The outdoor vigil which was scheduled Tuesday evening in Columbia, Missouri to honor the memory of Dr. George Tiller who was gunned down in his church - allegedly by a disturbed anti-abortion zealot, was brought indoors due to rain and thunderstorms. There were approximately thirty-five individuals in attendance, and an additional ten people representing the press.
At Show Me Progress:
A number of individuals spoke of their personal experience with Dr. Tiller - as a family member of a patient in difficult circumstances, as colleagues, and as activists advocating for women's choice.
As the speakers in turn helped fill out the portrait of Dr. Tiller, he became much less the abstract story - as portrayed by the media and as vilified by those in opposition to him - and assumed his rightful aura as a complex human being, with friends, family, with acts of kindness and humility and caring, working and fighting, sometimes with defiance, for what he believed in.
Constantly dehumanizing someone in life makes it so much easier to ignore or dismiss their death at the hands of another. Learning parts of the story of that person's humanity after their senseless death makes any attempt at comprehending the insanity of it all impossible.