Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Police: 'It was reasonable' to Fire-Bomb a Woman

Before getting to police officers who said that fire-bombing an old woman was a "reasonable" thing to do, I'd better make a few important points:
  • The woman is okay
  • It was a small bomb
  • I don't hate the police

'She was Asking For It?'

It's like Will Rogers put it: "Well, all I know is what I read in the papers." (Will Rogers, New York Times, Sept 30 1923, via The Quotations Page)

I'll be back, with opinions, after these excerpts from yesterday's news:
"The 'tepid' and 'rude' police response to a firebomb attack on a pro-life demonstrator outside a Kalispell, Montana abortion clinic merits disciplinary action, the head of a Catholic legal group said.

"Poor police response to these types of incidents could 'legitimize' the tactic, warned Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society.

" 'There has to be an utter condemnation of the use of violent tactics from both sides of the abortion debate. Any kind of coddling, or treating it as a normal thing would only provoke violent actions,' Brejcha told CNA on March 21.

"Participants in the local 40 Days for Life prayer vigil were on the sidewalk near the All Family Health Care abortion center on March 17 around 6:15 p.m. An unidentified assailant threw a homemade incendiary device at an elderly woman, although it landed behind her.

"The device, a water bottle filled with a flammable liquid, made a loud popping noise like a big firecracker and burst into flame.

"Brejcha criticized the initial police reaction as 'tepid' and 'outrageous.'

" 'The officer responding to the 911 call took half an hour to get to the scene. He was very brusque and rude. When the 77-year-old lady held out her hand to greet him, he just ignored her and walked right past her,' Brejcha said.

"When asked if he was going to have the residue collected as evidence, he said there wouldn't be any fingerprints and he 'just called the garbage folks to collect the debris.'

"When the coordinator of the 40 Days event called the desk sergeant to complain about the officer's 'rather nonchalant response' to a 'serious bombing incident,' he continued, the desk officer 'pretty much said what the police officer said.'

"According to Brejcha, the officer remarked that 'it was reasonable that people would react this way when you're out there protesting on a public sidewalk.'...

"The Thomas More Society is in contact with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms about the Kalispell case.

"Brejcha said that the FBI and the ATF have been 'very active in policing the activity of pro-lifers at abortion sites.'

" 'We expect them to be equally aggressive in this matter.' "
(CNA) [emphasis mine]

"Reasonable" to Fire-Bomb a Woman?

I'm inclined to believe that a police officer would say that "it was reasonable that people would react this way when you're out there protesting on a public sidewalk."

Remember: I've got a pretty high opinion of American law enforcement.

I've also been around for about six decades: and I spent my teens in the '60s.

I remember when old coots - who were about the age I am now - would express the opinion that people who didn't agree with them about America, the flag, and all that should be shot. Or "go back where they came from."

Happily, very few of the crazy kids of the period were actually shot for expressing the 'wrong' opinion.

Tolerance, Freedom of Expression: Still Important

Quite a bit has changed since the '60s. 'Red-white-and-blue-blooded real American patriotism' has given way to the 'inclusive non-judgmental gender choices' sort of thing. Tomato, tomahto, in my opinion.

My guess is that the "rude," "tepid" police officers Tom Brejcha discussed grew up in an American where abortion was legal, and folks who opposed killing babies were regarded as hate-filled ideologues by the 'right sort.'

I think efforts to marginalize today's non-establishment folks is the flip side of "America: love it or leave it." (April 1, 2010)

I also think that one of the things that helped America endure has been the remarkable degree of tolerance this country has shown for folks who didn't quite toe the part line. It's not a perfect record, of course. We live in a fallen world - and that's another topic.

I've been one of 'those people' who weren't on the same page as the establishment for most of my life. (January 26, 2010, January 12, 2010) It's helped me appreciate the importance of not assuming that 'they had it coming' when someone I don't agree with gets attacked.

Finally, the Kalispell crew isn't necessarily typical of Montana law enforcement. Mr. Brejcha told CNA that he "received many calls from Kalispell police officers and others in the area, disagreeing 'strongly' with the officers' response."

Related posts:
In the news:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Excuse me while I scream.

Brian Gill said...

Brigid,

Indeed.

Still, the lady's unhurt: and word *is* getting out. I was glad to hear that Montana law enforcement folks were saying that the "reasonable" statements were - uncool.

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