Pro-life Activist Murdered Near Michigan School

Activist Killed
An Owosso police officer stretches a police line across Whitehaven Drive near Owosso High School in Owosso, Mich., as first responders work on a shooting victim Friday morning, Sept. 11, 2009. Michigan authorities say an anti-abortion activist was slain near Owosso High School and another man was fatally shot at a business in a neighboring community in crelated incidents.
AP
 

OWOSSO, Mich. – A man carrying grudges against several people set off on a shooting spree Friday morning, authorities said, killing an abortion protester outside a high school because he didn’t like the activist holding a sign with graphic images of a fetus in front of students.

The gunman drove next to a gravel pit business and shot and killed the owner, who apparently also upset him, police said. Authorities believe they stopped a third slaying by catching up with the gunman before he could kill again.

“The defendant had ill will toward these three individuals — not for the same reason necessarily, but had a grudge,” said Shiawassee County Prosecutor Randy Colbry.

 Police charged Harlan James Drake, 33, with first-degree murder. He was arraigned by video without an attorney and ordered held without bond. Authorities said he was a truck driver who mostly lived on the road in his cab and had family in the area, but they were mystified by what may have led him to kill.

“Out of a two-month period, he might be here for two days. We have no history of local contact with him,” said sheriff’s Det. Lt. David Kirk. “It becomes a mystery to us why today all of this transpired.”

The shootings started around 7:20 a.m. across the street at Owosso High School, as parents dropped off students before class. James Pouillon, a well-known activist in the town, was standing across the street with a sign that pictured a chubby-cheeked baby with the word “LIFE” on one side and an image of an aborted fetus with the word “ABORTION” on the other.

Pouillon, known as “the sign man” for his years of in-your-face protests against abortion, was a polarizing figure in Owosso, a town of 15,000 best known as the birthplace of 1948 Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey. While inhaling oxygen from a small tank, he could usually be seen with his anti-abortion signs outside schools, the library, city hall, even football games.

“His dedication to his cause was unprecedented,” said Tony Young, who tangled with Pouillon during protests outside his car dealership.

The county’s chief assistant prosecutor, Sara Edwards, said there didn’t appear to be a “triggering event” but Pouillon’s presence outside the school seemed to aggravate Drake. It was “the fact that he was outside the high school with his signs in front of children going to school,” she said.

The shots came as students and some horrified parents and students watched. The gunman fired several shots from the window of his vehicle as he drove past the school, authorities said.

“I was reading the paper and heard four shots,” said Janet Drake, 68, who lives across from the school and is no relation to the alleged gunman. “Those kids have problems with their cars. I thought it was a backfire.”

Drake then drove drove seven miles and down a dead-end country road to Fuoss Gravel Co. and killed Mike Fuoss, 61, who owned the gravel business, said Colbry. The two men knew each other, but authorities didn’t detail what may have led to his slaying.

Someone wrote down Drake’s license plate number after Pouillon’s shooting and called police, who arrested him before he could fulfill a plan to kill a third man in town, Colbry said. Drake told authorities he was involved in Fuoss’ slaying when they questioned him, authorities said.

Linda Strieff was Fuoss’ longtime neighbor, and stared at the roped-off crime scene in disbelief.

“That’s what’s puzzling everybody,” Strieff said. “What happened? Why’d the guy snap?”

The shootings come a little more than three months after the slaying of late-term abortion provider George Tiller at his Kansas church. A man with a long history of anti-abortion views, Scott Roeder, has pleaded not guilty to the slaying, and has told The Associated Press that Tiller’s killing was justified to save “the lives of unborn children.”

Image: Jim Pouillon
AP
In an August 2002 photo, Jim Pouillon, left, has a heated discussion with a Planned Parenthood employee in Owosso, Mich.

Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said Pouillon was a member of the anti-abortion group, adding that he wept Friday when he received word that his friend had been killed. “He was just a kind, gentle man who loved life and endeavored to save other people’s lives,” Newman said.

The Rev. Rodger DeVore, pastor of the Church of the Nazarene, said Pouillon never seemed to tire and even protested outside the church.

“He did not attend a church because he felt pastors were not strong enough in their defense of the aborted child,” DeVore said. “I told him, ‘Jim, everyone has to fight in their own armor. You have your approach and we have our approach.’ We agreed to disagree.”

 Pouillon protested for years in front of Tony Young’s car dealership, Young Chevrolet Cadillac, holding up anti-abortion slogans and graphic photos. The Michigan Court of Appeals in 1997 struck down a preliminary injunction restricting the protests and he continued until about five years ago.

“This is a guy who put himself out there every day … for a cause he believed in, and (he) took a hell of a lot of abuse,” said lawyer Michael Gildner, who represented Pouillon in a case that reached the federal appeals court. “It angered people, upset people on occasion. That’s what free speech is all about.”

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Published in: on September 12, 2009 at 4:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Famous Women Who Speak Up On Abortion

 patricia_heaton                           “Every 36 seconds in America a women lays her body down, forced to choose abortion out of a lack of practical resources and emotional support. Abortion is a reflection that society has failed women.”

Patricia Heaton | Actress

 

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dolores_oriordan“Every time a woman has an abortion it just crushes her self-esteem smaller and smaller and smaller.  “Dolores O’Riordan | Singer | The Cranberries

 

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margaret_colin“You have to be brave — the one who speaks out for a baby — so she or he can come into this life.”

Margaret Colin | Actress

 

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jennifer_oneil“I had the abortion and paid for it all my life.”

Jennifer O’Neil | Model/Actress

 

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kate_mulgrew“Life is sacred to me on all levels. Abortion does not compute with my philosophy.”

Kate Mulgrew | Actress

Published in: on September 9, 2009 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kourtney Kardashian: “My doctor told me there is nothing you will ever regret about having the baby, but he was like, ‘You may regret not having the baby.’ And I was like: That is so true. And it just hit me.”

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Image Kourtney Kardashian’s unplanned pregnancy forced the shocked reality TV star to make one of the most difficult decisions in her life: Would she have the baby or terminate the pregnancy?”I definitely thought about it long and hard, about if I wanted to keep the baby or not, and I wasn’t thinking about adoption,” Kardashian, 30, who was shooting E!’s Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami at the time, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “… I don’t think it’s talked through enough. I can’t even tell you how many people just say, ‘Oh, get an abortion.’ Like it’s not a big deal.”Scott Disick, the baby’s 26-year-old father, was supportive either way. The pair had split in November after two years of dating, but reconciled shortly after finding out she was pregnant. “He wanted me to talk about it more, but I just kept to myself,” she says. “He said, ‘I really want you to keep it, but I will support you whatever you decide to do.'”

Confused and concerned, Kardashian says, “I called my best friend crying, and I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ She said, ‘Call your doctor, and at least find out the risks and stuff.’ ” So Kardashian discussed abortion with her physician, and then headed to the Internet to do further research.

“I looked online, and I was sitting on the bed hysterically crying, reading these stories of people who felt so guilty from having an abortion,” she recalls. “I was reading these things of how many people are traumatized by it afterwards.”

After scouring the Internet, Kardashian says she started to realize that an abortion wasn’t an option for her. “I was just sitting there crying, thinking, ‘I can’t do that,’ ” she says. “And I felt in my body, this is meant to be. God does things for a reason, and I just felt like it was the right thing that was happening in my life.”

Kardashian says she did some intense soul-searching. “For me, all the reasons why I wouldn’t keep the baby were so selfish: It wasn’t like I was raped, it’s not like I’m 16. I’m 30 years old, I make my own money, I support myself, I can afford to have a baby. And I am with someone who I love, and have been with for a long time.”

“I really wanted to think it through for myself, and not hear what my sisters were saying, or what Scott was saying. Even though I took it all in, I wanted it to be my decision,” she says. “My doctor told me there is nothing you will ever regret about having the baby, but he was like, ‘You may regret not having the baby.’ And I was like: That is so true. And it just hit me. I got so excited, and when I told Scott he was so excited. But I think if I had said I’m not going to keep it, I really think he would have pushed me into keeping it.”

(Edited from an article originally posted Wednesday August 19, 2009 08:00 AM EDT at http://www.people.com)

Published in: on September 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment