On Friday morning, 61 year old Mike Fuoss went to work at his sand and gravel pit in rural central Michigan just like he always did.Â Fuoss, who kept a fairly low public profile, was not a public figure in the small town of Owosso, Michigan, despite the fact that he also owned a construction company, developed a subdivision, and partnered with a few locals who had started small businesses, including a small community newspaper.
And despite the fact that he would be the victim of a murder by a killer who would become a national story, Mike Fuoss wouldnâ€™t get much notice when he died, either.
That Friday, Fuoss was working at his desk, when a burly bearded man who looked like a character from Deliverance burst into his office, and emptied his pistol into Fuoss, killing him.Â Hours later, Owosso police would arrest truck driver Harlan Drake for murder.Â Drake admitted a grudge against Fuoss over some family business issues.
Sunday, â€œPro-lifeâ€ leaders and activists held a candlelight vigil for a shooting victim of Harlan Drake.Â But it wasnâ€™t for Mike Fuoss.
In the closest (formerly) daily newspaper, The Flint Journal, Â Fuoss was also treated like a footnote,barely mentioned in the majority of the storiesÂ about the crime.
Why?Â Because earlier this day, Harlan Drake also shot and killed 63 year-old Jim Pouillon, also known as â€œthe sign guy,â€ because he constantly carried graphic signs displaying dismembered babies as a protest against abortion.
Local pro-life â€œleadersâ€ were quick to jump in front of cameras and declare Pouillon a martyr.Â The local Planned Parenthood types were quick to express condolences to Pouillonâ€™s family, condemn the violenceâ€”and try to get in on the martyr game themselves by worrying that somehow this was going to make THEM targets.
Neither side mentioned Mike Fuoss or offered condolences to his family or friends.
All Mike Fuoss ever did was employ people and provide for his family.Â Where are the headlines in that?Â Where is the political advantage to be gained by talking about Mike Fuoss?
National bloggers and pro-lifers have jumped on board.Â Why didnâ€™t the President condemn the shooting of Jim Pouillon the way he did of George â€œthe Baby Killerâ€ Tiller, who was infamous for cheerfully committing hundreds of acts of partial-birth abortion?
I hate to defend the President, but Iâ€™m guessing itâ€™s because he never heard of Jim Pouillon, and neither had most of the people writing about him before yesterday.Â It could also be, that itâ€™s because Jim Pouillon was the victim of a crime spree by a depraved individual, (he also planned to shoot a local realtor over a business dispute but was arrested before carrying out the act) and his death is only technically connected to his cause.
But as Bureaucrat 1.0 said in Futurama, Matt Groenigâ€™s cult-favorite cartoon, â€œSir,Â you are technically correct. TheÂ best kind ofÂ correct.â€
UPDATE, President Obama has gotten sucked into this mess by the tunnel-vision coverage, and released aÂ statement condemning the shooting of Pouillonâ€”no mention of Fuoss.
Today, Paul Cooperâ€™s NewsReal Sunday blog post was titled, â€œThe Abortion Battle Must Not be Fought with Blood.â€ Thatâ€™s obviously true, and most of the points he makes are unarguable.
Hoever, Jim Pouillon is a poor choice for a cause to choose as a martyr, both because of who he wasâ€”and the stubborn things called facts about the nature of the crime spree that claimed his life.
Jim Pouillon was a dark, and deeply disturbed man.Â Any dealings I had with him were extremely unpleasant as he tried to force his way into campaigns I was working for.Â When I denied him access to my candidates, he threatened to picket them– even though they were pro-life– until they sat down with him.Â So much for principle.Â Whether the problems were caused by a physical problem, a mental imbalance, or just his own personal demons, I wonâ€™t attempt to diagnose.
Pouillon was known for shouting vile things while carrying his signsâ€”and not just at adults.Â He picketed a Catholic school in Owosso, yelling at students that there were â€œwhoresâ€ inside.Â He was known for directly shouting to or at children who were entering places he was picketing.
Sources I trust implicitly tell me Pouillon taunted a pro-choice candidateâ€™s pre-teen son about having discovered the body of his mother who had committed suicide a few years before. Pouillon didnâ€™t deserve to be shot and killed, but that should have warranted a good thrashing– at the very least.
In short, Pouillon did a lot more than just carry his signs around.
However, it is understandable that there is a little bit of martyr envy from the beleaguered pro-life side, after seeing their most fervent opponents lionized by the media, despite glaring moral faults.
Jim Pouillon didnâ€™t drive his Oldsmobile off a bridge and deliberately leave a friend to die.
Nor was he the nationâ€™s foremost profiteer of legal infanticide.Â Quite the opposite, in fact.
However, Jim Pouillon did not create jobs in his community, either.
Regardless of the pros and cons of Jim Pouillon, the pro-life â€œleadersâ€ in their rush to use Pouillonâ€™s death to their advantage, cheapen life and betray their cause by treating Mike Fuossâ€™s life as meaningless– an inconvenient truth that gets in the way of a good story, that as such, must be ignored.
We must be better than this– and truer to our principles. Â When pro-lifers assign more value to one life than another, it’s a betrayal of our most sacred prinicple. Â It’s uncomfortably close to what the abortionist does.