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September 11, 2009

Anti-abortion protester shot dead in Michigan

A 63-year-old anti-abortion activist was shot and killed this morning while protesting outside a high school:

(Michigan Radio) - A 63-year old anti-abortion protester was gunned down this morning as he staged a protest across the street from Owosso High School in Shiawassee County.

Owosso Police Chief Michael Campeau says James Pouillon was shot to death by the driver of a passing vehicle. He says a witness saw the vehicle's license plate, and a suspect was arrested about an hour later.

Police believe the 33-year old suspect also killed a second man this morning. 61-year old Mike Fuoss was found shot to death in the office of a gravel pit that he owned.

Police believe the victims were targeted but have not released a motive.

My condolences to the families of the victims of this brutal crime.

We don't know whether the killing had anything to do with Pouillon's political views, but anti-choice sites are already calling him a martyr and spiritual vampire Randall Terry has swooped in to feed on the reflected glory.

Update: Fuoss’s brother-in-law, Glen Merkel says that the suspect is the son of one of Fuoss's former employees.

Update: More details from the Detroit News: The shooter is believed to have targeted a third person, who wasn't harmed. Police haven't released that person's name. Glen Merkel speculates that the shooter killed his brother-in-law because Fuoss owed the shooter money. There is no indication that Fuoss and Pouillon knew each other.

Update: Prosecutors told the New York Times the 33-year-old suspect targeted Pouillon for protesting, but killed Fuoss for some unrelated reason.

Update 6:38pm: Alleged shooter Harlan "Hale"  Drake has been arraigned on two counts of first degree murder. Authorities say Drake had a third man on his hit list, a local realtor; but that Drake was arrested before he could carry out his plan. Drake was licensed to carry a concealed weapon. His motives are still murky. Drake reportedly told police that he killed Pouillon because he disapproved of the victim's habit of holding up large pictures of dead fetuses around school children. Authorities say the Pouillon killing may be prosecuted as a hate crime.

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Comments

Condolences to the families of the victims. I sincerely hope this isn't a political act of violence; It is completely inexcusable.

Exactly right, LWF.

Disgusting crime.

What goes around comes around.......Pro-Abortion citizens have been being beaten, shot, killed for a long time......No sympathy for him or his family......May even be a hero....

What goes around comes around

Don't be a moron.

Nobody deserves to be brutally murdered for protesting.

By all accounts victim was a sweet old eccentric who never hurt anyone. A disabled retired autoworker. He didn't obstruct clinics or menace providers. He just camped out with his fetus posters, exercising his constitutionally protected rights. I feel nothing but sympathy for the guy and his family.

The shooter doesn't appear to have been politically motivated in the sense that Scott Roeder was. Roeder was a self-appointed crusader who wanted to shut down the abortion industry by taking out a big player. Drake seems to have been out to settle personal scores.

We don't even know how Drake feels about abortion. For all we know he's anti-choice and anti-fetus posters near children.

I don't think the man should have been shot but I have to ask why he protests in front of a high school. It's not like they're offering abortions in the gymnasium. He also doesn't need to have graphic photos for people's children to see. This is not a matter for children.


"Nobody deserves to be brutally murdered for protesting."

Amen, Lindsay.

"The shooter doesn't appear to have been politically motivated in the sense that Scott Roeder was. Roeder was a self-appointed crusader who wanted to shut down the abortion industry by taking out a big player. Drake seems to have been out to settle personal scores."

Sounds about right from what we know now. He killed another man who he had a personal/financial beef with, as well as the guy with the anti-abortion sign which apparently irritated him.

Apart from being offended by an anti-abortion sign being displayed near a high school, I don't know of any evidence that this shooter was pro-choice or liberal. Roeder, on the other hand, had longstanding ties not only with anti-abortion extremists but also with other right-wing extremist movements.

Dont really care if he was a sweet old man or not....he can be the first martyr for the anti-abortion fanatics....maybe they will pay for his funeral and help is family ...you know ...put their money where the mouth is....dont think so. but miracles do happen

Dont really care if he was a sweet old man or not....he can be the first martyr for the anti-abortion fanatics....maybe they will pay for his funeral and help is family ...you know ...put their money where the mouth is....dont think so. but miracles do happen

Seriously, dude, stop being a moron.

I don't think the man should have been shot but I have to ask why he protests in front of a high school. It's not like they're offering abortions in the gymnasium. He also doesn't need to have graphic photos for people's children to see. This is not a matter for children.

I don't know, but as long as we have the First Amendment, that was his right. And I'm okay with that. Look, I disagree with the victim about as much as possible, but he had the right to express his beliefs without being shot.

Now, as Lindsay said, we don't really know what the motivation here was, at least not yet. I'm not ready to say that this was a pro-choice guy killing an anti-choicer. But sorry, handwringing about the victim's conduct is wholly inappropriate. This is a reprehensible act no matter the motivation, and it should be condemned in clear and unambiguous terms.

I do not know what to think. Maybe it was bad to kill the man with the posters, but isn't he also doing something bad by carryng around the posters? Can anyone explain to me what to think about this?

Jeff, here's my experience with the images on posters:

Five years ago, I was taking my five and three-year-old children to visit their little brother, who was in the NICU. Little bro has spina bifida, and had already undergone brain surgery, spinal cord surgery, surgery to place a g-tube, etc. The hospital had prepped the sibs for what they would see inside: tubes, tape, machines and all that jazz.

What they had not prepped us for was the every-Saturday-protest outside an abortion provider's office nearby. Construction prompted us to take a route that took us past this office, where my kids were exposed to these images without my consent. My blood-phobic three-year-old flipped out and had to be persuaded to enter the hospital when we arrived there. My older child, who made the association between "baby", "life" and these images, cried. I had to explain anti-abortion tactics (which had obviously had their intended effect on my kids) to the kids much earlier than I had ever planned. These protesters took away my freedom of choice as a parent (although I suppose I could have dodged the whole explanation by lying, which I feel is morally wrong).

It's reprehensible; I would have not allowed my kids to see grotesque images like these until they were teens, with a full explanation of how these images are manipulated to exclude the mother, thus making a fetus appear as an alien that is completely capable of supporting its existence alone, how they are manipulated by emphasizing the placenta to make the fetus appear larger, and how pictures like these are sometimes harvested from pictures of ectopic pregnancies which had to be terminated to save the mother's lives.

My kids would not have been allowed to see these pictures on their own volition without my presence (at an R-rated movie), yet these protesters' First Amendment rights somehow have trumped my rights to protect my kids from potentially damaging images.

That is insanity, and yes, I do think right to free speech does stop there. My views on censorship changed drastically that day. From what I've read, a few challenges to these images have all failed in court, simply because this is protected free speech, yet if a film maker wants to offer this same speech, it's censored and rated, presumably to "help" me make a better choice for my children's viewing.

The description of these posters reminds me of the mass mailing that Larry Flynt did in the mid-70s. It was a pamphlet of graphic, grisly pictures of mangled bodies from the Vietnam war. His point was to question why America accepted the obscenity of war but abhored the obscenity of pornography. The mass mailing was to ensure that most people would be forced to look at this unintentionally.

The fact that children could have opened this and, in some cases did, angered a whole lot of people including those that probably agreed with him in a lot of areas. In my case, I had 3 young daughters and I would have been outraged if they had seen these photos....to the point that my knee-jerk response would have been to punch him out if I could have gotten close to him.

So I agree with the last post....forcing innocent people (especially children) to see something like this is akin to mental terrorism and should not be protected by free speech.

I don't get why everyone calls this a political killing. The man didn't get shot because he was pro-life. He got shot because this guy hated him for making him view pictures of scrambled fetuses when he used to go to school.

There is a big difference between "OMG, I'm going to kill you for believing that." and "OMG, that's fucking gross!"

I know we are going crazy protesting against Abortions; however, have we lost the reason why abortions are being considered???? It’s called “Sex” and most of these are out of marriage…this is what we need to be discussing in order to stop putting the band aid on abortions…then we will see less of them taking place…Please, let’s talk more about Abstinence…

Lindsay, is there any chance you could restore the old comment layout? The new one looks way too weird.

"Please, let’s talk more about Abstinence"

well, talking about not having sex is like taliking about not eating a hot fudge sunday. good luck with that.

Hot fudge sundaes are so overrated. I for one would much rather spend my money on more productive pursuits.

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