Post-abortion counseling on campus

Deeper Still’s Debbie Picarello in action at UNCG.

Deeper Still’s Debbie Picarello at UNC Greensboro.

by Debbie Picarello

When I set up the Deeper Still post-abortion counseling table near the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), students always ask if I am part of GAP.  They are often angry about the abortion photos and don’t want to speak with GAP volunteers.

I always give the long answer, “I am here with Deeper Still, which is a post abortion healing ministry.  We offer free healing retreats for men and women.  Yes, men hurt from abortion too.  And (pointing to the pictures) we are hurting because we have done that to our children.”

I am also repeatedly asked about the pictures angering or upsetting post-abortive women.  I explain how being upset at the pictures is a telltale sign that something is still wrong.  I point out that healing and counseling is a emotional and messy process.  I always encourage hurting people to seek help.  I say to women and men that if the pictures still cause them extreme distress, it’s a sign they still need healing.  When asked if these pictures “trigger” me now, I say they do not.  That is a product of healing.  They are hard to look at, but not triggering.

The Fall 2015 GAP tour was especially evangelistic.  I was repeatedly asked about Deeper Still being Christian.  I say that the only lasting healing from the wounds of abortion come through Jesus Christ alone.  Over and over again, I have shared miraculous stories of healing and deliverance from the Lord Jesus at these campuses.

Are you a post-abortive person who has found healing?  We need you!  Come with us and reach out to students in a way that only you can.

Debbie Picarello is a post-abortion counselor with Deeper Still, an international post-abortion counseling ministry based in Knoxville.

A fish story at UNC Greensboro?

Fish Story

by Jacqueline Hawkins

UNC Greensboro, I suspect I was hearing a fish story.  You know the kind.  The fish just gets bigger and bigger and bigger as the story unfolds.

Unfortunately for the teller of this tale, I had experience with the subject matter, so I wasn’t so easily impressed.

An irate girl brought up the case of child poverty, the oft-repeated circumstance of a mother too poor to take care of her offspring.  The obvious answer to poverty is to kill the youngest (i.e., the most invisible) child, right?

I trotted out the toddler, which means I presented a hypothetical 2-year old and asked if poverty would justify killing the toddler.  She avoided the question, stating that she could never take care of a baby because she was poor.

As someone who has lived in relative (not absolute) poverty, I questioned her statement, trying to get a feel what degree of poverty she was experiencing, so I could frame an appropriate response.  “Of course I’m poor!” she said.  “We’re all poor!  We’re poor college students!”

Hmm.  Poor college students.  Was she talking about the college students who drive late-model cars and spend hundreds of dollars each semester on alcohol?

I explained how poverty is a bad justification for killing a child.  Again she attempted to change the subject, “My family is poor! We have debt!”

Ah, the fish has gotten bigger.

I told her that she seemed to be doing pretty well for herself.  She was alive, well-fed, going to an expensive college.  Then I got personal, “As a card-carrying poor person, I don’t take kindly to people telling me that I’d be better off dead.”  To that she exclaimed, “I was homeless!”

Ah, homeless.  She went from a poor college student, to the daughter of parents with debt, to climbing her way out of homelessness.

And yet, despite being homeless at one point or another (maybe), she hated pregnancy resource centers because, “they push anti-choice propaganda!”  Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Was she telling the truth?  If she was truly climbing her way out of homelessness, she was condemning those like her simply because they didn’t have much wealth.  Had she forgotten where she came from so quickly?  Was she really so blinded by her success and potential to succeed that she would callously sentence poor children to death?  Did she not realize that she was stealing their opportunity to follow her example and carve out a life for themselves like she was doing?  Did she not grasp that we poor people, past, present, and future, need to stick together and help each other out?

Or was she telling a tall tale to get her point across?  Was she simply ignorant of the fact that poverty, particularly American poverty, isn’t so bad that those living in it are better off dead?  Was she completely unaware that, in many cases, poverty has helped people build character, mental and emotional stamina, and unique life skills (rags to riches, anyone?)?  Was she, dare I say, a privileged young woman who looked down upon those without and easily sentenced them to death because helping them took too much work?

Jacqueline Hawkins is a CBR Project Director and a regular FAB contributor.

Pro-choice hypocrisy

While debate rages in the background, young women learning about compassion and support from volunteer Debbie Picarello.

While debate rages in the background, young women learn about compassion and support from volunteer Debbie Picarello.

by Jacqueline Hawkins

Trust women.  It’s her choice.  Support women.

These are the slogans.  But they only seem to apply when a woman chooses to abort her child.  Women who embrace unplanned motherhood need not apply for trust and support from the left.

At the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, with all of the angry student yelling about women’s rights and supporting women’s decisions, a female senior was not impressed.  In fact, she was downright sad and her downcast expression prompted Jane to speak with her.  The young woman was 15 weeks pregnant.  The baby was unplanned and she was unmarried.

Thankfully she was in a long term relationship with the father of the baby.  They were keeping the child and would ask for support from friends and family.  Looking at the crowd of angry protesters, she said, “I am not married; I am in school; I am broke.  But I don’t get any help from my peers; I just get questions about why I don’t ‘get rid of this problem.’  They don’t support my choice to keep this baby; they want me to be selfish and weak like they are.  It makes me so sad.”

This double standard was this young woman’s reality.  Where was her support?  Where was her trust?  Granted, there are pregnancy resource centers to help families like hers, but those are staffed by pro-lifers.  What about her pro-choice peers?  Where were these people who reject the label “pro-abort” but bask in the glory of the term “pro-choice” because they want women to make their own choices, even if it’s not abortion.  It probably sounds good in their heads but when it comes to real life, they quickly become 100% pro-abort and unplanned mothers who keep their children suffer for it.

Jacqueline Hawkins is a CBR Project Director and a regular FAB contributor.

If not genocide, what else would we call it?



At the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. John Cox, Associate Professor of International Studies, came out to cast aspersions on our scholarship and our character (to put it mildly).  He claimed that abortion is not genocide, staking his claim on the 1948 United Nations (UN) Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

When I brought up UN Resolution 96, adopted in 1946, Dr. Cox angrily denied that the UN ever defined genocide outside the 1948 Convention.  Wrong.  In fact, Resolution 96 stated

Genocide is a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings; such denial of the right of existence shocks the conscience of mankind, …and is contrary to moral law and to the spirit and aims of the United Nations. …

The General Assembly, therefore, affirms that genocide is a crime under international law … whether the crime is committed on religious, racial, political or any other grounds…

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocide_definitions, accessed June 17, 2016)

Note that targeting any group for extermination is genocide, whether those groups are targeted based “on religious, racial, political or any other grounds” (emphasis added).  With abortion, the entire human group being denied the right to live is unwanted, preborn children.

Dr. Cox insisted that because he had written a book about genocide, he knows.  I was not impressed with his appeal to authority (a common logical fallacy, to which arrogant college professors are unusually susceptible) and I invited him to google UN Resolution 96.

Perhaps Dr. Cox does not understand the difference between a general definition, which is intended to convey meaning, and a legal definition, which is often written to circumscribe the scope of some law or regulation.

Perhaps Dr. Cox was not aware that the scope of the 1948 Convention was limited to national, ethnical, racial, and religious groups solely for political reasons.  Genocides against social and political groups, for example, were excluded because the Soviet Union feared Stalin’s mass murders might be considered genocidal if broader language were adopted.  (The Study of Mass Murder and Genocide, Robert Gellately and Ben Kiernan, in The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective, Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 18)

Dr. Cox kept talking about his book, but given his error concerning the UN definition of genocide, I suggested he issue an errata sheet.  A bit provocative, perhaps, but when a belligerent college professor arrogantly asserts a falsehood, he must be held to account.  I can understand ignorance, and I can overlook arrogance — I’ve been both at times — but ignorant arrogance must not go unanswered, especially among college professors.  Maybe that was my inner Donald Trump coming out.

I should mention that if the preborn are not living human beings, then abortion does not kill humans and there is no relevant similarity between abortion and genocide.  But if the preborn are living human beings — science tells us that they are both alive and human — then abortion kills 1.2 million humans every year in the US alone.  If not genocide, what else would we call it?

Pro-Life On Campus at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Students gather in front of the signs to see the photos, read the messages, and ask their questions.

Students gather in front of the signs to see the photos, read the messages, and ask their questions.  Although UNC is more intolerant than most places, there are many students who were willing to engage with open minds.

Nothing could be finer than a GAP in Carolina!

At UNC Chapel Hill, we were hosted by the Carolina Students for Life (CSFL), one of the many campus pro-life organizations we’ve had a hand in starting over the years.

We set up at our usual location on Polk Place, in the heart of the campus.  Thousands of students passed by during every class change.

UNC Chapel Hill is a real bastion of intolerance and hate.  Several students vandalized the warning signs we normally place on approach routes to the display.  Because these signs are really a courtesy to students who may not wish to see genocide photos, we had to wonder if these vandals hated us, or did they just want to make sure everyone saw our display?  Not too sure about that.  Anyway, …

We had huge crowds both days. On Day 1, a street preacher stationed himself across the sidewalk from the GAP display and spoke about abortion, relativism, and salvation, to an ever-growing crowd of protesting students.  While the preacher was not a part of our operation, he used a lot of our debate techniques and talking points in his preaching.  The preacher, the protesters, and the crowds of students which gathered, all focused even more attention on our pictures.

For me, the highlight of the trip was this note left on the free speech board:

My mom was raped.  She didn’t want to have me.  I was almost aborted.  My grandmother saved my life.  When I was born, my mother was grateful.  She then loved me well.

That pretty well says it all.

On Day 2, as we prepared to leave, the protesters blasted us with “music” performed by a woman-hating “artist” who blurted out “f— you, b—-” over and over again.  The pro-aborts who blasted this rant obviously did not value or even respect women, even though most were themselves women.  So often, following Satan leads to to some form of self-loathing behavior.  Fascinating.  Instructive.


Pro-Life On Campus At University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Students study the photos at UNC Charlotte.

Students study the photos at UNC Charlotte.

GAP at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) is always a special treat for me,  having lived there briefly about 30 years ago.  Both UNCC and the city have grown tremendously; the change is really something to behold.

Like many urban universities, UNCC seems to have a lot of students who actually work as well as go to school.  People with productive jobs are not as susceptible to left-wing kookery.  We had many pleasant encounters with thoughtful students.

On the other hand, one man jumped the barricades to vandalize one of our signs.  He was arrested and is currently facing charges in criminal court.  We got some awesome video.

More to come.

Another former fetus speaks out.

Another former fetus speaks out.  This message was left on our free speech board, which invites students to write comments about GAP and abortion.

Pro-Life on Campus at Appalachian State University

Instructing the receptive at ASU.

This sculpture honors ASU’s heritage as a teachers’ college. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate place to set up GAP on Day 2. The display footprint is smaller this day because of threatening weather in the forecast.

We headed into the mountains of North Carolina to bring GAP to Appalachian State University (ASU).

It was refreshing to be around people who know how to pronounce “Appalachian.”  A few damnyankees want to call it a-puh-LAY-chuhn or, even worse, a-puh-LAY-shuhn.  These mispronunciations have been advanced by the mass media since the mid 1970s … and we all know how evil the mass media are.

Phonics.  You would never call our western mountains the “ro-SHEE” mountains.  It’s ROCK-ee, just like it’s spelled.

The correct way to say my home is a-puh-LATCH-uhn.  The ASU folks told us it took three national championships (Div I FCS) to get ESPN to finally say it correctly.  Come to think of it, if you can shame ESPN into doing the right thing, maybe we do have hope.  Anyway, …

On Day 1, we set up GAP on Sanford Mall, right in the middle of campus.  The epicenter of action was the free speech board and poll table, both right next to the GAP display, where large crowds of students gathered.  Volunteer Laurice Baddour took the lead and became the star of the show (see really bad photo).   Although many were pro-abort (for now), they calmly listened as we made our case, like truly civilized adults.  We love it when that happens.

On Day 2, heavy rains and thunderstorms were forecast, so we set up a smaller display at the eastern end of Sanford Mall.  With the smaller configuration, we could deconstruct and get off the site on short notice, before lightning would become a hazard.

On Day 3, the weather was better and we followed up with a Choice Chain for a few hours in the middle of the day.


Lincoln Brandenburg and Jackie Hawkins explain how abortion is evil because it kills a living human being.

Lincoln Brandenburg and Jackie Hawkins explain how abortion is evil because it kills a living human being.

How dare you compare abortion to the Holocaust?

Civil rights leaders agree: We can compare.

Civil rights leaders agree: We can compare.

by Fletcher Armstrong

Continuing our See you in the funny papers series (explanation), this one from the Grand Valley State University Lanthorn.

No Name:  How dare they compare abortion to the Holocaust. Nothing should every be compared to the Holocaust. … You can’t compare abortion to genocide.  They are two completely different things and trying to do so invalidates people who have survived through genocide or are going through it right now.  Also, the pictures that they put on display can be triggering for many students, faculty, and families who are touring the school.

CBR Response:  No Name, Martin Luther King, Jr. often compared racial injustice in America to the Holocaust.  Rev. Jesse Jackson later extended the comparison to abortion.  Both of them cited some of the same factors that we highlight in our display, including denial of personhood, dehumanization of the victims, etc.  They didn’t “invalidate” anybody when they made these comparisons.  They merely pointed out common themes.

BTW, this talk about “triggering” is nothing more than a plea for censorship.  You say that you think it’s OK for us to voice our opinions, but you think it goes too far when we provide evidence which proves our claim that abortion decapitates and dismembers little human beings.

Why do you want this evidence covered up?  How can it be that it is OK to decapitate and dismember little human beings, but not OK to show a picture of the result?

Pro-Life On Campus at University of Tennessee

Brandon Hambrick (orange sweater) joined the UTK Pro-Life Collegians after seeing abortion photos on his campus.

Brandon Hambrick (orange sweater) joined the UTK Pro-Life Collegians after seeing abortion photos on his campus.

by Jacqueline Hawkins

Adam Lovejoy is an all-star pro-lifer at the University of Tennessee (UT).  In December, we had encouraged Adam to join the Pro-Life Collegians at UT.  A few weeks later, he was made co-president!  His first priority was to invite CBR to bring GAP back to UT.

GAP at UT is always fun.  By that we mean froth with protest.  This time, they set up just on the other side of the sidewalk, which actually pushed the passersby over toward our display as they walked to and from class.

Pro-life students came out of the woodwork to thank us and even help.  Pro-life senior Federico Di Luzio was so impressed by our work that he signed up for the PLC, attended the meeting that night, and showed up the next morning to help set up.  Brandon Hambrick was there from the start, with his gentle but strong presence.  Solid as a rock in his Christian faith, he was an example to all his male peers.


You have to laugh as WVLT-TV falls all over themselves to say abortion is too horrific even to see.  It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.  Abortion is so insidious because it actually hides behind its own horror.

Jacqueline Hawkins is a CBR Project Director and a regular FAB contributor.

Pro-Life on Campus at East Tennessee State University

Jane Bullington speaking with an inquisitive student at East Tennessee State University.

Jane Bullington explains that abortion decapitates and dismembers its preborn victims.

by Jacqueline Hawkins

It had been 4 years since we visited East Tennessee State University (ETSU).  In 2012, it was a successful Choice Chain.  This time, it was our full Genocide Awareness Project (GAP).  We couldn’t think of a better way to spend Holy Week than work to save the “least of these brothers and sisters” of our Lord (Matthew 25:40).

One young pro-life woman was emboldened by our presence and went head to head with a pro-abort teacher’s assistant (TA).  The TA had brought her class to watch her confront and defeat (she hoped) CBR’s Fletcher Armstrong in a battle of wits.  Unfortunately for this poor TA, she came to the battle unarmed.

The pro-life student was a senior with a husband and daughter.  She knew a lot more about life than the typical college student.  It was awesome to see her in action, using her life-experience to confront the selfish naive notions of those who really didn’t understand the glories of motherhood.

At the end of the second day two students held protest signs in their lap as they lounged on the steps of the library.  They offered no compelling argument to justify decapitating and dismembering little human beings.  If somebody could only offer such an argument, it would save us all a lot of trouble.

It was a successful two days.  Things didn’t get too rowdy, so it was a perfect school to warm up for the more intense encounters to come.

Jacqueline Hawkins is a CBR Project Director and a regular FAB contributor.

Soft Racism

This ain’t your grandma’s racism.

This ain’t your grandma’s racism.

by Jacqueline Hawkins

Based on what I heard at Mizzou and elsewhere, I’m starting to realize there are two kinds of racism.

Hard racism is the obvious, in-your-face, “We hate black people.  Lynch them!  Enslave them!  ARGH!!!” kind of racism.  This racism is typical of cultural elites like Margret Sanger, KKK members, and neo-nazi skinheads.

But there is another kind of racism: soft racism.  Instead of being fueled by hatred, it seems to come from a pseudo-compassion for the plight of a lesser species.  It’s like the soft spot a pet owner might have for animals.

Mixed with the abortion/population control movement, soft racism has become more dangerous than the harder kind.  It lulls black people into a false sense of security, even as they annihilate their own race, one black baby at a time.  Meanwhile, soft-racist white people feel a sense of accomplishment, because it shows they “care” for the poor, downtrodden blacks.

Take a look at a few choice statements I’ve heard during our campus visits:

p My college roommate, in a gentle, sweet voice drenching with concern about the rate of illegitimate births in the black community, “They don’t know how to use birth control.”

In other words:  Blacks are apparently too stupid to figure out how to take a pill everyday.  (I’m not advocating usage of the pill nor premarital “safe” sex for any race, but the principle of taking a pill everyday is not that hard to wrap your mind around.)

p “I agree we shouldn’t kill children. But not everyone is equipped to take care of a baby.  Minorities need this option,” said a protester during Created Equal’s University of North Florida outreach.

In other words:  While killing children is bad, black people are so bad off that slaughtering their own children is the best option.

p Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said, “When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. … You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.”

Implication:  A double whammy.  Black people only know a life of poverty, but white people eat caviar at the country club.

p As reported in a recent story about microaggressions at Mizzou, white students at the University of Missouri said, “We don’t like that you’re tokenizing minorities!”  And, “You shouldn’t use minorities to further your agenda!”

In other words:  Blacks are too stupid to know their own minds, so their views must be assigned to them by their white benefactors.

p And finally, at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, a young white man repeatedly berated me for being token who had betrayed her own race.

In other words:  Blacks who don’t accept their assigned thoughts, words, and/or deeds must be put back in their places.

When I think about these comments, I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone.  It’s patronizing.  It’s insulting.  These folks are not entirely without concern and empathy, but it’s not the compassion you might feel it for someone you see as an equal.  Some of these folks seem to see us as lesser beings.  They take pride in shouldering the white man’s burden.

Jacqueline Hawkins is a CBR Project Director and a regular FAB contributor.

Might makes right

It is OK to kill, enslave, and destroy, because there aren’t enough people to stop us.

by Fletcher Armstrong

Continuing our See you in the funny papers series (explanation), this one from the Grand Valley State University Lanthorn.

Science Student:  You can play with words all you want, but your side will ultimately lose this argument.  It’s inevitable as older generations of voters die-off.

CBR Response:  In other words, if society allows you to decapitate and dismember, then you win the argument and you are perfectly justified in committing the act.  Might makes right.  You say, “We can kill, so we will, and you will lose.”  Gee, where have we heard that before?

I cannot say which view will prevail.  For many years, the pro-slavery view prevailed.  That doesn’t mean it was morally acceptable to enslave another person.

ALL Black Lives Matter at the Ohio State University Law School

Pastor Childress waiting for the Law School Deans to come out for some dialog.

Pastor Clenard Childress waited in vain for law school deans and black student activists to come out  and defend their threats against Madison Gesiotto.

by Jacqueline Hawkins

We hoped the Ohio State University (OSU) Law School Dean would pick on somebody his own size.  He dared not do it.  Instead, he cowered in his office.

It all started when OSU law student (and Miss Ohio USA 2014) Madison Gesiotto wrote a compelling article in the Washington Times entitled, “The number one killer of black Americans.”  That killer is abortion.

To some of her peers, this was more than they could tolerate.  A few black students were enraged that a white woman would write about black abortion.  A white student threatened violence.  Concerned about her safety, Gesiotto went to OSU law school deans to seek counsel and help in addressing the potential danger.

But instead of helping her, the deans persecuted her for expressing disfavored opinions, even making thinly-veiled threats to sabotage her career.  Read more here and here.

The OSU Law School may not care to defend Gesiotto, but CBR will.  To push back against bullying, CBR took its ALL Black Lives Matter (ABLM) campaign to the Law School’s front door.  ABLM is a variation of of our Genocide Awareness Project that focuses on abortion in the Black community.

The ABLM display doesn’t pull punches. One panel features a Confederate battle flag, along with the question, “Which is more hateful, evil done to us, or evil done by us?” Another explains how Planned Parenthood suppresses the Black vote more than the KKK ever could.

Some black students did not want Gesiotto to speak because of her skin color, but we took that canard off the table by teaming with Black pro-lifers from the Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN).

We invited deans and members of the Black Law Students Association to come out and defend their threats and bullying.  Of course, none of them showed up.

It was a great day.  Gesiotto later told us that our presence had made an important contribution to free speech at OSU.  Students who had been neutral on abortion (which is another way of being pro-abortion) were now reconsidering their view.  Furthermore, pro-life students who had been afraid to express disfavored viewpoints were now finding the courage to speak up.

This is a lesson for all of us.  The best response to bullies is to stand up to them.

BTW, don’t let anyone tell you that pro-lifers are just a bunch of old white men and brainwashed housewives.  We come in all flavors.  One of us is an ice-skating law student that moonlights as a beauty queen and writes for the Washington Times!

Jacqueline Hawkins is a CBR Project Director and a regular FAB contributor.


Lincoln Brandenburg, CBR Project Director, Georgia

Lincoln Brandenburg, CBR Project Director, Georgia

by Lincoln Brandenburg:

I’ve debated posting my thoughts on the Orlando terrorist attack.  Like many, I was outraged and deeply saddened on Sunday morning to hear of such a senseless, cowardly act of hate.

Like many, I have strong opinions on how we should respond to such disregard for the lives of others.  There are questions and exhortations to be had in terms of public policy, ideology and (not mentioned often enough) personal responsibility.

I may hash some of those opinions out in the days to come.  But in the meantime, I’ll leave it with this:

I don’t care if you’re different than me.  I don’t care if we disagree with each other’s lifestyles, politics or religion.  You are a valuable human being with dignity.  Your life matters, simply because you are a fellow human.  And I like to think that, given the chance, I would stand up for you if your life were in danger.

When Christ reiterated the greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor,” he was asked by a sly lawyer, “and who is my neighbor?”  Christ proceeded to tell the well-known story of the Good Samaritan.  In doing so, he placed two people who were culturally, racially and religiously very different side-by-side as neighbors.  The implications are obvious.

Sadly, Mr. Mateen was devoid of this kind of love for others.  Whether you want to blame radical Islam or guns for this horrible tragedy, one thing is clear: Mr. Mateen was filled with hate for others.  By all means, let’s hash out the tough issues.  But as we do so, let’s not stoop to the level of this coward.  Let’s advocate for our positions.  But let’s also listen to each other without demonizing each other.

Lincoln Brandenburg is a Project Director for CBR and regular contributor to FAB. 

Defusing instead of debating yields unexpected result

Mizzou GAP Jane (20)

Mr. Fortissimo’s wrath was extinguished by a few kind words and an offering of friendship.

by Jacqueline Hawkins

There are times when the goal in a conversation needs to be defusing, instead of debating.  I learned this at Mizzou.

“This looks delicious!  It looks like sushi!” he said angrily.

We get that all the time.  Mostly from men.  They are trying to provoke us to anger.  This young man however, had a lot of rage be hind his eyes and in his voice.  One of my co-workers said he looked like he wanted to eat someone’s soul.  The tattoos, piercings, and mohawk supported that notion.

He stalked around the display.  Seasoned GAP staffers didn’t try to engage him, but as I saw him move towards the young and less experienced volunteers, I knew I had to cut in so they wouldn’t unwittingly find themselves in an escalating fight they couldn’t handle.

My heart was pounding as I made my way over to their side of the display.  Instead of engaging him in a debate, I wanted to try something different.  Would it work?  I didn’t know.

“This looks like f***ing sushi!  It looks delicious!” he said again.

I laughed and casually leaned against the barricade.  I replied,“You remind me so much of someone I knew in middle school.”

“I don’t give a f***,” he spat.  He gave me and angry, questioning look.  He obviously didn’t expect me to go from that angle.

“Well that’s fine.  I’m just saying that you remind me of someone I used to know . We called him the Cube.  You remind me of the Cube.”  (I really did know a boy who was referred to as The Cube in middle school.)

“Whatever.  This looks like gummy bears!”

“Now hold on, sir.  Wait a minute.  You just said it looked like sushi.  They can’t look like two kinds of food at the same time.”

He clarified. “This picture looks like gummy bears.  The other picture looks like sushi.”

“Oh!  I see.  Okay.  We’ll we’re just showing folks what abortion is.”

“I say kill them all.”

I frowned thoughtfully and shrugged deciding to inject a least a little pro-life rhetoric into the conversation.  “Kill the Jews, enslave the niggers, kill the babies.  It’s kind of all the same thing,” I said nonchalantly.

He didn’t respond to my statement.  Instead he replied: “I’d like to kill myself and take some people with me.”

He couldn’t see preborn children as valuable (nor me nor anyone else, for that matter), because he didn’t see himself as valuable.

Whoa.  “I see…Well, I would seriously have to discourage killing yourself and your classmates.  That wouldn’t be good,” I said with ease.

A pro-life student I had been speaking with earlier chimed in, seeming to sense that I was diffusing and not debating.

“Look bro, if you ever want to hang out and talk, look me up.  My name’s Jason,” the pro-life student said offering his hand.

“F*** off,” he muttered.

“Come on, dude!” I exclaimed with a bit of lightheartedness.  “He’s just being nice.  I would have given anything to have someone say that to me when I was in college.  I didn’t have friends when I was in school.”

“There’s probably a reason for that,” he spat, trying to egg me on.

“There was!” I agreed.  “I was a total introvert.  I just hung out by myself which made college lonely and miserable.  So I know what it’s like.  You shouldn’t have to go through that.”

He didn’t reply.

“By the way, I like your tattoo,” I said, pointing to the ff musical sign behind his ear.  “Forte, forte right?”

“Actually it’s fortissimo,” he corrected, but without any venom.

“Oh yeah, that’s right!  I used play music in school but it’s been a while.  Fortissimo. Awesome.”

He shrugged and I continued:  “But look sir, regardless of how you feel about babies or your classmates, you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re better off dead.  I strongly suggest you see the school counselor so you can feel better.  And while you’re at it make some friends so you don’t have to be alone.”

“Yeah, definitely look me up and we’ll hang out and be friends.  My name is Jason,” he said offering his hand.

Mr. Fortissimo gave Jason’s hand a side glance and said pointedly, but without any hostility, “I’d rather stay anonymous.”

“Hey, that’s cool, but at least you know you’ve got a friend,” I said.

He was silent for a few moments.  I could tell all the wind had been blown out of his sails and he was much calmer.  He came there for a fight but got something completely different.  The crazy pro-life lady (me) took all of his  venomous barbs and turned them into points of friendly conservation.  The clean cut, bright-eyed, pro-life student offered to be his friend and hang out with him.  It probably wasn’t at all what he expected, but he certainly wasn’t going to be all hugs and giggles in response.

“I gotta go take a s***,” he said simply.  No anger, no ire, no venom.  But still some shock factor.

“Okay! I hope all goes well with that.  It was nice talking to you!” I said with a smile.

The young man who looked like he was going to eat someone’s soul walked away without anger and without venom, but with a whole lot to think about.  He probably had a reputation for being crazy and on the edge.  Plenty of people probably told him to get help.  But how many people told him to get help so that he would feel better?  Because he deserved more than living a miserable lonely life?  He’ll never forget the pictures, and I hope he’ll never forget that he was told that he deserved to feel peace in his life.  I especially hope that he and Jason do in fact become pro-life friends and hang out.

Jacqueline Hawkins is a CBR Project Director and a regular FAB contributor.