13 May 2006

A killer is a killer is a killer

Over at Uncommon Descent, DaveScot is once again angry with Kevin Padian. This time, it is because Padian dared to suggest that the only thing separating suicide bombers from the murders of abortion doctors is that one commits suicide and the other doesn't. DaveScot apparently thinks that murdering someone because of your religious views is somehow more acceptable, or at least less heinous, if you have a specific target in mind than it is if you are indiscriminate in your attack:
Suicide bombers kill/wound as many as possible, they don’t know who the victims are, they don’t care whether the victims have done anything wrong (perceived or real), and in their indiscrete targeting even kill people of their own creed.

Conversely, in the United States there have been only two abortion doctors murdered (AFAIK) and in both cases the murderer knew exactly who he was killing, perceived the target as a serial murderer of innocent children, and didn’t kill anyone else.
I could point out that DaveScot neglects some facts while attempting to excuse homicidal lunatics. He fails to mention that several other doctors were saved only by poor aim. He also conveniently forgets the whole Eric Rudolph episode - Rudolph, you will recall, killed an off-duty cop and severely wounded a nurse in a clinic bombing in Alabama. DaveScot is so eager to distinguish between the homicidal fanatics who share his faith and those that do not that he failed to mention any of that.

Ultimately, though, those points are really not all that relevant to the basic point that Padian was making (and that DaveScot was objecting to. His point was simply that suicide bombers are motivated by something different than the depression that is more typically implicated in suicide. Rather than being victims of an illness, the bombers are motivated, as are the murders of abortion providers by a belief that their action is righteous, and will be seen by God as such. In that, the suicide bombers are equivalent to homicidal anti-abortionists. (Please note that I am not describing all opponents of abortion as homicidal. Most are not.)

If DaveScot wishes to draw some type of distinction between homicidal Christian abortion opponents and homicidal Islamic suicide bombers, I suppose that he can. It is certainly true that there have been fewer killers of abortion providers than there are suicide bombers, and that the suicide bombers kill more people per incident. In my mind, though, those are distinctions that lack any substantive difference - Dante's Hell might have had many levels, but nobody consigned to hell was suffering anything less than eternal torment. Similarly, it might be possible to fit the different killers with different descriptions, but ultimately a killer is a killer.
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