James Pouillon was an anti-abortion protester who frequented the sidewalk across the street from Ossowo High School in Michigan. He was, according to FOX news (ha) "well-known" in the community; Randall Terry claims to have known him personally.
Nobody knows yet if he was shot because of his beliefs. The nutjob who shot him (equally as nutty a job as Scott Roeder; anybody who shoots other people without the reason of self-defense is crazy) shot one other man and was planning to kill a third when he was arrested.
I admit: When I read the news, I had a brief moment of "Ha. Chickens. Roost."
Then the human side of me took over, and I thought about this guy, confined to a wheelchair and on oxygen, doing the same thing he'd done every day, trying to make people see his side of a contentious argument.
Then the vicious side of me remembered how a colleague's wedding was disrupted by protesters carrying bloody-fetus signs.
I thought about his wife, if he had one, and his kids, if he had them.
I thought about the woman I worked with whose kids were targeted by anti-choice protesters.
I thought about his friends.
I thought about how I'd been followed home from work by protesters and how, nearly ten years after I worked at the clinic, I still occasionally get postcards calling me a baby killer. I've moved three times since I worked there.
I thought about what it must be like to feel the bullets hit, and I wondered if he even knew what had happened to him.
I thought about what George Tiller's wife must've thought when she saw her husband's body on the floor of the church, or what Barnett Slepian's kids must've felt when their dad was shot in the kitchen of their house in front of them.
I wondered if the anti-choice movement would make this man a martyr, regardless of why he was shot.
I thought about how pro-choicers have dealt with the acts of violence at abortion clinics in the last twenty years.
I wondered how many Internet shrines would be created for James Pouillon.
I thought about how it's the doctors who perform abortions, and the staff at the clinics, that show up on websites that call them murderers and say that they have to be stopped by any means necessary.
The vicious part of me, the part that wants to kill people who abuse children or women or old people, the part of me that wants to torture to death men that rape, is happy. It's exultant, in fact, that maybe--just maybe--the people who fucked with me every single day might now feel a tiny shred of the fear that I felt in doing a job I knew was necessary.
That vicious part of me feels like this is payback for the screaming protesters outside the clinic, the shouting people outside my church, the posters that got put up in my neighborhood, the times people from the anti-choice side knocked on my door on Sunday morning, the fact that it's really hard to put the name of the place where I worked--or even the doctor's name--on a resume, for fear of what people will think.
The human side of me wants to weep. Whatever the motivation, this is a waste of a life. It's the waste of a person who believed strongly in what he was doing. Even if we're on opposite sides of the fence on this one issue, I have to respect him for walking the talk. The human side of me grieves that maybe, just maybe, the disagreement over abortion has come to this on both sides. Prior to this, the pro-choicers had the high ground; we'd never killed anybody or perpetrated acid attacks on crisis pregnancy centers or put doctors' home addresses up on the 'Net for crazies to find.
The evil part of me--and don't fool yourself, because every human being has the capacity for evil--is dancing. It's laughing. It's saying "See? See what you sowed? See what you're reaping? Suck on this, motherfuckers! See what we live every day!" It's very, very happy. It's very, very pushy.
The human part of me is so horribly disappointed in humanity. It wants to believe that the proportion of good to evil in the world is always 51% to 48%, with one percent undecided, but it's not sure now. It wants to grieve the loss of another person, but the evil side gets louder and louder.
I am ashamed to admit all this. It makes me feel less humane. Not less human, you understand; if an undergraduate degree in sociology taught me anything, it's that humans, generally, suck pretty hard.
This death, this conflict between my good and evil sides, shows me one thing: I have a huge, deep, dark reservoir of anger and resentment from my year at the clinic and my years at Planned Parenthood. That frightens me. It shows up what I fear I might be capable of.
God help me if Randall Terry is ever one of my patients. I...shit. I just won't know.