by Mick Hunt
Illusionists and stage magicians know the secret of misdirection. They’ll focus your attention on something relatively unimportant while the important action is happening right in front of you.
Master pickpocket and entertainer Apollo Robbins says misdirection happens in your brain as well. He told the audience in a popular TED Talk that our minds are incapable of focusing on multiple aspects simultaneously. We often experience “blindness” to things we see every day. New information cannot be processed while trying to recover old information.
So, for example, when Apollo asks George what’s in his pocket, George’s mind turns inward to remember. In the meantime, for a few moments, George did not notice what’s going on around him, that Apollo stole his watch.
Misdirection, both physical and rhetorical, is a critical tool in supporting the abortion of pre-natal children.
In my recent blog “Echo Tourism,” I mentioned an article titled “The Last Shift” written by a volunteer abortion escort and self-proclaimed “Asheville’s Village Witch.” For 10 years she greeted women seeking abortion at their cars in the clinic parking lot and walked them to the entrance. This is when we sidewalk counselors speak to the women, offering help and urging them to let their children live.
…I always started a running patter, something like this—I’ll be talking about all sorts of things so focus on my voice. It’ll be like a late night monologue, only I’m not very funny. I’ll talk about your shoes—gosh, those are cute! Or how far you had to drive—did you have far to come this morning? BlackMountain? Oh that’s not so bad. How was the traffic? Gosh, this is (fill in the blank) weather, isn’t it? Does that RAV get good gas mileage?
A running patter. In the online manuscript of Sleights of Mind, What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Everyday Deceptions, Stephen Macknik & Susana Martinez-Conde (2010) wrote:
Patter, it turns out, is one of the most important tools in the magician’s toolkit for attention management. There are only a dozen or two (depending on who you ask) main categories of tricks in the magician’s repertoire … Sleight of hand is of course critical, but so is patter, the smooth and confident stream of verbiage that can be used to hold, direct or divide attention. Apollo tells George [his victim on stage] one thing while doing two other things with his hands.
The Asheville abortion place’s website admits as much when it says,
…we have volunteer escorts who may approach your car to walk you to our front door and help distract you from the demonstrators out on the sidewalk.
In this situation, the patter is meaningless babble. Some escorts may be more adept at sincere conversation, but nothing they say pretends to engage the subject of abortion. And yet, even when abortion-choice advocates seem to engage the issue, it’s almost entirely misdirection and distraction.
I’ll explain in my next post, showing how this relates to the work of CBR.
Mick Hunt (Meredith Eugene Hunt) is a FAB contributor. He has helped organize more than 50 Genocide Awareness Projects (GAPs) all over the southeast and elsewhere.
by Mick Hunt
If you’re quiet and listen, you might hear their voices.
When I looked across the arena at the Roman Coliseum during a torrid August afternoon in 2009, I tried to imagine the scenes of death from so many centuries ago. I tried to hear the echoes of blades on shields and the mobs cheering as blood flowed into the sand.
I imagine people feel the same somber wonder and horror when they visit other certain historical sites around the world, death camp sites such as Dachau, Auschwitz, and Mauthausen, and the transport camp, Terezin.
At least two such tragic historical sites are located within Asheville, and the city is about to add another to its recommended tours.
One: The corner of 900 Hendersonville Road is now only a parking lot for a spiffy office building, but during the ‘80’s and into the early ‘90s, they aborted pre-natal children there in a low, squat building. Thousands of pre-natal children died in this sleazy, sordid place. The state of North Carolina tore it down to widen the road, and the business moved to the edge of Biltmore Village.
“Birds sang, the sun shone, flowers grew, and prayers rose up, but the laws of nature were not violated.”
Two: Train tracks surrounded the new building that was located in an industrial zoned area. It featured a narrow waiting room on steel girders spanning a dirty, limpid creek. Weeds grew up the walls of the building, and on one side, old roofing material made the siding. Steel bars guarded broken window. The abortionists drove in from Tennessee and South Carolina. It was a back alley abortion mill with a sign hanging in the front alley.
On a Saturday afternoon in November, 1998, I showed up as usual with my “Let Your Baby Live. We Will Help!” sign, but no one else came. No other pro-life people, no abortion workers, and no victims. I was alone. A sheet of white paper had been taped to the front window. For the first time ever, I walked onto the property and to the front porch. The note said the place had closed permanently.
I remember months later seeing a monster garbage truck parked in front, rocking back and forth. An industrial shredder on wheels. A few years later another business moved into the building, a non-profit called Save the Children. That’s right. I stopped once just to look around inside, and I asked the people there a few questions. I wanted to, but didn’t ask if they ever heard the echoes of screaming children. Sometime later, the owner tore the building down, leaving rubble, and piles of weed-covered earth, now in view of nearby spiffy office buildings.
Three: Apparently, the abortion center on Asheville’s Orange Street is closing now. A volunteer escort recently said so in an article titled “The Last Shift” that appeared June 15 in an online publication called The Asheville Blade. So, by the end of this month we’ll have another historical site of sorrow and death to add to the itinerary. Maybe “Save the Children” will buy the building and move in. Maybe someday this terrible place will end up like all the others, in rubble and fading memories.
My late acquaintance, Kentucky poet laureate James Still and I once ate lunch together nearly every day. I could never find his source, and I may not have the quote down perfectly, but he one day he said, “Birds sang, the sun shone, flowers grew, and prayers rose up, but the laws of nature were not violated.” He was talking about Dachau, which I know he visited. Maybe the quote was his own, a fragment of an incomplete poem.
My friends and I spent many, many hours on the sidewalk in front of Femcare–when thousands of people ignored, dismissed, ridiculed, or cursed our offers of help and appeals to moms and dads to let their babies live. Thousands of mothers carried their children passed us into the doors to be killed.
An independent observer watching the passers-by might suppose the middle finger to be an international sign for “choice.” But many people expressed support, too, as they walked or drove by. Our presence was always, usually, more a quiet vigil than a protest. I’ve watched and listened to starlings, crows, doves, pigeons, and hawks. Last Saturday, a noisy mocking bird entertained and annoyed us with his crazy song list, more of cacophony than symphony.
Prayers rose up. But not enough prayer and not enough people praying. On occasion a mother changed her mind and left with her baby alive.
Femcare is closing. A better name for it is Femkill. Though, what you call it is irrelevant now because it’s closing. What’s important is the killing probably is moving to another place—to a building on McDowell Street owned and operated by Planned Parenthood.
North Carolina law says it’s a felony to “destroy” “unborn children” unless the act is done by a licensed physician “in a hospital or clinic certified by the Department of Health and Human Services to be a suitable facility for the performance of abortions.” We often bring posters to the sidewalk depicting a 10 week child who was destroyed by abortion. This is what Planned Parenthood intends to do in its new building. It’s bloody, violent, and evil. There is no suitable facility for this.
So, are we nostalgic about our upcoming last shift at Femcare? Are we jubilant? No. Just feeling sadness and resignation. We’ll be shifting to McDowell Street, if necessary. Unique human beings, persons in embryonic or fetal form, will be destroyed in that place. And someday even it will be a ruined historical site where, if you’re quiet and listen, you might hear their voices.
Echoing in your conscience.
Mick Hunt is an FAB contributor. He has helped organize more than 50 Genocide Awareness Projects (GAPs) all over the southeast and elsewhere. This article is a response to “The Last Shift,” which was written by an abortion escort. Read the story here.
Did Martin Luther King use graphic pictures? You bet he did. He said
America will not reject racism until America sees racism.
He organized marches so that racial violence, which had been perpetrated mostly in the shadows, could now be exposed to the light of day. When Americans saw racial violence for themselves, they rejected it.
Richard B. Speed’s review of Mark Kurlansky’s book, 1968: The Year That Rocked The World, describes how Dr. King orchestrated this enormously successful strategy:
In discussing the impact of civil disobedience, Kurlansky relates a telling incident that took place during a 1965 march in Selma, Alabama. Martin Luther King apparently noticed that Life Magazinephotographer, Flip Schulke had put down his camera in order to help a demonstrator injured by the police. Afterward, according to Kurlansky, King rebuked Schulke, telling him that “Your job is to photograph what is happening to us.”
Pray for students who need healing. A young woman walked past, then turned around and came back. She asked of Ohio volunteer Laurice Baddour, “What would you do in the case of rape, and you had no other choice but to have an abortion?” Laurice: “Were you raped and had an abortion?” “Yes, when I was young.” (She is still so young!) So they talked. Laurice shared with her our “Ask the Victim” handout, told her that there are resources for healing, and said that maybe one day she will have regrets and want to access some of these resources. She walked away abruptly, but as she left Laurice said “Please know I truly care about you and am here for you.” She looked back, listened, then sadly and quietly walked away. Such women often suffer great pain and are unable to engage in civil conversation. God had prepared her heart for a seed of truth. Pray that this seed will grow and produce the fruit of healing.
The whole family needs healing. Missie was looking at the photos, at a distance, crying. Massachusetts volunteer Marie went to see what she could do. “My boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend (Susan) just had an abortion and we are all devastated and angry at her. We all would have helped her and she didn’t let us.” Missie took information on Rachel’s Vineyard and promised to give it to Susan as soon as her own emotions had calmed down. She believes Susan will be hurting sooner rather than later.
Let us follow Paul’s example of praying for the lost.
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)
Pray for students who believe lies. As is always the case, pro-aborts asserted that the pre-born aren’t human. Honest students, even those neutral on abortion, were surprised that pro-aborts would base their arguments on something so blatantly false. (When Does Human Life Begin?) Pray that these students will come out of denial.
Pray for students who know the truth but lack courage to face it. Virginia volunteer Bryan McKinney spoke with two female students for a good bit of time. She answered the usual questions. Both young women were quiet for a long time and looked up at the pictures of children who had been decapitated and dismembered. The next day, Bryan saw one of the women standing with the pro-abortion protesters. When their eyes met, the young woman looked away. She knew what she was doing was wrong. Pray that this student will have courage to accept the truth.
The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) created such an uproar at Michigan State University (MSU), the Students for Life (SFL) President Lisa Jankowski was elected Chairwoman of the College Republicans! Congratulations to Lisa! The CRs know what works, and they want it.
The tension surrounding GAP is not a negative we must overcome. It is a positive we should embrace, for two reasons. First, it is an indicator that people are uncomfortable when faced with the status quo. Isn’t that how we want them to react? Second, it is a facilitator of social change because it draws more attention, forcing people to think about abortion who would rather not.
I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’ I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. (Martin Luther King)
The pro-life students at MSU understood this. SFL Vice President Vinny Szczerowski wrote
By bringing [GAP] to MSU, we achieved greater interest in our growing Students for Life organization. The attention given to the uniqueness of this project gave our group a new reputation for being a strong advocate for pre-born children. Though we were met with fierce criticism, the amount of additional support given to the project and our organization made the efforts all worthwhile.
Why do so many students embrace this project? Because it works. Szczerowski wrote
… students even completely changed their once-held pro-choice mentality and began to see what an atrocity abortion truly is.
In other words, GAP works. People can see it.
Here are just some random comments made by passersby at Oakland University:
“It’s crazy; can I take a picture?”
“I appreciate what you are doing.”
“I want to punch you in the face.”
“I am disturbed; I don’t know what to think.”
“They are freaking terrible.”
“You should have been aborted.”
“That’s really blunt.”
“It’s just really disturbing.”
“You guys are just disgusting.”
“It’s all God’s creation…I don’t know how people can say this is normal, but we have a pretty crazy humanity right now.”
“Not allowing abortion legally won’t stop it.”
“I am glad you are doing this and I pray it gets changed in your country.” (Muslim woman)
“If my girlfriend gets pregnant, she’s going to have an abortion.” [CBR: “That doesn’t sound like ‘choice’ to me.”] “I don’t care. I would make sure she had an abortion.”
“[Abortion is a] very bad thing; I think it is a loss.”
Tyler, a young man at Oakland University was angry at us. His girlfriend had been raped and had an abortion. He told us that when she saw the GAP display, she was quite upset and unable to do anything but sit in her dorm room and cry. He wanted me to remove the GAP display, and he wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less.
I probably didn’t handle it correctly. I’m human, too, so I fumble the ball sometimes. But in the final analysis, Tyler really didn’t need to hear from me. He needed to hear from somebody he could listen to. He needed to from a woman (or man) who could relate to the pain of having aborted a child. Maybe he needed to hear from you.
We must show the truth, because everyone, including women who have been raped and are pregnant, need to see the truth before it’s too late. We were too late for this couple, but not for others.
But we also need to show compassion. If you have experienced abortion, please join our team. Please go with us, so you can explain to folks like Tyler how God loves us in spite of our sin. You can explain how God can forgive us and heal us from abortion, just as He can forgive and heal us from any other sin. You can tell them that you know this is true, because you’ve been there.
One post-abortive rape victim told us, “When you talk, I want to punch you in the face.” If you are post-abortive yourself, I’m willing to bet you will get a different response.
At every university, they basically tax conservative and neutral students (through exorbitant student activity fees) to subsidize left-wing student activism on campus. They take in millions of dollars in mandatory fees every year, with almost none of it going to conservative events/projects, but huge amounts going to left-wing propaganda events/projects. A local example is $20,000 of student activity money spent on (Perverted) Sex Week at the University of Tennessee, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.
But occasionally, they do throw us a bone. At Oakland University (OU), the Students for Life (SFL) applied for and received the funding necessary to pay for GAP. This happens rarely … very rarely.
As conservatives, we need to be coaching our students to apply for and get money for conservative activities, just like the leftists do. (We actually pay professors to coach leftist students how to apply for and get this money, but nobody is coaching our students.) When they apply for money and don’t get it, we should go to court and sue universities over and over again until they are forced to level the playing field.
One student at Oakland University (OU) said, “If you cut off your finger, then you can take the cells and turn them into reproductive cells which can be turned into a human being. So why is the embryo so important?”
Two factors in play here, dehumanization and confusion of wholes with parts.
He is confusing wholes with parts when he equates an individual cell that is part of a human being (the cell in your finger) with a cell which is a human being (a human being at an early stage of development). The cell in your finger can never act as a whole living organism. You leave it alone and it dies. The embryo in you womb is a living human being. You leave it alone and he grows into a fetus, infant, toddler, adolescent, teenager, etc.
Theoretically, it may be possible to create a new human being by manipulating an individual cell taken from the “parent.” Once that process is complete it would be a new human being. But until then, it’s only a cell from the “parent.”
He then uses this theoretical possibility of asexual reproduction to equate a baby in the womb with a cell in your finger. It’s just another way of dehumanizing the unwanted human being that he intends to kill.
We encounter many foreign students who know what genocide is. They know what dehumanization looks like. That’s because many of them have experienced it … or their families have.
A group of three Armenian students at Oakland University (OU) had lost family members in the genocide in Turkey (1915). They understood it at a personal level, and believed those family members would agree our message of genocide.
She started her life in China. She was a second child, so she started her life as an unwanted child. Most such children in China are killed, but her mother had been brave to save her life. Eventually, she found her way to America, where she was adopted by an American family. As a former unwanted child, her response to GAP was to join the Students for Life and volunteer to help!
GAP highlights many ways in which abortion is comparable (although not identical) to other forms of historical genocide. One similarity is the language used to justify the killing.
For example, pro-abortion protester Lauren Catoni was quoted in the Oakland Post (the OU student newspaper), “It’s actually horrifying that they’re comparing this to genocide because genocide is a widespread movement to eliminate people and abortion is a medical procedure people have when they need it.”
Perpetrators of genocide almost never “eliminate people.” No, they exercise their “choice” because they “need” to. Perhaps Ms. Catoni should complete her sentence: Genocide is a widespread movement to eliminate people and abortion is a widespread medical procedure people have when they need to eliminate people they don’t want.
The Oakland University (OU) Students for Life (SFL) opposed the use of abortion victim photos … until they attended the Students for Life of America (SFLA) National Conference in January.
They heard Stephanie Gray of the Canadian CBR describe how social movements have used victim images not only to change hearts and minds, but also to move people to action. They called us, and because of your support, we were able to answer that call.
OU SFL President Mirna Awrow wrote:
My fears suddenly seemed so minuscule after hearing Stephanie’s talk. We needed to do this at Oakland University. There was no way around it. We are extremely happy that we decided to go through with this campus-shaking project. The large-scale influence that this project has had on our campus is immeasurable! We are constantly doing pro-life activities on campus, but there hasn’t been something as grand as the GAP project. It reached more students in two days than we would while tabling for one hour in the student center every day for two semesters. Even then, we wouldn’t be able to tell students why abortion is wrong in 3 seconds. With the GAP project, you don’t even need to use words because the “picture is worth a thousand words” cliché truly applies here.
My new friend (I hope) W. Russell responded to an FAB post earlier this week. He (or she) wrote:
I think you are making a big mistake by linking the pro-life cause with religion. There are people out there like me that are prolife but want nothing to do with religion. Not to mention the fact that “Darwinism” (btw, there is no such thing) has nothing to do with abortion. I am an atheist, believe in evolution, and am pro-life. Why do you want to write me off as an enemy to your cause. You say the biggest treat to children is the belief in evolution and abortion. No, the biggest treat to children is ignorance and the lack of respect for human rights, every human’s rights. One can believe that every human being, born and unborn is deserving of life without believing in a deity. The pro-life cause needs all the support possible. Don’t exclude people because they don’t have the same beliefs as you. If you do, you are just as ignorant as the people who support abortion.
This is my reply (with a few edits):
Thanks for your comment. I wholeheartedly agree with much of what you said. For example, you said, “One can believe that every human being, born and unborn, is deserving of life without believing in a deity.” You are of course correct. Many atheists agree with us on the right to life.
You said we should not link the pro-life cause with religion. There is some truth in that. For example, we should be able to argue against abortion without appealing to our religious beliefs. With our Pro Life Training Academy, we do exactly that. We train people to talk about spiritual matters only with people who are open to that discussion. When an atheist asks us why we oppose abortion, we don’t say he must adopt a new moral code before he can become pro-life; we simply ask him to apply his current moral code to everyone equally, including the unborn. We assume that he opposes killing born people, and usually he does.
You said, “The pro-life cause needs all the support possible. Don’t exclude people because they don’t have the same beliefs as you.” You are again correct, and I am happy to work beside you to end injustice, including the injustice of killing unborn children, no matter what else we may disagree about.
But I don’t agree with you that just because we disagree on something important, I have “[written you] off as an enemy to [our] cause.” It only means that we disagree on some things and agree on other things. I have many friends in the pro-life movement, and I disagree with almost all of them about religious matters that we consider important.
It is unrealistic to expect that Christians will quit being Christians when they take up the cause of ending injustice. We Christians fight injustice for two reasons. First and foremost, we are commanded to do so by our Creator.
Second, Christians believe that all of us (including you and me) are created beings, and we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the right to life. If there is no Creator, then we all evolved from the earth. We are simply a cosmic fluke, mere dust that happens to be animated for a short period of time before we return to dust. And if that is true, then what is the basis for any kind of morality? How can one clump of animated dust say what is moral and what is not moral for another clump of dust?
And are all clumps of animated dust to be treated equally? What is the basis for declaring that human lumps of dust have a greater status than non-human lumps of animated dust (e.g., animals)? Or even non-animated lumps of dust (e.g., rocks).
If we claim greater moral significance for ourselves than for dogs or rocks, because we are more evolved, then who is to say that some of us humans aren’t more evolved than others, and therefore entitled to greater rights?
That’s why I believe Darwinism to be a dangerous philosophy … because it ultimately leads to the conclusion that there is no objective morality, there is no basis for equality, and there is no imperative to treat anyone with human dignity. Any moral code is only a tool to promote self interest, and it can be discarded by those in power as soon as conditions make a different moral code more profitable.
I know that you have a different basis for your beliefs that there is a moral code we are all bound to follow, that we all have a right to live, etc. And I respect that. I just don’t agree with it. I welcome you to the table of respecting the unalienable rights of all people; I just got there through a different door. That doesn’t mean that I have written you off as an enemy, nor does it mean I don’t welcome your support. It just means we disagree.
But before I close, it is my duty to say that I am concerned for your eternal soul. It is my hope that you will live abundantly, not only for a few years on this earth, but eternally in the world to come. I hope you won’t be angry to know this.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)
On final note about Darwinism (the notion that all life forms evolved as a result of random, unguided, naturalistic processes). Speaking as somebody with a science background, I believe the claim that science has made a conclusive case for Darwinism, as opposed to the alternative theory that life is the result of intelligent design, is a classic example of begging the question (i.e., assuming the proposition you claim to be proving). Darwinism does not prove man evolved via naturalistic processes; it assumes man evolved via naturalistic processes. Big difference. But, that’s another topic for another day.
At Virginia Tech, a male student asked what should a couple do if they can’t financially provide for a child. We talked about community resources and adoption options. We talked about adopted children who are thankful to be alive. He was visibly moved, we wondered if he is the father of a pregnant woman’s child.
It occurred to me that our culture is telling young people two contradictory things.
First, they hear a steady stream of flattering remarks about how smart they are. Stuff like, “You are the smartest group of students ever to attend this university.” Teenagers already believe they are much smarter than everybody else. That’s part of being a teenager, but this generation believes they are smarter than George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
On the other hand, they believe themselves to be so weak and helpless, they can’t possibly take care of themselves, much less take care of their own children. It has never occurred to them that parents less well-educated and less wealthy than themselves have been raising children for thousands of years.
This kind of thinking is the staple of the political party who promises to (1) provide for their every need, and (2) preserve their the right to kill their own children. If people figure out that they are plenty strong enough to take care of themselves and their children, the party of dependency and death would become less relevant.