Monday, June 18, 2007

The killer of James Barrett

The violent extremists at the radical fringe of the anti-abortion movement want to portray Paul Hill as a hero who stopped Dr. John Britton from killing babies. When they assassinate doctors, they want to say that they are defending babies or perhaps executing killers. By putting it this way, they hope to get a sympathetic hearing for their message even in places where they might not get a sympathetic hearing for their actions. By putting it this way, they also hope to confuse some people into seeing their assaults as something that doesn't quite rise to the level of terrorism. If only doctors are terrorized, those who are not doctors might not identify with the terror.

While this image of comic book avengers might raise doubts in some people's minds, it is not an image that Paul Hill can claim. He did not just go after Dr. Britton and he did not only kill the baby killers. Hill took a shotgun into a crowded place and shot at anyone who was between him and Dr. Britton. Paul Hill killed James H. Barrett and wounded June Barrett on his way to assassinate Dr. Britton. They were in the way.

The Barretts were a married couple who volunteered to escort pregnant women into the Pensacola Ladies Center past the waiting protesters. June Barrett was a retired U.S. Public Health Service nurse and James Barrett was a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who had managed to survive service WWII, Korea, and Vietnam before becoming a math and biology teacher. James Barrett was buried will full honors in Arlington National Cemetery a few days before his seventy-fifth birthday.

Paul Hill was fine with shooting the Barretts. He was a typical religiously motivated terrorist. In his mind, the glory of the cause completely absolved him of guilt for any crimes he committed. The day before he was executed, he said "I expect a great reward in heaven. I am looking forward to glory." How is this different from any Iraqi or Palestinian suicide bomber or from the men who flew airplanes full of people into buildings full of people on 9-11?

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