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I have a lot of sympathy for the people of the Unitarian church in Tennessee. When the story first broke, I had a bad feeling about the motive and was saddened to see that my suspicions were correct.

I hope and pray that this will be an isolated incident and not a trend as it becomes more apparent that our next President will be a Democrat.

One thing the incident did was remind me that there are people out there; other social liberals who are always under the threat of death from misguided people drunk on the hateful writings of right-wing 'personalities'. I'm talking about those who work in women's clinics and Planned Parenthood; be it the doctors, nurses or escorts who risk their lives to make sure patients can access these clinics to get the services they need.

More after the fold.

This is very personal for me because when I was in high school my mother worked at the local Planned Parenthood clinic as a nurse practitioner. Even though the local clinic did NOT provide abortions and as far as I know, my mother was never directly involved in performing any abortions, the mere fact that she might have given her patients information about or refferals for abortions, was enough to make her the target of death threats and vandalism.

I remember my mother buying a gun to protect herself and having to lock the doors at night in the small village where we lived. I think we were the only people who HAD to lock their doors and cars, and it was all because some people had a problem with where she worked.

Our property was vandalized several times. When my mom called the police, the sherrif's deputy responding to the call told her that if she didn't work at Planned Parenthood she wouldn't have this happen, and that SHE was the real problem. He told her not to call the police again because they wouldn't respond, and that if she wanted the vandalism and death threats to stop, all she had to do was get a different job.

My mother since then has retired, and while I am a vocal feminist and supporter of women's rights, I wound up re-living the fear and disbelief that someone, maybe my own neighbors, could hate me and my family so much they would kill us simply because of my idealogical differences.

The local and very vocal 'pro-life' organization (and I live in a very conservative county) frequently stalks workers of the Planned Parenthood in my city to this day, despite laws that limit where they can set up their protests. I had to re-schedule several appointments because the Nurse Practitioner had 'health issues'; code words within the profession for 'death threats'.

My local paper's online forum is full of angry people who frequently spout eliminationist garbage, and I wonder how long it will be before somebody is 'inspired' by the shooter at the Unitarian church. I live in a small city, but the resentment against liberals here has deep roots. Sadly, it seems that Michael Savage has only turned up the volume of his hate-speech since the shooting instead of acting responsibly.

Originally posted to Ferretlass on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 07:41 AM PDT.

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