The Literal War On Women

Lindsay Beyerstein reminds me of an event I meant to mention yesterday: the bombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin. No injuries were reported, and a small fire caused minor damage to the clinic.

Some man… I’ll bet you two dollars it was a man… who probably thinks of himself as upholding a great American tradition… the tradition of self-help, the tradition of acting as judge, jury and executioner… decided that neither providers nor recipients of women’s health care were worthy of life. So he attempted to kill them.

It’s all happened before. Self-appointed anti-abortion executioners are the last vestige of the worst of the Wild West, where the only law was some device that went BANG. That was justice. BANG! Women seeking, not abortions, but pregnancy tests… dead. BANG! Women being tested for cervical cancer… dead. BANG! A doctor and a nurse, representing together possibly forty years’ training and experience in medical care… dead.

Both the tragedy of it all and the sheer wrongness of it all offend me. But what offends me most of all is the self-righteousness of people who make things that go BANG! and set them off, or carry things that go BANG! and pull the trigger. Who taught them about morality? Why do they believe it’s wrong to kill a fetus but just fine to kill an adult human being or two, or ten?

I hope law enforcement makes a serious effort to catch the bomber and that a jury sends him (see above) up the river for a long, long stay. (Sometimes law enforcement doesn’t do that; take my word for it.) It’s not about punishment, or at least not primarily so. It’s about protecting society from individuals who decide they know best, and they have a right to execute someone. Put them somewhere where they will have no access to things that go BANG! for 40 years or so, no parole. Of course it won’t solve the problem, but at least one fewer person will act as a law unto himself.

FULL DISCLOSURE: about 25 years ago, my first contract programming job was for the Planned Parenthood clinic that is now Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. It was a labor of love as well as of livelihood, and the worst I suffered were occasional bloody-fetus posters shoved in my face and the rotten-eggs smell of a stink bomb tossed through a clinic window. But the look in the eyes of the people waving those signs and assaulting (yes, that’s the word) people approaching the clinic told me a lot of what I needed to know about them. To my regret, apparently, none of them have changed… except for their increased propensity to use deadly violence. Only assiduous law enforcement and prosecution can turn aside people Hell-bent on violence against women. Enough is enough.

UPDATE: a suspect has been arrested and charged.

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