Incident at Women's Clinic (from an eyewitness)


The backdrop for the story is a clinic in Charleston where abortions are performed, but this isn't about that issue. Regardless of your personal or religious organization's opinion, I think it's important to keep in mind that it is a legal medical procedure and that access to it is currently considered to be protected by the U.S. Constitution. This is about incompetence, bias, credulity, and maybe a little corruption on the part of both the people charged with enforcing the law at the street level and those we trust to keep us informed, and about the right to act to protect ourselves and our families when faced with tangible, imminent threats. After all, what use is a permit to carry when any action you take other than keeping it in your pocket is a crime?

Before this weekend, I was never really a "media bias" issue guy, but these events have really taught me about the effortlessness with which a story can be twisted and the incredible power that journalists actually wield in their ability to frame a story, select details, and arrange a narrative. I have not yet seen the print edition of Sunday's local paper, but based on the story as posted on their website (I will not do the internet the disservice of providing a link to that travesty of "journalism," but feel free to look it up) and other local news sources, you might come to this conclusion about Saturday's events: some religious activists were quietly and peacefully praying across the street from an abortion clinic, when out of nowhere, a crazed abortion doctor either drove by or attacked them and threatened them with a pistol loaded with 15 rounds, pointing it directly at them. The protesters, among which was a 17-year-old boy, called the police and the doctor was arrested and taken to jail. About half of the article is devoted to explaining the "40 Days for Life" event and emphasizing how all of its participants are required to sign a peace pledge and never approach the staff or patients and simply stand by and pray and hand out literature to those who ask for it. No mention is made of the fact that the doctor in question actually worked at the clinic and was on his way in, and in fact had used a back route to avoid the protesters. The AP has since picked up the story, and their version actually says it is "unclear" whether the doctor worked there. I suppose that is a consequence of the anonymity required to protect the staff from those peaceful protesters, but it was certainly "clear" to everyone on the scene, including the police (who seem to be the only source in these reports), who allowed him to finish his work before hauling him off.

I don't know how many of you have ever been to that or any other clinic on a Saturday morning. I hope none of you have, because I do not use this term lightly, but that place is a living hell. If you have been there, as I have on a few different occasions including the Saturday in question, you will immediately see two problems with that framing. One, 40 Days for Life has little to no effect on the actual number of protesters present at the clinic--they are there year round. Only one of the three alleged victims in this case was actually a pledge-signing participant of that event, and all three are well-known fixtures there. Two, there is nothing "peaceful" in the least about that place now or at any other time of year. It is one of the most volatile, tense situations I have experienced. You have extremely distraught and nervous patients, the tightly-wound, defensive men who often accompany them, a constant stream of aggressive shouting from the street, and a small cadre of volunteers who show up each week to act as something of a buffer.

And if you are familiar with the regulars at that particular clinic, you will almost certainly have immediately identified the "17-year-old boy" as the most loudmouthed, arrogant, self-righteous teenager you have ever seen, whose signature shouted line is a gross misrepresentation of a verse from Deuteronomy, which he inexplicably attributes to Christ. You may also recognize the name cited in the article of another alleged victim as the husband of the woman who every week shows up with a camera to threateningly videotape the patients, staff, and volunteers, presumably to violate their privacy by illegally distributing the footage on the internet.

To be fair, there are a number of protesters who behave in the manner suggested by the author of that article, silently standing vigil or praying the rosary in a small group. But if it was just them, there would be no need for the volunteers, and the doctor would probably have not felt the need to carry a gun. But the fact is that the reason only three victims are named in the case despite the presence of more than a dozen protesters is that they were not participating in those things, but rather lurking in the bushes along the highway waiting for the doctor to arrive.

Also to be fair, I have to admit that my subject line is a little misleading. I was not actually a witness to the alleged brandishing, and I feel compelled to withhold the details of the full story out of respect for the wishes of those involved in the doctor's defense, who have not yet released a statement. I suspect that will all come out in due time. But for now, consider the absurdity of the situation from his point of view. You work in a field where just having your job paints a target on your back. One of your colleagues was murdered in cold blood in his church (of which he was a deacon) just last summer. Most of your colleagues carry firearms where it is legal to do so, and wear Kevlar vests. You cannot approach your place of employment without enduring unending harassment from a chorus of shouting, sign-waving zealots who equate you with Hitler and openly refer to you as an agent of Satan. And although the law is on your side, and they are the ones attempting to interfere with the lawful operation of a lawful business, the police never fail to behave as if the opposite were true and you and the rest of the staff are criminals they're just waiting to catch. Then, one day, while you are on high alert, going to work like it were a war zone, something happens and you make a split second decision that your life (or someone else's) could be in danger and draw your weapon. The police are called, and you are the one who goes to jail.

I guess in South Carolina, the right to bear arms and carry a concealed weapon means the right to have a nice heavy paperweight in your pocket.


Well-Known Member
While I don't personally believe in abortion I don't feel I have the right to decide for someone else.

What I do believe in the right to protect ones self.
That is what this is about.

I believe the doctor showed restraint.
If three men jumped from the bushes and ran at me I might have taken it to the next level.


Well-Known Member
I think I found your article about the incident. Really not enough information to truly know what happened.

But, from what I gather in your words and what I know about how this industry is attacked, I would be very concerned for my safety. If I have to wear kevlar to walk out of my house to the car, worry about an attack on my drive to work, and the trip from the car to my job. I have to say you are justified in conceal and carry.

If I am approached in the parking lot as the article describes I think he was justified in pulling. But the "Devil is in the details." How far away were they? What was said? Was their a weapon? Was he truly in fear of his life?
We have a castle doctrine which covers you where you stand and have the right to be. It also vaguely describe disparity of force. 3 to 1...yes. 3 ten year olds to 1 adult...probably not. 3 ten year olds with weapons...see you in court.

In reference to the article, we just don't have the information. I think we should keep this one updated.

Oh...Welcome to the forum. With you first post you may want to introduce your friends to Grassroots:

Midnight Raver

Well-Known Member
Zaemach is the Forum wraith- he's been here since the beginning, lurking in the shadows.

Like Frost I am not for abortion, but the people that haunt these clinics and their employees are much like extremists/terrorists in their own fashion. All over the country there have been life threatening and sometimes fatal incidents at these places. I couldn't blame any doctor, employee or patient resorting to defending their safety against such hostility. Hell, even regular hospitals can turn into war zones from gang wars happening in ERs pecause the rabid maniacs want to finish what they started. Even regular patients lose it and attack their caregivers due to long waits, bad trips and whatnot. Crazy world...


New Member
I went to this clinic to support a firned of mine who needed to terminate a pregnancy because the baby had Trisomy 18, a lethal chromosomal abnormality. Even it the fetus had lived long enough to be born, it would have died soon after. It's little life would have been spent undergoing invasive medical procedures to keep it going until it's little body couldn't take any more.

I have experienced the protestors outside the clinic, and they are not peaceful. They are as close to the clinic as they can legally be, to the extent that volunteers are needed to escort patients from their cars to the door of the clinic. The whole situation is incredibly tense and emotional for everyone involved. I am sympathetic for the MD who felt threatened enough to brandish a gun.

One thing that people don't understand about aborions is that not everyone gets one because they have been irresponsible. Sometimes they are just unlucky. Sometimes they are pregnant because of rape or incest. For my friend, this was a terrible decision she had to make. Insurance would not cover the termination, and it would have cost $3000 to do it in the hospital versus $600 to do it in the clinic.


Well-Known Member
I recall this incident and I did a little research on the subject of brandishing.
It seems the law, in all the cases I could find as reference, did not consider showing a firearm to be brandishing if your safety is threatened.
That would seem reasonable. If I pull out a gun and wave it around for others to see that I'm armed that is brandishing. I am actually making a threat against those who see me with the gun.
However, if I am being assaulted or threatened and I pull out a firearm in the process of defending myself a charge of brandishing doesn't apply, that is simply taking a defensive action.

I've bought several firearms in grocery store parking lots and we always handle them discretely, wrap them in a blanket, put them in a range bag or something, but If another patron saw us and recognized the item to be a firearm could he have us charged with brandishing? of course not.

I think this is a clear case of the law enforcement officer throwing every charge possible hoping something would stick. This is, I thing irresponsible bahavior by the police officer and does nothing to help the community, but it is also "modus operandi" for many police departments.

If they could be held responsible for their improper actions there would only be about 6 officers left in any major city.