By Kaitlyn Troilo
Recently the entire global community has been intently focused on the impending threat of the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) because of the horrendous attacks in Beirut and Paris. However, there is something that we as a nation are forgetting; homegrown terrorism.
On Friday November 27, 2015 Robert Lewis Dear opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Three people died: a campus police officer, a mother of two and an Iraq War veteran. Nine people were wounded. Dear surrendered after five hours and was taken into custody. He faces the charge of first degree murder. The penalty is life in prison or death.
Following the event, the media exploded. Articles flooded the internet raging about religious extremism and blaming Republicans for Dear’s actions. These connections may have ground but by micro-analyzing these events we forget that people are dying for reckless and insane reasons.
Just five days after the Planned Parenthood attack, there was a mass shooting in San Bernadino County in California. While many details are still being confirmed, the way the media covers these events is frustrating; especially for freshman Elisa Degidio, who is from San Bernadino county where the atrocities happened on Wednesday. Of the media she inputs, “I don’t know if the problem is the way we get news or the fact that people can’t look at a face and see tragedy without needing theatrics but it’s appalling that right by my hometown there’s an action that has changed our community and changed lives in such a grave way.”
This issue is political as much as it is personal for every American. While much of the media is painting this shooting as red or blue, Republican or Democrat, Pro-life or Pro-choice, the respect for human dignity and human life goes beyond partisan politics and even religion.
Father Jude DeAngelo further elaborated on this harrowing subject:
“I have seen other clergy making all kinds of statements because they have been asked to comment on the Planned Parenthood Clinic in which innocent people were murdered by a deeply disturbed individual. I know why the question is being asked. It’s because people want to see if clergy—specifically Catholic clergy—will disavow any sympathy with the killer. Or to see if a priest will somehow try to justify the killing of innocent people in a PP Clinic; as if there ever could be a justification for murder. Or maybe people hope that with this horrific act, Catholics and others will now back away from criticizing the horrific slaughter of the unborn.
I find it interesting that no one asked Catholic priests to comment on Freddie Gray’s death, or the deaths of the members of the Church in South Carolina, the death of the seventeen-year-old in Chicago or the murder of about 50 police officers this year. My guess is no one will ask Catholic clergy about the mass shooting in California or Paris either. Why?
Can there ever be justification for the murder of any human being be it an adult or child, an unborn child or an abortionist, a child on the street or a policeman sitting in his squad car?
We live in a beautiful, redeemed world where people make horrific choices. But, the unspeakable choices of others cannot stop—should not stop—the people of faith from speaking against murder, regardless of the circumstances. Defending human life is a significant part of the Church’s mission – is there ever a justification for any murder?”
Father Jude’s comments bring about many thought provoking questions for Americans everywhere. Why are we trying to justify murder? Why are we becoming so extreme in our opinions that we must result to violence and murder to illustrate them? When did murder become a resort to expressing your beliefs in a nation that was founded on the freedom of expressing these beliefs despite the inevitability of clashing with someone else’s?