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New, scarier abortion threats: Suggest next sniper attack will be fatal
By Adrian Humphreys, The Hamilton Spectator, Friday 2 January 1998
A second threatening package mailed anonymously to The Hamilton Spectator compares anti-abortion radicals to an army with a mission -- and suggests the next sniper attack on a doctor will be fatal.
Featuring portraits of retired U.S. army general Norman Schwarzkopf and Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, the 17-page morbid and bizarre package says, "We're these kind of people, too."
It also makes frequent references to the Army of God, a small, fringe movement in the United States which advocates deadly violence to stop abortions.
The package, the second one mailed to The Spectator, apparently by the same person, significantly ups the ante in the realms of threats, symbolism and general weirdness.
It also attracted the interest of Hamilton-Wentworth police, who continue to work to protect the threatened doctor. The package has been turned over to police and sent by investigators for forensic examination at the RCMP's crime laboratory.
"It is obviously unsettling," said Inspector Dave Bowen, a member of the national task force probing three sniper attacks over four years in three cities across the country. We are very concerned about the doctor and we're determined to find out who is sending them and to stop it. We also want to find out if there is a connection between it and the shootings."
Police believe three shootings -- the first in Vancouver in 1994, the second a year later in Ancaster and the latest this past Remembrance Day in Winnipeg -- may be the work of a person or group of people out to stop abortions.
All three victims were low-profile gynecologists who performed abortions as part of their work.
Bowen said this package presents "an escalation" of the type of threats and communication regarding local abortion doctors. Besides the two Spectator packages, there have been other mysterious written communications, but Bowen would not provide details.
Dallas Blanchard, chairman of the sociology department at West Florida University and author of several books on anti-abortion radicals, said the latest package tops the last one for warning signs.
"This one seems more dangerous. He's pushing and pressing with this. I think your doctor really needs to be warned."
The package at one point suggests the sender may have been involved in the three shootings, but at another suggests the motivation is just one of support for the actions of whoever pulled the trigger.
On a photocopy of a Spectator story on how the bullets in each of the three sniper attacks had to pass through glass to reach the victims, thereby likely saving the doctors' lives, the sender wrote: "Poor choice. Next time an open shot!!!"
The package makes more pointed and specific threats against an outspoken Hamilton abortion doctor, whom The Spectator has decided not to name.
The doctor is called vulgar names and is depicted lying on the ground with blood running from the mouth.
The package also widens the pool of people with whom the mailer is obviously upset to include the larger medical community and the media.
Throughout the package are several elements the sender labels as a "puzzle piece" that follows a pattern set in the first package, which taunts police to "solve the puzzle."
Just as last time, the package has the Apocalypse or Doomsday as a running theme. The latest package includes a reproduction of the cover of John Updike's latest novel, Toward The End Of Time, and an altered reproduction of a famous print of the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse.
A copy of the woodcut was sent in the last package as well, but this time one of the riders has had his head replaced by a picture of Saddam's, and the people trampled under the horses' feet in the original picture are now labelled.
The names include Dr. Garson Romalis, the doctor in Vancouver who was shot, as well as the threatened Hamilton doctor.
Both are called "child killers."
The package also contains photocopies of articles and pictures from the sometimes-violent abortion struggle south of the border. The sender also wrote, in large red and green letters, "Merry Christesmasse."
Said Bowen: "The paperwork appears to be the work of a disturbed individual."