Murderers, such as the accused killer of Dr. Tiller, believe that they can be judge, jury and executioner of those they judge guilty. They think the world will be a better place and their movement better off if the targets of their wrath were wiped out. The world doesn’t work that way. The pro-life movement has suffered a grievous blow with this hateful act of violence.

The Other McCain gives a historical perspective to political assassinations:

One reason I so despise such criminal idiocy is that, as a student of history, I cannot think of a single instance in which assassination has produced anything good, no matter how evil or misguided the victim, nor how well-intentioned or malevolent the assassin.

From Brutus and the other republican Senators who slew Julius Caesar to Charlotte Corday, from John Wilkes Booth to Gavrilo Princip, and so onto Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan and James Earl Ray, assassination seems inevitably to work against the purposes of its practicioners.

Those who slew Caesar did not save the Roman republic. Marat’s death only incited the Jacobins to greater terror. Booth’s pistol conjured up a spirit of vengeance against the South more terrible than war itself. Assassination is an act of nihilism. Whatever the motive of the crime, the horror it evokes always inspires a draconian response, and involves other consequences never intended by the criminal.

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