By Harry Welty
Sympathy for a Mass Murderer
I am a mass murderer. Now mind you, I’m not talking about
just any old, garden variety, mass murder but the world’s most massive
holocaust ever. My crime is so vast that it dwarfs the nazi death camps, the
Soviet purges, and the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge all rolled into one. Though
not pointing at me specifically, that’s what Justin Krych said when he
announced his candidacy for the State Senate at the 7th Senate
District’s Republican Convention two weeks ago. He was talking about abortion.
During his speech I sat next to my very good friend, Edith,
a retired linguistics professor who, at age 84, is a fellow mass murderer. Had
Edith and I attended the DFL convention, where every imaginable coalition
becomes a “sub caucus” we would probably have called ours the “mass murder
sub caucus.” I noticed that Edith didn’t applaud when Justin finished his
speech. I didn’t either.
Edith and I are remnants of an earlier era when the
Republican Party had a more forgiving view of civil liberties and believed that
government should mind its own business. For the past fifteen years Edith and I
have clung to this philosophy. We are an extreme minority in the GOP though a
comfortable majority in the general population.
Despite being mass murderers Edith and I are treated
patiently, even cordially, by the pro-life majority, which simply hopes against
hope that our better angels will eventually prevail. It’s the “hate the sin,
love the sinner” ethos at its best. I suspect, however, that this patience
could wear thin if the pro-choice forces ever threatened to become as common in
the Party as they are in the general public.
After thirty years in the Party I can look on Justin’s
apocalyptic pronouncements with some equanimity. I too have been troubled by the
idea of “abortion on demand.” Minnesota’s pro-choice association NARAL
only lists me as “mixed” in my support of abortion rights. But I have always
taken exception to the notion that anything in utero is the equal of my mother,
wife, son or daughter, which happens to be the extreme position of the pro-life
These views first took root in me in 1968 when I was a
junior in high school. Back then
pregnancy was looked upon as proper retribution for a single girl’s sin.
I’ll never forget the waitress who lectured me when she overheard me
discussing the subject. She told me that as far as she was concerned “if
you’re gonna play you gotta pay.” In other words defenseless infants were to
be their mother’s wardens. This wasn’t my idea of a loving mother/child
relationship. This punitive approach was never really popular with the public
and the pro-life movement didn’t catch hold until it changed its focus to
sympathy for the fetus. The issue of shame, however, has never really
disappeared. It just went underground.
So, in my junior year, I asked friends what had happened to
the pretty girl that I’d developed a secret crush on as a sophomore. In hushed
tones they told me that she had gotten pregnant. The father was a tall,
good-looking, baby faced fellow, with a perpetual smirk on his face.
Being a single mother is not a very good option today for
most women. Being a single mother in 1968 wasn’t an option at all. In fact,
being pregnant and unmarried was so shameful that tens of thousands of desperate
young women, who had succumbed to the demands of smirking young men, were driven
to back alley abortionists.
Today, “pro-life” advocates use photos of dismembered
babies to make their case against abortion. Back in 1968 “pro-choice”
supporters passed around crime scene photos of dead women, victims of botched
abortions, blood trailing from their midsections, to win sympathy for the choice
movement. Given the choice of a
holocaust against the unborn or their mothers I made an irrevocable decision and
have never regretted choosing the mothers.
I like Justin Krych. A few weeks before the convention I
heard that he was eyeing the same legislative seat that I was interested in so I
invited him out for lunch.
Justin is an eager, earnest, and respectful young fellow.
We traded URL’s for our websites. (Justin’s is www.krych.org)
Justin had already visited my heretical site and was probably well aware
of my pro-choice sentiments. I suspect that he’d already made the calculation
that he could win an endorsement over me in a party convention given my beliefs.
Justin allowed as how he’d defer to the wishes of a
nominating convention. In other words, if the GOP saw fit to endorse me over him
because of my “electability” he would not oppose me. To win Justin’s
active support, however, I would have to abide by the platform, about which I
have serious reservations.
Without the Party’s endorsement I would be required to
appeal to the voters in a primary election. I think I know what the average
voter thinks but I can’t be sure that the average voter will feel compelled to
vote in a primary let alone a Republican primary.
I am left to ponder a simple question. Can the public have
any sympathy for a mass murderer?