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NewsReal Sunday: The Trucking and Gravel Issue Should Not be “Fought with Blood,” Either

September 13, 2009

On Friday morning, 61 year old Mike Fuoss went to work at his sand and gravel pit in rural central Michigan just like he always did.  Fuoss, who kept a fairly low public profile, was not a public figure in the small town of Owosso, Michigan, despite the fact that he also owned a construction company, developed a subdivision, and partnered with a few locals who had started small businesses, including a small community newspaper.

Mike Fuoss

Mike Fuoss

And despite the fact that he would be the victim of a murder by a killer who would become a national story, Mike Fuoss wouldn’t get much notice when he died, either.

That Friday, Fuoss was working at his desk, when a burly bearded man who looked like a character from Deliverance burst into his office, and emptied his pistol into Fuoss, killing him.  Hours later, Owosso police would arrest truck driver Harlan Drake for murder.  Drake admitted a grudge against Fuoss over some family business issues.

Harlan Drake

Harlan Drake

Sunday, “Pro-life” leaders and activists held a candlelight vigil for a shooting victim of Harlan Drake.  But it wasn’t for Mike Fuoss.

In the closest (formerly) daily newspaper, The Flint Journal,  Fuoss was also treated like a footnote,barely mentioned in the majority of the stories about the crime.

Why?  Because earlier this day, Harlan Drake also shot and killed 63 year-old Jim Pouillon, also known as “the sign guy,” because he constantly carried graphic signs displaying dismembered babies as a protest against abortion.

Jim Pouillon

Jim Pouillon

Local pro-life “leaders” were quick to jump in front of cameras and declare Pouillon a martyr.  The local Planned Parenthood types were quick to express condolences to Pouillon’s family, condemn the violence—and try to get in on the martyr game themselves by worrying that somehow this was going to make THEM targets.

Neither side mentioned Mike Fuoss or offered condolences to his family or friends.

All Mike Fuoss ever did was employ people and provide for his family.  Where are the headlines in that?  Where is the political advantage to be gained by talking about Mike Fuoss?

National bloggers and pro-lifers have jumped on board.  Why didn’t the President condemn the shooting of Jim Pouillon the way he did of George “the Baby Killer” Tiller, who was infamous for cheerfully committing hundreds of acts of partial-birth abortion?

I hate to defend the President, but I’m guessing it’s because he never heard of Jim Pouillon, and neither had most of the people writing about him before yesterday.  It could also be, that it’s because Jim Pouillon was the victim of a crime spree by a depraved individual, (he also planned to shoot a local realtor over a business dispute but was arrested before carrying out the act) and his death is only technically connected to his cause.

But as Bureaucrat 1.0 said in Futurama, Matt Groenig’s cult-favorite cartoon, “Sir, you are technically correct. The best kind of correct.”

UPDATE, President Obama has gotten sucked into this mess by the tunnel-vision coverage, and released a statement condemning the shooting of Pouillon—no mention of Fuoss.

Today, Paul Cooper’s NewsReal Sunday blog post was titled, “The Abortion Battle Must Not be Fought with Blood.” That’s obviously true, and most of the points he makes are unarguable.

Hoever, Jim Pouillon is a poor choice for a cause to choose as a martyr, both because of who he was—and the stubborn things called facts about the nature of the crime spree that claimed his life.

Jim Pouillon was a dark, and deeply disturbed man.  Any dealings I had with him were extremely unpleasant as he tried to force his way into campaigns I was working for.  When I denied him access to my candidates, he threatened to picket them– even though they were pro-life– until they sat down with him.  So much for principle.  Whether the problems were caused by a physical problem, a mental imbalance, or just his own personal demons, I won’t attempt to diagnose.

Pouillon was known for shouting vile things while carrying his signs—and not just at adults.  He picketed a Catholic school in Owosso, yelling at students that there were “whores” inside.  He was known for directly shouting to or at children who were entering places he was picketing.

Sources I trust implicitly tell me Pouillon taunted a pro-choice candidate’s pre-teen son about having discovered the body of his mother who had committed suicide a few years before. Pouillon didn’t deserve to be shot and killed, but that should have warranted a good thrashing– at the very least.

In short, Pouillon did a lot more than just carry his signs around.

However, it is understandable that there is a little bit of martyr envy from the beleaguered pro-life side, after seeing their most fervent opponents lionized by the media, despite glaring moral faults.

Jim Pouillon didn’t drive his Oldsmobile off a bridge and deliberately leave a friend to die.

Nor was he the nation’s foremost profiteer of legal infanticide.  Quite the opposite, in fact.

However, Jim Pouillon did not create jobs in his community, either.

Regardless of the pros and cons of Jim Pouillon, the pro-life “leaders” in their rush to use Pouillon’s death to their advantage, cheapen life and betray their cause by treating Mike Fuoss’s life as meaningless– an inconvenient truth that gets in the way of a good story, that as such, must be ignored.

We must be better than this– and truer to our principles.  When pro-lifers assign more value to one life than another, it’s a betrayal of our most sacred prinicple.  It’s uncomfortably close to what the abortionist does.

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16 Comments
  1. ET Mannix permalink
    September 13, 2009 5:22 pm

    Thanks for information and insight not to be had anywhere else.

  2. Paul Cooper permalink
    September 13, 2009 5:36 pm

    Fair article for the most part. However, the point of my article was not to make Pouillon a martyr. In fact, I didn’t even write a positive word about the man. I am not supportive at all about how he did things from what I’ve read about him. The point of my article was about the culture war not being fought with bloodshed (and there was mention about how media was portraying the event compared to how they cover pro-choicers being killed just as a set up for that).

    I’m sorry that media stories have you frustrated based on your dislike for Pouillon, but it is silly to think that the media will cover the death of every human being equally. It’s impossible, but you seem to be making as case that they should Too many people die every day for that. Obviously the first anti-abortions/pro-lifer to get killed is going to be a newsworthy story. And just because the guy might have been a low-life (based on what you wrote) doesn’t mean the story shouldn’t have been told.

  3. davidforsmark permalink
    September 13, 2009 5:56 pm

    Pro-lifers may be murder victims every day for all we know. There was no reason for the President to comment on this story, or to be challenged to. Particularly when another man was killed, and assigning a political value to the story is a stretch– though “technically correct.”

    As I said, your points were “unarguable.”

  4. Douglas permalink
    September 13, 2009 6:44 pm

    Fine points, David. The right doesn’t so itself any favors when it attempts to fight the left by imitating the latter’s basest tactics. One of those tactics is to politicize everything. In this case, the left’s usual temptation is to find the story it wants to find. You have demonstrated that the real story is, well, the real story and nothing more; and the real story is not necessarily political. Sometimes there’s just no accounting for nuts.

    Would that Fuoss had been packing heat, though.*

    *(Sorry; I veered off into a Second-Amendment political point).

    Another unseemly tactic of the left is always to claim victim status; and it doesn’t do us credit when we likewise whine about having been victimized by mean liberals who have discriminated against us. It undermines our whole manliness mojo.

  5. Gene Mierzejewski permalink
    September 13, 2009 8:44 pm

    A well-written tribute to an unfairly forgotten man; thanks for bringing some perspective to this issue.

  6. David Forsmark permalink
    September 14, 2009 5:59 am

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/sep/14/obama-anti-abortion-figures-killing-deplorable/?source=newsletter_must-read-stories-today_more_news_carousel
    The Washington Times this morning falls for the template a little, but the last paragraph is instructive:

    “Fuoss’ family has said Drake’s mother worked at the gravel company more than a decade ago, and prosecutors said she did some work for Owosso real estate agent James Howe the third man authorities say Drake intended to kill.”

    Anybody want to bet we are going to find out that Pouillon insulted Drake’s mother at some point?

  7. September 14, 2009 12:23 pm

    It’s too bad this article includes no mention of the fact that multiple local officials have noted that Drake killed Pouillon specifically because of his abortion protesting. To dismiss the killing as just one of a mad man’s targets ignores this central fact which has, appropriately, sparked significant outrage among pro-life people.

    This wasn’t a drive-by shooting or a random act of violence but Drake is said to have killed Pouillon because he protested abortion at the high school. That is no different than the Tiller shooting, which the media and the Obama administration handled much differently.

    That Pouillon was on the less pragmatic end of the pro-life spectrum may make his politics less effective but does nothing to diminish the nature of the crime. The same is true of his quirky personality or his allegedly crass nature, though no one else who knew him well has made the same allegations to my knowledge.

    And Obama and abortion advocates should be challenged on Pouillon’s death. They exploited the Tiller death to the Nth degree and have been collectively silent on the intentional shooting of a pro-life person because of his pro-life views.

    I appreciate the article and, while it appropriately makes us stop and reflect, it presents a false read of the situation.

    • Faith Ecinaj permalink
      November 10, 2009 6:40 pm

      This article may make the statement: “though no one else who knew him well has made the same allegations to my knowledge” seem not very well researched. Since his very own son, upon his father’s death stated this, I would guess that David Forsmark’s assessment of the guy, may very well have been an overly generous assessment.

      James M. Pouillon criticizes father, slain pro-life activist James L. Pouillon, in online post
      By Laura Angus | Flint Journal
      September 17, 2009, 4:58AM

      OWOSSO, Michigan — Dr. James M. Pouillon, a Grand Rapids podiatrist who had not spoken to his father since 2001, criticized him and the attention he’s getting in a post on a story about Harlan Drake, the man accused of killing Pouillon’s father, James L. Pouillon, on Sept. 11.

      The whole nation is debating if Pouillon was a martyr. Here is what the younger Pouillon had to say in an mlive.com post on mlive.com on Sept. 13:

      “It will be impossible for some to believe, but my dad really didn’t care about aborton.

      He did this to stalk, harass, terrorize, scream at, threaten, frighten, and verbally abuse women. He had a pathologic hatred of women: his mom, my mom, everyone.

      After my mom finally left him and he lost his favorite punching bag the violence and abuse that was always contained within our 4 walls was unleased on the people of Owosso.

      My dad used the pro-life movement and 1st Amendments foundations to defend him, support him, and enable him. He fooled them all.

      He was at the high shool because my niece was there, and female family members were always his favorite targets.

      Again, my dad didn’t care about abortion. He wanted to hurt people, upset people. He enjoyed making people suffer.

      His goal was to be shot on a sidewalk. His goal was to make someone so angry, to make them feel so terrorized, to make them feel the only way they could make him stop was to kill him.

      His pro-life stance was the most perfect crime I personally know of. He hid behind the 1st Amendment and was allowed to stalk, terrorise, harass, be obsene, ect. These things are crimes. Offending people isn’t a crime, and having different political views isn’t a crime, but he committed several crimes over the last 20 years and got away with it.

      Yes I really am his oldest son. Owosso is now rid of a mad man.”

  8. davidforsmark permalink
    September 14, 2009 1:23 pm

    Ah, the informed view from Fort Collins, CO., where one can get the true “read” of the situation.

    To say that “no one who knew him well has made the same allegations” is just silly. I, for instance, knew him as well as most of the people talking to the local papers– many of whom drove hours to come to the candlelight vigil and had never met the man. Most political activists in the area are just choosing to lay low and let this blow over. Note the lack of pro-life State Reps and the like with statements in any article.

    My inbox has been busy from people on the ground thanking me for this, who didn’t want to get in the middle.

    Again, no mention of Mr. Fuoss from the editor of LifeNews.com. Imagine being the family of one of a small town’s most beneficial citizens and having everyone coming from outside to mourn one of the town’s most notorious and acting like your friend, father, or husband did not matter.

    The fact that Jim Pouillon was shot while protesting is only somewhat instructive, since that took up a majority of his time, and is where he was most accessible. The same way that Mike Fuoss was killed in his office, and, undoubtedly, the next planned victim, a local realtor, who was not an anti-abortion protester would have been ambushed in his office, too.

    If there is a pattern to these crimes, it is that Drake was responding to perceived insults to his mother. It is easily as likely that he hurled some of his invective in Drake’s mother’s direction as it is that Drake is a big Planned Parenthood guy.

    But we wouldn’t want to wait for the investigation, would we? No, we’ll settle for “is said to have.” But even if that was the motive, the lack of perspective, of even a slight tip of the hat to the inconvenient other victim is outrageous.

    The straw man that “this was no drive by shooting” (it sort of was, but I know what you mean) or random act of violence is beside the point. I never said that Pouillon was unknown to Drake. Only that Pouillon spent his life provoking people and not always over principle.

    “Quirky” and “less pragmatic” are interesting euphemisms for taunting the child who discovered his mother’s suicide.

    The next time the New York Times prints a story because it is “too good not to be true,” in their ideological prism, LifeNews will have little ground to criticize.

  9. September 14, 2009 4:22 pm

    “Again, no mention of Mr. Fuoss from the editor of LifeNews.com. Imagine being the family of one of a small town’s most beneficial citizens and having everyone coming from outside to mourn one of the town’s most notorious and acting like your friend, father, or husband did not matter.”

    The best you have in response is to make some sort of ad hominem attack by claiming that I must not give a rat’s ass that Fuoss died because we’re talking about Pouillon? That’s beneath this web site.

    The fact that LifeNews.com repeatedly mentioned Fuoss’ death in our reporting on the shooting notwithstanding, this is pretty unimpressive.

    ““Quirky” and “less pragmatic” are interesting euphemisms for taunting the child who discovered his mother’s suicide.”

    Then you compound that by clearly taking my comments out of context when I responded to your points about Pouillon’s politics and general demeanor.

    Of course I wasn’t referring to your specific allegation about this person’s mother’s suicide, I was referring to Pouillon’s general attitude and your comments about him going after pro-life candidates. But you knew that already I suspect.

    Your article and comments have some points to ponder and I would otherwise enjoy discussing them with you. But, wrapped in these ridiculous attempts to paint me as some uncaring neanderthal, it just comes across as the typical drivel one sees as HuffPost when writers are unable to make logically sound points in response to well-founded criticism.

    I hope your response to my comment above is not representative of the David Horowitz I’ve known and loved for the last two decades since my first exposure to “Heterodoxy.” DH was always one to attack liberal nonsense with wit and humor and a well-researched and reasoned argument, not juvenile invectives.

    “NewsReal tells who the day’s newsmakers on the political Left really are – exposing their track-records, their worldviews, their key affiliations, and their agendas.”

    Get back to your job and quit blasting your friends on the Right. When you’re ready for a real discussion sans pot shots, look me up.

  10. David Forsmark permalink
    September 14, 2009 6:10 pm

    Your response to my post was very dismissive of Mr. Fuoss’s murder as irrelevant to the point at hand. I was responding to your response. Did you ask President Obama to condemn his shooting, too?

    Also, you mentioned my frustration with the coverage as though it was a merely emotional response. My problem with the coverage was on principle as is my problem with people misusing this to batter a political opponent in a pretty cruel trick without any of the facts at hand. I have a problem with this, even when it’s one of my opponents getting battered, on behalf of a cause I hold dear.

    As for taking your comments out of context, the only thing you said about Mr. Pouillon, acting as though the actions I described were merely “quirky.” Without the ability to read your mind, I had to assume that was what you meant.

    I didn’t bother pointing out your criticism of my article came down to arguing that I failed to see that two wrongs really do make a right. Because Obama and company exploited Tiller to the nth degree, we should now take our shot.

    By elevating this to the Presidential level, you and the others on this tangent are also giving MSNBC or the New York Times a shot at coming in here and dredging up some really ugly allegations I did not get into– and probably make some things up, besides.

    I did not include everything I had ever heard, but the things I did include were not unusual occurrences from Mr. Pouillon. They were typical of his interactions with anyone he perceived as on the other side.

    Last year, the Left celebrated the movie, Milk. What they always ignore in their agenda for martyr-making, is that a straight man who was the Mayor of San Francisco was murdered at the same time, but no one makes a movie called Moscone. They have a friendly mainstream media that will protect their myths. They will delight in tearing down ours.

    We are already characterized by the mainstream media as being like Mr. Pouillon, I was trying to keep the pro-life movement from getting out on a limb with Mr. Pouillon so that CNN can cut it off. Look at how the demonstrators in Washington yesterday are being characterized. Let’s not give them actual justification for painting us all with that brush by associating ourselves with this dark man. Let them take up George Tiller’s bloody mantle, it’s not good for them.

    But let’s not take a page– or three– from their playbook.

  11. Don Schmidt permalink
    September 14, 2009 6:21 pm

    Wow, quite an exchange. I think there were “pot shots” both ways, and can’t say I totally agree with either author. However I think it will be good if there IS an exposee by the MSM on this guy we will at least be able to point to the fact that somebody on our side argued about it.

  12. Somewhere Man permalink
    September 15, 2009 1:25 pm

    Glad you wanted just the facts. Where you mentioned the one sign guy had signs with pictures of dismembered babies, you should have stated these were the results of abortions, which is why these pictures were on the signs. Makes a difference you know.

  13. David Forsmark permalink
    September 18, 2009 9:47 pm

    Somewhere, I thought in context that was obvious even though I called them babies rather than fetuses…

    as for whether “People close to the situation” thought Pouillon had a dark side, or if that was just my peculiar opinion, here is a post by his son, who might have known him better than the publicity hungry activists in Michigan who send press releases to national publications like Life News. It was confirmed by the Flint Journal that this was written by his son.

    This is obviously not ultimately authoritative, who knows what goes on in a family or the grudges spawned, but it is closer to the guy screaming in my face that the huggy bear the martyr crowd is pushing… It’s very sad, and we should pray for Dr. Pouillon.

    <>

  14. David Forsmark permalink
    September 18, 2009 9:48 pm

    Don’t know why this did not appear in the above post.

    Posted by DrPouillon on 09/13/09 at 7:03AM
    It will be impossible for some to believe, but my dad really didn’t care about aborton.

    He did this to stalk, harass, terrorize, scream at, threaten, frighten, and verbally abuse women. He had a pathologic hatred of women: his mom, my mom, everyone.

    After my mom finally left him and he lost his favorite punching bag the violence and abuse that was always contained within our 4 walls was unleased on the people of Owosso.

    My dad used the pro-life movement and 1st Amendments foundations to defend him, support him, and enable him. He fooled them all.

    He was at the high shool because my niece was there, and female family members were always his favorite targets.

    Again, my dad didn’t care about abortion. He wanted to hurt people, upset people. He enjoyed making people suffer.

    His goal was to be shot on a sidewalk. His goal was to make someone so angry, to make them feel so terrorized, to make them feel the only way they could make him stop was to kill him.

    His pro-life stance was the most perfect crime I personally know of. He hid behind the 1st Amendment and was allowed to stalk, terrorise, harass, be obsene, ect. These things are crimes. Offending people isn’t a crime, and having different political views isn’t a crime, but he committed several crimes over the last 20 years and got away with it.

    Yes I really am his oldest son. Owosso is now rid of a mad man.

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