In the wee hours of the morning on New Year's Day, an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida was gutted in a fire. Naturally, authorities suspected that American Family Planning, which has been the target of violence and protests over the past three decades, didn't just happen to catch fire, and it turns out they were right. Police have charged a man with arson, and say he's admitted to trying to burn the clinic down because he opposes abortion.
The Associated Press reports that 41-year-old Bobby Joe Rogers was arrested today after police received tips from locals. According to an affidavit, Rogers told investigators that he set the fire because he has a "strong disbelief in abortion" — but apparently he's fine with acts of violence. The report describes Rogers as a transient who's been in the area for a few months. Recently he'd joined some of the regular protests outside the clinic, and he said he was driven to commit the crime after seeing a young woman enter the building.
According to Rogers' description, he made a bomb out of gasoline, a 32 oz. beer bottle and an old shirt, and headed to the clinic around midnight on New Year's Eve. While the rest of us were downing champagne, Rogers hurled his homemade bomb at the building and watched the building catch fire. Then he walked across the street to an abandoned car wash and stayed there "just long enough to make sure the fire was going and recalled hearing a lot of crackling and popping as the fire progressed." Finally he went back to a shed behind a closed restaurant, where he often sleeps.
Rogers was sentenced to one count of damaging a building by fire or explosive and is currently in jail. He has a long criminal record that includes arrests in nine states and three felony burglary convictions. If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in prison. The fire caused $300,000 in damages, and thankfully no doctors or patients were injured — they just have another reason to fear how far people will go to "protect life."