Federal prosecutors say a homeless man charged on Thursday with the New Year’s Day firebombing of a family planning clinic targeted by near-daily protests had acted out of “strong disbelief” in abortion and stood by just long enough to see crackling, popping flames spread.This says much of what I would already want to say:
Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, has been charged with one count of damaging a building by fire or explosive and was being held at a Florida Panhandle jail after the blaze early Sunday gutted the American Family Planning clinic in Pensacola. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
According to the affidavit, Roger’s told investigators he had an aversion to abortion and said he had recently witnessed an anti-abortion protest near the clinic that further prompted his actions.
“Rogers admitted to intentionally setting fire to the clinic due to his strong disbelief in abortion,” the affidavit stated, and “he stated (he) was further fueled when he recently witnessed a young female entering the clinic while he was sitting amongst anti-abortion protesters.”
It's almost hard to get worked up about stories like this, when they're so damned common. Bombs thrown, buildings burned, car tires slashed, patients stalked, doctors assassinated ... You can look at the statistics. You can read about the thousands of acts of violence and tens of thousands of acts of "non-violent" terrorism against health care providers and their staff and their patients and their landlords and their landlords' children. It's all part of the "pro-life" movement to save the fetuses. And hey, if some property, or some people, have to get hurt, well, that's a fair price to pay.Every once in a while I have made mention of how this plays out. When Dr. Tiller was murdered nearly three years ago, I said the following about the basic profile of these perps:
We can already predict how this will play out.
My guess - the suspect was white, Christian (of some fundamentalist or Dominionist sect), politically a right-wing extremist who was probably inspired by kooks such as Bill O'Reilly - probably a lot like the idiot who tried to car-bomb a family planning clinic a few years ago (among other idiots in recent years). These are the sorts of terrorists that we should be focusing on.Although the right to terminate a pregnancy is supposed to be protected by law, the truth is that very little is actually done tangibly to make sure that those who indeed, for whatever reason, choose to terminate a pregnancy, along with the medical professionals and staff required to ensure their safety, are protected from religious and political fanatics who in truth are psychologically no different from, say, Taliban clerics. These are folks (in the form of not only individuals but also organizations) who simply will not be stopped by pacifist methods. In fact, I do wonder how some of these so-called "pro-life" terrorists and terrorist sympathizers would feel if their methods were turned against them for a change. While I'm not necessarily going to advocate vigilante justice here, I am going to suggest that a discussion of more militant modes of action needs to be on the table, absent a willingness by those in power to actually protect the rights and safety of those who use and those who staff family planning facilities.