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Killer Eric Rudolph – unrepentant

This low-life pleaded guilty in April to the Birmingham bombing and three bombings in Atlanta, was sentenced to two life sentences without parole for the Birmingham bombing.

“Those who attempt to save the lives of unborn children and who wish to promote a culture that respects life are now treated as fanatics, threats to American freedom.”

“As I go to a prison cell for a lifetime, I know that ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,’ “
— wisdom from the lips of Eric Robert Rudolph during his sentencing.

Victims Have Say as Birmingham Bomber Is Sentenced. The bigot entertained himself by bombing an abortion clinic, a gay bar and the Olympic Park at the Atlanta Games, and considered violence against abortion providers “a moral duty.” That pretty much covers the bases as an agent of the right-wing fringe movement. I think that would qualify him as a fanatic.

Thank goodness the some of the victims got to their chance to unload on him.

It was Emily Lyons‘s first chance to address Eric R. Rudolph, the bomber whose attack on an abortion clinic here in 1998 left her half-blind and maimed. And she had plenty to say.

Ms. Lyons, who had been the director of nursing at the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic, called Mr. Rudolph a coward for making a plea deal to avoid the death penalty, and said, pointedly, that the clinics he bombed were still in operation today and that his attack had transformed her into a public figure who had raised thousands of dollars for abortion services.

And she told Mr. Rudolph at his sentencing Monday morning in Federal District Court, “I have more guts in my broken little finger than you have in your whole body.”

Mr. Rudolph, who pleaded guilty in April to the Birmingham bombing and three bombings in Atlanta, was sentenced to two life sentences without parole for the Birmingham bombing. Judge C. Lynwood Smith ordered him to pay $1.2 million restitution to the victims, though he acknowledged that Mr. Rudolph had no financial resources. In August, Mr. Rudolph will be sentenced to two more life terms in Atlanta for attacks on another abortion clinic and a gay club and at the 1996 Olympics…The four bombings injured 150 people and killed 2, Alice Hawthorne at Olympic Centennial Park in Atlanta and Robert Sanderson, an off-duty police officer, in Birmingham. Monday was the first time victims or their family members could confront Mr. Rudolph directly.

Ms. Lyons, who has been vocal in her disappointment that Mr. Rudolph would not face capital punishment, read a seven-page statement recounting the many ways in which he had worked against himself: he saved the receipt for bombing components bought at Wal-Mart; he left explosive residue all over his trailer; he failed to notice that his intended target in Birmingham, the doctor providing abortions, did not use the clinic’s front door; he left the bomb in plain sight instead of hiding it in the bushes; he wrote the word “bomb” in the margin of his Bible; and, ultimately, he failed to stop women from obtaining abortions.

She said she believed that Mr. Rudolph had used abortion as an excuse to kill. “What makes you think you have been appointed to rule every woman in the United States?” she asked.

She also said that he owed his life to his victims’ families, most of whom agreed to the plea deal. “You murdered their loved ones, yet they kept the needle out of your arm,” she said. “Your efforts did not save you; your victims’ families did.”

“You have been and will be a parasite on society, costing us millions,” she added.

There are more Eric Rudolphs out there, willing to commit atrocious acts in the name of their beliefs. The vocal, strident, unbending rhetoric of the American Taliban inspires violence in their unhinged followers. While they have the right to advocate for their ant-choice stance, they need to accept responsibility, take ownership of the kind of people they associate with and cultivate in their movement. The blood is also on their hands.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding