It's been a week since Dr. George Tiller was murdered and I'm still processing it.
I've been writing about- obsessing about- a coming conflict between pro-choice and anti-choice activists for years now, since high school. I've studied the subject, read every thing I could get my hands on about the killings in Pensacola and Brookline back in the mid-90s, and while I had all the knowledge about the subject in my head, a decade of relative peace (or at least Cold War) had eroded some of the emotional response. I was thinking of those events in terms of history and literature, in terms of what those killings meant in terms of the real future of America and the fictional future of America I'm inventing.
Now, it seems very, very deeply weird to be writing a sourcebook about a fictionalized military sci-fi version of this conflict as a real soldier in the real war is laid to rest. On one hand I feel like The Goddamned Batman- I've got files and photoes on my hard drive at home, I know the psychology and tactics of the badguys and have a pretty good guess what will happen next. On the other hand, I feel like a fucking vulture.
What you may not know about me is I've never had any signifigant personal contact with abortion. I've never had a girlfriend get pregnant, though I do know alot of women who have confessed their own abortions to me. (which is sorta understandable if they knew what I wrote about, what kind of reference books I've got on my shelf.... I'm a pro-choice guy who isn't a Christian, and isn't likely to judge and knows enough about the subject not to make an ass of myself. But alot of these women, I've never told about my writing, or my bookshelf, or really about my politics or faith. It's just like I've got some kind of comforting pro-choice pheremones....) In EVERY single case, these women feel guilty which is a testament to both their innate goodness and the sheer virulence of the pro-life mindset.
A few weeks before this, I was watching the movie Knocked Up with my friends, and I commented to one of them that when a main character seriously starts considering abortion, it ceases to be a comedy. I still stand by that, but what got me thinging is that even I as a pro-choicer have sorta bought into the pro-life meme. The ideology is like spiritual Sarin gas- it does nothing but spread death and misery, and you can't escape it. I started asking myself why do even we pro-choicers view abortion as this monumentous, life altering event? Why do we allow the pro-life cause to make us feel guilty about what is basically the first choice a parent- a good parent- makes? I got to thinking about it more and more, and I realized that part of being a good parent is knowing when the circumstances aren't right for you to be a parent, and taking action to prevent a lifetime of misery for your child to be. So why exactly is abortion any more signifigant than sitting through a spectacularly boring PTA meeting, another mundane (and often lampooned in sitcomedies) part of good parenting?
On a Lighter Note
That's why I can't watch Labryinth today, by the way. You know the one, David Bowie, muppets, Jennifer Connelly? I can't watch it as an adult, even if I loved it as a kid, because of the stident and obvious anti-abortion metaphor. Seriously, if any kid who grew up watching that movie has an abortion as an adult and feels even the tensiest bit guilty about it, about doing the right thing for herself and her family, every copy o' that peice of shit should be pulled off the shelves and shoved right up Jim Henson's dead asshole. And don't get me started on Bill Mantlo's run on Alpha Flight and Goblyn... sure that run gave the comic book world Jim Lee's penciling debut, but it also gave us the world's first aborted fetus superhero.
Anyway, about two years ago I was working at a call center for American Express, replacing lost and stolen credit cards for overprivledged yuppies who were put out by the fact that I couldn't get 'em a card TODAY, but I'd be happy to get 'em a card tomorrow. 99% of my customers, I would of cheerfully shot in the face, the entitled, spoilt, hedonistic rich fuckers.... bastards, the lot of them. But one day, I got a call from a woman who had lost her credit card last week, and we'd already UPSed her a replacement. She called, practically in tears, because the card hadn't arrived yet, and was promised to arrive by 5 pm. At first I thought she was just another damn prima donna, but I started to talk to her, calm her down and I said that I'd send out another replacement to her tomorrow, and I'd send it to her work place.
She explained she couldn't get packages at work. 100% non-negotiable, and it wasn't just a matter of her boss being a jerk, it was an ironclad security policy. I immediately woke up a bit, because very few workplaces have that strict of security requirements. Military bases, especially intel bases have that level of security. So do some really skeezy strip clubs/whorehouses and most crack houses, but those kind of folks usually don't have a gold AMEX. And one other place of work....
She explained the situation. She is an abortion doc, whose home address was in Kansas somewhere. I don't remember where. And she's crying on the phone with me, because the bad guys know where she lives, and they may have taken the package UPS left in her mailbox. And she's afraid that politically motivated credit card fraud is the least of her worries, because if they (she capitalizes the words as she says them) murder might be next.
Okay, no question about it. She's not a spoiled rich fuck at all, and I'm about to pull out all the stops, the Spoilt Millionaire option for Titanium cardholders only to get her a card tonight by private courier. Fuck policy. Fuck the fact she doesn't spend enough to get the shit-bag billionaire treatment of having a card deployed to her by helicopoter-piloting mercenaries, like some kind of really stupid Shadowrun game.
This woman is a fucking hero, putting her life and financies and reputation on the line to save women when they are at their most desperate and needy, and getting called 'babykiller' for her trouble. She's a cop on the beat, a soldier in Iraq, she's a member of the motherfucking Justice Leauge of America. She's getting the card, and I tell her this, and I'm thanking the Goddess that I took her call, and not the Evangelical Christian guy over to the cubilce on the right, because even though he's a good guy, everything the right to life movement would ever need to fuck this woman's life completely was on my screen.
And that was that. I helped her. Felt good about it for days, about the only time in that whole job full of babysitting rich bastards and dipshit debutantes that I actually felt I accomplished something postive for the world. And remeber, this poor lady was terrified three years before Tiller's death. I don't know if she worked at Tiller's clinic, or even knew him, or not, and I honestly don't even remember her name, not that I'd say it here even if I did, but that doesn't matter. Where ever she is I hope she's safe. And I hope she still has the credit card I sent her.
Anyway, enough of my rambling, incoherant rage. I'm still working on APEX, and just finishing up the art. I'll start layout on APEX either this week or next, and should have a draft up on RPGnow for purchase by July. I'm already starting work on Outcast America, which deals with kids, cults and criminals in the setting, a sourcebook on the Bastian Chocier faction, and setting books for 2107's San Fransisco and Solomon Station, the Lifer-flagged spacestation out in Jupiter orbit.
Finally, I'm worring about future violence. I'm glad that the pro-choice blogger circuit is calling FOX news and that dipshit O'Riely to account for his ideological imeptus to violence. he's like America's Osama Bin Laden, but only more dangerous, because alot of Americans actually LISTEN to him. I'm hoping that after all the dust settles, Operation Rescue is at the center of the nastiest FBI/Dept of Homeland Security fuck-fest ever devised by man or beast, and that Randall Terry is in prision as a co-conspirator.
However, short term, I have a feeling both organizations are going to emerge stronger and even meaner, like a dying coyote with rabies, even if the long-term survival of Op Rescue and FOX News are in question. I also have a feeling that more violence is in the offering- I'd place the the next anti-abortion shooting in one of the Dakotas, either north or south, because both states have recently been ideological battlegrounds, and are dramatically underserved in terms of abortion access. Killing a doctor there will seriously hinder abortion access, and garner media attention, and will provide a concrete tactical 'victory' for the extremist art of the anti-choice movement. The clinic on the Ogalada-Souix reservation land in South Dakota, the one I mention on page one of the Otherverse America setting is a Real Place (TM) (C), (though I changed the name in the game) and I really, really hope they're tightening their security. Having Federal marshalls in palce to protect the clinic wouldn't be untoward, and I hope President Obama does so.
It would also be a memetic/propaganda victory for the pro-choice side- if the media runs photoes of US Marshalls escorting young women into the clinic, it calls to mind the Marshalls escorting the Little Rock Seven to school during the segreation era, and reminds people that the government occasionally takes Big Risks to protect the rights of its citizens, and visually/historically reframes the debate as a matter of civil rights.
I'm hoping Tiller's clinic opens soon, but if I were the staff there I"d be bracing for more violence, as well as more semi-violent and non-violent protests and harassment, everything from sit ins in procedure rooms, 'lock and glue rescues' that destroy the doors or block access to the clinic, to harassment from lifer infiltrators within the local government, beauracracy and regulatory agencies. I have a feeling that one of Operation Rescue's tactics will be to discourage, harass and eventually try and bankrupt which ever doctor assume's Dr. Tiller's practice.
Anyway, it's been a long post with little central theme, and I'll let you go now. Be safe.
CHRIS A FIELD