By Dave Andrusko
As is our habit on the weekends, not so long ago my wife and I were busy driving from one place to another when a story on National Public Radio about plans to protect whales grabbed our attention.
We love whales as much as the next couple so we listened attentively as the guest explained how more and more whales are killed when struck by the propellers of huge cargo ships–and what is being proposed to be done to reduce the numbers of these fatal collisions.
His particular expertise dealt with equipment that give shippers a fairly close approximation of where the whales were in real time—as opposed to relying on historical data about their routes.
Subsequently a friend forwarded an Associated Press story that had run recently that provided more detail. The AP account outlined a plan by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to reroute shipping traffic and establishing better ways to track whale locations.
This would include “establishing a real-time whale monitoring network that would use trained sailors aboard commercial vessels to report when and where they see whales. Once sighted, a warning would be sent to other ship captains, giving them the option to slow down or take a different route.”
These unfortunate occurrences are nothing new as migrating blue, fin, and humpback whales have been lured close to California’s shore by the shrimp-like organisms they eat in massive quantities. So what moved the needle, what pushed concern into action?
“ ‘In 2010 it really struck home when a female blue whale carrying a calf was found dead on the beach,’ said Maria Brown, NOAA’s superintendent for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. ‘And blue whales’ numbers are so small — to lose a female and a new whale coming into the population really sent home the message that we needed to look at the whale strike issue.’”
To me this poignant story illustrates an enduring lesson: you just never know what constitutes the “tipping point.” By that I mean the incidence that clarifies and energizes what was blurry and generated only lethargy.
I won’t belabor the obvious application for pro-lifers, just make a couple of comments.
Why is someone’s heart hard one day, softer the next, and eventually open to considering the claims of the unborn child?
In the case of the whales it was finding the remains of a single pregnant mother. The woman was already concerned about the lethal collisions but what motivated her to take action was that there were so few blue whales. The loss of one mother and one unborn baby calf gave a sudden urgency to a problem that had grown larger but without setting off an alarm. It “really struck home.”
What sets the alarm off, forcing someone to realize that the “beaches” of the abortion clinics are covered with the bodies of over 3,000 babies each day? It could be any of a host of possibilities.
(Here would be the perfect time to elaborate on the difference between persuading and dissuading. However, I’m pulling double-duty today: our daily NRL News Today and finishing up the July issue of National Right to Life News. Maybe next week.)
The lesson for us is that there are a lot of tools in our conversion box and what someone will find persuasive will vary from individual to individual.
Just keep gently prodding. Except for those irremediably ensnared in the abortion orthodoxy, there will be a message that will bring home with unmistakably urgency the lesson that they do need to look—or relook—at what happens (and to whom) in an abortion.