Wichita judge subverts justice with wild ruling

Sedgwick County Judge Warren Wilbert opened the trial of Scott Roeder, who shot Dr. George Tiller to death May 31, with an astounding decision. He said he would allow Roeder to argue that the murder was justifiable homicide because killing him would save the lives of unborn babies.
Dr. Warren Hern of Boulder, Colo., a friend of Dr. Tiller who also performs late-term abortions, said “this judge has basically announced a death sentence for all of us who help women. That is the effect of the ruling.”
Dr. Hern has a valid argument. Premeditated murder in Kansas is punished by execution or life in prison without parole. Voluntary manslaughter draws a much lighter prison sentence, possibly as few as five years.
With Roeder as an example, anti-abortion fanatics, like terrorist suicide bombers, can be willing to sacrifice their own lives to murder a doctor who performs legal abortions. How many more anti-abortion fanatics would murder physicians they believed to be abortion providers if Judge Wilbert’s ruling is allowed to stand and their assassinations drew no more punishment than car theft?

TO GET a clearer picture of the impact of Judge Wilbert’s ruling, take abortion off the table. The judge said that a deliberate murder can be ruled a justifiable homicide if the killer believes in his heart and soul that his victim will do great damage to others if he is allowed to live.
Those who sincerely believe that a president or a candidate for the presidency must be murdered for the good of the country could consider their assassinations justifiable under his ruling. Indeed, it may well be true that the killers of John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert, were so convinced.
And it is certainly true that the Muslim terrorist who tried to bring down a loaded passenger plane on Christmas Day believed in his cause. He was, after all, willing to die to murder those innocents. So should he be tried as one who attempted justifiable homicide? If not, why not?
Considering how much rage is expressed on today’s political scene, how often partisans charge their opponents with subverting the constitution and threatening the very life of the nation, one shudders to think how much violence might be loosed if Judge Wilbert’s justification of cold blooded murder for a political cause is not thrown out by a higher court.

ON SUNDAY, May 31, Scott Roeder got up from a pew in the church where Dr. Tiller was serving as an usher. Walked up to him. Pressed the barrel of a .22 pistol against his temple and pulled the trigger. If Mr. Roeder is not removed from society by execution or life imprisonment with no chance of parole, Kansas and its courts will have justified evil and ripped to shreds every civilized definition of justice ever made. That should not be allowed to happen.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.