The events are an actual description of what took place at Eric Rudolph’s sentencing in Birmingham, Alabama on July 18, 2005.
The quotes were taken from court transcript. Only the names have been changed and a third person perspective adopted in order to write this satire.
Preface-I would like to dedicate this satire to Maryanne Vollers and all the other poets of the Brave New World.
THE SENTENCE - A SATIRE BY ERIC RUDOLPH
The holding cell in the Hugo Stack Federal Building was dark and smelled of urine. There were two long stainless steel benches along each wall and a filthy toilet back in the corner. An eerie orange glow lit the dungeon. On the wall opposite to the cell was an air-freshener contraption. Every ten minutes it sprayed out a fine fruity smelling mist that momentarily masked the stench of the windowless hole. Through the numerous court appearances over the past two years, Ulich had spent countless hours in this cell. This morning, he lies there staring up at the ceiling with a roll of toilet paper propped under the nape of his neck for a pillow. “Today would be the last day in this cell,” he thought. Occasionally, he would get up to walk around, the leg chains making a horrible racket on the steel benches. Ulich wondered, “How would it go in court today?”
After being found guilty for the 1998 bombing of the Big Women Small Women Short Women Tall Women Abortion Clinic in Farmington, Alabama, it was sentencing day for Ulich. Seven years had passed since the bomb had torn through the front of the building, killing the clinic’s security guard and severely wounding one of the abortionists. More than that, the bomb had ripped through the fabric of the nation. It had gouged into one of the pillars holding up the Brave New World. From the beginning of time, women have lived under a patriarchal yoke, and the most odious shackle that binds them to their lode is maternity. The tool that finally broke that horrible bond was Roe v. Wade.Roe allowed millions of women to finally actualize their true potentials; it leveled the playing field. Every progressive-minded citizen of the Brave New World understood this. Everyone else understood this except for this reactionary pig who dared to assault this bastion of progress. The gods of egalitarianism looked down with troubled expressions that day in January of ’98. And today the people of Farmington would finally spew out the evil, out to the wilderness like the goats of ancient Judea.
Farmington was no stranger to this sort of thing. One hundred and fifty years ago, Farmington was in the heart of the slavocracy. And only forty years ago, Farmington was at ground zero in the resistance to racial desegregation. Back then bombings and shootings were frequent. In ’63, the sainted Martin Luther King led his followers in a series of protests that ended in chaos and violence. The scenes of Negroes being beaten with clubs, attacked by police dogs, and blown across the pavement by fire hoses are burned into the American psyche. The city is now a sacred shrine to progress. Pilgrims travel thousands of miles to see the spot where Klansmen beat John Lewis to a pulp in the bus station parking lot.
But despite the noble efforts of King and Lewis, the city today is in enemy country. The same billy-clubbing, tobacco-chewing rednecks are still out there. Yesterday they fought against racial equality; today they fight against equality for women, homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders, interspecies-sexuals, hermaphrodites, and John Tesh fans. Big Women was like a lonely fort in the middle of Indian Country, the cavalry many miles away. Like the courageous civil rights workers of old, who traveled from Harvard Yard and the Lower East Side of Manhattan to register Negro voters or get milkshakes poured over their heads at lunch counters, the noble abortionists of Big Women went about their work in hostile surroundings. Ulich’s sentence was not only a catharsis for his victims, it was for all of Alabama. Alabama was doing penance for its continued sins of intolerance. They needed to purge the evil.
The explosion had sent shock waves all the way up to the sacred temples of tolerance in New York and Washington, awakening the high priests of progress. The New York Times cocked its ears toward Farmington and heard screaming; the Washington Post heard bullwhips cracking, and Dan Rather started asking, “How long, how long?” Analogies were drawn between the Farmington of ’63 and the Farmington of ’98. “The anti-abortion religious Right of today is nothing more than the segregationist South of yesterday that is reborn,” said the pundit priests. “Hatred and intolerance has merely changed clothing. The extremist language used by the pro-life movement creates the climate for the Ulich’s of the world,” they opined. Comparisons were made between George Wallace’s “stand-in-the-door” at the University of Alabama and Judge Roy Moore’s recent refusal to remove the Ten Commandments monument from Alabama’s Supreme Court Building.
The disapproving comments of Dan Rather, Lesley Stahl, Frank Rich, and the jokes of Jay Leno were too much for the good people of Alabama. On bended, bloodied knees they came to offer their condolences for the victims of the blast, and their unqualified support for the capture and conviction of those responsible. “He’s not one of us,” they said, after Ulich was identified as a suspect. “We’re good pro-life people, and we believe that abortion is murder”-yada, yada, yada-“but abortion is legal and we must always obey the law. Sure we worship the God of our father’s, but that’s tradition, like wearing white at weddings. When it comes down to it we will, we must obey our appointed masters. Under no circumstances is violence justified against abortionists, no matter how 'evil' we say they are."
“Farmington is modern, pluralistic, and tolerant of diversity,” they insisted. “We watch Oprah. We all have toilets now. There are even a few cappuccino bars and the majority of Alabamians now have most of their teeth. We even have some of them gays down here, lots of ‘em. Farmington recently hosted a gay poetry reading at the public library, Voices from the Rear of the Bus. And what about Farmington’s own lesbian musical group, The Carpet Cleaners? Please don’t point fingers,” they pleaded. “The bombing at Big Women could have happened anywhere.”
The chief apologists were members of the Farmington press. This was their chance to polish the city’s tarnished image, to show themselves as the guardians of progress in Alabama. They realized that their high priests in Washington and New York were scrutinizing their coverage of the case. They took every opportunity, the case afforded, to contrast the New Farmington with the Old South. Old footage of billy club wielding rednecks from the ‘60s was dusted-off to add weight to their stories. The stage for Ulich’s trial was set. It was going to be like a John Grisham novel.
But when the plea was announced, the press was stunned. Because it would mean that Ulich would receive life in prison rather than the hoped for death penalty, the local pundits were furious, raging at the leniency of the justice system. All those stories were already written, only the blank spaces needed filling in: there were the opening statements, where U.S. Attorney White-knuckle offered a “damming set of circumstances” and a “seemingly airtight case,” but the defense offered “feeble excuses”; there was the “tearful but powerful” testimony of the wounded nurse. And finally when the verdict was read, there would be the standard description of the defendant’s expression-“Ulich was stone-faced when the verdict was read.” Or, “The defendant sat emotionless as the jury foreman read out the death sentence.” Better yet, “The bomber wore a ghost-like expression when he learned his fate.” After the verdict, the prosecutors would then gather in front of the courthouse and talk about the “long-haul,” but through their prodigious efforts, “Justice was finally done.” Journalists would later interview the jurors and ask about the “piece of evidence” that convinced them of Ulich’s guilt. Finally, with the strains of “We Shall Overcome” playing in the background, the pundits would ring the tocsin of freedom and equality and pronounce the closing of another “horrible chapter in Farmington’s history.” It was all scripted; the trial and death sentence of Ulich was to be a great cathartic experience for Farmington. The press was to act as the priest-physician, guiding her through the purging process. Since this was all for naught, the stories had to be trashed.
All was not lost, however. Even though they weren’t going to get their trial, the victims would get an opportunity to address Ulich and the court at the sentencing. They would let this fascist know how they felt. Unfortunately, Ulich would also get the opportunity to speak. Most people, however, didn’t expect him to. “Ulich was a creature of the shadows, throwing his hate-filled bombs at the children of light,” they said. “He would not dare to raise his voice against progress in broad daylight,” they chanted. They were mistaken.
Ulich had indeed prepared a statement, and as he paced back and forth in the dark holding-cell he wondered whether the judge would attempt to silence him mid-way through the allocution. Ulich was determined to proceed regardless. He would continue with the allocution no matter what the judge did. “If they attempted to gag me, they were going to have to drag me out of the courtroom,” he resolved.
The door at the end of the hall buzzed open and three marshals dressed in their courtroom clothes came to the cell. “Can I change out of the jail uniform?” Ulich asked.
“No, we’re going in the reds today,” responded one of the marshals, referring to the blood-red color of the jail clothes Ulich was wearing.
It was a short walk and elevator ride up to the courtroom. When the door opened to the side of the courtroom permitting Ulich to enter, the usual hush came over the packed room. The ankle chains were left on and as Ulich made his way to his seat, the chains rattled over the smooth red carpet. It was standing room only. In the jury box, along the left front wall, were prosecutors and other dignitaries, looking solemn and officious. On the end staring hard at Ulich was Doug Stones, the original prosecutor assigned to the case back in ’98. Despite his best efforts at looking tough, poor Doug looked like a balding Barry Manilow. The current prosecutors sat to Ulich’s left. There was the illustrious U.S. Attorney, for the State of Alabama, Sally Bates, who always showed up in court when there was a press conference to do afterwards. Next to her was Joey Curby, sporting his usual poker face, and twirling his pen end-over-end in his long bony white fingers. Torturing the chair to Joey’s right was Bill Lambers. With his double chin and ample white flesh, Bill looked like a poster boy for the American Heart Association-a warning poster. His pressed down, perfectly parted hair had that Sam Donaldson-Trent Lott quality to it. Finally, on the end closest to Ulich sat Spike White-knuckle. Spike, who was lead prosecutor, reminded one of a high school principal in a small southern town: bad posture, white goatee, and a slow southern drawl.
Ulich took a seat second from the end of the defense table. He was sandwiched between his lead lawyers, Gill McGowen and Trudy Starke. Gill was as usual quiet and poised. Trudy, who invariably mothered Ulich, was moving a mile a minute. “Are you okay? Do you need some water? Did you go over the allocution?” Trudy asked.
“Yes, everything is fine,” Ulich whispered, “and before you ask, I did use the restroom before I came in.”
“All rise! The United States District Court of Northern Alabama is now in session, the Honorable Judge Lyman T. Worth presiding,” said the bailiff.
Judge Worth was a large built man with graying hair and a grumpy bulldog face, who spoke in a deep southern accent. He was a stickler for etiquette and form and often peppered his pronouncements with obscure historical references.
The first five minutes were taken up with discussion of and rulings on the Pre-Sentence Report. The defense objected to many things in the report; the prosecution objected to the defense’s objections, and this was followed by the prosecution’s statement.
White-knuckle approached the lectern and began: “Your Honor, I have a brief statement.”
“After pleading guilty to the bombings, Ulich Smirnoff released a statement to the media attempting to justify his actions. In that statement, he said that he had nothing personal against the victims, but they were targeted for what they did and not for who they were as individuals. It may not have been personal to Mr. Smirnoff, but it was personal to a lot of others…”
“It is clear that on that day, Ulich attempted to put himself above the law… He quotes scripture in an attempt to justify his actions. That sounds a lot like other religious extremists who hide behind their religion when they set off bombs in crowded subways or fly planes into buildings. Make no mistake, Ulich Smirnoff is a terrorist…”
"What kind of man would shop for bomb components on Christmas Eve?" asked White-knuckle. This seemed to especially irk White-knuckle. While the rest of the civilized world was down at the mall being pestered by their six-year-old to buy them the latest video game or action figure, and doing their Christian duty in keeping the consumer economy afloat, Ulich was buying components for a bomb.
“Some misguided people see Ulich as a hero, but Ulich is no hero,” thundered White-knuckle. Jermaine Howard and Jeff Pickle, the men who identified Ulich after the explosion, were the real heroes. The real heroes are the selfless abortionists and those who protect them, who go about their noble work leveling the playing field for women everywhere. The battle against intolerance and inequality is a tough one; it’s a long one, but it can be, it must be won, White-knuckle insisted.
White-knuckle had touched upon, but sadly didn’t emphasize a point that the media had tried to reiterate every chance it got: the real enemies of freedom and democracy are domestic right-wing extremists like Ulich, not the noble Muslim freedom fighters of 9/11. The real enemy is right here among us, riding on the freeway next to us, voting in elections, and trying to hold up progress with their right-wing agenda. The Islamic fundamentalists, on the other hand, are noble freedom fighters that are understandably reacting to the imperialism and aggression of America.
The only reason the government would ever contemplate making a deal with the likes of Ulich was because, “We needed to find the dynamite that Ulich had buried in North Carolina,” White-knuckle stated. “Thankfully, the dynamite was recovered and now Ulich will be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.”
After White-knuckle’s statement, Judge Worth called the victims to say their piece. First up was Emily Ryan, the assistant abortionist who was seriously wounded in the bombing. White-knuckle requested that Ryan be allowed to deliver her statement from the prosecutor’s table. She sat down, said something about wanting Ulich to see her face, and then cocked her chair partly towards the defense table. Ryan had been a constant fixture on local television since the bombing seven years ago. She never passed an opportunity to speak about the attack upon Big Women. Emily considered it her duty to speak out for justice. What comes through all of her many interviews is love and humility. She reminds one of Gandhi.
Today was her day; she was basking in the spotlight. As expected, the theme of her statement was love, pure love. “Ulich’s life is full of blunders and failures,” said Ryan. “He left the word ‘bomb’ in his Bible; left EGDN [explosive residue] throughout his trailer. Thank you Ulich for giving us such useful evidence.” But despite the evidence left by Ulich, things didn’t work out exactly as Emily would have liked, for she added, “I wanted the opportunity to convince a jury that the proper sentence was death.”
As Ulich went off to prison, Ryan had some Gandhi-like words of wisdom for him: “There is more to life than just having a pulse. You will not marry or have children… When your family members die, you will not attend their funerals. You will never see another tree or rainbow, unless it is a picture. You will never breathe the fresh mountain air or feel the sunshine on your worthless face… You may still have a pulse, but you are dead.”
Ulich had pointed his finger in judgment of Emily. And there is nothing more repugnant to the citizens of the Brave New World than being called to account for one’s actions. “You simply decided one day to sit in judgment of me because of where I chose to work,” said Emily. “You didn’t earn the right to judge me or anybody else. You elected yourself judge, jury, and executioner… What makes you think you’ve been appointed to rule every woman in America?”
Ulich never learned that there is no freedom more precious to women than the right to dispose of their own unwanted children. Ryan is a facilitator of this sacred right. She is the Thomas Jefferson of female independence; she is the Harriet Tubbman of modernity, leading enslaved women to the playing fields of freedom. Poor Ulich never realized that he was the Simon Legree to Emily’s Miss Ophelia; he was the George Wallace standing in the door, obstructing feminine emancipation.
Emily was reaching the end. “Look at me Ulich,” she said. She wanted Ulich to see the wounds that his bomb had caused her. “My left eye was torn out; my right eye damaged; my ear drums ruptured, but I can still see and hear the efforts of people like you who try to control the rest of us… My legs were shattered, but I was able to walk in a march in Washington for freedom of choice.”
It was a moment of revelation. The gods of egalitarianism were looking down and shaking their celestial fingers at Ulich. It was Denzel Washington in Glory, showing his whipping scares; it was Kunta Kinte in Roots, pulling off his shoe to reveal his axe-hewed nub of a foot, the punishment for his many attempted escapes from slavery. Before the world, before history, before her oppressor, Emily raised high her wounds received in the fight for freedom and she said, “I have more guts in my little finger than you have in your entire body. The joint in my middle finger had to be fused. It is indeed an injury I’ve longed to show you.” In a supreme moment of triumph, she raised her middle finger for Ulich to see. The people in the courtroom burst into laughter with shouts of, “Woof, Woof,” in the back. A few of the more hip shouted, “You go girl.”
“Is this a court of law or the Jerry Springer Show?” Ulich thought. “Didn’t the ‘dignity’ of the court preclude flipping people off?” he wondered. Ulich was so unhip. He believed in antiquated notions of public discourse. According to these outdated notions, one didn’t flip people off in court. Neither was it acceptable to “moon” people in court. But things change; old standards die and Ulich never got that memo. The new values of uninhibited self-expression taught us that obscene gestures are just part of the new vocabulary, an integral part of direct action. This is especially the case in situations where dignified behaviors were formerly expected, such as in a courtroom. Dignity is a dated bourgeois idea in the Brave New World.
Judge Worth rocked back slowly in his chair, looking mildly disappointed. He was old enough to remember the days before the Brave New World, and he fancied himself a connoisseur of history. Somewhere in those dusty, old volumes he was sure that there was something about flipping people off in court. But Worth was evolved, and he understood the issue at stake here. He stood with the forces of progress, so he said nothing.
Ryan had only a few more words for Ulich: “I will continue to live a happy life here in Farmington while you will be in an underground cage, never to see daylight or trees again. I am living proof of your failure. You will soon be gone, but the clinic will still be open…” Emily then winked at Ulich, gathered up her mountains of papers, went back, and sat next to her husband, Jeff, who gave her a congratulatory kiss on the cheek.
It was a great speech and one that the denizens of freedom should be proud to enshrine in a museum somewhere. Perhaps they could put it next to MLK’s “I Have a Dream.” They could call it “I Have a Middle Finger.”
One had the sense that much of Emily’s statement had been written by her husband Jeff. Jeff was a real progressive in his own right, probably too progressive by today’s standards. He is looked upon today the same way abortionists, like his wife, were looked upon back in the ‘40’s-controversial, yet out on the cutting edge of progress. While his noble wife Emily was assaulting the prejudice of maternity, courageous Jeff was a long-time warrior against another form of bigotry-the so-called age of consent. You see, back in 1987, Jeffrey was persecuted by the “Man” for playing “doctor” with his then eight-year-old stepdaughter-and we’re not talking the medical kind of “doctor” here. As so often happens, bigotry and intolerance intruded upon their personal lives, interfering with a natural, beautiful love affair. Poor progressive Jeff was forced to plead guilty to “child molestation.” His then wife was caught up in the hysteria, so she divorced him. The love-affair with the eight-year-old came to an end and Jeff headed back to his home town. Courageous souls like Jeff are often persecuted. What could be more natural than a thirty-year-old man having sex with his eight-year-old stepdaughter? When will we ever learn?
Next up to the plate was Diane Stergis, the owner of the abortion clinic where Ulich’s bomb exploded. Ms. Stergis was wearing a blue suit and had a 1980’s brown perm. She was a regular sized woman with a hatchet-shaped face, like that of a hawk. Declining to speak from the lectern, she wanted to be in the witness box, which was directly in front of the defense table, so she could “see Mr. Smirnoff’s face.”
She took her seat, swiveled slowly around to face Ulich directly, and adjusted the microphone. Leaning way forward, Ms. Stergis spoke slowly, intimately, as if she and Ulich were conversing over drinks in some after-hours bar: “How can you follow that? Emily has said everything there is to say. And man, you have created a powerful advocate for the freedom of choice, Mr. Smirnoff-powerful,” she said.
Years of cigarettes and wine had destroyed her voice. It came out rough, hard, and gravely, as if her throat were lined with fur. Ulich thought her brassy, worldly, the kind of woman who had not only been around the block a few times, but she probably had been dragged behind a truck the entire way. But, as with everything else, Ulich was blind. If he had opened his sclerotic eyes, he would have noticed that Ms. Stergis was one of the select few pioneers of freedom in America today. She was a station conductor on the Underground Railroad, leading women out of the slavery of pregnancy and patriarchal subjection. Here in Alabama, Diane is a lioness for progress, a beacon of liberty surrounded by the hostile forces of reaction.
Ms. Stergis was personally well acquainted with patriarchy and the evil of men. Having herself been beaten down by men, she is now a confirmed enemy of patriarchy and now finds affection in the exclusive embrace of other women; she is a lesbian. What she learned while being dragged around that block was that pregnancy is the shackle of patriarchy, so she resolved to dedicate her life to cutting that shackle. Releasing women caught in the shackles of maternity became her mission in life.
Now, Diane owns a few abortion clinics throughout the South, and she travels between them like a circuit-riding Methodist. No slouch or pampered prissy, she travels in a Winnebago and then sets up camp in the clinic parking lot in order to be closer to her calling. Her clinics offer a two-tiered system of child removal-excuse me, fetus removal: the luxury package and the economy package. With the former, women get a backdoor, private appointment. There is extra care, anesthetics, and a longer rest period afterwards. The economy package comes with a local anesthetic, the use of unwashed equipment, and some New Age music during the operation.
It’s tough work in the trenches. Most battles are won quickly, but a few are fought down to the knife. If the enemy infiltration is detected early-what they call the first trimester-then all that is needed to dig’em out is a local anesthetic and the vacuum. But sometimes the little bastard digs in deep and serious munitions are necessary to root him out. Saline solution was the preferred weapon years ago. They used to inject it into the uterus and let the little bugger fry in that acid for awhile. Eventually, the heat would prove too much and like a napalmed gook, he’d come out of his hole. Nowadays, they prefer to go after the infiltrator directly: reaching into the uterus with a pair of medical pliers, they grab and pull out one piece at a time, breaking off the pieces of the sapper against the cervix. With those stubborn ones that dig in too deep to pull out safely without injury to the “friendlies,” it’s best to wait him out. Eventually, he’ll have to come out for food and air. When he comes out, they find it’s best to approach him from behind. Just like dispatching a sentry with a knife to the throat, they grab the little bastard by his feet, pull him through what they used to call the birth canal, and then, before he gets a chance to take his first breath, the warrior jabs a pair of scissors into the back of his skull. The “coup de grace” can then be delivered by forcing the vacuum tube into the hole created by the scissors and sucking out his little brains.
Sure it’s bloody work, but very necessary. Only the bravest of the brave men-excuse me, women,-are in the trenches in the war for equality. That is what is at issue here: equality. All the talk about the personhood of the fetus, whether it is a human being or not, is all a lot of nonsense. Fetus Shmetus-it’s a subterfuge used to confuse the reactionary enemy. As the great pro-choice ideologue Naomi Wolf said when asked whether she thought the fetus was a human being, “Of course it’s a baby. And if I found myself in circumstances in which I had to make the decision to end this life, then that is between myself and God.” Wolf realized this was a war for self-determination. She believed feminists did themselves a disservice by denying the humanity of the child. “Sometimes the mother must be able to decide that the fetus, in its full humanity, must, die,” she said.
The imminent Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it succinctly when she criticized the Burger Court’s Roe decision. She thought Roe a bad decision because they rested it on the nebulous right to privacy argument instead of resting it on the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. “Because women are unique in their ability to be burdened by pregnancy,” thereby giving men an advantage in the social and political arena, Ginsberg thought women needed the right to an abortion to level the playing field. “A women’s right to an abortion impacts her ability to stand in relation to man, society, and the State as an independent, self-sustaining, equal citizen,” wrote Ginsberg. Hallelujah Sister! I’ll burn a bra to that one. Children are the enemies of female equality.
Judith Jarvis Thomson’s famous pro-choice essay, “A Defense of Abortion,” equates the unborn child to an uninvited burglar, who breaks into your house. Pregnancy to her is also akin to being kidnapped. In the Brave New World, maternity is oppression, slavery-a violation.
As Ms. Stergis’s last words waft across the courtroom, Ulich couldn’t quite grasp that here, staring him in the face was the future woman, the feminist, the one who has “Come A Long Way.” But then again he was a dinosaur, for she was indeed the apex of social evolution.
“We are the victors here,” Diane said. “And I am not sorry that you’re not going to leave this world with a needle in your arm because that would be too easy. It gives me great comfort to think of you spending the rest of your life in an 8’x 12’ box, never feeling the grass underneath your toes, or smelling fresh mowed earth or grass, hearing birds sing in the woods, mountain streams rushing, the smell of a cedar tree or a pine tree. I think you chose a fate far worse than death. So, my hope for you is that you live a long, long life.” There were some more, “You Go Girls,” as Diane made her way back to her seat. The words that she had spoken to Ulich were saturated with pure love and Ulich just didn’t get it.
Sheila Anderson, widow of the police officer who was killed while working as a security guard at Big Women, was next to make a statement before the court. She was a thin woman with an ample head of blond hair that had sprouted a perm. Unlike Stergis, Sheila wanted to speak from the lectern at the center of the courtroom because as she said, “I have nothing to say to that piece of garbage,” while looking over her shoulder at Ulich.
“Being a policeman was all he ever wanted to do,” Sheila said. Her late husband, Andy, was a great father to their son Rick. Andy loved everyone. He loved old people and puppies. He even folded the laundry. She interrupted her statement to show the videotaped eulogy that had been delivered, by Andy’s former partner, at the funeral back in ’98. Despite the fact that Andy had been working off-duty as a security guard when he was killed, this was a killed-in-the-line-of-duty speech. Just what duty, she never specified. There was obviously a great deal of reluctance to acknowledge his role as having worked at an abortion clinic.
It was a shame really, for Andy’s role was so much more important than was his routine police work. Andy was not handing out traffic tickets, nor was he attempting to halt a robbery in progress when he was killed by Ulich’s bomb. No, he wasn’t doing any of those mundane things. He was fighting against the forces of hate and reaction. Most Alabamians regard what goes on at Big Women as child murder, at least that is what they say. Big Women was one of only five places in Alabama where a woman could get an abortion. On a daily basis, every one of these five places was surrounded by protesters who were seeking to deny women access to their sacred right. Standing between the abortionist and the fascist protesters was the noble security guard, holding open the gate to freedom. He was like the noble National Guardsman escorting the black children, through the racist mob, to Little Rock’s Central High School. Andy was a guardian of liberty cut down by hate and here his wife was reluctant to give him his due. Was he working there simply for the paycheck? Was she ashamed of his job there? It was hard to tell. Whatever the case, Andy was a hero who stood steadfastly watching as thousands of women made it to freedom over the corpses of their unborn children. That’s heroism folks!
There was grumbling in the courtroom, for it was Ulich’s turn to speak. People wondered would he speak, or would he remain silent? Judge Worth ended the mystery.
“Mr. Smirnoff, please come to the podium accompanied by counsel,” the judge said.
Ulich rose and walked to the lectern. Muffled laughter and a few boos could be heard in the tense crowd. His voice was shaking at first, but it picked up confidence as he went. It quickly became apparent that he was to deliver a defiant lecture-the nerve of this heathen!
Ulich began, “I’m here today to be sentenced for my actions in January 1998… My actions that day were motivated by my recognition that abortion is murder. And because it is murder, I believe that deadly force is indeed justified in an attempt to stop it. I do not claim this as a right, but rather consider it is a moral duty to come to the defense of my fellow man when he is under attack. This is an essential concept embedded in Western Civilization-that we are our brother’s keeper.”
“Duty”-that hateful word was buried in the mud of Vietnam thirty years age. And that quaint notion about being “our brother’s keeper”-wasn’t that in some ancient holy book or in a museum somewhere? And Western Civilization-he dared to speak for Western Civilization. The very idea was declared racist years ago. The Brave New World is a multi-cultural, pluralistic society and the rights of autonomous, self-expressing individuals are the only things held sacred.
Ulich even tried to suggest that abortion was not a supreme act of female empowerment. It was, according to him, “ A return to the ancient practice of infanticide, a return to the days when people were property, and there was no inherent value attached to human life…A new barbarism, a culture of death has taken root in America. The state is no longer the protector of the innocent, promoting values that challenge the darker angels of human nature, but now it’s the handmaiden of a new hedonism supporting the citizen in a lifestyle of selfishness and decadence… Rights which were created to protect life are now used to protect the abortionist, the savage painted in the blood of innocent children,” said Ulich.
“The abortionist,” stated Ulich, “is not the courageous warrior for freedom; he is a barbarian taking us back to the jungle, back to the savage wielding the bloody rock over the helpless infant’s skull…”
“What I did in January of 1998,” continued Ulich, “was pull back the lid of this stinking vat of vomit, revealing the murders behind the new ‘progressive’ society. For this reason I’m hated… However, I understand where the hatred comes from. The haters are like junkies and drunks confronted with their vile behavior, rousing them to react with burning hatred for the person who points to their addiction.”
Spewing out hatred against progress, Ulich trotted out that reactionary doctrine that America was “once a great nation.” It was “like a ship of discovery sailing on the seas for new lands. But in 1973, the rudder was jammed, and now it veers wildly upon the seas of moral uncertainty. This country that put a man on the moon will not provide enough sustenance to care for its own children… This country promotes a culture of selfishness and death and tells its daughters that their lives will be ruined if they bring an unplanned child into the world. Every variety of filth is now tolerated and pushed with the complete support of the state-abortion, homosexuality, pornography-but this country does not tolerate the values of life, family, and human dignity.”
Ulich even dared to assault the new heroes: “America now celebrates the likes of Howard Stern, Hugh Hefner, and Larry Flint as the reflections of the new American Spirit. But those who attempt to save the lives of unborn children and who wish to promote a culture that respects life are treated as fanatics, threats to American freedom. Britney Spears, Eminem, and Madonna are held up for your children as heroes, but the names of America’s great men of the past are now dragged through the mud. And more heinous still, this country lionizes the fallen abortionist as a martyr for freedom. But he who attempted to knock the bloody knife out of her hand is treated as a criminal, standing in the docket for sentence.”
“God is not fooled, posterity will certainly judge differently. Even if it should take ten years, fifty years, or five hundred years before this black night of barbarism is finally swept into the dust bin of history, I will be vindicated; my actions in Farmington that overcast day in January of 1998 will be vindicated.” Ulich emphasized each clause with a downward stroke of his clenched fist. “And as I go to a prison cell for a lifetime, I know that I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith.”
This last was the unkindest cut of all. Ulich had the temerity to suggest that the Brave New World, and all its ideals and accomplishments, was actually nothing more than a perverted aberration in history, and it along with all its great aspirations would eventually be “swept away” as so much dust. Every school child was taught about the advance of freedom through history. The Enlightenment, Hegel, and Marx had all taught us about the progressive nature of history. And today’s America stands at the pinnacle of human history. We are now at the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and here this fascist pig was throwing water on the eternal flame of progress. There was a profound silence in the courtroom as Ulich returned to his seat. It was like a bomb had gone off and the people were still trying to collect their senses. There were no boos, no high-fives, and certainly no, “You Go Girls,” just stunned silence.
The judge read out the sentence: two life terms, without parole. But nobody was listening. They were still trying to figure out what had just happened. Sally Bates looked like a galvanized corpse. And Joey Curby was still twirling his pen absentmindedly because probably he hadn’t even been listening. Joey looked as if he were wondering whether brown or black socks would go with those new Gucci’s he had just bought.
It was customary for the judge to read a short statement and in a case of such magnitude it was most certain that Judge Worth would say something. There was still grumbling that could be heard in the aisles over Ulich’s tirade. All were eager to see Worth set things right, to put the dinosaur back in his museum.
Judge Lyman Worth loved the platform. He fancied himself an intellectual of sorts. Normally, he spoke with a cornpone Southern accent, with many digressions and a lot of barnyard humor. There were frequent references to old goats, fleas on spotted hogs, and hound dogs barking up empty trees. Like Old Abe Lincoln, he wore the country image like a suit. But what he really wanted was for people to take him seriously, after all he was a judge and judges are supposed to be taken seriously. So often he would go off into long explications about obscure historical matters.
One time during a late-night closed hearing which involved a dispute among Ulich’s lawyers, Worth, who was called upon to settle the dispute, launched into a long historical lecture to reinforce his point. Judge Worth said, “During the Renaissance, priests started to leave the cloistered life of the monastery, so they could take Christian charity out to the unwashed, offering their knowledge and skills to the common people without charge or thought of gain. To take up this philanthropic calling was known as ‘professing.’ The four great ‘professions’ were the ministry, teaching, medicine, and the law. In the latter case, professing lawyer-priests charged no fee; but if a client had money and wished to make a contribution, he could place a coin or two in the small purse that was sewn onto the lawyer-priest’s robe. Thus was started the tradition of wearing a symbolic pocket on the legal robe, to remind lawyers of their selfless duty to the client.” With a dramatic gesture, Worth grabbed the little black pocket on his robe, held it up for Ulich’s lawyers to see, and proceeded to admonish them about their obligations to their client, telling them he would fire every last one of them if there was any more squabbling.
Anyway, you never knew what you would get with Judge Worth. All in the courtroom were silent, wondering whether they were going to hear about the time Worth’s granny shot a polecat out from underneath the outhouse, or whether they were going to get the Renaissance. It was the Renaissance-with a quote from Thomas Hobbes, an explanation of the Social Contract, and a reference to the evolution of the human thumb: “Those persons who founded this nation traced their advancement up the long staircase of human history by the distance their ancestors had ascended from a state of nature in the North American wilderness where life was ‘nasty, brutish, and short.’ They surrendered some individual liberties to government for the purpose of substituting laws and courts for private justice and the ancient practice of blood feuds. Yet the desire for revenge has never been and it may never be totally eradicated from human nature.”
During his long career on the bench, Worth has often been confronted by the desire from victims for retribution. He understood their wish for revenge. “I personally pronounced the death sentence twice. I, therefore, understand and empathize with your desire for the person who inflicted so much pain and suffering to be held accountable.” But sometimes the government had to deal with criminals and reactionary terrorists. “Although there are some who like to tout the abstract notion that we will never negotiate with terrorists, foreign or domestic, who among responsible leaders would allow an opportunity to save innocent lives when all that was offered in return was four life sentences.”
In this case, the government had to trade a plea bargain for Ulich’s 200 pounds of hidden dynamite. After all, what “if some Boy Scout had stumbled upon Mr. Smirnoff’s hidden cache?” As Sally Bates, the prosecutor, had repeatedly emphasized in recent interviews, “A Boy Scout setting up a tent on that steep, thicket-covered hillside where Ulich’s dynamite was unearthed, could have driven a tent stake into the buried explosives and thereby rendered a good part of North Carolina into a wasteland.” It’s well known that Boy Scouts camp in thickets and prefer sleeping at a steep angle. And even though it normally requires a primary explosive, such as a blasting cap, to trigger a dynamite charge, the massive, horrendous shock of a Boy Scout-driven tent stake could have set it off. Sure, it could have happened.
Judge Worth then turned to address Ulich: “Mr. Smirnoff, I also want to speak a few words to you. It’s obvious to me, that from the times we have been in court together and by the statements that you have released to the media, that you are an intelligent person-perhaps very intelligent. That is what made you so dangerous. Unlike the killers I confronted in state court, you did not act from fear, for personal gain, for personal survival, as a result of a mental disease or defect, or in the heat of passion. Instead, you carefully crafted your crimes. Even now, you have exhibited no remorse. You posture yourself a superior being. I simply would remind you that among the creatures that inhabit this small planet; humans are endowed with the reason and ability to speak intelligently. We are also given thumbs that oppose the other digits of our hand. Those three gifts have allowed us to rise above the other species and to craft tools, languages, mathematical equations, and many other inventions that have lifted us from the muck and mire of bestiality, to the edges of the infant. All too often these gifts are misused, however.”
Yes, it was the robe again. He pulled that little black pocket out for Ulich to see, as if to chastise a wayward child: “You may recall that during one of our hearings, I spoke to the defense counsel about the robe I wore that night, an English barrister’s robe, and about why I wear it to pay homage to the origins of our profession. Origins that required selfless service to the sick, the poor, the ignorant….True professionals extend their hands to the least among us: comforting the distressed, lifting burdens, healing hurts, imparting knowledge, and righting wrongs. Given your intelligence you could have done the same.” Unlike those pocket-wearing priests, Ulich had chosen the Dark Side of the Force. Judge Worth continued, “You allowed yourself to be overcome by bigotry and intolerance. You allowed yourself to become like those Nazis who attempted to eradicate an entire race of people because of their religious views, or their mental deficiencies, or their perceived moral shortcomings. You allowed yourself to be no different in principle from those men who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church and killed four young people in the process. In the name of faith, you hate. For the professed purpose of saving human life, you have killed. Those are riddles I cannot resolve.”
Ulich was once a promising young Jedi, who became poisoned by hate. Instead of dedicating himself to tolerance and progress, Ulich chose intolerance and reaction. He could have fought against homophobia, for instance. Or he could have worked toward a world where every eight-year-old girl would know how to strap a condom on a cucumber. Perhaps he could have been fighting the good fight against Global Warming, or fighting to save the snail darter and the Thanksgiving turkey. Ulich could have even become a teacher or professor. He could have taught young people about the evils of Christianity, Western Civilization, and Capitalism. Maybe, just maybe, he could have joined the elite corps in the media, where he would be currently following around the imperialistic U.S. Troops in Iraq and documenting their many abuses inflicted on the noble Iraqi freedom fighters. And perhaps if he were lucky, he could have reached the inner sanctum of social activism and become an abortionist, and offered his liberating services to women in the war against patriarchy. But he chose none of these lofty endeavors; he threw his life away by defending something as insignificant as a damned fetus. How sad!
Unfortunately, Ulich was not listening to Judge Worth’s wise words. Ulich thought the judge’s comments were, “The typical, inconsistent nonsense that goes down so well with the herd. It was a slightly more intellectualized version of the same pabulum put out by the pop-culture. Worth picked out the appropriate imagery from the liberal mythology, pasted it together on legal paper, and then threw it out there.”
While Judge Worth was speaking to him, Ulich had noticed, to the left-rear of where the judge was sitting, there was a legal seal containing the classical depiction of “Justice.” This statue contained symbolism from the old days, when it was thought that the purpose of the courts was simply to decide questions of law. Now, of course, the primary purpose of the courts is to act as a tool for progressive social justice. “Justice,” as most people remember, depicts a blindfolded woman. In one of her hands is a pair of scales and in the other she wields a sword. The blindfold is symbolic of the idea that she will not look with bias upon one side or the other; she will listen impartially to both sides of the dispute. The scales represent the weighing of each side’s argument before the law. And the sword is a symbol for the enforcement of the verdict, the just vengeance against the side that is found wanting in the scales of “Justice.”
“Here is this judge,” thought Ulich, “giving a speech that directly contradicts what that statue represents, everything he is supposed to represent. The judge’s purpose is to pass judgment on questions of the law. He sits at the heart of the justice system. All laws govern human behavior; govern it with force-if necessary-with deadly force. Every sentence that a judge hands down is an act of force, retribution, the vengeance of society against law breakers. From time immemorial, one of the chief purposes of the law is to protect human life, or to punish and avenge the taking of human life. This idea has been central to all law codes, everywhere. As Judge Worth just admitted, he has personally pronounced the death sentence twice. Worth is the chief actor in a system of laws-however corrupted and perverted in its present form-that still claims to kill for the ‘professed purpose of saving human life.’ Deadly force is sometimes justified to save life. That is what his law books say. This is a ‘riddle’ that even a fool can resolve. The only real question is under what circumstance is it justified to take life.”
Ulich continued with his reactionary train of thought: “The judge could have said that under the circumstances force was not justified, that the law does not consider abortion to be murder, and therefore, I was not justified in using force to stop it. He could have said that using force, although morally understandable, is counter-productive toward ending abortion-on-demand. He could have said that sometimes states engage in morally reprehensible behavior, even murder, but to preserve social order and prevent anarchy it is best to work within the system when fighting injustice. He could have said any one of these things and retained a remnant of consistency, however twisted and immoral. But he cannot sit on that bench in front of that statue and say, ‘For the professed purpose of saving human life, you have killed. That is a riddle I cannot resolve.’ Because if it is in fact a ‘riddle’ that he cannot resolve, then he has no business sitting on that bench, with or without a Renaissance pocket.”
“In any event,” said the judge, “this case is concluded and I remand you to the custody of the United States Marshal.”
The marshals moved toward Ulich. He stood up and walked slowly out the door, with his leg chains rattling over the smooth red carpet.
Outside the courthouse the Brave New World was still turning. The notables, dignitaries, and the victims gathered on the courthouse steps to perform in media interviews. At one end of the steps the prosecutors delivered up their sound bites for the evening news, or tried to anyway. Doug Stones was fuming about Ulich’s Allocution. Sputtering and spitting, he could not string together a complete sentence. Just one word or a phrase managed to come out-“hatred,” “intolerance,” “something Hitler would say.” Sally Bates had never witnessed anything quite like it. Harking back to Ulrich’s theme about abortion being barbaric and its protector’s barbarians, Sally struggled to say, “He’s, he’s the barbarism.”
At the other end, the Ryan’s were standing next to a planter looking depressed. They were disappointed about not getting their corpse. “What went on in there?” a reporter asked.
“He was preaching-that’s all,” said Emily.
Nobody seemed to know which way was up. They needed to be put back on track; they needed the media to give them “closure.” The media did not disappoint them. Milling through the crowd was the Right Reverend Pinto. Pinto was one of the prominent pro-life voices in Farmington, one of the key organizers of the pickets that stand outside Farmington’s abortion clinics on a daily basis. He and his associates were regulars at Big Women. Coming from the other direction, through the throng, was Diane Stergis, the hatchet-faced owner of Big Women. Pinto and Diane met in the center of the steps and exchanged greetings like old friends. Photographers started to take pictures of the curious scene, and a film crew, with a reporter in tow, quickly approached the pro-life leader and the hatchet-faced abortionist. Without any prompting, Pinto said, “I’ve come here to show solidarity with the victims… This was a horrible thing, you see. The person that did this does not represent the pro-life cause.” Stergis shook her head in solemn agreement. And as they both shook hands, they smiled for the camera. That was the front-page picture in the next day’s paper, a beautiful picture from a Brave New World.
[The satire is an accurate description of events that took place at Eric Rudolph's sentencing in Birmingham Alabama on July 18, 2005. The quotes are taken from the court transcript. Only the names have been changed.]
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Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed:
for in the image of God made he man.
Numbers 35:33 So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are:
for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the
blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.
Another baby murdered by a babykilling abortionist.
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