News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Ends don't justify means in Alabama or in London

Whether in Iraq or the United States, ends do not justify means.

Eric Rudolph, who in April pleaded guilty to charges that he set off a remote-control bomb outside a Birmingham abortion clinic in 1998, spewed even more hatred at his sentencing hearing this week. The bomb blast killed a policeman and maimed a nurse. The hearing also gave him an audience.

Consumed with hate even as he faced a life sentence, Mr. Rudolph spoke ad nauseam in an effort to justify his evil.

"What they did was participate in the murder of 50 children a week," Mr. Rudolph said. "Abortion is murder and because it is murder I believe deadly force is needed to stop it. ... The state is no longer the protector of the innocents."

Many in Alabama share the man's condemnation of abortion. Only a deranged few see murder as appropriate retaliation for those who believe differently.

The same rage infects the militant Muslims that attack civilians in Iraq, London and elsewhere. For perceived slights against their god, they commit acts that wed that god to evil.

They desperately and wrongly hope that, by cloaking their evil with good, they can erase their sin.

The day will come when the just and unjust, the thistles and wheat, are separated and the thistles burned. It is not Mr. Rudolph's place, any more than it is a Muslim extremist's place, to do the burning.

"It gives me great delight to know you are going to spend the rest of your life sitting in an 8-by-12 box," said the director of the clinic Mr. Rudolph targeted. "My wish for you is that you live a very long life."

Life in "Supermax," the maximum security federal prison in Colorado, won't be an easy existence, perhaps more distasteful than execution.

The bomber got what he deserves.

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