|Two packages recently received by The Hamilton Spectator led to a media frenzy in Steeltown which ended as quickly as it began when police concluded the packages were not related to the shootings of three Canadian abortionists in recent years.
The sending and contents of the packages made front-page headlines for days at a time in the Spectator and also received prominent coverage in the broadcast media. The Spectator at one point devoted an entire broadsheet page to a feature on “anti-abortion violence.”
The police conclusion eventually led to some speculation among Hamilton pro-life activists that the packages were actually sent by pro-abortion elements seeking to capitalize on the propaganda and public relations victory to be gained by the exercise, although media outlets neglected to look at that as a possible explanation.
The latest chapter in the abortionist-shooting saga began Dec. 11 when the Spectator received a package taunting police and threatening an unnamed, but outspoken, local woman abortionist in “a morbid, bizarre fashion.” It followed the Remembrance Day wounding of Winnipeg abortionist Jack Fainman by a sniper.
In the package, blood-red ink streaks highlighted previous newspaper articles on the abortionist shootings and one of the police officers working on the case was called a “pig.” The stamp on the package bore an image of the Virgin Mary and the Christ child. A book recommendation and telephone number promoted the Catholic apostolate at the Fatima Centre in Fort Erie, Ont.
Hamilton police immediately sent an officer to protect the woman abortionist and retrieved the package from the Spectator.
At the time, the Spectator quoted Dallas Blanchard, chair of the sociology department at Pensacola’s West Florida University as saying the package “sounds authentic, like it is from one of the real kooks, the wild ones.”
Blanchard was the Spectator’s sole source for expert comment on the shootings and was described as the author of three books on “anti-abortion radicals.”
On Dec. 20, the full-page Spectator feature focused on the violent measures advocated by the U.S. Army of God organization, even though buried in the article was a statement by Blanchard that it is not a real organization.
A second, similar mailing received by the Spectator around New Year’s Day was said to compare “anti-abortion radicals” to an army with a mission and suggested that the next sniper attack on an abortionist will be fatal. It made further, frequent references to the Army of God, as well as Atlanta-based Missionaries to the Preborn, Portland-based Advocates for Life and Operation Rescue.
The mailing also made more threats against the unnamed Hamilton abortionist and was said to have depicted her lying on the ground with blood running from her mouth.
Blanchard reacted with alarm to news of the package. “This one seems more dangerous. I think your doctor really needs to be warned.”
On Jan. 3, the Spectator reported that police believed the mailings were probably not from someone connected with the shootings. “The evidence seems clear to me that these letters aren’t from the shooter,” said Hamilton police Inspector Dave Bowen. “The actions and behavior (between the shootings and the mailings) suggest the same person is not responsible.”
The article was the last word the Spectator had on the mailings.