January 22, 1995
Dear Mr. Terry,
After the bloody events of December 30, 1994, I find you much on my mind. It has been ten years since I first saw you in the shopping plaza in Binghamton, NY; but as early as ten year ago, you already had your little disciples ready to do your bidding, accosting any woman trying to enter the building where a doctor had begun offering abortion services. You were a natural leader and passionate spokesman for your cause. The local anti-abortion community had lent you support, both moral and financial. The Crisis Pregnancy Center was open for business and your star was on the rise.
Within thirteen month, you had progressed from annoyance to criminal--- breaking into Southern Tier Women's Services with your supporters, chaining yourself to the equipment. Persuasion and harassment were no longer enough. You chose the path of fear and destruction, dating the spiritual beginning of Operation Rescue from that January 1986 break-in. In 1988, Operation Rescue was birthed--- a demon child that has called to itself, not just the sincere and concerned, but the unstable and dangerous.
I still remember the motto emblazoned on the envelopes you used for your early mailings. "If you believe that abortion is murder... ACT like it is murder!!" Well, Mr. Terry, they finally did. Last year, a doctor, an escort, and two clinic workers (murderers in your universe) were all killed and five others wounded. Is this what you wanted? After all, it was you in a speech in 1992 that said "the doctor is the weak link". Of course, it's a little unfortunate about the escort and the two receptionists, but you can't make an omelette without breaking more than one egg, can you?
Naturally, you disavow any complicity with the actions of John Salvi. How can you, suffering in jail, the perfect alibi, have anything to do with the latest massacre? You can't be blamed for every mental defective who goes on a shooting spree.
Well, I'm blaming you. Your finger wasn't on the trigger, but the bullets that killed Shannon Lowney and Leanne Nichols were formed in the mold of your rhetoric which has called health care providers and anyone who helps them "murderers". Bluster all you will, but John Salvi's bloody hands are all over your linen. The genie is out of the bottle. We can't put it back.
Do you sleep well at night?
Anne Bower, editor the Body Politic