Thursday, June 11, 2009

Outrage Fatigue

I showed up for my 7 pm Bible study group tonight expecting some quality time with friends.

Instead, I had to deal with news of the latest demented shooting, this time at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

After spending the first ten days of June mourning the death of Dr. George Tiller, I felt this latest murder like a body blow knocking the air out of me. I groped for a chair to sit down on.

In yesterday's LA Times, Troy Newman uses the phrase "abortion fatigue" to describe his weariness of the tough job of being an abortion terrorist.

My main response to hearing today's news from my friends was something like outrage fatigue.

I can't do this again: write articles, letters to the editor, and blogposts. Pray, reflect, and mourn, going through the motions of living while my thoughts are focused on the other side of the continent three time zones away.

I push that outrage button in my brain, and the neurons just don't fire.

But the similarities between the two shootings are obvious:
hate speech and threats,
ties to organizations focused on hate,
previous years in prison.

In the death of Dr. Tiller, not the assailant but a woman whose name and phone number he carried had served time for an abortion-hate crime.

My friends and I switched tracks tonight and focused on our evening together. I'm not going to let this latest murder dominate the next ten days of my life as the last one did.

But I will still read all the sickening coverage and perhaps make a donation in memory of Stephen Tyrone Johns, the 39-year-old guard who lost his life.

A thoughtful quote in the LA Times story:

Authorities in Washington were on edge about the shooting, which came on the heels of several other racially or religiously motivated shootings around the country, including the slaying of an abortion doctor in Kansas, the fatal shooting of three police officers in Pittsburgh, and the killing of one soldier and wounding of another in Little Rock, Ark.


The Apostle Paul wrote that all things (even evil events) can be harnassed by God to work toward good in the lives of those who love their Maker (Romans 8:28).

In this case, the parallels between the two murders may cause greater public recognition of the high cost of hate speech.

If it's legal to go around saying that abortion doctors should be killed (or non-Aryans or the president), then perhaps we need to redefine the boundaries of freedom of speech.

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