Years ago, I received a call from Paul Hill as he was sitting on death row in a prison in Florida. Paul had been sentenced to die in the electric chair for murdering Doctor Baird Britton, an abortion provider in Pensacola. From the time I first met Paul when we both appeared on “The Donahue Show,” I had struck up a strange relationship with him. For those of you who don’t remember, Paul was the first person to say that it was “justifiable homicide” to kill a doctor who was about to “kill a baby” via an abortion.
During this conversation, I asked Paul why he had finally decided to pick up a shotgun and murder the doctor (and his bodyguard). “Well, Ron, I wanted to send the message to others that it was time for them to take up their arms and stop the baby killing…” As he talked, my head started spinning and, to this day, I don’t remember much about that rather surreal conversation.
The bottom line, however, is that Paul always enjoyed the attention, he enjoyed giving interviews at the drop of a hat, he enjoyed making people feel uncomfortable with his bizarre doctrine, a doctrine that made even most pro-lifers uncomfortable. Indeed, I once was in Birmingham, Alabama to witness a demonstration by the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue when their leader, Flip Benham, came up to me to ask if I could get any “dirt” on Paul. Flip was concerned (or perhaps, jealous) that Paul was getting a lot of attention with his “wacky ideas.”
So, the other day I thought of Paul Hill’s desire for attention when I heard the “breaking news” that a gunman was holding several people hostage at the Discovery Channel corporate headquarters in neighboring Maryland. Eventually, he was killed by the police.
The next day, however, this guy’s face was plastered all over the newspapers, the televisions and the Internet. He apparently was into some environmental cause and he stormed the building to – you guessed it – bring national attention to his mission. Over the next few days, there were the inevitable full page stories about him, his family, his website, his reason for taking the hostages. In other words, he got his much-desired publicity after wrecking havoc for several hours.
It’s the same pattern, over and over again. Someone does something “spectacular” to bring attention to his cause. And the media gives them their attention. Timothy McVeigh, to name one.
Why publish their names? Why write articles about the perverted group that they were part of?
How about this one: what if the media didn’t tell us the person’s name and didn’t tell us about their organization or their cause? I’m not saying don’t report the incident. Of course, we need to know something has happened. But why do I need to know the name of the person? Why do I need to hear about their wacky cause? Believe me, we’re gonna forget about them rather quickly anyway. In fact, here’s a test: what was the name of the Virginia Tech shooter?
Why put these people on the cover of Time Magazine when that is EXACTLY what they want? Personally, I don’t give a flying fig that their neighbors thought the killer was “such a quiet boy who was never a problem.” It’s the same old pattern, time and time again.
Years ago, drunken baseball fans used to run onto the field to get attention. Then, Major League Baseball stopped showing them when they ran onto the field. And guess what happened? The number of such incidents dropped dramatically because those drunken fools didn’t get their attention.
So, the next time a pro-lifer kills another doctor, don’t bother telling me his name, his motivation, the church that he attended.
Don’t feed the monster.
- Never threaten violence (mojoey.blogspot.com)
- Study Finds Connection Between Google Searches and Local Abortion Rates and Laws (womensrights.change.org)
- Anti-Abortion Group Takes Aim At Democrats (huffingtonpost.com)
- Ottawa helps fund agency that provides illegal abortions in Africa (theglobeandmail.com)