Monday, August 10, 2009

The heebie jeebies!

When I was hanging out with Scott Roeder's fan club, I knew these were people who thought he was in the right. Later, a friend told me about meeting Paul Hill at Shelley Shannon's hearing, and I became disturbed. First, fan club, now wannabes.

But an article today by KC Star's Judy Thomas made things all the more scary. Not just supporters, not just potential terrorists but actual terrorists. Jennifer McCoy, quoted in the article, was the same Jennifer who needed "utilitarian" defined for her. She served time. For setting fire to clinics. Hooray for me ...

It's really disturbing to know that not talking about something makes you innocent of a conspiracy. I'm sure they didn't all get together and dare each other to shoot Dr. Tiller. They just got together, talked about the evils, and glanced at one another, waiting for one of them to pull the trigger. And then they give aide and comfort to their hero while he's in jail, show him he's loved, and send him money.

They probably hang around passing quotes like we do. From men like Albert Einstein who said "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." And Edmund Burke's "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." They're perfectly content to do nothing. They know someone else will do it for them, so long as they keep talking it up.

There is this great double-edged sword. As an intellectual liberal, I know that in the 60s and 70s, the US government had documents on liberal leaders, even if they were non-violent. John Lennon had a huge file with the government trying to kick him out of the US. He spoke at great lengths about the need to "cool down [the revolution]," as he said, and spoke out against violence but in favor of a sort of revolution. But he was followed because he was not in favor of the political leaders at the time and because his words could inspire people to actually do something about it.

That he was profiled and harassed embarrasses me as an American.

While he advocated non-violence, Lennon still was friends with those that advocated a bit more violence. I remember a friend telling me Abbie Hoffman himself taught her how to make a Molotov cocktail.

I very much know that this loose association of people lead to all manner of violence. But I also very much fear advocating intrusion into their lives will be used, as it has been, against well-meaning people whose advocacy overlaps with those advocating violence. It's hard to be vegetarian without being associated with either PETA or ALF or a "radical" environmentalist without ELF. It's easy to support the American Anti-Vivisection Society (what with their cute little bunny rabbit logo on products), but it's not hard to see the next step to the Animal Liberation Front (even many supporters of ALF don't really like Jerry Vlasak's statements justifying violence against animal researchers). Similarly, ALF has no members, just principles, and supporters who wouldn't do it themselves smile when actions happen and send them letters and such while offenders serve time. Just because one believes the ends justify the means does not make the means (or even the end, for that matter) just.

Of course we want to aim only at those who advocate violence. But who else ends up in the crossfire? I'm still of the opinion the only real way to win the abortion culture wars is to educate Americans on abortion.

But until then and even then, we have people like Jennifer, living her beliefs. We have access to easy solutions, but we have to question the ethics behind such solutions (and the uneven application seeing as how we have the Patriot Act to go after brown people with foreign-sounding names but we don't touch the white people who openly admit they want to kill people). We want those solutions used when we're the ones needing protection from violence; but when our civil liberties need protected?

So that leaves me perplexed, confused. And with the wonders of the internet, I can share information with other people. Since I know the government and law enforcement won't protect me (Dr. Carhart's protection was removed in spite of rising threats), I've decided I have to be my own advocate and my best advocate. Operation Rescue has decided to move their efforts from Dr. Tiller to Dr. Carhart. As such, I am joining other advocates from Kansas to defend his clinic. (I know the people who read this have probably read all my tweets on the subject but please join us. If you can't join us, there is a link on the page to help us.)

Yea, also, check out Roeder Watch.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Of late ...

I have been doing a very bad job of keeping this blog updated (but obsessively tweet). I have a difficult time forming cohesive enough thoughts to blog about (or so I feel). I've also been doing quite a bit.

This week, I attended Scott Roeder's preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial. The answer was "yes," and he plead not guilty. I wrote a rather lengthy entry about it at Feminists for Choice. Also picked up on a story at who picked up on a comment I made on Reproductive Health Reality Check (a site I read on a regular basis).

And for some reason, a couple of Tweeps active in Northeast Kansas managed to talk me into starting a 4th district Young Democrats chapter. So, umm, yea. I have too much life (and, yet, not a date in sight!).

On Facebook, a friend mentioned how he met Paul Hill during Shelley Shannon's trial here in Wichita. Rather frightening. As such, I'm trying to keep track of stuff and follow the trial (and the endless motions) from start until jail time (and possibly beyond). Since the last assassinations in the mid-90s, many states have been pushing various "personhood" laws, not only to define a fetus as a person under the law but also in laws regarding pregnant women (such as Kansas' Alexa's law). I'm really curious how those play out in "defense of a third person" defense for Roeder and others like him.

I honestly fear more violence, as I'm sure many of us do. Not only against abortion providers but, as we have seen, against anyone with a centrist or liberal point of view (because the Holocaust? Not a liberal "idea"!). I really hope the internet can be used to coordinate efforts by citizens to be aware of these groups and loosely affiliated individuals that go into churches and museums and commit heinous crimes.

As much as we would like to think anti-abortion violence (Dr. Tiller) and racially-motivated (militia members slaughtering a Hispanic family) and religiously-motivated violence (Holocaust museum) are not connected, are caused by different motivations, the reality is the base is the same. What compels someone to shoot a health care provider or open fire on a church congregation or kill a family in Texas varies, of course, that impetus for that particular crime. But it's all connected. I know that part of it comes from a great sense of helplessness (that's what motivates the act of violence), but there's a great deal more to it. What have we, as a society, done or not done to make so many people feel helpless?

(Another reason I don't blog much? I drift all over the place!)

So be watching for more Roeder news. And, of course, other progressive updates!