Clinic Bombing Suspects Arrested in Shreveport
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 03:15:12 PM EST
Last week, I reported an attempted firebombing of an abortion clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana. I also noted the remarkable silence about this attempted act of domestic terrorism -- even as the act was celebrated by the antiabortion Army of God. As far as I can tell, it was never reported by any media outside of Louisiana.

Today, the Shreveport Times and other state media are reporting the arrest of two suspects.

A 24-year-old Shreveport woman and her 18-year-old boyfriend were charged Saturday with attempting to bomb an abortion clinic on Kings Highway nearly three weeks ago, authorities said.

Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe, both of the 100 block of Lister Street, were arrested and booked into City Jail after investigators interviewed them in connection with the bombing.

Hughes was charged with manufacturing and possession of a delayed incendiary device. Dunahoe was charged as an accessory.

Hope Medical Group for Women wasn't damaged when someone tossed a Molotov cocktail at it about 10:45 p.m. Dec. 12.

The petroleum-based bomb apparently fell away from the building and burned, but the fire didn't spread to the clinic. The incident didn't disrupt services at the clinic in the 200 block of Kings Highway -- about 1½ miles from Hughes' and Dunahoe's residence...

... Hughes reportedly confessed to the bombing. A few hours later so did Dunahoe, allegedly.

During the interviews, Hughes and Dunahoe reportedly gave investigators specific details about the bombing that would only be known to the perpetrators, Fire Department spokesman Brian Crawford said.

"When asked why they did it, the couple didn't give a specific response," Crawford said.... "These incidents have a tendency to escalate in nature. If the perpetrators don't get caught, they get a little more brazen, they try to elevate the shock value," he said, explaining that the next time a bombing might take place during business hours.

Additional federal charges are pending.

It is evident, based on Crawford's comments, that officials recognize that this was very likely an act of domestic terrorism, aimed at interfering with the rights of people to receive and to provide abortion services. Crawford also notes what I know to be a pattern -- that attacks on abortion clinics tend to be serial crimes. This of course, figures, given the nature of terrorism. Given the zealous and political intent of the criminals, it stands to reason that the first crime would probably not be the last.

It will be interesting to see what further facts emerge about the alleged perpetrators -- and whether we see a break in the national silence.

The double standard when it comes to antiabortion violence is profound.

Antiabortion violence in the U.S. is usually religiously motivated. But when was the last time you heard the term "Christian terrorist"?

But even leaving that aside, that an act of domestic terrorism goes generally unacknowledged in the national media and in political and religious life is an astounding thing to me.

The Bush administration, not wanting to anger its base of political support, is understandably mum
about it.  So what is everyone' else's excuse?

by Frederick Clarkson on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 03:53:05 PM EST

For years I've ranted about the numbing effect of that phrase.  "It's only violence, no big deal, violence is entertaining, our culture revels in it, see it only gets an R in the movies and you need it to sell stuff."  

Even the adjectival use of "antiabortion" here is problematic; like "black-on-black violence" during the unrest in apartheid regimes in Africa.  

We should drop the qualifiers and just say "domestic terrorism" and then go on to describe the specific crime.  

And meanwhile, someone should be making a big stink in the press to get the prosecutor to bring domestic terrorism charges against these people.  Five years in prison and they'll be at it again when they get out.  If 20 years are enough for a kid from Marin County who was picked up in Afghanistan, these clinic bombers deserve twice or three times that because they knew what they were doing.  Better yet, LWOP, for the sake of protecting the public.  

by gg on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 08:24:20 AM EST

Thanks for keeping us posted.  I hope that Talk2Action will be a place that underreported stories like this can see the light of the Internet.

by cyncooper on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 10:02:48 PM EST
we  are not a news site per se. But the denial of religiously motivated violence in the U.S. is, in my view, a stark example of how poorly we respond to the general phenomenon of the religious right. If we wonder why the RR has done so well, this story is a good example.

I have been informed, parenthetically, that the Shreveport Times did a front page story about the bombing, but that it did not appear in the online edition. Whatever the editorial reasons for this, it does not change the lack of response from the rest of the media, nor of society in general.

by Frederick Clarkson on Sun Jan 01, 2006 at 11:14:55 PM EST

I'd like to rasie another question about clinic bombings, and, in a sense about the religious right, which I have not seen addresses on Talk2Action, but which has been weighing on me increasingly.  And that is an element of racism.  Inevitably, the clinic bombers are Caucasian.  Yet, I believe that if they were African-American or Middle Eastern or of another ethnicity, there would be a great deal of agitation about it.  I sense an element of racism in a lot of the religious right, as in the militia world, as well.  Has anyone addressed or analyzed this?

by cyncooper on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 10:25:15 AM EST
I agree--and this double standard is as present with the white militia movement as it is with the violent fringe of the pro-life movement. It took intense advocacy by abortion rights advocates to get the Justice Department to take any action on the wave of anthrax threats that hit abortion clinics in the wake of 9/11, when the country was on full terror alert. In general, I'd love to see more discussion of race and the Christian right on this site--an issue I tried to open up to some extent with my January 2 post about Justice Sunday.

by Esther Kaplan on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 11:51:35 PM EST
I thought that was an excellent article, and I'd really like to begin to collect more information about race and the religious right, or open up a direct discussion about it.

by cyncooper on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 02:00:47 PM EST

First, the pedophilia part:

A 24-year-old woman, and her 18-year-old boyfriend. Hmm.

Anyone want to bet that they've been together for more than a year?  After all, you don't just go planning to blow stuff up with someone you've only just met, love-at-first-sight notwithstanding.  

And if they have been together for more than a year, and they're not married (girlfriend & boyfriend, not husband & wife), then it would seem that she could be charged, at very least, with corrupting the morals of a minor.  If not child molestation.  Aside from which, they're shacking up, which is fornication.  Some people just don't have any morals...

Second, the terrorist part:

Naw, it's not domestic terrorism.  Domestic terrorism is when you vandalize Hummers at a car dealership, or break into a lab that does experiments on animals.  Now move along, there's nothing to see here.  

by gg on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 08:17:44 AM EST

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