A North Carolina politician sent an email to all his colleagues calling for “public hangings” of abortion providers as a deterrent. Republican Rep. Larry Pittman wrote in an email:
“We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner. If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.”
This is all kinds of crazy that I don’t even know where to start. Comparing abortion providers — a safe, legal, at times life-saving medical practice — to murderers, rapists and kidnappers? Suggesting public hangings as a cost-saving measure? Hell, why not go whole hog and whip out the guillotine?
Pittman’s email went to all the members of the North Carolina General Assembly, although he told WRAL news he accidentally hit “reply all” and only meant to send it to one colleague. “I got a bit carried away and overstated my case,” he told WRAL, adding that he was upset by a North Carolinian currently on death row who penned a taunting letter, released to the public this week.
That excuse hardly matters, because itt isn’t the fact Rep. Pittman spammed his colleagues that is problematic. In fact, it’s a good thing he’s drawn attention to the violent rhetoric he truly believes when it comes to doctors who performs abortions. That is something his constituents should know.
Anti-abortion views I can barely stomach, especially when they come from an old white male who has never, and will never, have the experience of an unsafe or unwanted pregnancy. But advocating the murder of abortion providers is beyond the pale for an elected official. This is North Carolina; it’s not Saudi Arabia. The threat against the lives of abortion providers, their employees, and clinic escorts is a real and disturbing thing.
In May 2009, a Wichita abortion provider named Dr. George Tiller was shot to death in his church by an anti-abortion extremist named Scott Roeder. His killer most certainly had a few screws loose. But where do you think the loose-screws amongst us decide committing murder of another human being is justified?
Oh, perhaps when they hear that elected officials — respected members of society — using the exact same violent rhetoric? It’s disturbing. It’s not responsible. And it is completely unacceptable.
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