In many ways the circumstances surrounding the murder of abortionist Dr. George Tiller and the untangling of my 4-year-old's open-faced fishing reel are very much the same. Both have a beginning and an end. Both must be resolved, one in the culture and the other at the campground, in order to have peace. And in between both ends lie an ugly tangle of circumstances a variable mess to be sorted before restoration, heath and vitality of a wayward people can return.

The battle for choice, of which Mr. Tiller stands icon, ended years ago. Ah yes, haggling over which jurist to enthrone does continue amongst the din of pro-life protests, but the fundamental moral question as to whether abortion is wrong was resolved decades perhaps centuries ago. In the middle lies a sea of wounded women, embattled families, wealthier politicians and gangsters of choice. Whatever side you're on, one cannot help but grieve for a society so steeped in selfishness, so caught in deceit and mired in greed, that it gropes for substance as it plunges down the abyss of despair.

Something is desperately wrong with a culture that dismisses our wounded and abandons the vulnerable all the while justifying murder, be it on the altar of convenience or in vigilantism for killing babies. Something is terribly amiss with a justice system that administers law based upon political correctness and elitist emotionalism; a system that has abandoned the concept of restitution and the uniform rule-of-law. At the foundation lies a people so morally bankrupt and so devoid of principal that they are incapable of discerning moral absolutes, with most being content angling for a larger big-screen, a more powerful iPod or higher position in a crumbling society.

It is no surprise Mr. Tiller died on the carpet of the church the place that he, you and I should be headed in these tumultuous times. One irony of his death lies not in his attendance but more in how church leadership of Reformation Lutheran Church could allow or perhaps sanction him to practice with impunity. The fact Mr. Tiller was allowed to serve in leadership without being held personally to account for his work implicates all Christians that the church has strayed far from the basic teachings of Scripture. This indictment spills over to the State, who is to be the guardian of the vulnerable and gatekeeper of justice: For babies and Mr. Tiller alike.

Untangling this mess lies first in a return to the family to the center of culture, imparter of values, and the cornerstone of both industry and society. Forget about enlightenment and John Dewey, they are how we got here. Let's return to fundamental tenants and ways of our forefathers. As for me, I remain content here at this picnic table, a beautiful 4-year-old tugging at my elbow, all the while looking for the end of the line.

JAMES CARLSON,

Garden City