Conversing with James Kopp
Conversing with James Kopp
His Disappointments and Exhortations
The following was unpublished until July, 2011
15 February, 2003
On 22 January, the 30th anniversary of the Day of Infamy, Bill Koehler and I were able to visit Jim Kopp in the Buffalo’s City Jail. Mr. Koehler is a long-time friend of Mr. Kopp, a former co-participant in blockades (“rescues”) and protests in the interest of justice for the womb children. We were able to visit Mr. Kopp for an hour after completing a 90 minute, dozen-man demonstration in front of the jail in support of Mr. Kopp where we were opposed by sundry homosexuals, anarchists, fans of bestiality, lapsed Christians, Democrats and basic miscreants. Our several signs all read “Save a baby; call a Kopp” to the great indignation and unholy ire of these anti-antis.
I want to convey as best I can the sentiments of this man who has risked his life for the helpless. I shall refer to Mr. Kopp hereafter with the name by which his friends call him, “Jim.” I shall trust he will condescend to such a presumption. He is matchless in his personal devotion to justice for those we call the “unborn.” (I shall also refer to the other activists below by their familiar names as they are also my Christian friends.)
Jim is no more an advocate of the use of force to stop abortion any more than he is an advocate of the use of blockades; he advocates taking up your vocation and saving babies. Jim is a pro-choice anti-abortionist; he calls upon his fellow citizens take a “next step” in whatever anti-abortion action they have chosen to be involved with. Even the old lady who hates baby killing, rather than wringing hands at home, can take a walk past the killing site; in due time, she might walk by and spit on the place as she prays with imprecation. So forth and so on; there are others who will be more directly and immediately effective in their efforts.
I have said that he is “matchless”; I would explain. Jim has devoted himself for many years to the plight of the womb child. This has been his way of life as one who has been, I aver, divinely set apart for a holy cause. And he has implemented many means to the same end: picketing, sitting in front of entrances, chaining or otherwise locking himself to doors. He has worked with groups publicly and, by his own testimony in the case at hand, he has worked alone and covertly. He is matchless as one who has spent much time in jail for many shorter terms and then gone down for the long “bit” he now faces. Shelley Shannon and Paul Hill were activists who shifted from speech (Paul) and blockades (Shelley) to killing (Paul) or wounding (Shelley). Neither had done as much jail time as Jim. Paul and Shelley performed their most self-sacrificing deeds in public, willfully taking on the unjust penalty and presenting themselves as witnesses and owners of their own deeds. Jim acted in secret, avoiding self-sacrifice and seeking to be more effective in showing mercy. Simply put, the sniper is much more effective in accomplishing the goal of saving children than is the one who saves the children and publicly takes responsibility and penalty. Neither method can be criticized as better than the other: one has a prophetic emphasis carrying a direct message to the citizenry and government; the other has nothing but eleemosynary purposes and is strictly intended to rescue the greatest number of children. The sniper/rescuer can repeat his deed. The prophet/executioner only performs once. Jim Kopp is distinguished in two ways; first, as one who practiced his deed(s) in secret so as to be most effective, and, second, as one who wielded lethal force.