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Vigil for Dr. George Tiller in Columbia – June 2, 2009 – part 1

Vigil for Dr. George Tiller in Columbia – June 2, 2009 – part 2

Vigil for Dr. George Tiller in Columbia – June 2, 2009 – part 3

Vicky Riback Wilson (left) and Missouri State Representative Mary Still (center).

Missouri State Representative Mary Still:…I think it demonstrates something that we all need to hear. That very good people, religious people, have a need of these services that were provided by this doctor.

And, we have today crossed the line as far as I’m concerned. A good man was shot dead in a church. They crossed a line. And we must learn how to cope with that, how to understand it, and what sense that we must make. And, my observation is that words matter. Things that people say matter.

And I have been in the state legislature now for four months. And I have seen the words used. And I have seen the discussion. And it’s guns, and it’s God, and it’s abortion. And the way these issues are framed for political gain and at the expense of the general common good is shameful.

And this incident demonstrates all three.

Abortion, guns, and God. And a good man has been killed in church. Apparently, a deranged man, a mentally ill person, has perhaps heard these words. We can’t blame a certain party or a certain element for, for, because one person is deranged. But we can acknowledge that what we say, especially people in positions of power, can have influence on people and influence on someone who might be mentally unstable.

So, at this time I want to weigh my words because I am outraged.  But I want and pray that we can use this as an opportunity to know that violence is not the answer. And to find the common ground on these flash point issues so that we can continue as a state to move forward and continue to recognize that very good people, very well-meaning people may disagree on this issue, but we must find a common ground. And it’s not violence….

….former Missouri State Representative Vicky Riback Wilson: …We’ve heard tonight from people who had the privilege of knowing Dr. Tiller personally. We’ve heard from people who feel strongly about issues that are important in our society. My guess is, however, that there is a different and unique motivation, and a complex motivation, for each of you and each of us who came here tonight.

Most of us didn’t know Dr. Tiller. Most of us, if you’re anything like me, had never even heard of Dr. Tiller, even though I was active, in this area. But the complexity of emotions, I think, that brought each of us here typifies the complexities of the issues that surround, not only reproductive health in our society, but as Representative Still said, all, the whole complex of issues that are brought together around this one event.

We come not just to pay honor to Dr. Tiller, we also come with renewed fervor for making sure that reproductive health is protected, especially and most importantly for those families who have children who are desperately wanted and through some terrible misfortune the pregnancy goes horribly wrong. And they’re left now in our society with very few choices and very few physicians willing to provide the necessary services.

We come here because we worry about gun violence. And people who can pull out a gun and shoot someone, particularly, in a church, a protected and sacred setting. And we come here because we need a protected place to have our voices heard. And be able to speak safely about all of this turmoil of emotions that have been brought to the fore when an event like this happens, mile away, to someone we don’t know, but that so deeply touches things that each of us hold dear and in which we believe.

Tonight is the reminder for all of us, not only to stand together, but to stand separately as we talk to elected officials, as we talk to newspaper people, as we talk to the media, and, perhaps most importantly, as we talk to our friends. We’ve cloaked ourselves in fear about expressing how we really feel about these key issues far too often. Now is the time to take this opportunity to discuss the issues and the feelings surrounding this type of event, so that perhaps it will not happen again…