(This is a guest post from Sherri Mitchell, a member of the Penobscot Nation, Indigenous Rights Attorney, and my cohost on Love (and Revolution) Radio which premiers Jan 1, 2016.)
Carly Fiorina’s lies directly resulted in the attack at Planned Parenthood. There is no denying this, since the shooter quoted her when he was apprehended.
This isn’t the first time that GOP rhetoric has led to the death of innocent people. In the early 80’s, Ronald Reagan gave an impassioned speech calling on people to stop abortionists by any means necessary. This led to several shooting deaths, arson and bombings at women’s clinics around the country by Christian extremists.
When someone directly influences another and causes them to commit a crime they are complicit in that crime. And, in my opinion, they should be held liable for inciting violence.
Here’s a short list of “some” of the American terrorist activities that have occurred in this country in the last 30 years:
May 26, 1983: Joseph Grace set the Hillcrest clinic in Norfolk, Virginia ablaze. He was arrested while sleeping in his van a few blocks from the clinic when an alert patrol officer noticed the smell of kerosene.
May 12, 1984: Two men entered a Birmingham, Alabama clinic shortly after a lone woman opened the doors at 7:45 am. Forcing their way into the clinic, one of the men threatened the woman if she tried to prevent the attack while the other, wielding a sledgehammer, did between $7,500 and $8,000 of damage to suction equipment. The man who damaged the equipment was later identified as Father Edward Markley. Father Markley is a Benedictine monk who was the Birmingham diocesan “Coordinator for Pro-Life Activities”. Markley was convicted of first-degree criminal mischief and second-degree burglary. His accomplice has never been identified. Following the Birmingham incident, Markley entered the Women’s Community Health Center in Huntsville Alabama, assaulting at least three clinic workers. One of the workers, Kathryn Wood received back injuries and a broken neck vertebrae. Markley was convicted of first-degree criminal mischief and three counts of third-degree assault and harassment in the Huntsville attack.
December 25, 1984: An abortion clinic and two physicians’ offices in Pensacola, Florida, were bombed in the early morning of Christmas Day by a quartet of young people (Matt Goldsby, Jimmy Simmons, Kathy Simmons, Kaye Wiggins) who later called the bombings “a gift to Jesus on his birthday.” The clinic, the Ladies Center, would later be the site of the murder of Dr. John Britton and James Barrett in 1994 and a firebombing in 2012.
July 3, 1989: A fire was started at the Feminist Health Center clinic in Concord NH on the day U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Missouri law banning funding of public facilities as related to abortion. The clinic was set afire again in 2000.
March 29, 1993: Blue Mountain Clinic in Missoula, Montana; at around 1 a.m., an arsonist snuck onto the premises and firebombed the clinic. The perpetrator, a Washington man, was ultimately caught, convicted and imprisoned. The facility was a near-total loss, but all of the patients’ records, though damaged, survived the fire in metal file cabinets.
January 1997:, Eric Rudolph admitted, as part of a plea deal for the Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Olympic Games to placing a pair of bombs that exploded at the Northside Family Planning Services clinic in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs.
May 21, 1998: Three people were injured when acid was poured at the entrances of five abortion clinics in Miami, Florida.
October 1999: Martin Uphoff set fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, causing US$100 worth of damage. He was later sentenced to 60 months in prison.
May 28, 2000: An arson at a clinic in Concord, New Hampshire, resulted in several thousand dollars’ worth of damage. The case remains unsolved. This was the second arson at the clinic.
September 30, 2000: John Earl, a Catholic priest, drove his car into the Northern Illinois Health Clinic after learning that the FDA had approved the drug RU-486. He pulled out an ax before being forced to the ground by the owner of the building, who fired two warning shots from a shotgun.
June 11, 2001: An unsolved bombing at a clinic in Tacoma, Washington, destroyed a wall, resulting in $6,000 in damages.
July 4, 2005: A clinic Palm Beach, Florida, was the target of an arson. The case remains open.
December 12, 2005: Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe threw a Molotov cocktail at a clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana. The device missed the building and no damage was caused. In August 2006, Hughes was sentenced to six years in prison, and Dunahoe to one year. Hughes claimed the bomb was a “memorial lamp” for an abortion she had had there.
September 11, 2006: David McMenemy of Rochester Hills, Michigan, crashed his car into the Edgerton Women’s Care Center in Davenport, Iowa. He then doused the lobby in gasoline and started a fire. McMenemy committed these acts in the belief that the center was performing abortions; however, Edgerton is not an abortion clinic.[I 38] Time magazine listed the incident in a “Top 10 Inept Terrorist Plots” list.
April 25, 2007: A package left at a women’s health clinic in Austin, Texas, contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death. A bomb squad detonated the device after evacuating the building. Paul Ross Evans (who had a criminal record for armed robbery and theft) was found guilty of the crime.
May 9, 2007: An unidentified person deliberately set fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[I 41]
December 6, 2007: Chad Altman and Sergio Baca were arrested for the arson of Dr. Curtis Boyd’s clinic in Albuquerque. Baca’s girlfriend had scheduled an appointment for an abortion at the clinic.
January 22, 2009: Matthew L. Derosia, 32, who was reported to have had a history of mental illness[I 44] rammed an SUV into the front entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota.
January 1, 2012: Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, firebombed the American Family Planning Clinic in Pensacola, Florida, with a Molotov cocktail; the fire gutted the building. Rogers told investigators that he was motivated to commit the crime by his opposition to abortion, and that what more directly prompted the act was seeing a patient enter the clinic during one of the frequent anti-abortion protests there. The clinic had previously been bombed at Christmas in 1984 and was the site of the murder of Dr. John Britton and James Barrett in 1994.
April 1, 2012: A bomb exploded on the windowsill of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, resulting in a fire that damaged one of the clinic’s examination rooms. No injuries were reported.
April 11, 2013: A Planned Parenthood clinic in Bloomington, Indiana, was vandalized with an axe.
September 4, 2015: A Planned Parenthood clinic in Pullman, Washington was intentionally set on fire. No injuries were reported due to the time of day, but the FBI was involved because of a history of domestic terrorism against the clinic.
September 30, 2015: A Planned Parenthood clinic in Thousand Oaks, California was vandalized by an arsonist or arsonists who authorities believe smashed out a window, splashed gasoline inside the clinic, and then ignited it.
October 22, 2015: A Planned Parenthood clinic in Claremont, New Hampshire was vandalized by a juvenile intruder. Damaged in the attack were computers, furniture, plumbing fixtures, office equipment, medical equipment, phone lines, windows, and walls. The flooding that resulted from the vandalism also damaged an adjacent business.
November 30, 2015: Robert Lewis Dear killed a police officer and two civilians at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs. The gunmen, a pastor, quoted Carly Fiorina’s lies after being apprehended.
And, let’s not forget these other acts of domestic terrorism:
The South Carolina shootings and the burning of more than a dozen churches in the south;
The Oklahoma bombing by Timothy McVeigh;
Columbine; Santee; Red Lake; Nikel Mines; Virginia; DeKalb; Oakland; Aurora; Sandy Hook; Tucson; Isla Vista; Marysville; Umpqua, and so many others.
Let’s wake up ‘Merika and start addressing the violence that runs rampant through this country, and the home grown terrorists that it creates. This country must deal with its own violent history, and the ongoing perpetuation of violence that it is creating at home and around the world. The stain of genocide runs deep in American soil. Until that stain is properly healed, this country will continue to live in violence.
It’s time for some honesty and for some much needed healing.
Sherri Mitchell (Penobscot) is an Indigenous rights attorney, writer and activist who melds traditional life-way teachings into spirit-based movements. Follow her at Sherri Mitchell – Wena’gamu’gwasit