The NYT has a piece about the trial of a man who murdered an abortionist in 1998, entitled “Murder Trial May Become Forum on Abortion.” The story is interesting in its own right, as the defendant is apparently going to try to argue that it was justifiable homicide given that killing one man to save perhaps hundreds. However, I was especially struck by this theme that ran through the piece:

The murder trial starts as the anti-abortion violence that had swept the United States seems to have abated. From 1993 to 1998, seven people were killed in attacks on abortion clinics or on individual doctors, with Dr. Slepian the last. *** After a rash of murders and attempted killings in the mid-1990’s, the incidence of violence against abortion practitioners has quieted.

The first such murder occurred in 1993, when Dr. David Gunn was shot outside the Pensacola Women’s Medical Services abortion clinic in Florida. The bloodiest year was 1994, when there were four murders and eight attempted killings.

Now, murdering abortionists is, of course, wrong. All but a couple of kooks on the anti-abortion side believe that. But since when is seven murders over six years “a rash”? There have been that many killed in post-game celebrations after major sporting events.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.