Manslayers I Have Known
7 December 2011
Well, I got my name in the paper! – for doing something “cool”!
It’s true! I wasn’t contending for those despised and rejected little ones. I was doing other, more regular good works. Nevertheless, it brings up the subject of manslaughter.
Here in Wilmington, Ohio, we had our first murder in 20 years eight months ago. Roger Curtis stabbed a local bar owner about 50 times and took a little cash on March 29. He went to court on 26 October, confessed, and was sentenced to life without parole.
The story is here: WNJ article. But the link doesn’t supply all that appeared in the print version, which comes to us locals six days per week. (Pretty good for a small town.) The report from 27 October said:
“Curtis also mentioned ‘two kind men’ he had never met before being incarcerated who, he said, have helped me accept what he’s going through. Seated in the gallery were Allen Willoughby of Sugartree Ministries and Michael Bray who has a jail ministry.”
He was jailed in the place where I have been visiting weekly since February, a month before Curtis was jailed. At our regular weekly hour of visiting and teaching we baptized Roger Curtis along with another inmate, Eddie, five days before trial. Roger had brought Eddie to salvation in Jesus, preaching to him and urging him to trust in the promises made by the Anointed One who was sent down to mankind to die so that the sins of the world could be punished in him.
As best a human can tell, Roger is a new man. Allen, who had visited Roger one-on-one two or three times per week for eight months, is particularly impressed with the change in this man. He said to Roger at our visit with him a few hours after trial, “You are a friend. You have changed my life.”
I am not sure what Allen meant, but I know that he is quite dedicated to continuing his visits with this disciple. He will spend time with this “brother” and care for him like his own son.
My meditations concerning the taking of a human life were stirred. And five other manslayers came to mind. I thought, of course, of my good friend Paul Hill. The two other men who killed abortionists are James Kopp and Scott Roeder, both of whom I came to know after they performed their deeds. A fifth man is Jim Von Brunn – fellow inmate at Ray Brook FCI near Lake Placid, New York, and the sixth is another inmate at Ray Brook, Marc Vlasic.
The three who killed abortionists did so with the intention of preventing them from murdering any more children. I knew Paul Hill and what he believed. I knew his family and visited him in his home before he terminated an abortionist and his bodyguard. We stood together in public support of Michael Griffin who preceded Hill by sixteen months with his own slaying of another abortionist. Justification for Hill’s actions were presented by himself. They were the same principles which he used in proclaiming the innocence of Griffin. I attended the execution of Paul Hill and witnessed the uncanny timing of the thunder and lightning that struck the prison at the moment of execution as if Heaven itself were signifying a warning for the execution of a righteous deliverer.
I have come to know James Kopp through correspondence after he terminated an abortionist in Canada. I visited him once in jail in New York. Jim has been an anti-abortion activist whom my wife met along with many other Operation Rescue door blockers. They were in jail together in New York and Atlanta for short stays along with dozens of others (in the case of New York) and hundreds (in Atlanta). Jim was dedicated to applying his wits to developing all kinds of methods to extend the blockade time that numbers of abortion opponents might use to keep the abortion business closed. When the congress passed the ant-anti-abortion FACE bill Jim was left, it seemed, with no way to save a child other than direct action. And even at that, his intention was the wound the abortionist, one Bernard Slepian, whom he killed by accident on October 23, 1998 in New York. Going to trial he did not wish to emphasize his intent to wound Slepian and thus to denigrate the work of others as if his choice were better than those who chose to assuredly stop any more shedding of innocent blood by intentionally killing the (true) murderers and thus stopping them from continuing their evil actions.
Scott Roeder also shot an abortionist, and quite intentionally as had Paul Hill. He was willing to wait until Abortionist Tiller, who aborted children late in gestation from around the country, had been prosecuted for various statutory violations. When the efforts initiated by Phill Kline were foiled (see a report on Kansas abortion politics here: http://www.worldmag.com/articles/18013), Roeder found no reason to refrain from carrying out his intentions to stop Tiller from continuing his child-murdering profession. Plenty of opportunity had been given the man to stop murdering children. Roeder’s sense of duty to stop the innocent blood shed outweighed concerns for Tiller’s personal well-being and reformation. I visited Scott before attending his trial and again in the fall of 2011. I have sent him books and we correspond regularly.
The fifth man, Jim Von Brunn, was at Ray Brook F.C.I. when I arrived in 1985. He was imprisoned from 1983 to 1989 after he had attempted to arrest Paul Volcker, then-head of the Federal Reserve Board, with plans to force him to tell the truth about American’s corrupt monetary system. Two decades after his release from prison, he walked into U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and shot a black guard, Stephen T. Johns, to death.
He had committed no murder other than in his heart when I met him at Ray Brook. Christianity quickly became the focal point of a conversation that I had with him – perhaps the only lengthy one. He expressed essential agreement with the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and affirmed a belief in the essential superiority of certain ethnic strands of the human race over others (there was the über- and unter-mensch; super- and sub-human). He believed in that the evolutionary progress of humanity was best achieved by maintaining purity of these superior ethnic strands, viz. the Aryan or European “race.” This goal was subverted by intermixing of the races. And, to the point, he viewed Christianity as adversarial in its doctrine of targeting the poor for uplifting benevolence and in the doctrine of equality of all the ethnic groups by their common possession of the “image of God.” This doctrine permitted the inter-marriage of ethnic groups, diluting the strength of the European strand. He commended the bravery of my own alleged involvement in anti-abortion activity, but he said it was misguided. Von Brunn approved of abortion as a means of ridding the race of defective people. And the inferior strands of humanity were welcome to curb their natural reproductive course by aborting their offspring and ought not to be discouraged from that intention. These views he expressed quite politely and directly to me.
The sixth man, Mark Vlasic, was a plane hijacker. On September 10, 1976 Trans World Airlines Flight 355 took off from Laguardia Airport for Chicago. On board the Boeing 727 aircraft were seven crew members and 85 passengers. Vlasic and four others in pursuit of Croatian independence hijacked the plane. They arranged for the pilot, Captain Carey, to open an envelope and read the following note: “One, this airplane is hijacked. Two, we are in possession of five gelignite bombs, four of which are set up in cast iron pans giving them the same kind of force as a giant grenade.” The hijackers went one with the rest of their six demands which advised that they had an identical bomb for the authorities to inspect in a locker number 5713 across from the Commodore Hotel on 42nd Street (specific instructions were given) and that the plane will be heading toward London, England. The goal was to drop propaganda fliers from the air over London and Paris to arouse support from a free Croatia. The bomb in the plane was fake and the real bomb in the subway was made available for experts to examine and thereby take the “bomb” in the plane seriously along with the hijackers’ demands.
Instructions found by authorities in the locker included a cast iron stew pot with two wires running out. Advertisements regarding Croatia were to be placed in the New York Times; the Los Angeles Times; Chicago Tribune; International Herald Tribune; and the Washington Post. The penalty for failure to meet the demands would be activation of another timed explosive device in busy location.
The pot was subsequently transported in a bomb truck to the city’s police pistol range in the Bronx. Explosives specialists decided to attempt a risky dismantling operation to gain information about the device. The bomb blew up, killing one officer almost instantly and seriously injuring another.
The leader did 32 years and was deported upon release. Vlasic did 12 years. He was arguably unaware of the existence of the real bomb. Just went along for Croatia and wanted to scare folks into dropping some fliers. No harm intended.
Hill, Kopp, and Roeder are, of course, wrongly prosecuted by and ought to be rewarded for their deeds rather than punished. They are the victims of a government gone Godless which punishes those who do good and rewards evildoers. I gave known them and have heard their personal confession of trust in the work of Christ for their own sin-ridden souls. These men are secure in the salvation which the Lord of Life has provided by His own death.
Roger Curtis is one with them. And though he was rightly prosecuted for murder, his sins are forgiven and he joins these three in the expectation of resurrection unto joy and life eternal.
I have no knowledge of Vlasic’s life since he departed from Ray Brook, but I know that while he was there, he had nothing to do with the community of saints, the followers of Jesus, who maintained fellowship together and corporately displayed a witness to Him and his Church.
The same is the case with Von Brunn, for whom I am left with the least personal hope as he was near death when he was shot by police as they exchanged fire with him during his commission of hate-filled and murderous deeds.
The good news is that the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse us – as singular persons – from all sin. And He calls us to join with His church, the “Community of Saints” to be the Messiah, to manifest God to the neighborhood, the city, the state, and nation in which it is located.