America's Bizarre Attitude Toward Death

Why was the life of Charles Manson treated as being more valuable than the life of an unborn child?

Less than 100 years ago, an 18-year-old named Frank Dupre stole a diamond ring from Kaiser’s Jewelry Store on Peachtree Street in Atlanta on December 15, 1921. As he fled from the scene of the crime, the man reporters dubbed “The Peachtree Bandit” shot two men, killing one of them and seriously wounding the other.

Within a month, police captured the fugitive murderer. Dupre’s trial took two weeks. He was convicted and received a sentence of death by hanging. Frank Dupre was executed on September 1, 1922. Irony alert – only nine months had elapsed between Dupre’s crime and his punishment.

Last month, a brief but very contentious conversation on Twitter with Patrick Tomlinson occurred after it had been publicly reported that he claimed to have destroyed the arguments opposing abortion with his thoroughly unoriginal “thought experiment.” In a convoluted and contrived scenario, the pro-life advocate is asked to choose between saving the life of a young child or the future lives of 1000 human embryos stored in a steel canister from a burning building, creating the false dichotomy of a choice between one thousand zygotes and a fully developed human being. The message that Tomlinson attempted to communicate was clear – that an unborn child is not as valuable as a five-year-old child, so it’s okay to kill the unborn child. The truth of the matter is that if you don’t deliberately kill the embryo, it will probably continue to grow and become a healthy human baby. Tomlinson’s scenario implies that the age of an organism determines its relative value – should we assume, in our burning building scenario, that an infant should be left to burn to death in order that our theoretical hero could save a bedridden geriatric patient?

Or, does a person’s inherent value totally depend on surviving birth?

His thought experiment conveniently ignored the inconvenient truths about abortion that pro-choice advocates tend to avoid like the plague: late term abortions and partial-birth abortions. Planned Parenthood even supports infanticide! Yet many Americans, including Mr. Tomlinson, remain indifferent to the fact that more than 55 million human lives have been aborted since the passage of Roe v. Wade. In the vast majority of cases those legalized murders have been committed in the name of sexual liberation, for the sake of convenience, not because the mother was the victim of rape or incest. Challenge a liberal in the throes of prenatal bloodlust with this uncomfortable fact, and the crickets will chirp in response.

Shortly before convicted murderer Charles Manson died, prison officials rushed the critically ill inmate to the hospital in order to prolong his life. Why bother? So that Manson could be returned to prison to serve the remainder of his life sentence for the murders of Sharon Tate and several others? Is prison actually worse than death?

Here’s the question that people like Mr. Tomlinson should ponder: why should the life of a mass murderer be treated as or considered more valuable than the life of a completely innocent, unborn child?

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Charles Manson is the perfect example of why God allows (and in fact, in certain cases, dictates) capital punishment. As you point out quite well, Tomlinson's pro-abortion argument is based on false assumptions. A culture and age that cannot see the depressing error of our standards on these issues is dark indeed.