1994 Des Moines Register coverage and my responses
Unanswered Questions (Transcription of interview of Dave Leach by Phoebe Wall Howard of the Des Moines Register, Tuesday, August 2.) August/B/1994 Prayer & Action News
Armed Marshals Guard Against Computer Attacks (Short note about the humor of posting guards to stop ideas) August/B/1994 Prayer & Action News
D.M. abortion foe attracts attention/He signed slaying suspect's leaflet (Text of Phoebe's story about me) August/B/1994
Reactions (Public reactions I have received to the coverage) August/B/1994 Prayer & Action News
Transcription of interview of Dave Leach by Phoebe Wall Howard of the Des Moines Register, Tuesday, August 2.
COMING TO TERMS
P: ...Do you view yourself as an anti-abortion activist?...
D: ..."anti-abortion activist", ...you must know by now, that pro-lifers resent that term. It's biased.
P:...Why is that? Expound.
D: When you're making up labels for people, "pro" is a more positive term than "anti".
[D:The issue of biased labelling filled the Christian media a few years ago. "Pro life" was the first label on the scene, developed by themselves for themselves. Abortionists invented the label "pro-choice" in response. For awhile the media reported both labels. The controversy started when major media began calling pro lifers "anti-abortionists" while continuing to call the others "pro choice". Pro-lifers suggested that if they are to be called anti-abortionists, then the others should logically be called "pro-abortion". These suggestions were among those made to the Register a few years ago when Iowans for Life, with Paul Dorr, picketed the Register and then talked with a Register representative. But nothing came of it. The Register apparently decided that "pro-abortion" was an unfairly negative label. Think about it. Meanwhile Johnny Brockhoeft has pointed out that "prolife" does not describe someone who believes force to stop an abortionist is justifiable. He says "anti-abortion" is actually more accurate. He doesn't WANT to be associated with those who call themselves "prolifers"! A few questions later Phoebe challenges me over this very same misunderstanding. I agree with his analysis of the problem, but the solution I prefer is "pro-INNOCENT-life".]
THE BOTTOM LINE
P: What is your position on the issue of abortion?...
D: ...Your position on the issue is going to be determined by what you believe about what is in the womb. Is it a human being, or is it a blob of flesh? This is a fact issue. So there are attempts to persuade people by bringing up what scientists say about it. Scientists can say there's no objective line between a zygote and a born baby, and that is taken as proof that it's a human being all the way along.
And while that may be technically true, it's kind of hard to really grasp, to hang on to with your heart and emotions, to the extent that you're going to say, "That's right! I'm going to go out and kill me an abortionist!"
So a lot of people have come to the pro-life conviction on the basis of what the Bible says about this fact issue.
PH: And how do you read? I mean, what's your interpretation of what the Bible says?
[D: I didn't have the references right then, but later sent her the following from my letter to abortionist Herbert Remer:
["Luke 1:39-44, which says John the Baptist leaped in the womb at the sound of Jesus' mother's voice, when Jesus was about the age of your customers and John was about the age of Dr. Tiller's customers.
["...Just a quick review of the relevant Scriptures: Psalms 139:13-16 says, as I characterize in a song I wrote, "David, at conception, was well known by providence. God knew each little limb before it knew existence." Jeremiah 1:4-5 says "The prophet Jeremiah was given a world-wide audience before he even left his safe womb!" Jeremiah 32:35 says "God calls killing babies an abomination so bad it never entered God's imagination!" In Leviticus 20:2-5, "God wrote a sober warning for any sinful nation that pushes God that far! Heed His Word!"]
P: Let me read the statements on this list [from Paul Hill] and you tell me your thoughts on it. "We the undersigned declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life including the use of force. We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate..."
D:Wait a minute. Let's just take it a thought at a time.
D:If you just take that one sentence, that you've already read, it's kind of self evident, isn't it? If you can agree on what constitutes 'godly?'
P: Uh hmm. Why don't you, I mean, expound on that a little bit. What do you mean?
D: I mean, just look at the sentence, I mean, how can anyone disagree with that sentence, as it is stated?
P: OK. [Continuing} "Whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child."
D: Now that statement partly depends on which premise you accept as to what's in the womb, obviously. Whether anything that is unborn is a "child". But for anyone who does accept the premise, that's a self evident statement.
P: Well, one of the questions that's been raised is that: are pro-life activists "pro-life" if they're willing to take a doctor's life? And that [position] has been written in the newspaper quoting pro life advocates in certain areas. What do you think about that?
D: Let me finish this subject here, because we don't want to mix...
P: Well, it's all related. It's all use of force.
D: It's not really. By mixing these statements up -- these statements are carefully crafted, in such a way that...I couldn't excuse myself to turn the guy down. But to mix it up with some of these other arguments can lead to confusion.
P: OK, then yeah, why don't you tell me your thoughts on these statements.
D: OK, what was that second sentence?
P: "We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child."
D: Again, that depends on your premise, whether you believe that anything that is unborn can be a child. Which of course, I, and others who are Bible believers, who have seen the Scriptures that I've seen, believe.
P: OK. And then it goes on to say "We assert that if Michael Griffin did in fact kill David Gunn, his use of lethal force was justified, provided it was carried out for the purpose of defending the lives of unborn children. Therefore he ought to be acquitted of the charges against him." And your name is signed on the list, on the bottom. Why is that?...
D: First of all, I will make the same distinction made by Paul Hill ... And that is: "justifiable" does not [necessarily] mean "practical" or "advisable".
My wife wanted me to make the point that just because you know that spinach is good for you doesn't mean that you're going to eat it.
P: Right. So how does that apply to the abortion issue?
D: That means that for me to say that "I can't join in the condemnation of Paul Hill or Michael Griffin" is not to say that I plan to go out and join in that activity.
P: In what activity?
D: In killing.
P: Well, here it says -- it calls for the acquittal of charges against David Gunn, for example. ...How do you feel about the most recent situation involving Paul Hill? ...Do you think he should be acquitted?
[D:I read her the following Uncle Ed. Statement:
"Uncle Ed. Sez:
"Paul Hill has defended the shooting of abortionists by asking a question that goes roughly like this: 'If you saw your daughter about to be stabbed, and you had a gun, would you use it? If it is right to defend your own daughter, is it wrong to defend your neighbor's daughter?'
"Or, 'How old does a child have to be before you defend her with force?'
"I've listened to his critics evade that question by answering, 'Well, if that's what you believe, why don't you practice what you preach, and go out and shoot an abortionist yourself?'
"Surely that will go down in the Guiness Book of World Records in the section on 'Stupid Answers'!
"Hill had been asking his question over a year when Pam Colson died June 25, along with her baby, while in the care of abortionist Philip Keene. Hill talked about Pam in a July 12 mailing. But abortionist John Britton had not only lost a mother in his care: the state medical board had once declared him 'unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety'. Hill shot Britton July 29.
"Hill may be electrocuted. But Britton might be alive today, and Hill might be free today, if someone had just taken the trouble to answer Hill's question for him."
P: So explain this statement. I mean, expound on it a little bit. I mean, what are your thoughts? You answer the question with another question. So what are your thoughts involving this situation with Mr. Hill?
D: ...It would help if I give you a little background here. You see, of my own publication, I'm both editor and reporter.
D: So there's a little bit of mixing of roles. I do take some editorial positions. But other times, I just ask the questions, instead of answering them.
D: Now when it comes to this, I've reported what Paul has asked. And...
P: Well, my motivation in coming to interview you today is, you know, we have a list that's gotten attention nationally...
D: Let me just finish the thought here. See, I haven't taken a position on this because, see, this question itself hasn't really been reported in Iowa. And I honestly, if you can believe, I really have not taken a position in my own heart on Paul's question, and I don't think it's fair for me to, until I get a feeling that wise men and women -- Iowans -- are unable to offer a better answer than that which the question is loaded to evoke. [After having been given a chance to answer.]
P: You haven't taken a position on his question. How do you feel about his action?
D: It depends on the question! It depends on your answer to the question.
P: I mean, a reader might say, "this is a man who allegedly shot an elderly doctor who performs abortions." How do you feel about that?
D:I don't know how much more clearly I can state it than I did in those printed paragraphs [by Uncle Ed.].
P:You don't have a position on the actions?
D: I'm sad that no one has answered the question for him. I can say that -- to spell it out a little further -- this isn't an "insanity" thing, but in any crime, you look at the motive of the guy. And if the guy has a question which no one can answer --
P: (You mean like) "If your daughter had been attacked, how would you respond?"
D: Yeah. Then that somehow needs to enter in to whether you can really find the guy criminally guilty in a court of law.
P: What do you mean?...
D: You know that part of any criminal conviction involves "intent".
D: It's not just the action. It's what was going through the guy's mind.
D: And what was going through this guy's mind, is that people keep avoiding this question.
P: Who's supposed to answer this question?
P: I mean, is it supposed to be a judge? Is it supposed to be a Planned Parenthood official? Is it supposed to be a law enforcement officer?
D: I've listened to, and transcribed, his appearances on some of the national television things that he's been on, and I've heard this from people, that he asks this question, and no one answers, and instead they say "WELL IF YOU BELIEVE THAT, WHY DON'T YOU GO OUT AND DO IT?"
P: Do what? I don't understand.
D: Kill an abortionist.
D: "Why don't you go out and kill an abortionist?" That's what they TOLD him!
P: Who's "they"? We keep referring to this ...
D: When he would appear on television, like Nightline would line up a debate, and they would have a guy from Operation Rescue, and maybe Eleanor Smeal was on that time, and THAT'S WHAT THEY'D TELL HIM! He would ask this question, and they wouldn't answer him on it. They would say, "Well, if you really believe that, why don't you go out and do it?"
[The 7/29 Register, the day after the shooting, quoted another Pensacola pro-lifer who had told Hill the same thing; and yet the story focused on how far gone Hill was to listen to her, and not on how stupid she was, if not responsible for what happened, to give him such a lame answer!]
P: Do you think that was something that was a right thing to do? A wrong thing to do? I mean, you're saying the question needs to be answered.
P: But in addition to the question being answered, I'm asking you. About the action.
D: Well, before I can answer that question in my own heart, which I have not yet, I'm curious about the same question.
P: Ok-- okay. What about, I mean, what is your position? Would you shoot a doctor, or hurt, or harm a doctor who performs abortions? Would you?
D: Regardless of what I end up concluding regarding the answer to this question, my answer to that question would be "no". Because, as Paul Hill also made distinction, as already alluded, you also have to decide, not just whether someone else doing it can be justified, but whether it's practical [for you]. Whether it's the most effective thing you can do for God's kingdom right now.
P: Is it? Or...
D: And for me, the Lord has given me a journal that I can make a difference with. Which I would have to discontinue if I were sitting in jail.
P: Isn't that "Prayer Action"?
"ARE YOU SCARY?"
P: Okay. Well, what do you say if someone reads this list and says "there's a man on here from Des Moines, and his name appears on a list with Paul Hill", and what if a reader concludes "Well then, do we have something to fear from the folks on this list?"
D: As I told Geoff Greenwood on his 10 o'clock news Friday night, I don't know of anyone in Des Moines who has the heart to do a thing like that.
P: Like what?
D: Kill an abortionist. I just can't imagine Dave Shedlock would do it. And I know I'm not planning to. So, no. There's nothing to fear from anyone that I know.
P: I just want to make sure I'm understanding something. What you're saying is, for you the jury's still out on Paul Hill's question, but as far as your own personal action is concerned, you're not planning to --
D: Right. I don't own a gun, I'm not handy with them. If I were to go out and do target practicing, I'd have videos of me in FBI files, target practicing. (Laughter)
D: They'd be watching me by satellite! (laughs)
D: Because of people like you spreading stories. (laughs)
ARE YOU OUTSPOKEN?
P: Well, I mean would you consider yourself "outspoken"? Would you consider yourself not outspoken? I mean, David Shedlock has a strong presence in the press. I mean he's in court, he's an active --
D: How do you define "outspoken"?
P: Um, well, speaking an opinion for publication, whether it's Prayer Action Weekly News, or in the courthouse, or to TV or newspaper -- taking positions publicly. [Note that if the word meant no more than what she listed, it was silly to ask such an obvious question.]
D: "Outspoken" is not in my vocabulary regarding others or myself. When something appears to be true, and I can't deny it, I'll say it, and publish it, regardless of how much I may have to cringe, myself, as I think of how people are going to receive it.
WERE YOU SURPRISED?
P: Were you surprised to read about the incident, what happened to Paul Hill? Did that surprise you? How did you respond? D: Yes it did. It especially surprised me because he had just sent out a letter July 12 announcing his plans to teach some groups how to go into full time pro life work. And he also had announced that he was going to be defended by the American Center for Law and Justice -- which, by the way, boasts that it's never lost a case yet -- on this charge of -- well, I don't remember the charge but it's a recent charge, at the same clinic.
P: A separate charge, you're talking about?
D: Yeah. And that's a promising thing that would kind of be something to look forward to. Which of course he had to dump, to go to jail for this charge, which kind of makes the other one moot.
P: What is your affiliation, if any, with Defensive Action? What is Defensive Action?
D: It's just a name. If there's any "organization", I haven't been told about it. He has people who contribute to him, apparently. And he sends out a monthly letter to those people.
P: Are you a subscriber to that letter?
D: Well, he sends it to me, because I'm a publication. But he often puts notes, saying "well of course we don't expect you to pay".
P: Oh, because of the publication, and things like that?
P: Do you talk with folks on this list ever?
D: I haven't met the people on that list.
P: Do you know those folks?
D: I've heard of them. Here's the only one I've ever talked to: Paul deParrie. I met him afterwards.
P: After the list came out?
D: Yeah. ...I had my computer with me at the Shelley Shannon trial at Wichita, and downloaded [my notes] for him to take back to use for his publication.
WHY ATTEND TRIALS?
P: Do you go nationally to cover different trials?
D: No. That's the first time I've been out of Iowa in years.
P: ...Now, you went to [Des Moines abortionist] Herbert Remer's trial.
P: What are your thoughts on that situation? Why did you attend his trial?
D: I'm a reporter.
D: And that was a big event.
P: It was a big event... Do you attend the different trials, abortion-related trials?
D: Once every couple of months, maybe.
SHOULD REMER FEAR?
P: I mean, Herbert Remer has said that it's been reported that people suspect he could be in danger, that people who object to what he does for a living --
D: He's a scrapper.
P: Do you think his life is in danger?
D: He invites it. He's not afraid of danger.
P: How does he invite it?
D: One time -- I'm just telling you what I saw with my own eyes, not what I've heard other people report -- one time at a Rescue, there were a bunch of people sitting at the door -- this was a long time ago when all people did was sit at doors -- HE CLIMBED UP OVER ALL THE BODIES, TRYING TO GET IN THE DOOR! He's a rough-and-tumble guy!
P: What should he have done?
D: Would you have done that?
P: I've never been in that position.
D: But, I mean, think about it. How many people do you know would have done a thing like that?
P: What should he have done?
D: The police were there. Just wait for the police to clear 'em out! (laughs)
P: Do you think Herbert Remer invites trouble?
D: Yes. But let me give the other time. The other time is this thing for which he was on trial. Now according to the undisputed facts of the trial, a decision was made, possibly that morning, so far as the nurses knew, [for Remer] to go on out and photograph Dave Shedlock [from a distance of about two or three feet!].
Herbert talked about how fearful he was, enough so that he carried a gun, and a bullet proof vest -- but think about it. If he was fearful, why didn't he just hire a photographer to come and take pictures from a block away with a telephoto lens? Get up on the roof or something? He didn't have to go right up there! He's a scrapper!
P: I mean what should he do to not feel threatened? What would you suggest?
D: You mean, other than avoid stuff like that? (laughs) I don't have any other suggestions, other than avoiding doing stuff like that!
THE THREAT OF F.A.C.E.
P: I mean, do you think doctors who provide abortions in Iowa are in danger? People have said that this issue is a civil war --
D: I want to point out something that should be obvious to anyone who thinks about it. Understand, I'm not saying what I'm going to do. I'm just analyzing this thing.
D: [For] anyone in the abortion industry, their danger is increased by the FACE law. Just think about it. We've had something like 100,000 Christians that have gone to jail, they believe that strongly that what's in the womb is a human being. And now you come along with a law that makes penalties for sitting in front of an abortion clinic the same as burning it down!? Or, a third offense, maybe the same as killing an abortionist!? What do you think's going to happen?
Most of those 100,000 are going to back off and wonder what to do. But isn't there going to be someone out of the group that's going to remain committed and believe we need to do something? [And that if the penalty for saving stopping the killing for an hour by blockading is the same as for stopping the killing for a few months by burning, why not stop it for a few months?]
P: What kind of something? Continue sitting in front of the clinic?
D: The things that are done: burning them down, bombing them, stink bombs, or killing abortionists.
MARSHALS AT PP
P: How do you feel about the U.S. Marshall folks being posted out by Planned Parenthood?
D: I don't have any feelings about it; all I do is just --
P: What are your thoughts on it?
D: -- analyze it.
P: What is your analysis of it.
D: Randall Terry was quoted in the Register as saying that it seemed out of balance when we have so many crack houses [in front of which U.S. Marshals are not posted]. I suppose I could look at whether it appears to be an effective strategy, as far as prevent- ing violence. Another [approach] would be a reflection on whether it appears to be appropriate national priorities.
P: Tell me your answers to the first two. One, is it effective?
D: It would certainly have stopped someone like Shelley Shannon, I think, who wouldn't have had the time...
P: Would it have stopped someone like Michael Griffin, or Paul Hill?
D: The only ones who could proceed and try to be successful in a thing like that would be someone who thinks they can pull out a gun and get off a dead shot before they're gunned down in return. So it would have to be a crack shot. So that would eliminate a lot of people.
P: And what about national priorities?
D: Yeah! You know, I was watching TV -- I seldom do that, but...Friday night. Donahue ... re-aired an interview March 13 with Paul Hill.... A couple of shows after that, they had a special about the Gorilla [Girls]. Have you heard of that group? Feminists that dress up in gorilla suits and go out to New York art galleries -- this was an hour show! -- and paste posters covering up the outdoor marquees of the art galleries, criticizing them for not paying the women artists as much as they do the men artists. And in all that hour, there was nothing ever said about any of them being arrested. It said the art galleries were taking their message seriously -- well right! If someone were vandalizing my property and no one [including the police] stopped them I'd take them seriously too!
P: Let me ask you this.
D: They even showed pictures of them going out and pasting up the posters! I mean, the news media knew where they were -- they could have alerted the police! They even gave public talks! (Telephone interruption: I forgot to add that the NEA gave them a $15,000 grant for their "Gorilla Girl Art", a lavish reference to their text-only posters!)
P: Do you pickett? I mean, do you join Operation Rescue and pickett? Is that activity you have participated in in the past?
D: It's been months since I've even driven by Planned Parenthood! I never was much of a picketter. I guess there was one pickett I joined in earlier this year. With a church. At Planned Parenthood. But other than that, the last Rescue I was part of was January of '91.
P: I mean, are you affiliated with any group personally? I mean, you write and publish the Prayer & Action Weekly News. But are you a member of Iowa Right to Life Committee, or --
D: I don't know if they have members.
P: Iowans for Life? Yeah.
D: They do?
P: You know, Iowans for Life, or Operation Rescue --
D: They send me their bulletins, so that's one indication of "membership". I talk with them.
P: I meant, participating in activity? Although, Iowa Right to Life Committee, I just cover them from a legislative perspective. So actually I don't know the extent of membership or details. I just cover them up at the statehouse.
D: They have lots of contributors, obviously; I've never heard anyone talk about membership.
P: That may be a term, where there are no official members. Which, many groups are like that. They just have contributors.
MARSHALS CAME 4 YOU
How would you feel if people thought that we had the U.S. Marshals here because the name of an individual from Des Moines, Iowa appeared on this list? I mean, if you were the reason that we were one of the clinics chosen, one of the few in the country?
D: I can't think of how to feel on that! I can't imagine how that could be true! I mean, if I were out there picketting, maybe, but what have I done to --
P: Again, with your name appearing on a list, you know with the statements that appear?
D: I don't know. If you just look at my actions and my writings, and put that in the context, I can't imagine how people could conclude that I'm going to go out and shoot an abortionist! (Laughs)
TAKING A STAND
P: What about -- I mean, people say this. You've read it in the newspaper. That -- "If you don't condemn it, you're condoning it." In various types of action. But this is something that, you said your mind isn't made up on the question --
D: Almost everyone in this whole nation is sitting on the fence on vital issues. How could the --
P: No, I'm talking about the action involving Paul Hill, or Michael Griffin.
D: I think anyone that's sitting on the fence on vital national issues on any area can sympathize with how it's possible for me to neither condemn nor condone.
P: Okay -- okay. Again, just because a physician was shot, and an elderly escort was also shot. Some have drawn conclusions because of that.
D: Well, I'm waiting for an answer to Paul Hill's question. And I really am open. I want people to let me know if they have a better answer than what the question was loaded to evoke.
P: ...the statement here, "defend innocent human life, including use of force", is that shooting people? "Use of force": what is "use of force?" How do you define it?
D: Well, one of the things I couldn't turn down about that statement was that it didn't really specify that. But if you have a born baby that's going to die, what kind of force would you think justifiable to save it?
P: What would you think justifiable?
D: Depends on the situation!
D: Well, if someone is about to stab someone in your family, and you shoot them, no one in any court would call it "murder".
D: "Self defense", they might call it.
UNANSWERED ISSUES IN COURT
P: Okay. Anything that I'm not asking, that you would add?
D: There are other questions that have not been answered, that I have asked.
P: Of who?
D: Of courts. The Necessity Defense: you say you know what it is? It's called "compulsion" in Iowa law. Do you know where it is? P: Do I know where it is? Why don't you just tell me whatever your thoughts are on it?
D: 704.10, I think is where it is. So you want me to go ahead and describe what it is, as if you didn't know?
P: I want you to tell me your thoughts, on why you raised the issue.
D: Something like 100,000 Christians have been arrested, and gone to court, and argued the Necessity Defense. Almost universally, all Rescuers have done that. And courts have not fully addressed that issue. Even though that many people are continuing to cause that much of a ruckus.
Many state Supreme Courts have kind of touched on it. You see, the question is whether Roe v. Wade has anything to say about the Necessity Defense. Most state Supreme Courts will say, "WELL IT'S GOT TO, OR ELSE WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?"
But you see, the Necessity Defense says that if you've got one person that's in danger, and another person protects them, and in so doing breaks some law but it's a much lesser "harm" than the "harm" that he's preventing, then it's not only justifiable, but what the guy did isn't even an offense. That's what the Iowa law says. It's not even an offense.
[Ed: even if it weren't the law, it would have to be added to the law to keep law from destroying itself through absurdity. But it is the law.]
VIOLENCE -- PROLIFE?
P: What do you say about published comments that people who would shoot someone -- pro-life activists have said people who would shoot someone can't be considered pro-life? Because, for whatever reason, it's taking a life?
D: Do you think a policeman can be pro-life? Even if he shoots someone? [Ed: when the FBI agents asked me the same question, and I replied with the same question, agent Koziel enthusiastically affirmed that absolutely, a policeman can use lethal force and still be prolife. But Phoebe didn't answer, so I continued:] It depends on the situation. You can't answer universal questions like that and be simplistic.
P: Thanks. I appreciate it. I do. I appreciate visiting with you.
D: So the question is, "is killing an unborn child a harm under the law?"
...State Supreme Courts will say, "how can abortion be harmful if it's legal? Well, there's a lot of SPEECH that's harmful, isn't it? [U.S. Marshall Phylliss Henry even thinks my speech is harmful!] And yet it's legal. It's Constitutionally protected. I've never seen a state supreme court deal with that....
But you see, the whole argument of the Necessity Defense is whether the jury is going to be allowed to know that it exists. Or whether the judge is just going to keep all that information to himself. And the whole issue of the Necessity Defense, as to whether it applies, is whether abortion is a "harm". If it is, it's a GREAT harm. And sitting in front of a clinic and doing a little bit of trespassing is, obviously, not an "offense", if it can stop a great "harm".
But you see, whether it's a "harm" or not is not a matter of law. All the commentaries on what the Necessity Defense means agree with that. It's not a matter of law: it's a fact issue.
And (laughing) anyone who's used to courts knows the correct answer to this: "who decides fact issues? The judge, or the jury?"
The jury decides fact issues: so the jury should be the one to weigh the harms of the Necessity Defense. But no court will deal with that.
And even though 100,000 Christians have brought their cases, [and many of them] have tried to get them before the U.S. Supreme Court, THEY won't deal with it either. We've got a real "conflict of laws" here. (Cont'd in box)
FOLLOW UP QUESTIONS:
Phoebe called twice, later, with follow-up questions which she had after talking with others. The preceding has been word for word, but the following is the summary I wrote down right after the calls.
P: Remer says he doesn't think there is any direct threat from you, but that you might instigate others to violence.
D: I try to print the truth, and truth has a way of inciting others to action. But there is another thing that can incite people to action, even if it is not true, and that is a good question which no one will answer. The solution to that is to get dialogue going, and although I report those kinds of questions, I also try to get that dialogue going.
P: I've been told you published a prayer that God would burn down PP with fire.
D: Notice I'm asking God to do it, and not proposing that I do it. When people propose action on their own, people object "that's just YOUR interpretation of the Bible, but I've got mine too", or "what about MY god, Mudgegump?" But if God takes the action, that kind of settles the question of authority to take a position. It makes moot any discussion of MY view of things.
P: Why would you give a voice to people like Johnny Brockhoeft?
D: I give a voice to all; it's part of my news ideal from the beginning, to the extent I even tried to hold subscriber elections. I've tried to get abortionists to respond, too.
Armed Marshals Guard Against Computer Attacks
August/B/1994 Prayer & Action News
Uncle Ed. Sez:
U.S. Marshals are posted in Des Moines to stop Dave Leach's deadly word processor.
The Des Moines Register (8/3, page 1) said concern about Leach was "a factor" in bringing the marshals to Des Moines. U.S. Marshall Phylliss Henry "stopped short of naming Leach as a threat, but said, 'Anytime you have someone who is advocating violence in violation of a federal law, that concerns us.'" In other words, the U.S. Marshall can't really say Leach is a physical threat; but she wants to do something about all his "advocating", a reference to his publication, Prayer & Action Weekly News.
Des Moines abortionist Herbert Remer agreed Leach is not a direct physical threat, Register reporter Phoebe Wall Howard told Leach; Leach's threat is only that he "might instigate others to violence".
In other words, the threat which Leach is alleged to pose is not from his gun, but his word processor.
So how do you deal with a threatening word processor? With negotiations? With discussions? Of course not! That's only for dictators and military terrorists! U.S. Marshall Phyllis Henry declined August 3rd to talk with, or even listen to Leach, when he called her with ideas for "reducing the tensions" and an invitation to "get to know" him.
The way to deal with a threatening word processor in the '90's is to post armed U.S. Marshals in the Planned Parenthood parking lot!
No doubt the Marshals are armed, not with ordinary guns with ordinary bullets, but with the latest Germ Warfare technology, in order to zap Leach's word processor (should he dare to bring it on Planned Parenthood premises) with Computer Viruses!
D.M. abortion foe attracts attention
He signed slaying suspect's leaflet
By PHOEBE WALL HOWARD
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
A Des Moines man is among a small group of abortion opponents who have been publicly associated with the man accused of killing two people outside an abortion clinic last week in Florida.
The activities of Des Moines abortion opponent Dave Leach were a factor in the decision to order federal marshals to guard Des Moines' Planned Parenthood clinic, an official with an abortion-rights group working with the FBI to identify abortion clinics needing protection said Tuesday.
Leach said he has no plans to resort to violence.
U.S. marshals, for reasons the U.S. Justice Department has declined to explain in detail, have been posted since Saturday outside Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa at 851 19th St.
Des Moines is one of at least 12 cities nationwide with clinics protected by U.S. marshals.
"The fact is that an anti-abortion extremist who has signed onto a petition endorsing justifiable homicide lives in Iowa and is active in the Des Moines area. Plus, that clinic has been heavily targeted, blockaded, invaded and gets death threats. There's clearly a situation for potentially grave violence," said Katherine Spillar, national coordinator of the Feminist Majority Foundation in Washington, D.C. The group runs the largest clinic defense project in the country.
Leach's name appeared along with those of two dozen other abortion foes from across the country on a leaflet distributed by Defensive Action, a group headed by Paul Hill, who is charged in the shooting deaths of a doctor and an escort at an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Fla., last Friday.
The leaflet was circulated during the trial of Michael Griffin, urging his acquittal in the March 1993 shooting of another Pensacola abortion clinic doctor.
The leaflet said: "We, the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life, including the use of force. We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child.
We assert that if Michael Griffin did in fact kill David Gunn, his use of lethal force was justifiable, provided it was carried out for the purpose of defending the lives of unborn children."
Leach, a 48-year-old editor of Prayer and Action Weekly News, said it's difficult for him to believe he'd be the cause of any safety concern.
Leach said he has had minimal contact with others whose names appeared on the leaflet.
Phylliss Henry, U.S. marshal for the southern half of Iowa, stopped short of naming Leach as a threat, but said, "Anytime you have someone who is advocating violence in violation of a federal law, that concerns us."
Leach's thick newsletter - sent in May to about 80 people in Polk County and about 300 people nationwide - asked readers to join him in "praying that God will burn down the Planned Parenthood in Des Moines."
He said the cause of fighting abortion had been abandoned by the courts, city officials and police, "who protect the killers with all the dedication of bats out of hell."
Leach also wrote: "I believe my 'excuse' for not torching PP myself is godly. I believe God has put me in a wonderful, unique position where I will be able to save more babies with several years full of words than with a single act followed by several years in jail."
Last month, the newsletter said:
"Editor's prayer request: That God will judge Des Moines' Planned Parenthood with fire."'
Leach - a husband and father of two children - said in an interview that he can neither condemn nor condone the deadly actions Hill is alleged to have committed.
"For me to say I can't join in a condemnation of Paul Hill or Michael Griffin is not to say I plan to go out and join in that activity, in killing," Leach said.
"For God's Kingdom"
He said the issue is not merely whether violent action is justified, "but whether it's practical or the most effective thing you can do for God's kingdom right now. And for me, the Lord has given me a journal that I can make a difference with, which I would have to discontinue if I were sitting in jail.
"I don't know of anyone in Des Moines who has the heart to do anything like that - kill an abortionist. I can't imagine Dave Shedlock (of Operation Rescue Iowa) would do it. And I know I'm not planning to. So, no, there's nothing to fear from anyone I know. I don't own a gun. I'm not handy with them. If I were to go out and do target practice, I'd have videos of me in FBI files target practicing," Leach said, laughing. "They'd be watching me by satellite."
Shedlock, Des Moines' most visible abortion opponent, has been barred from the grounds of Planned Parenthood by court order.
On potential abortion clinic violence, Leach said:
"I want to point out something that should be obvious to anyone that thinks about it. Understand, I'm not saying what I'm going to do. I'm just analyzing this thing....
"We have 100,000 Christians that have gone to jail. They believe that strongly that what's in the womb is a human being. Then comes along a law that makes penalties for sitting in front of an abortion clinic the same as burning it down? Or the third offense may be the same as killing an abortionist? What do you think is going to happen'?
"Most of the 100,000, most of them will back off and wonder what to do. Isn't there going to be someone out of the group who's going to remain committed and feel the need to do something? The things that have been done - burning them down, bombing them, throwing stink bombs or killing abortionists."
Leach, who also repairs musical instruments and runs his parents' Miller Music store, said people must consider his actions and writing in context.
Jill June, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa, said of Leach's newsletter, "There is no question that this publication is about inviting people who advocate violence to participate in violence and destruction."
August/B/1994 Prayer & Action News
Reactions from readers to the news coverage of your editor have been cautious to positive. Miller Music's landlord said he was jealous of me being on the front page. Miller Music's owner (my mother) said this better not hurt Miller Music's business. A few customers we don't see often stopped by to pay curiosity calls.
No hate mail yet. The most negative written response was from someone saying they no longer wanted the P&A to carry their news because they didn't want that negative association; but that disappointment was mitigated by an enclosed subscription payment, although the letter said that decision, too, was made with misgivings. Another subscriber sent $30, saying he was proud to know someone who was the Register's goat, or words to that effect; that same subscriber had renewed about a month before and added a $20 contribution!
Income seems neither to have slowed nor increased. Most readers to whom I have talked knew of the stories. Most seemed friendly and interested in my version, without indicating their own position one way or another.
I sense that I am tolerated and endured more often than I am worshipped and adored, giving me quite a bit more to do before I can get this thing turned around into a legitimate Cult. But meanwhile, I thank you all for your patience.
The only for-publication response was by Jim Kroll, who came over and typed it on my computer. He took a copy over to the Register, too, for what that was worth. Here it is:
We, the people, have a serious problem. It is armed and deadly force of the worst bent; by servants of the people, against the people and their charters.
A well known politically active citizen was assaulted by the local morning paper. A couple of days before, 12 cities were besieged by para-military US Marshals standing unlawful and unconstitutional guard over what supposedly are private businesses, to ostentatiously protect them from well meaning but unthinking individuals who shoot the operators and staff of these criminal enterprises.
There are actually only three shootings attributable to abortion, and though there are only four deaths, I believe, the reaction of Mrs. Reno is as excessive as that which she worked in Waco.
This illegal and unconstitutional exercise of police powers reserved to the President, or the people, demonstrates again that the servant thinks itself the boss....
James A. Kroll 515 252 7720
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