated by mental illness.  An obsessive/compulsive who climbs stairs repeatedly is considered odd – one who compulsively repeats the rosary is considered ‘faithful’ or ‘holy’.  Surely you are aware of the long and bloody history where the motives for racial, political, economic and class warfare were covered up by a collaboration with religious leaders and sold to the masses as necessary for religious reasons.  From the babies sacrificed to Baal through Christ’s Crucifiction, the Christian Martyrs through the Crusades, the Thirty Years War and the Witchcraft craze, and the perennially popular Jewish pogroms, supposedly good average people were willing to tolerate just about any horror if somebody convinced them it was ‘in the name of God’.  The great thing about using religion to convince is that since religions are BY DEFINITION irrational, they can be used to justify ANYTHING.

  • crowepps

    that abortion based on handicap is an act against human diversity and is often done because of social pressure that is exerted against the woman and her family when they are faced with a prenatal diagnosis. I believe this passionately, and would still believe it if I were pro choice. Many pro choice people in the disability rights community concur with this opinion.

    I would be very interested in your opinion about whether doing cochlear implants on babies who would otherwise remain deaf is also an “act against human diversity” and demeaning to the deaf community.

  • crowepps

    Abortion information in column revisited

    In her Sept. 9 column, Kathleen Parker references a May 2009 Gallup Poll that shows 51 percent of those polled were pro-life and 42 percent were pro-choice. However, there is a more recent (and the latest) Gallup Poll conducted in mid-July that shows a much closer margin, with 47 percent pro-life and 46 percent pro-choice. Even more important, the poll indicated that only 18 percent of people think that abortion should be illegal.

    http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090912/OPINION02/909120330/Abortion-information-in-column-revisited

    18% is a pretty small group. You’d think from all the news reports that Pro-Life means ‘want abortion illegal’ but apparently that’s not true. Sure tired of the media’s recurrent laziness demonstrated by the articles in which ‘there are only two points of view’ because putting in the nuances requires actual work.

  • julie-watkins

    You pushed one of my buttons …

    American Sign Language (ASL) saved his life. They were trying to teach him lip reading at school, and he resisted so bad they thought he had gotten more than his hearing affected by mom’s german measles. He was being pragmatic — even as a 1st grader. Being a good lip reader takes a lot of practice and effort. Because he never bothered, he was able to reach "normal" level in math through out his education and became an architect.

    The Cochlear isn’t a "cure". It isn’t same as "real hearing". And any surgery on an infant is a much bigger risk than skipping the surgery — if the surgery isn’t a life-and-death issue. I know there are many Deaf people who don’t consider themselves handicapped — not that I’ve had deep conversations. I never had a deep conversation with my brother, I couldn’t learn ASL good enough — none of us could. I describe the experiance as "having a foreigner born in your family".

    It may not seem logical for parents to refuse the surgery, but I wouldn’t presume to question their choice. I’m not the person feeling oppressed.

    From what I’ve read, even the best lip readers lose 30% of the words in a conversation — and that’s with people they know. Cochlear would be the same way.

    Speaking of demeaning to the Deaf community. It used to be, until the students made a big enough fuss, that the head doctor at Galadeut College (for the deaf) was a pediatrician. For adult college students. That wasn’t the practice in hearing universities of the time.

  • julie-watkins

    It is so intense, that sometimes I feel that aggressors on both sides are actually working to prevent any kind of compromise with the other side, because they won’t be happy unless they “win”

    From my point of view, I often won’t back down on a point because it feels like personal self-defense, even if my tubes are tied and I’m in menopause anyway so it’s "moot". I had access to abortion when my IUD failed — I don’t want other women’s access to be unfairly blocked. To me, the stakes feel unequal. I (women) lose autonomy when abortion/contraception barriers are put in place. Anti-abortion and anti-contraception people wouldn’t lose autonomy if their side “loses”.

    abortion based on handicap is an act against human diversity and is often done because of social pressure that is exerted against the woman and her family when they are faced with a prenatal diagnosis. … We have to get past this if people with disabilities are to make headway in gaining full inclusion into our society, and we need people on both sides of the abortion debate to make this happen.

    I’ve been meaning to ask, in parallel with my above “self defense” comment, what kind of support programs are the disability rights groups working on? It isn’t a topic that I’ve read much about. I think an effective counter to strong social pressure would be robust support services to augment the diversity concerns. Are there any cases of support groups in network with obstetricians/midwives to get good outcomes, and can tell the parents things like: we’ve got a network of volunteers to help: Respite days, school advocates, etc. Maybe some kind of boarding school: kids get good education but parents won’t lose parental rights, so parents can stay connect with their children with letters, visits, visits home.

    I’m trying to figure out safeguards that would prevent the kind of “forced adoption” horror stories I’ve read. The same way I want to tell people fixating on ZEGFs making women invisible that if they concentrate on the sexism/classism problems of our culture first, maybe women will be more receptive. To the extent that there are an established and trustworthy safety nets for potential parents of disabled kids, pregnant women that have test results that imply disability will more likely feel they have more real choices. Without a good safety net, I don’t agree that abortion based on handicap is more a “diversity” problem than a “resources” problem.

  • larry-j

    There’s a lot of talk about what was in Drake’s head when he shot Pouillon. Was his motivation only that he wanted to stop a pro-lifer from displaying the results of abortion where high school students would see them? Was he opposed to the pro-life movement generally? When I commented that Roeder was an assassin but that the killing of Tiller would only qualify as terrorism if the motivation was to scare other abortionists, and that given Roeder’s mental state, it seems likely that he had merely become obsessed with executing Tiller- that was seen as outrageous!

  • progo35

    Julie,

    As one person pointed out, all these "cures" are not cures at all, which relates to what I’m about to say about diversity. Some people in the deaf community are fine with cochlear implants. Others do view that as an affront to their culture and part of the current culture that views disability as something bad, when it is not, properly accommodated. And here we get to the diversity/resources argument: the lack of resources is directly relevant to the prejudice that our society holds toward disabled individuals. Case in point: many doctors/hospitals refuse to perform heart transplants on children with down syndrome, not because their bodies can’t handle the surgery, but because they don’t want to "waste resources" on children/people who, in their view, have lives that are less valuable than children without handicaps. This, in turn, prompts some women to abort based on a DS diagnosis when they might not have otherwise. Thus, prejudice and the lack of resources leading to such terminations often go hand and hand.

     

    Then there are women who find that they are carrying a child with down syndrome and are pressured by their obgyns, families, or friends to abort. They are not referred to the support groups that are available, they are expected to terminate the pregnancy. Then there are women who have grown up in a culture that labels down syndrome as a terrible thing and decides to abort based on this information alone. For more information on down syndrome and on the resources available, see this link:

     http://www.ndss.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=59&Itemid=76

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • julie-watkins

    That was me talking about Cochlear — my youngest brother was born deaf. The resources junk gets me angry. The government seems to have plenty of resources for illegal, immoral wars & corperate welfare, but social safety nets aren’t high priority. Given a general lack of commitment to safety nets, I can understand why some family members might "pressure" for abortion, especially if they distrust their pregnant relative about her ability to care for a down child, or other kind of handicap — if they think they will be called on to be the safety net the government isn’t supporting. The heart transplant issue is less understandable. About doctors not refering to Down support groups — I can see three reasons why a doctor might not. 1) S/he doesn’t know. 2) Is prejudiced. 3) Has checked out the support group & doesn’t want to refer because s/he doesn’t think the group will be able to give quality long term help. My question is, what resources do the support groups have that the doctors & public don’t know about or don’t think are adequately funded? Can you point me to some success stories where support goups have networked with doctors & have good outcomes? I thought I was speculating pie in the sky stuff … because I haven’t heard of any support groups. (Maybe I’m missing them because I don’t have children and only a few friends do.)

  • crowepps

    I understood that your brother was deaf and refused to learn lip reading. I think I understood that refusing to learn to read lips made it possible for him to learn math, but that doesn’t seem right so I may have misunderstood there.

     

    I agree, no, the Cochlear isn’t a “cure”. It does allow the child to avoid being “a foreigner … in your family”. I’m not sure what you meant by “not being able to learn ASL well enough” to have “deep conversations”. Do you think that people who are deaf have an interior life that is impenetrable by the hearing? I’d highly recommend Dr. Sacks’ book “Seeing Voices” if you haven’t already read it.

     

    I wasn’t implying any right to review the parents’ choice to have or to refuse the surgery. I was asking you whether you think “the deaf community” SHOULD be able to question the choices made by those parents on the premise that the parents’ choice to go cochlear is prejudice against and will “destroy’ the deaf community by lessening the number of young arrivals.

     

    It’s my understanding from what I’ve read that cochlear not only allows much easier lip reading but ALSO allows the person to hear important environmental sounds like doorbells, telephones ringing and horns honking. Since the operation is still fairly new, there isn’t a huge amount of information available about the long-term effects of the operation on infants but what I have seen is extremely positive.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010105075738.htm

  • julie-watkins

    Yes, I meant to say that my brother did better in Math (in all his studies) because he refused to learn to lip read. That put him on a level field for learning because he wasn’t using 30% of his learning time trying to be OK at something he’d never do well. He put the "extra" (not really) energy into getting good enough to go to college, and then doing a bang up job. I don’t know what the school’s attitude about it was, Mom wouldn’t have tried to force him.

     

    I think my brother had a different interior life than the rest of us — and though I did have a great conversation  with him about his master’s thesis (most conducted by writing notes back and forth in his notebook) the time I saw him most happy was at his wedding — he lives in Minneapolis — and he in his element and we were the ones who were foreigners. When he’d come down for infrequent family gatherings (our family has mostly scattered) he often  looked bored and out of place.

     

    I’m not sure on the cultural question. I think there’s a lot of heated debate going on within families and within deaf communities, and I don’t have an opinion about which way they "should" decide. I didn’t quite understand your question (probably shouldn’t post when I’m having a bad week) anyone says "cochlear" and I’ll babble on, even if it’s not appropriate. Again, sorry for the confusion. 

     

     

  • progo35

    Crowepps-

    Clearly, Roeder and Poulion’s shooter did not "just wake up" and decide to shoot their targets. They planned their assasinations carefully and made conscious decisions to carry them out. Thus, they were both sane.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Crowepps-

    Clearly, Roeder and Drake did not "just wake up" and decide to shoot their targets. They planned their assasinations carefully and made conscious decisions to carry them out. Thus, they were both sane.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Phylosopher-ONCE AGAIN: Drake was NOT crazy. He made a decision to do what he did. Attempting suicide, especially when someone is in prison or has a certain outlook on life, does not, in itself, indicate a mental illness that would abregate his responsibility for his actions, anymore than Roeder trying to committ suicide would absolve him from responsibility for his actions.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Jodii-

    You ARE stigmatizing the mentally ill when you say that someone who did something bad was crazy when there is no proof of any mental illness. The fact that you have people with mental illneses in your family, as many of us do, does not absolve you from that. It’s like someone who constantly uses the word "retarded" to refer to something bad saying "spare me the lecture because they have a child with Down Syndrome." And, while some people with mental illnesses committ crimes, so do some people without them, so when you assume that someone who shoots another person is mentally unstable, you are stereotyping the mentally handicapped. It bothers me that you don’t see that-it seems to me like you think that because you’re supposedly so enlightened that you could not possibly harbor any prejudices that influence your outlook, when you, like all of us, do have such prejudices. Neither Paul nor I am saying that you are unique in stereotyping the mentally ill in this fashion-the assumption that, "that guy is crazy," is common in discussions about abberant, evil acts, but as adults trying to engage in a civil discussion, we should be astute enough to recognize that assumption as cultural prejudice and refrain from it ourselves. "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jodi-jacobson

    I am reporting the assessment of authorities who took him into custody.

    You persistently treat this as an opinion piece when I am reporting what people on the ground have said, involved in the arrest.

     

     

  • crowepps

    Certainly there is lots of evidence that ROEDER planned the assasination of Dr. Tiller carefully and made a conscious decision to carry it out. I’m not aware that at this point there’s any evidence whatsoever about Harlan Drake’s planning carefully. Certainly his family’s astonishment at his actions and the fact that he didn’t succeed in killing everyone on his list might be arguments that he did not. There hasn’t been anything in the news that shows that he “made a decision” either. The latest news I’ve seen is:

    Relatives of a Michigan man charged with fatally shooting two people … said in a statement that he had battled depression and was experiencing problems with his medications.
    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/09/family_of_us_shooting_suspect.html

    Unless you have incredible psychic powers, you don’t have any more information than any of the rest of us about Drake’s mental health or decision making processes or plans. While you are correct when you point out mental illness is “not proven” the LACK of mental illness hasn’t been proven either.

     

    People who have serious mental illnesses do commit crimes sometimes (just like those who are not mentally ill), and sometimes they do so BECAUSE OF the cognitive problems which cause their mental illness. Mentioning that fact does not mean that someone is prejudiced against the mentally ill – it means that they are aware of reality.