TWO MURDERSArmy Pvt. William A. Long was willing die for his country. He just never expected to have to do it in broad daylight on the peaceful streets of Little Rock, Ark.
Long and his buddy, both privates just out of basic training, were lounging around outside the recruiting station Monday -- part of an Army program that sends hometown boys back on the streets to recruit the next generation of soldiers.
A witness to the shooting, Lance Luplow, told The New York Times that he heard about seven loud bangs and looked up to see a black truck with tinted windows speeding away. Luplow ran across the street -- toward the violence -- where he saw one soldier lying in a pool of his own blood, while a second soldier crawled toward the recruiting station, holding a bloodied ear.
"Tell me this isn't real, tell me this isn't real," the wounded soldier moaned, according to Luplow.
But it was real. It did happen. In broad daylight in front of an Army recruiting station. In Middle America. On the streets of Arkansas. Two American defenders gunned down in cold blood.
Abdulhakim Muhammad, Pvt. Long's killer, had his reasons for engaging in cold-blooded murder. He was retaliating against these soldiers for the U.S. military's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the mistreatment of Muslims, this young man said. This was an act of domestic terrorism -- a protest against the American conflicts abroad.
Meanwhile, one day earlier, George Tiller, a late-term abortion doctor in Wichita, Kan., was gunned down in church. His murderer, a disturbed man named Scott Roeder, "wanted a scapegoat," his ex-wife said. "First it was taxes -- he stopped paying. Then he turned to the church and got involved in anti-abortion."
When she married him, she says Scott was "ambivalent" about abortion, politics and religion. He worked a steady manufacturing job at an envelope company, but the hard work never paid off. He and his wife divorced. Roeder slipped off the deep end, into odd jobs and frequent moves.
Scott was a good enough -- and bad enough -- father that his 22-year-old son feels tormented and responsible. He should have seen. He should have known. He should have stopped it, somehow.
Two men, two murderers -- two lost boys trying to recover dreams of manhood in two violent and disturblingly similar acts.
Is God sending us a message?
At The New York Times, one story is front-page news; the other is buried in the back pages. Are anti-war voices that condemn the U.S. military responsible for Pvt. Long's atrocious murder? No.
Muhammad's personal, unauthorized jihad was an attack not just on two men, but on each of us in this country who live safely because others (like Pvt. Long) are willing to die for us. May God have mercy on this murderer's soul.
But the man who murdered Dr. George Tiller will have to answer not only for his own evil act, but for the pall he casts by association on the good men and women of this country fighting for equality for all human beings, the born and the unborn -- for our equal, inalienable right to live. Just being human is enough to give us this right. Smart people share it with dumb people. Good people with bad people. Fully grown adults with the tiniest human life in the womb.
None of us has the right to be jury, judge and executioner. None of us can be trusted with the power to decide, on our own individual initiative, who is worthy of life and who deserves death.
None of us.
Do not the pro-abortion forces in this country understand?
(Maggie Gallagher is president of the National Organization for Marriage and has been a syndicated columnist for 14 years.)
COPYRIGHT 2009 MAGGIE GALLAGHER Distributed by Universal Press Syndicate