Antiabortion activist to clinic volunteers: It’s your fault if someone shoots you

I didn’t think I had a blog post for today, but then I saw that headline in Salon.  It sort of took my breath away, for a minute.  I mean, they’re saying it’s my own fault if someone shoots ME at the clinic this Saturday morning.

“Mark Gietzen, chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life, accused the South Wind Women’s Center of trying to provoke a gun violence incident by allowing volunteers to escort women into the clinic (a common practice among clinics frequently targeted for harassment by anti-choice activists).”

So not only will it be our own fault when it happens, but really, we’re actually inviting it.  Asking for it.

You can go read the whole article here.   It says about what you might expect.

Gietzen apparently thinks that it’ll be an angry husband or boyfriend who does the shooting – although why they would shoot an escort is kind of baffling to me.  Not to Gietzen.  He says:

“The way this [clinic escort] acts, I’m afraid that someone’s going to shoot him,” Gietzen continued, referring to the escort. “He’s asking for it. I don’t want for that to happen … It’s not good for the cause.”

You know.   I thought I had a lot to say about this ~ I’ve got plenty of feelings about it.   But I reread that and words fail me.

Ok.  I’ll say this.  I don’t really think anyone is going to shoot me today on the sidewalk. I think most of the antis go home to pleasant lives and they don’t want to give that up to go to prison.  I don’t think most of them actually hate us enough to take that kind of risk.

Andrew would say, “I don’t wish you any harm at all – we luv you!  I pray for you!” While I might not want his “luv,” i do appreciate that he’s not planning to kill me.

So I don’t think some client’s husband is going to shoot me, and I don’t think the protesters are going to do it.  But I think there are people with relatively barren lives, little emotional support or sense of belonging, and bleak futures who are vulnerable to the impact of this kind of talk.

I think there are people already living on the edge who could get inspired with this kind of talk.  Like Gietzen says:

“Even a well-meaning dog will bite at some point in time if you keep antagonizing it,”

I can imagine someone feeling encouraged by that.   Thinking “Yeah, that’s right!  It’s not MY fault!  They’re asking for it!”  Seeing it as support for the vague ideas they’ve been having lately, that feeling that they need to do something different, that the world is no good and life isn’t worth living.   Maybe if they do something like this, people will pay attention…

Or maybe I’ve just read too many cheap novels, let my imagination run wild one time too many.

It frightens me to hear someone say I’m asking to get killed.  It makes me scared and sad and angry.

Then I push that away ~ I don’t think it’s likely to happen – small probability – , and I’m sure as hell not going to stop escorting, so there’s no point in worrying about it.

But ~ let me be real clear about this ~ if I get murdered on the sidewalk, it will not be my fault.  And if I get shot out there, I expect to become a big frigging martyr.  Oubli and KyBorn and all of youall ~ you know how to do it.  Facebook posts and memes, petitions and letters to the governor.

Really, if I get shot, see if you can’t at least get a buffer zone out of it.



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About Fausta

Trauma sensitive Consultant and Coach for Compassionate professionals who experience second hand trauma and are at risk of burnout so they can keep doing the work that matters to them and to the world.

16 thoughts on “If

  1. Gietzen can profess up and down that water is dry and fire is cold, but that doesn’t make him correct.

    The world grows wiser day by day that we’re not the ones inciting violence and murder.

    The only thing I wish for the anti’s is humiliation and exposure of their ungodly cruelty. I want the world to keep watching them and going, “Yeah, these people are awful. This isn’t something I support in the slightest.”

    I know they will never understand why I’d want to preserve their lives and see no harm come to them. After all, I’m a “baby killer.” Why do I care about life?

    I have nothing to prove to them. I have confidence in the rest of humanity. I know everybody here will understand my position without a problem.

    Please, keep it up Gietzen. Keep talking until you’re forced back under the rock you crawled from under.

    • Yep, I get it – what you’re saying, Longtail, It seems that they are coming out from under the cover of sanctimonious baby-saving and showing their true selves. Not a pretty sight.

      We are truly more pro-life than they are!

      Thanks for the support -as always.

  2. Apparently Gietzen’s comment caused a tizzy among the pro-life community in Kansas, and various groups rushed to disassociate themselves from him.

    They were afraid people might think that he meant pro-lifers are pro-gun control.

  3. i have counter protested at the Wichita Clinic… and I saw someone drive by and point a gun at our group. I immediately went and told both the group leader and the policeman around the corner what I saw and nothing was ever done about it. They seemed as if it happened all of the time and we should be used to it by now. So, when i read this story, i understood. When the shooting happens AGAIN here in Wichita… it will be both the Antis fault for pulling the trigger (again, as Roeder did before them) and the local police’s fault for actively allowing the gun waving threats and constant bullying to go undeterred and barely noted.

    • Ren,

      That is so frightening. I really had to pause a moment and think about how scary that would be. Good grief.

      But you’re right. I’m going to say “if” instead of “when,” but if a shooting happens again, the shooter will believe he or she has the support of the antis, the police, and the Christian community – whether or not that’s true.

      Thank you for commenting and sharing your perspective.

  4. There’s a twisted logic to this – it’s the same logic that says abortion is bad, death penalty is good. Killing of innocents is bad, killing the people who kill the innocents is good. In any case, a threat that needs to be taken seriously.

    • Yes, bodycrimes, you’re so right. I almost started this post with that logical fallacy, so I appreciate you pointing it out! Thanks.

  5. This made me physically ill. You are damn right it won’t be a husband or a boyfriend doing the violence; it is always the antis. It is frightening how much they amp up their aggressions to show off for one another. As you said, it only takes these words falling on the wrong ears to provoke an attack. This is EXACTLY what happened when Roeder shot Dr. Tiller, after all. He was easy to manipulate, and he whole-heartedly swallowed the rhetoric.

    I mean, think about it. Really think about this. Do the anti-choicers REALLY believe that babies are being killed inside the clinic? Oh, they SAY they do, but really, if babies were being murdered inside a building, they would be pounding down the door, laws or no laws. Wouldn’t you? Nobody who REALLY thinks babies are being murdered are going to be holding signs and yelling at women. They are going to block access to the clinic and go to jail… whatever it takes to stop it.
    So they find the person who really DOES believe, and they feed him/her all this rhetoric, and that person agrees and does “God’s work”.

    If, indeed, they really believe what they are spewing, then shame on them for not doing enough. Of course, I do NOT want them to act on these beliefs, but I do not for one minute accept that they REALLY believe what they say. Their actions are that of bullies, not heroes.

    It chills me to the bone when an anti will tell us we all should be killed, or, as your example, that YOU are provoking an attack on yourself by virtue of protecting women. That is dangerous talk and I hope it is recorded. Forget local law enforcement. This is a threat and should be filed with the FBI. Not kidding.

    I am about to don my own yellow vest for our 4 hour shift. I stand in solidarity with you, and with all the others who do this. May you NEVER have to be a martyr!

    • Yeah, it’s frightening. I have a visceral reaction to it too.

      Interestingly, the most recent threats like this – the ones directed to a medical provider saying people knew where she lived and what car she drove and she’d be checking under her car for bombs every day – was not considered a threat legally. So it really is like Ren says, if someone gets shot, it will be partly because the court system sent the message that it was ok to make that kind of threat.

      Thank you for the solidarity! It is good, particularly these days, to know there are more and more of us. May you be safe too.

      • Thank you. You know, on Saturday when our escort Jude was walking a client one of the oldest male protesters by the name of Hillary shouted, “Don’t listen to a word that Jude says, she’s possessed by the DEVIL!”. While that made me laugh, it also sent chills. If they consider us evil or possessed by evil, then it is not wrong if they kill us.
        That is why you will hear them call us witches sometimes. Their Bible says
        “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” in Exodus 22:18
        King James Version (KJV)
        In other words, if they call us a witch, it is OK, in fact commanded to kill us.

      • That’s so chilling Kittybrat – and I totally agree. There was a time, maybe a couple of years ago, when I was walking through the gauntlet of protesters and I had a sudden awareness of what you’re describing. A sense that if they had stones at hand they might start throwing them. Yeah.

  6. I am appalled. If the antis don’t want escorts present then they need to go home and stop contributing to the problem themselves. I’m sure the man they interviewed doesn’t see it that way. They just don’t want the escorts there because it keeps them from harassing the clients as much. People should not have to deal with people following them down the sidewalk shouting in their face and shoving literature into their purses. I was reading a comment section on a story about abortion and the person there said something along the lines of escorts interfering with their rights to free speech. What they don’t understand is the clients and companions have the right not to talk to them and to not be bullied on a public sidewalk. There is no constitutional right to make people listen if they don’t want to.

    • Exactly, Kyborn. That’s exactly what the protesters believe – that we’re a hinderance to their mission. And since their goal really is to keep people from accessing reproductive health, I guess they’re right. And of course people should be able to go to the doctor without being harassed… yeah. Fortunately, there’s no law that says the clients have to listen to them on the sidewalk.


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