Thursday, April 26, 2007

Murder Times Two

The other day I was at the Barnes and Noble bookstore. As is sometimes my habit, I picked up several interesting looking magazines to read while enjoying a drink from their coffee bar.

On this particular occasion, I'd picked up a recent issue of National Geographic. There was a cover story on the historic Jamestown settlement in Virginia. In addition to discussing numerous negative environmental changes which were unintentionally brought about as the result of that settlement, the article discussed the hardships those settlers experienced, partly because they had been forced by circumstances to settle on a peninsula which was poorly suited for the sustenance of human life due to lack of access to healthy drinking water.

Numerous people starved to death after settling in Jamestown in 1607 (particularly during a time, roughly 3 years later, described as "the starving time"). Those who survived or tried to survive sometimes did horrendous things in order to do so.

It was bad enough that numerous settlers were forced to eat dogs, cats, rats and mice. Some even ate shoe leather, which is pretty hard for any normal person to imagine. But what really seems to attract a lot of attention from various bloggers and professional writers is the lurid tale of a settler who killed his pregnant wife and ate her in order to satisfy his hunger. It's alleged that he cut the woman into pieces and salted her body so that he'd have something to eat. It's also alleged that he tossed his unborn child into the river after ripping the unborn child from its murdered mother's womb. He was ultimately tried and executed for his crimes.

Liberals seem to love the dark version of the story of Jamestown because they think that it helps them to undermine the idea that the founders of our country were good and moral people. I have to agree that if indeed all of the claims about Jamestown are true, then admiration for those early settlers may be misplaced and inappropriate.

However, at the risk of unintentionally sounding like an advocate of moral relativism, it should be noted that these were not people who just arbitrarily started committing horrible acts for no better reason than a lack of morals and human decency. They were starving! Most of the settlers around them were starving and dying. Who among us knows what dark things we might do if put into a similar position? Malnutrition can deprive the brain of its needs just as easily as it can deprive other bodily organs of their needs. If some of the Jamestown settlers acted as if they were insane, it's quite possibly because they were in fact insane as a result of lack of adequate food and water. I'm not trying to justify what they did, but one doesn't need to try to justify an act in order to try to properly understand it. Admiration might be inappropriate, but I'm inclined to think that pity would be very appropriate. There seems to be a lot of evidence that many of those settlers wanted nothing so much as to return to England, and they would have done so if they had been able to do so. But returning to England wasn't simply a matter of booking a return trip on the next flight. Transatlantic trips were hard enough even for reasonably healthy people in those days, and the Jamestown settlers were hardly healthy people.

In any event, what I find significant is the simple fact that so many people who tell and recount the tale feel compelled to mention the fact that the woman killed for food was pregnant. It seems to me that people mention that aspect of the story time and time again because they feel that it adds significantly to the ability of their readers to fully appreciate the horror of what happened during "the starving time". I agree. But why should that be a significant aspect of the story? If advocates of legal abortion are to be believed, the removal of a fetus is no more significant than the removal of an unwanted and unneeded bodily organ such as an appendix.

If the Jamestown woman killed by her cannibalistic husband had had her appendix removed during the process of killing her, and if she hadn't been pregnant, do you think that the removal of her appendix would have been mentioned in most accounts of the incident? Would that detail have evoked the level of shock and outrage evoked by the knowledge that she was pregnant when she was murdered? That seems very unlikely to me.

All murder is reprehensible, but most people seem to reserve a particularly intense level of horror and disgust when a person kills a pregnant woman. Why? The answer is obvious. Because it's murder times two, since two people (the mother and the unborn child) are both killed.

Despite 34 years of pro-abortion propaganda, we instinctively know that the death of an unborn child is a serious and tragic matter, whether the unborn child is killed by a hungry and cannibalistic settler in Jamestown or by the disciples of Charles Manson (who killed Sharon Tate when she was pregnant) or by a young female executive who rationalizes her decision to get an abortion by arguing that not doing so will jeopardize her chances of having a successful and upwardly mobile career.

It doesn't even have to be a death due to a deliberate homocidal act. Numerous women mourn unborn children lost to miscarriage. Do women typically mourn the loss of their appendixes when they get appendectomies? Of course not. Women who miscarry do not say "I lost my blob of fetal tissue". Regardless of the age of gestation at the time of the miscarriage, they say, "I lost my baby!" Respond by saying, "No, you just lost an insignificant blob of fetal tissue," and you are likely to get slapped in the face.

It's counterintuitive to argue that an unborn child is nothing more than one of many body parts in a woman's body. It's equally counterintuitive to say that the question of whether or not a particular fetus is human hinges on whether or not the fetus is wanted. All material entities have an objective nature which is completely independent of how we may or may not feel about those entities. If one could change a human being with an objective right to life into a "blob" with no such right, solely through an act of wishful thinking and redefinition of terms, then none of us would be safe from homocidal assault.

Whether it takes place in 1607 or 2007, the death of an unborn child is a tragedy, and doubly so when it occurs as the result of a person's deliberate decision rather than an unpreventable miscarriage.

Romanticizing events such as the founding of Jamestown is indeed a big mistake. But the crimes against humanity committed by those early settlers (and, indeed, by all European settlers put together) pale in comparison with the crimes committed by those who, during the past 34 years, have contributed to the deaths of more than 40 million unborn children! In very few of those instances can the killers legitimately argue that they were forced by circumstances beyond their control to kill so that they might literally survive.

It's so much easier (and so much lazier) to focus on the faults of people who lived and died three or four centuries ago than it is to look in the mirror and honestly appraise our own current and ongoing flaws in a supposedly civilized society.

It's time to stop romanticizing abortion and covering up the nature of what happens during an abortion with misleading slogans and abstract euphemisms pertaining to "choice". Take a close and honest look at a photo of an aborted fetus, if you dare. You will not see a "choice". You will see the bloody, dismembered corpse of a very small and vulnerable human being.

Your religious convictions or lack thereof will have no bearing whatsoever on what you will see in that photo or in a 3D ultrasound image of a living unborn child. Liberal lies notwithstanding, the case against abortion does not rely on sectarian religious doctrines. It is a matter of solid scientific evidence which we as a society ignore at our peril.

Since when does being smaller and more vulnerable cause a person to forfeit his or her right to legal protection from homocidal assault? If anything, one would think that the vulnerability of a person would increase the level of our collective moral responsibilities towards that person.

Not so, replies the typical liberal. In the typical liberal's inverted, some might say perverted value system, an unborn child's weakness and vulnerability constitutes a justification for abortion.

Despite their incessant talk about "compassion", it ought to be clear that liberals are semi-secret believers in the dangerous idea that "might makes right". The woman is much bigger and has more friends (since the unborn child has never lived long enough to meet any potential friends), and the woman can express herself so much more articulately than her unborn child can, so by definition, liberals think that anything she wants to do to "the least of these" is perfectly permissible.

Think about that for a moment, and then think about the high degree of probability that you, too, will eventually become equally weak and vulnerable if you live on this earth long enough. Then pray that when they put you into a nursing home, the nurse or doctor assigned to your care isn't the kind of idiot who thinks that the vulnerability and weakness of one's intended victim is a justification for homocide.

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