Frances Kelly
What's the difference between accused killers Jared Loughner and Kermit Gosnell?
By Frances Kelly
February 12, 2011

Jared Loughner and Kermit Gosnell both made the news recently for killing people. Loughner, age 22, killed 6 and injured 13 in a shooting spree in Tucson, AZ. Gosnell, age 69, is the doctor accused of 8 counts of murder in Philadelphia, PA, who was denied bail in January. Both events are American tragedies; both killers inflicted pain, fear, and death, leaving wounded survivors. What's the difference?

Loughner's killing spree lasted 15 seconds.
Gosnell's killing spree spanned 3 decades.
Loughner's weapon was a Glock handgun.
Gosnell's weapon was abortion.

Loughner attempted to kill well-known and admired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. All of Loughner's victims had names, stories, and friends. Each was valued and loved.

In contrast, Gosnell preyed upon minorities. His victims were women and unwanted, nameless babies telling the same story: abortion.

Loughner's victims were honored at a memorial service January 12, complete with a speech by President Obama. Attendees received cool T-shirts with the epic motto: "Together we thrive."

Gosnell's victims were honored by members of a Grand Jury who endured "thousands of pieces of evidence and heard testimony from 58 witnesses." No word yet on a commemorative T-shirt.

Loughner's massacre was a national tragedy displayed in public. The country mourned the senseless loss of life. Americans were glued to the TV and the web and watched the ugly aftermath and followed survivors' miraculous recoveries.

Gosnell's massacre is a tragedy of a different sort. He killed individually behind clinic doors, often at night. Under the auspices of the "right to privacy," Gosnell induced labor then illegally killed viable babies after birth by cutting their spinal cords with scissors; he called this "snipping." "Over the years, there were hundreds of 'snippings'. . . . Most of these acts cannot be prosecuted, because Gosnell destroyed the files." (Page 5 of the Grand Jury report.)

Loughner acted alone. Gosnell had several accomplices: employees who did what he told them, as well as regulatory overseers who ignored what he did.

Because Loughner used a gun, politicians and media launched a national debate about gun control. Because Gosnell's crime involved abortion, the pro-choice media chose not to discuss abortion control.

Loughner's crime was the top story for days. The week of Jan. 24, Time magazine's cover was: "Guns. Speech. Madness," and Newsweek ran with "American Assassins." Check out Google trends. Enter Jared Loughner and Kermit Gosnell and see for yourself how the Loughner story spiked while Gosnell laid low.

The left blamed right-wingers Sarah Palin and the Tea Party for Loughner's massacre. After they discovered that the schizophrenic's politics were more left than right, the left blamed hate speech itself for creating the climate of fear leading to Loughner's eruption.

And so Obama chided the nation on hate speech. "Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy . . ."

Listen, then, to this description of Gosnell's crime scene, and sharpen your empathy: "one or two babies fell out of patients each night. They dropped out on lounge chairs, on the floor, and often in the toilet . . . The search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic — in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers. The investigators found a row of jars containing just the severed feet of fetuses. . . the remains of 45 fetuses were recovered at the clinic that evening . . . probably three, had been viable . . . [And] he perforated bowels, cervixes, and uteruses. He left women sterile."

Why was Gosnell given license to kill for over 30 years? "We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion." (Grand Jury report.)

Obama lectured us about Loughner, "For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack." But where is President Obama's leadership on Gosnell? Because the truth, is everyone knows exactly what triggered Gosnell's relentless attack: abortion.

Hate speech did not cause Loughner to go berserk. But officials' talk about the right to abortion, especially access for women who were "poor and of color," created a climate of access that played a deadly role in Gosnell's case.

Loughner slipped through the cracks. His rampage prompted questions about institutionalizing mentally ill patients to ensure public safety.

Gosnell slipped through enormous gaping loopholes. He made millions in his 30 plus career. Not all schizophrenics kill. By definition, all abortionists do. How can society ensure public safety when the institution of abortion is crazy?

Loughner was schizophrenic and eventually started killing people.
Gosnell made his living by killing and eventually went crazy.


Grand jury report:

Obama's speech:

© Frances Kelly


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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