Anti-choice leader Randall Terry is holding a press conference today to discuss "the response of the child-killing movement" to the shooting of anti-abortion activist James Pouillon. And Operation Rescue is now publishing death threats it received before the incident.
In his press release, Terry says,
I've known Jim for nearly 20 years. He was dedicated, articulate, and courageous. And he gave his life in the service of the babies he sought to defend. We grieve his death, and we will not stop using ANY of the tactics that cost him his life.
The release promises that the conference will address "Mr. Pouillon's murder in relation to Dr. Tiller's killing" as well as "the Obama Administration's response and the response of the child-killing movement."
We are stunned by Jim's murder. We extend our condolences to the family and share in their grief over his loss. His life was characterized by his love and concern of the vulnerable, and he will be greatly missed.
We have received literally hundreds of death threats in the past three months. Our office has been vandalized three times. Just yesterday, the FBI was in our office and picked up a stack of threatening letters that we received. We denounce violence in the strongest terms. The bloodshed must stop both inside and outside of the abortion clinics.
Operation Rescue's website has published a sample of these death threats — somewhat upsettingly, the sample includes the email addresses of the senders. Many are hateful and reprehensible, including one that calls for bloody retaliation after Dr. Tiller's murder. But the first email in the sample doesn't actually seem to be a death threat. It reads:
I'm trying to find out if anyone is collecting to hire attorneys and slash the hell out of your sick, psychopathic, fake-religious bullshit.
The writer does use the word "slash," but she's talking about suing, not killing. And now her name and email address are up on Operation Rescue's website for all of the organization's doubtlessly enraged followers to see. Whether James Pouillon's shooting was politically motivated or not — and prosecutors are now saying it was — the act was unconscionable. So is threatening people with death because they disagree with your political views. But if Operation Rescue's going to call out by name those who do this, it had better read its email more carefully.
Abortion Wars, Pro-life's First Martyr - Jim Pouillon: Randall Terry, DC Area Pro-life... [Reuters]
Pro-life Activist Gunned Down In Cold Blood [Operation Rescue]
Anti-Abortion Protester Shot To Death [NYT]