In April 2007, Paul Ross Evans, who still dares to call himself "pro-life," planted a bomb containing two pounds of nails in the parking lot of the Austin (Texas) Women's Health Center. Nail-bombs are especially nasty items in the terrorist's arsenal. They kill and maim indiscriminately. If the bomb had gone off, the victims could have been anyone, patients at the clinic or passersby, doctors or toddlers. It didn't matter to Evans. In his view, what he sought to achieve rose above petty conventional morality.
Fortunately, in this case, the bomb did not explode. And today Evans is serving 40 years in the federal pen at McCreary, Kentucky. He's glorified as a prisoner for God at several web sites.
These domestic terrorists didn't just get started. Since the 1970s they've burned and bombed, attacked with acid, and, of course, murdered. The pro-choice National Abortion Federation has documented more than 6000 such acts of violence or attempted acts since 1977, although some violence occurred even earlier. You can see examples here. Eight doctors, clinic workers or volunteers have been murdered, and several others have been wounded. Death threats number in the hundreds.
For obvious reasons, they are taken seriously. Many doctors who provide abortions wear bullet-proof vests. Tiller often did, although he was not wearing his yesterday morning. Not that a vest will necessarily protect a doctor who wears it all the time. As Dr. Warren Hern, a Colorado physician who has been providing abortions in Boulder since 1974, told the Los Angeles Times:
"I think [Tiller's murder is] the inevitable consequence of more than 35 years of constant antiabortion terrorism, harassment and violence," he said. "I get messages from these people saying, 'Don't bother wearing a bulletproof vest, we're going for a head shot.'"
Consequent to the murder of Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola, Florida, in March 1993, Congress passed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The law banned "force, threat of force or physical obstruction" to patients and clinic workers. This helped reduce confrontations and intimidation outside clinics, where volunteers often had had to escort patients through lines of screaming, grabbing protesters. But the law hasn't stopped fanatics from continuing their violent outlawry.
Much of the media present those who are caught and convicted for their crimes as lone nuts, fringe types, the kinds of people who would be committing violence even if abortion weren't an issue. While it is undoubtedly true that some people who shoot doctors and burn clinics are, to euphemize, "unstable," those caught and convicted for their crimes collect plenty of cheers from fans of this approach to crushing reproductive freedom. They are not alone. And while they operate from the shadows, their accomplices do not.
As we have seen, propagandists such as Bill O'Reilly, Randall Terry and their ilk incite these terrorists to their violence. Then they deny that the intent of their bombastic verbal assaults had anything at all to do with outcomes like those that occurred in Kansas yesterday or Pensacola 16 years ago, or hundreds of other instances. Even their apologies - delivered with solemn disavowals of violence - reverberate with their true feelings in these matters.
As Contributing Editor Jed Lewison wrote earlier today:
...what they say now, in an effort to be politically correct, is far less important than what they said then, when they weren't nearly as circumspect about revealing their true mission: waging jihad against reproductive freedom.
Dr. Tiller's blood is on their hands. All their smarmy protestations of innocence will not scrub it away.