The Rockford Files

A Cautionary Tale

When pro-life activist James Pouillon was murdered in Owosso, Michigan, on September 11, I read a few dozen accounts from both national and Michigan news sources and quickly decided I had a handle on the story.  Harlan Drake, the man who has admitted to murdering Pouillon, seems deeply disturbed, and he had murdered another man and pursued a third.  While neither of Drake’s other targets was publicly involved in pro-life activities, the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Department and the prosecutor’s office both confirmed that Drake had told authorities that he had targeted Pouillon for his “pro-life stance.”

In a short piece for the About.com Catholicism GuideSite, I talked less about Pouillon, Drake, or the murder, and more about the disparity in reactions between pro-life and pro-abortion groups to the murders of Pouillon and late-term abortionist George Tiller.  While pro-life groups had been quick to condemn Tiller’s murder, with few or no equivocations, pro-abortion groups were much slower to issue statements about Pouillon’s murder, and when NARAL did, the statement had a “you got one of ours; we got one of yours; let’s call it even” feel.

After publishing the piece, I noticed that a number of articles about Pouillon’s murder had quotes from residents of Owosso referring to him as “the sign guy.”  I did some digging and found that, for...

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