Monday, June 30, 2014



January 1975 - June 2014
Thirty-nine and a Half Sorrowful Years

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cigar Man

We call the person pictured here, Cigar Man. It's because he waddles up and down the sidewalk in front of the abortion site with a manic grin plastered on his face and an unlit cigar chomped in his teeth. After an incident today when he got his cigar into the face of one of our sidewalk counselors, I decided to reprint some commentary that originally appeared in the August 2012 edition of our Life Advocates newsletter.  

His real name is (we think) Joe Connelly.
About our “friend” the annoying person.  He starting coming out about three months ago.   Here he is pictured below holding his sign that says, “Do the people standing on the sidewalk beside me support the murder of health care providers like Dr. David Gunn and Dr. George Tiller?”   He has stood next to female sidewalk counselors when they are on the speaker and in a loud voice urged them to repent-his rhetoric is somewhat indirect, but that’s its essence.  Many times he has said, “I’ll see you next Wednesday unless your friends kill me first.  He said to a male sidewalk counselor (not me), “I thought you would bring a real man with you today.”   The first time I came to check him out, I videotaped “an interview” with him in which I asked questions about his motives and thinking.  The second time, several weeks later, I called the police, the non-emergency dispatch number, and expressed to the police the following, verbally and in writing: 
 1. We need to know how concerned we should be about this person.  (Does he have a history of violent or psychotic behavior, etc?) 
2.  We want to notify the police of his regular presence. 
3.  We request that the police advise him to not intentionally approach within 15 feet of any of us, especially women. 
   They talked with him and said we didn’t have anything to worry about, but I’m not convinced.  While some of us think he is unbalanced, and that’s a possibility, I’m inclined to believe he’s here to make a point-that he has an agenda to harass us, and his “concern” for abortionists and himself is bogus.   He hasn’t shown up yet today...

I just now found this online:  A WFMY-2 post up of an article from the Asheville Citizen-Times, that refers to Cigar Man.  The title is "Asheville Crowd Rallies For Gun Rights"
Participants carried signs with messages including "Guns have 2 enemies: rust and liberals," "What part of 'Shall not be infringed' confuses you?" and "The Second Amendment protects all the others." 
But Asheville attorney Joe Connelly wasn't there in support of gun rights. He had a sign reading, "Do the people standing on the sidewalk beside me support the murder of health care providers like Dr. David Gunn and Dr. George Tiller?" The message referred to the killing of the two abortion providers. 
"I'm not against guns," Connelly said. "But I am against people imposing on my rights by intimidating me with guns." 
It's hard to believe he's an attorney.  He doesn't seem smart enough.

However, I have wondered for years who the coward was who attacked me anonymously online with these comments.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Essence of “Pro-Choice” Rhetoric: Misdirection (Part 1)

by M. E. Hunt

Illusionists and stage magicians know the secret of misdirection.  They’ll focus your attention on something relatively unimportant while the important action is happening right in front of you.

Master pickpocket and entertainer Apollo Robbins says misdirection happens in your brain as well.  He told the audience in a popular TED Talk that our minds are incapable of focusing on multiple aspects simultaneously.  We often experience “blindness” to things we see every day.  New information cannot be processed while trying to recover old information.

So, for example, when Apollo asks George what’s in his pocket, George’s mind turns inward to remember.  In the meantime, for a few moments, George did not notice what’s going on around him, that Apollo stole his watch.

Misdirection, both physical and rhetorical, is a critical tool in supporting the abortion of pre-natal children.
In my recent blog “Echo Tourism,” I mentioned an article titled “The Last Shift” written by a volunteer abortion escort and self-proclaimed “Asheville's Village Witch.”  For 10 years she greeted women seeking abortion at their cars in the clinic parking lot and walked them to the entrance.  This is when we sidewalk counselors speak to the women, offering help and urging them to let their children live.

She wrote:
…I always started a running patter, something like this—I’ll be talking about all sorts of things so focus on my voice.  It’ll be like a late night monologue, only I’m not very funny.  I’ll talk about your shoes—gosh, those are cute!  Or how far you had to drive—did you have far to come this morning?  BlackMountain?  Oh that’s not so bad.  How was the traffic?  Gosh, this is (fill in the blank) weather, isn’t it?  Does that RAV get good gas mileage?
A running patter.  In the online manuscript of Sleights of Mind, What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Everyday Deceptions, Stephen Macknik & Susana Martinez-Conde (2010) wrote:
Patter, it turns out, is one of the most important tools in the magician’s toolkit for attention management.  There are only a dozen or two (depending on who you ask) main categories of tricks in the magician’s repertoire …  Sleight of hand is of course critical, but so is patter, the smooth and confident stream of verbiage that can be used to hold, direct or divide attention.  Apollo tells George [his victim on stage] one thing while doing two other things with his hands.
The Asheville abortion place’s website admits as much when it says,
…we have volunteer escorts who may approach your car to walk you to our front door and help distract you from the demonstrators out on the sidewalk.
In this situation, the patter is meaningless babble.  Some escorts may be more adept at sincere conversation, but nothing they say pretends to engage the subject of abortion.  And yet, even when abortion-choice advocates seem to engage the issue, it’s almost entirely misdirection and distraction.

I'll explain in my next post, showing how this relates to the work of the Center for Bioethical Reform, the creator of the Genocide Awareness Project.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Echo Tourism

The Coliseum in Rome, from inside the wall.
by M. Hunt

If you’re quiet and listen, you might hear their voices.

When I looked across the arena at the Roman Coliseum during a torrid August afternoon in 2009, I tried to imagine the scenes of death from so many centuries ago. I tried to hear the echoes of blades on shields and the mobs cheering as blood flowed into the sand.

I imagine people feel the same somber wonder and horror when they visit other certain historical sites around the world, death camp sites such as Dachau, Auschwitz, and Mauthausen, and the transport camp, Terezin.

At least two such tragic historical sites are located within Asheville, and the city is about to add another to its recommended tours.

One: The corner of 900 Hendersonville Road is now only a parking lot for a spiffy office building, but during the ‘80’s and into the early ‘90s, they aborted pre-natal children there in a low, squat building. Thousands of pre-natal children died in this sleazy, sordid place. The state of North Carolina tore it down to widen the road, and the business moved to the edge of Biltmore Village.

Two: Train tracks surrounded the new building that was located in an industrial zoned area. It featured a narrow waiting room on steel girders spanning a dirty, limpid creek. Weeds grew up the walls of the building, and on one side, old roofing material made the siding. Steel bars guarded broken window. The abortionists drove in from Tennessee and South Carolina. It was a back alley abortion mill with a sign hanging in the front alley.

On a Saturday afternoon in November, 1998, I showed up as usual with my “Let Your Baby Live. We Will Help!” sign, but no one else came. No other pro-life people, no abortion workers, and no victims. I was alone. A sheet of white paper had been taped to the front window. For the first time ever, I walked onto the property and to the front porch. The note said the place had closed permanently.

I remember months later seeing a monster garbage truck parked in front, rocking back and forth. An industrial shredder on wheels. A few years later another business moved into the building, a non-profit called Save the Children. That’s right. I stopped once just to look around inside, and I asked the people there a few questions. I wanted to, but didn’t ask if they ever heard the echoes of screaming children. Sometime later, the owner tore the building down, leaving rubble, and piles of weed-covered earth, now in view of nearby spiffy office buildings.

Three: Apparently, the abortion center on Asheville’s Orange Street is closing now. A volunteer escort recently said so in an article titled “The Last Shift” that appeared June 15 in an online publication called The Asheville Blade. So, by the end of this month we’ll have another historical site of sorrow and death to add to the itinerary. Maybe “Save the Children” will buy the building and move in. Maybe someday this terrible place will end up like all the others, in rubble and fading memories.

My late acquaintance, Kentucky poet laureate James Still and I once ate lunch together nearly every day. I could never find his source, and I may not have the quote down perfectly, but he one day he said, “Birds sang, the sun shone, flowers grew, and prayers rose up, but the laws of nature were not violated.” He was talking about Dachau, which I know he visited. Maybe the quote was his own, a fragment of an incomplete poem.

My friends and I spent many, many hours on the sidewalk in front of Femcare--when thousands of people ignored, dismissed, ridiculed, or cursed our offers of help and appeals to moms and dads to let their babies live. Thousands of mothers carried their children passed us into the doors to be killed.

An independent observer watching the passers-by might suppose the middle finger to be an international sign for “choice.” But many people expressed support, too, as they walked or drove by. Our presence was always, usually, more a quiet vigil than a protest. I’ve watched and listened to starlings, crows, doves, pigeons, and hawks. Last Saturday, a noisy mocking bird entertained and annoyed us with his crazy song list, more of cacophony than symphony.

Prayers rose up. But not enough prayer and not enough people praying. On occasion a mother changed her mind and left with her baby alive.

Femcare is closing. A better name for it is Femkill. Though, what you call it is irrelevant now because it’s closing. What’s important is the killing probably is moving to another place—to a building on McDowell Street owned and operated by Planned Parenthood.

North Carolina law says it’s a felony to “destroy” “unborn children” unless the act is done by a licensed physician “in a hospital or clinic certified by the Department of Health and Human Services to be a suitable facility for the performance of abortions.” We often bring posters to the sidewalk depicting a 10 week child who was destroyed by abortion. This is what Planned Parenthood intends to do in its new building. It’s bloody, violent, and evil. There is no suitable facility for this.

So, are we nostalgic about our upcoming last shift at Femcare? Are we jubilant? No. Just feeling sadness and resignation. We’ll be shifting to McDowell Street, if necessary. Unique human beings, persons in embryonic or fetal form, will be destroyed in that place. And someday even it will be a ruined historical site where, if you’re quiet and listen, you might hear their voices.

Echoing in your conscience.

The Last Shift

"Anon Jim" left a comment with a link to this short article about a volunteer escort's last shift at the abortion place, "Femkill".  It appeared in the Asheville Blade on June 15.

It begins with an introduction by the publisher:

At the end of this month FemCare, currently the last clinic in the Asheville area providing abortion services, will close. Last year, the clinic was controversially shut down for nearly a month by NC inspectors during a fight about new state legislation sharply restricting access to abortion. For almost a decade, local activist, author and Pagan clergy member Byron Ballard worked as a volunteer escort, accompanying women in and out of the clinic to ensure their safety. Here she tells the story of her last shift. -DF

By Byron Ballard

Read the full article here.

I will post a reply soon.