With the murder of Dr. George Tiller this morning (in church--sick irony, there), I'm thinking back to the two murderers here in Pensacola.
Dr. David Gunn was shot in the back by Michael Griffin on March 10, 1993. David was near the back door of one of two clinics in town. Griffin reportedly came up behind him and said or shouted, "Stop killing babies!" before unloading 3 rounds from a nickel-plate revolver. Several hours and several units of blood later, David was gone.
Dr. John Britton and a friend of mine, Jim Barrett, were gunned down a year later, on July 29, 1994, by Paul Hill. Jim had driven out to the airport to bring the Doc to work at the other clinic in town. As they were pulling into the driveway, Hill stepped up to the driver's side of Jim's pickup truck and fired a shotgun point-blank. Jim and the Doc died instantly. Jim's wife was in the back seat. I can still see the two bodies arranged on the driveway near the truck, shrouded. Several of my clinic escort acquaintences stood across 9th Avenue and watched in the aftermath. One woman cried and muttered, "they shouldn't be alone over there...we should go to them."
I started volunteering shortly after John Burt, one of our resident anti-abortion kooks (and now in prison for molesting underage girls, strangely enough) staged an event claiming he was going to bury an aborted fetus on a little piece of land right next to the 9th Avenue clinic (I'll tell his story later). His stunt pissed me off to the point where I joined NOW and volunteered to escort women across the vast distance from their car to the clinic door. That asshole and his buddy Donnie Gratton would stand on scaffolding erected along the back fence of the clinic property and either shout or use a bullhorn to harrass women. These scumbag right-wing religious terrorists are wrong. They harrass every woman who goes into such a place, not knowing or caring beyond their own overinflated egos whether that woman's going for a breast exam, a blood test, a regular checkup, or the Big A.
And it is none of their fucking business.
My attitude on abortion? I don't believe human life is sacred or special. It's only important to humans--and so life is important to that person and those around them. I won't argue that abortion ends a future life.
BUT...I will argue that banning abortion and terrorizing people are wrong. Banning it will not make it stop. It'll make it more expensive, both financially and in lives, because desperate women will still look for and find unscrupulous someones willing to make a few bucks off of them. It will not be the utopia the anti-abortion idiots think things will be--"Oh, once we ban it, everyone will think like we do!"
No, I'd rather have it freely available and performed by competent, licensed medical professionals if only to protect womens' lives--so that they CAN have a kid later on.
I should note that I do not and WILL not accept any argument against abortion, gay marriage, or other social or political or scientific matters if those arguments come from religion. If you have to look it up in your book, looking for quotes; if you have to get your opinion from some preacher; if your main reason for opposing something stems from your religous belief...you have no argument.
I hardly knew David Gunn, outside of the "Hey, how you doing?" sort of thing. His killer got a life sentence, unfortunately.
I knew Jim Barrett. I celebrated when his killer got the needle on September 3, 2003.
Not happy thoughts, no...and I should note that in the wake of these killings, abortions continued. Within hours of Gunn's death, we had volunteers ready to drive or fly into town as needed. Within a week, we had people on the clock.
I wonder how things will unfold in the aftermath of Dr. Tiller's murder.