March 10, 1993: Dr. David Gunn of Pensacola, Florida was fatally shot during a protest. He had been the subject of wanted-style posters distributed by Operation Rescue in the summer of 1992. Michael F. Griffin was found guilty of Gunn's murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
July 29, 1994: Dr. John Britton and James Barrett, a clinic escort, were both shot to death outside another facility, the Ladies Center, in Pensacola. Rev. Paul Jennings Hill was charged with the killings. Hill received a death sentence and was executed on September 3, 2003. The clinic in Pensacola had been bombed before in 1984 and was also bombed subsequently in 2012.
December 30, 1994: Two receptionists, Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, were killed in two clinic attacks in Brookline, Massachusetts. John Salvi was arrested and confessed to the killings. He died in prison and guards found his body under his bed with a plastic garbage bag tied around his head. Salvi had also confessed to a non-lethal attack in Norfolk, Virginia days before the Brookline killings.
January 29, 1998: Robert Sanderson, an off-duty police officer who worked as a security guard at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, was killed when his workplace was bombed. Eric Robert Rudolph, who was also responsible for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, was charged with the crime and received two life sentences as a result.
October 23, 1998: Dr. Barnett Slepian was shot to death with a high-powered rifle at his home in Amherst, New York. His was the last in a series of similar shootings against providers in Canada and northern New York state which were all likely committed by James Kopp. Kopp was convicted of Slepian's murder after being apprehended in France in 2001.
May 31, 2009: Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed by Scott Roeder as Tiller served as an usher at a church in Wichita, Kansas.
According to statistics gathered by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), an organization of abortion providers, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers.
Attempted murders in the U.S. included:
August 1982: Three men identifying as the Army of God kidnapped Hector Zevallos (a doctor and clinic owner) and his wife, Rosalee Jean, holding them for eight days.
August 19, 1993: Dr. George Tiller was shot outside of an abortion facility in Wichita, Kansas. Shelley Shannon was charged with the crime and received an 11-year prison sentence (20 years were later added for arson and acid attacks on clinics).
July 29, 1994: June Barret was shot in the same attack which claimed the lives of James Barrett, her husband, and Dr. John Britton.
December 30, 1994: Five individuals were wounded in the shootings which killed Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols.
October 28, 1997: Dr. David Gandell of Rochester, New York was injured by flying glass when a shot was fired through the window of his home.
January 29, 1998: Emily Lyons, a nurse, was severely injured, and lost an eye, in the bombing which also killed Robert Sanderson.
According to NAF, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, property crimes committed against abortion providers have included 41 bombings, 173 arsons, 91 attempted bombings or arsons, 619 bomb threats, 1630 incidents of trespassing, 1264 incidents of vandalism, and 100 attacks with butyric acid ("stink bombs"). The New York Times also cites over one hundred clinic bombings and incidents of arson, over three hundred invasions, and over four hundred incidents of vandalism between 1978 and 1993. The first clinic arson occurred in Oregon in March 1976 and the first bombing occurred in February 1978 in Ohio.
May 26, 1983: Joseph Grace set the Hillcrest clinic in Norfolk, Virginia ablaze. He was arrested while sleeping in his van a few blocks from the clinic when an alert patrol officer noticed the smell of kerosene.
May 12, 1984: Two men entered a Birmingham, Alabama clinic shortly after a lone woman opened the doors at 7:45 am. Forcing their way into the clinic, one of the men threatened the woman if she tried to prevent the attack while the other, wielding a sledgehammer, did between $7,500 and $8,000 of damage to suction equipment. The man who damaged the equipment was later identified as Father Edward Markley. Father Markley is a Benedictine Monk who was the Birmingham diocesan "Coordinator for Pro-Life Activities". Markley was convicted of first-degree criminal mischief and second-degree burglary. His accomplice has never been identified. Following the Birmingham incident, Markley entered the Women's Community Health Center in Huntsville Alabama, assaulting at least three clinic workers. One of the workers, Kathryn Wood received back injuries and a broken neck vertebrae. Markley was convicted of first-degree criminal mischief and three counts of third-degree assault and harassment in the Huntsville attack.
December 25, 1984: An abortion clinic and two physicians' offices in Pensacola, Florida, were bombed in the early morning of Christmas Day by a quartet of young people (Matt Goldsby, Jimmy Simmons, Kathy Simmons, Kaye Wiggins) who later called the bombings "a gift to Jesus on his birthday." The clinic, the Ladies Center, would later be the site of the murder of Dr. John Britton and James Barrett in 1994 and a firebombing in 2012.
March 29, 1993: Blue Mountain Clinic in Missoula, Montana; at around 1 a.m., an arsonist snuck onto the premises and firebombed the clinic. The perpetrator, a Washington man, was ultimately caught, convicted and imprisoned. The facility was a near-total loss, but all of the patients' records, though damaged, survived the fire in metal file cabinets.
May 21, 1998: Three people were injured when acid was poured at the entrances of five abortion clinics in Miami, Florida.
October 1999: Martin Uphoff set fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, causing US$100 worth of damage. He was later sentenced to 60 months in prison.
May 28, 2000: An arson at a clinic in Concord, New Hampshire, resulted in several thousand dollars' worth of damage. The case remains unsolved. This was the second arson at the clinic.
September 30, 2000: John Earl, a Catholic priest, drove his car into the Northern Illinois Health Clinic after learning that the FDA had approved the drug RU-486. He pulled out an ax before being forced to the ground by the owner of the building, who fired two warning shots from a shotgun.
June 11, 2001: An unsolved bombing at a clinic in Tacoma, Washington, destroyed a wall, resulting in $6,000 in damages.
July 4, 2005: A clinic Palm Beach, Florida, was the target of an arson. The case remains open.
December 12, 2005: Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe threw a Molotov cocktail at a clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana. The device missed the building and no damage was caused. In August 2006, Hughes was sentenced to six years in prison, and Dunahoe to one year. Hughes claimed the bomb was a "memorial lamp" for an abortion she had had there.
September 11, 2006 David McMenemy of Rochester Hills, Michigan, crashed his car into the Edgerton Women's Care Center in Davenport, Iowa. He then doused the lobby in gasoline and started a fire. McMenemy committed these acts in the belief that the center was performing abortions; however, Edgerton is not an abortion clinic. Time magazine listed the incident in a "Top 10 Inept Terrorist Plots" list.
April 25, 2007: A package left at a women's health clinic in Austin, Texas, contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death. A bomb squad detonated the device after evacuating the building. Paul Ross Evans (who had a criminal record for armed robbery and theft) was found guilty of the crime.
May 9, 2007: An unidentified person deliberately set fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
December 6, 2007: Chad Altman and Sergio Baca were arrested for the arson of Dr. Curtis Boyd's clinic in Albuquerque. Baca's girlfriend had scheduled an appointment for an abortion at the clinic.
January 22, 2009 Matthew L. Derosia, 32, who was reported to have had a history of mental illness rammed an SUV into the front entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota.
January 1, 2012 Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, firebombed the American Family Planning Clinic in Pensacola, Florida, with a Molotov cocktail; the fire gutted the building. Rogers told investigators that he was motivated to commit the crime by his opposition to abortion, and that what more directly prompted the act was seeing a patient enter the clinic during one of the frequent anti-abortion protests there. The clinic had previously been bombed at Christmas in 1984 and was the site of the murder of Dr. John Britton and James Barrett in 1994.
April 1, 2012 A bomb exploded on the windowsill of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, resulting in a fire that damaged one of the clinic's examination rooms. No injuries were reported.
April 11, 2013 A Planned Parenthood clinic in Bloomington, Indiana, was vandalized with an axe.
Aug. 5, 2012. Wisconsin Sikh Temple massacre, The virulent, neocon-fueled Islamophobia that has plagued post-9/11 America has not only posed a threat to Muslims, it has had deadly consequences for people of other faiths, including Sikhs. Sikhs are not Muslims; the traditional Sikh attire, including their turbans, is different from traditional Sunni, Shiite or Sufi attire. But to a racist, a bearded Sikh looks like a Muslim. Only four days after 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh immigrant from India who owned a gas station in Mesa, Arizona, was murdered by Frank Silva Roque, a racist who obviously mistook him for a Muslim. But Sodhi’s murder was not the last example of anti-Sikh violence in post-9/11 America. On Aug. 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page used a semiautomatic weapon to murder six people during an attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page’s connection to the white supremacist movement was well-documented: he had been a member of the neo-Nazi rock bands End Empathy and Definite Hate. Attorney General Eric Holder described the attack as “an act of terrorism, an act of hatred.” It was good to see the nation’s top cop acknowledge that terrorist acts can, in fact, involve white males murdering people of color.
Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church shooting, July 27, 2008. On July 27, 2008, Christian Right sympathizer Jim David Adkisson walked into the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee during a children’s play and began shooting people at random. Two were killed, while seven others were injured but survived. Adkisson said he was motivated by a hatred of liberals, Democrats and gays, and he considered neocon Bernard Goldberg’s book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, his political manifesto. Adkisson (who pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and is now serving life in prison without parole) was vehemently anti-abortion, but apparently committing an act of terrorism during a children’s play was good ol’ Republican family values. While Adkisson’s act of terrorism was reported on Fox News, it didn’t get the round-the-clock coverage an act of Islamic terrorism would have garnered.
The Centennial Olympic Park bombing, July 27, 1996. Paul Jennings Hill is hardly the only Christian terrorist who has been praised by the Army of God; that organization has also praised Eric Rudolph, who is serving life without parole for a long list of terrorist attacks committed in the name of Christianity. Rudolph is best known for carrying out the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympics—a blast that killed spectator Alice Hawthorne and wounded 111 others. Hawthorne wasn’t the only person Rudolph murdered: his bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama in 1998 caused the death of Robert Sanderson (a Birmingham police officer and part-time security guard) and caused nurse Emily Lyons to lose an eye. Rudolph’s other acts of Christian terrorism include bombing the Otherwise Lounge (a lesbian bar in Atlanta) in 1997 and an abortion clinic in an Atlanta suburb in 1997. Rudolph was no lone wolf: he was part of a terrorist movement that encouraged his violence. And the Army of God continues to exalt Rudolph as a brave Christian who is doing God’s work.
Suicide attack on IRS building in Austin, Texas, Feb. 18, 2010. When Joseph Stack flew a plane into the Echelon office complex (where an IRS office was located), Fox News’ coverage of the incident was calm and matter-of-fact. Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa seemed to find the attack amusing and joked that it could have been avoided if the federal government had followed his advice and abolished the IRS. Nonetheless, there were two fatalities: Stack and IRS employee Vernon Hunter. Stack left behind a rambling suicide note outlining his reasons for the attack, which included a disdain for the IRS as well as total disgust with health insurance companies and bank bailouts. Some of the most insightful coverage of the incident came from Noam Chomsky, who said that while Stack had some legitimate grievances—millions of Americans shared his outrage over bank bailouts and the practices of health insurance companies—the way he expressed them was absolutely wrong.
The murder of Alan Berg, June 18, 1984. One of the most absurd claims some Republicans have made about white supremacists is that they are liberals and progressives. That claim is especially ludicrous in light of the terrorist killing of liberal Denver-based talk show host Alan Berg, a critic of white supremacists who was killed with an automatic weapon on June 18, 1984. The killing was linked to members of the Order, a white supremacist group that had marked Berg for death. Order members David Lane (a former Ku Klux Klan member who had also been active in the Aryan Nations) and Bruce Pierce were both convicted in federal court on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and violating Berg’s civil rights and given what amounted to life sentences.
Robert Matthews, who founded the Order, got that name from a fictional group in white supremacist William Luther Pierce’s anti-Semitic 1978 novel, The Turner Diaries—a book Timothy McVeigh was quite fond of. The novel’s fictional account of the destruction of a government building has been described as the inspiration for the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.
Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing, April 19, 1995.Neocons and Republicans grow angry and uncomfortable whenever Timothy McVeigh is cited as an example of a non-Islamic terrorist. Pointing out that a non-Muslim white male carried out an attack as vicious and deadly as the Oklahoma City bombing doesn’t fit into their narrative that only Muslims and people of color are capable of carrying out terrorist attacks. Neocons will claim that bringing up McVeigh’s name during a discussion of terrorism is a “red herring” that distracts us from fighting radical Islamists, but that downplays the cruel, destructive nature of the attack.
Prior to the al-Qaeda attacks of 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing McVeigh orchestrated was the most deadly terrorist attack in U.S. history: 168 people were killed and more than 600 were injured. When McVeigh drove a truck filled with explosives into the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, his goal was to kill as many people as possible. Clearly, McVeigh was not motivated by radical Islam; rather, he was motivated by an extreme hatred for the U.S. government and saw the attack as revenge for the Ruby Ridge incident of 1992 and the Waco Siege in 1993. He had white supremacist leanings as well (when he was in the U.S. Army, McVeigh was reprimanded for wearing a “white power” T-shirt he had bought at a KKK demonstration). McVeigh was executed on June 11, 2001. He should have served life without parole instead, as a living reminder of the type of viciousness the extreme right is capable of.
A list radical-right terrorist plots, conspiracies and racist rampages since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995:
October 9, 1995. An Amtrak employee is killed when a train derails near Hyder, Arizona because the track it's traveling on has been sabotaged. The perpetrators are never found, but anti-law enforcement propaganda messages from the "Sons of Gestapo" are found near the scene.
April 12, 1996. A neo-Nazi named Larry Wayne Shoemake, who is found to have owned at least 22 firearms and an estimated 20,000 rounds of ammunition, kills a black man in a random Jackson, Mississippi attack.
July 27, 1996 A bomb set by Eric Robert Rudolph, who is affiliated with the "Christian Identity" fundamentalist movement, kills one person at the Atlanta Olympics.
January 29, 1998. Another bomb set by Rudolph kills a man at a Birmingham abortion clinic.
May 29, 1998. Three militia sympathizers named Alan Pilon, Robert Mason and Jason McVean fire 29 shots at a Cortez, Colorado police officer who is trying to apprehend them because they've stolen a water truck, killing him. The three evade capture but are believed to ultimately have died in the desert wilderness surrounding the crime scene.
October 23, 1998. With his wife and children nearby, an abortion provider in Amherst, New York is shot and killed through the window of his home by James Charles Kopp.
July 1, 1999. Brothers Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams, who also have connections to the "Christian Identity" movement, kill a gay couple in Redding, California.
July 2-July 5 1999. Neo-Nazi Benjamin Nathaniel Smith kills black basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong and and a Korean graduate student and wounds nine other non-white victims in a three-day shooting spree.
August 10, 1999. Neo-Nazi Buford Furrow kills a Filipino immigrant after firing 70 shots inside a Jewish community center near Los Angeles.
April 28, 2000. An unemployed immigration attorney named Richard Baumhammers who believes "non-white immigration" should be banned shoots and kills five people in the Pittsburgh area.
December 8, 2003. Steven Bixby kills two police officers in Abbeville, South Carolina during a dispute over the state's decision to use a 20-foot strip of the Bixbys' land to widen a highway.
May 24, 2004. Wade and Christopher Lay, a father-son pair obsessed with the 1993 government siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, kill a bank security guard in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
January 21, 2009. Neo-Nazi Keith Luke rapes and kills an immigrant from Cape Verde in Brockton, Massachusetts, then kills a 72-year-old homeless immigrant.
April 4, 2009. Richard Andrew Poplawski, a frequent poster on the white supremacist Stormfront website who apparently believes a national "gun ban" is imminent, kills three Pittsburgh police officers.
April 25, 2009. Joshua Cartwright kills two Okaloosa County, Florida sheriff's deputies. Per a police report, Cartwright's wife says he was paranoid about the U.S. government and "extremely disturbed" by Barack Obama's election.
May 30, 2009. Shawna Forde, Albert Gaxiola, and Jason Bush kill a Latino man and his nine-year-old daughter in Arivaca, Arizona during a robbery intended to raise funds for the "Minutemen American Defense" group.
May 31, 2009. Scott Roeder kills Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, in the Wichita, Kansas Lutheran church where Tiller serves as an usher.
June 10, 2009. An 89-year-old white supremacist named James von Brunn kills a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. from point-blank range.
Feb. 18, 2010. Joseph Andrew Stack flies a plane into an Austin, Texas IRS office, killing one person.
May 20, 2010. A father-son pair named Jerry and Joseph Kane (who conduct "seminars" about how "sovereign citizens" can evade debt) kill two West Memphis, Arkansas police officers.
September 26-October 3, 2011. Avowed white supremacists David Pedersen and Holly Ann Grigsby kill Grigsby's father and stepmother in Washington, a man they believe is Jewish in Oregon, and a black man in California.
August 5, 2012. A white supremacist named Wade Michael Page kills six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
August 16, 2012. "Sovereign citizen"-movement adherents Brian Smith and Kyle Joekel, who are now awaiting trial, allegedly kill two Louisiana sheriff's deputies in a trailer-park ambush.
September 4, 2012. Christopher Lacy, a software engineer who lives in a rural trailer and apparently sympathizes with the "sovereign citizen" movement, shoots a California Highway Patrol officer who dies the next day.
April 13, 2014. Frazier Glenn Miller, a 73-year-old with a long history of KKK activity, kills three people in the area of a Jewish community center and Jewish retirement community in Overland Park, Kansas.
June 8, 2014. Jerad and Amanda Miller kill two police officers in a random attack at a pizza restaurant in Las Vegas, then kill a customer at a Walmart. The Millers had spent time on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's property during protests related to Bundy's dispute with the federal government.
September 12, 2014: Eric Frein allegedly shoots and kills a Pennslyvania state trooper; he's caught 48 days later after hiding from authorities in "survivalist" fashion in a rural area.
June 17, 2015. Dylann Roof allegedly kills nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
July 24, 2015: John Russell Houser, a 59-year-old man with a history of expressing extremist and anti-feminist beliefs, kills two women at a screening of the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana.
November 27, 2015: Robert Lewis Dear, Jr., attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A police officer and two civilians were killed; five police officers and four civilians were injured.