Michael Bray

Author of A Time To Kill

A Tale of Two Tragic Deaths

Michael Bray
November, 2004

A Tale of Two Tragic Deaths
A Short Lamentation on Martyrdom

We are approaching the five-year anniversary of the self-immolation of a nameless 53-year-old woman in Berwyn Heights, Maryland. On Friday, October 30, 2004, in apparent protest against abortion from all that the evidence shows, the woman poured gasoline upon herself and then lit herself on fire in front of an abortuary – Metropolitan Family Planning Institute on Greenbelt Road. She died two days later, but her name was never released.

What a contrast to the all the news coverage the famous self-immolations of those opposed to the Vietnam War (http://www.christiangallery.com/womaninflames.htm). Media moguls seem to have their sympathies. They still haven’t disclosed the name of this woman five years after the incident.

Five months earlier, a man two thousand miles to the west destroyed himself after making a more costly statement.

Marv Heemeyer (d. 4 June, 2004)


Marv Heeymeyer, fifty-two, inflicted $750,000 upon Grandby, Colorado because of a zoning dispute he had with the city. He spent over a year refitting his bulldozer with armor protection and wired an ingenious network of cameras so he could see outside. Inside, he mounted powerful fans to blow away dust from the air slits and gun portals on the fourth of June drove it through the town and destroyed 13 buildings, all related to those he deemed blameworthy. He shot himself in the head with his .357 when his home made military tank got stuck.

(Some apparently anarchistic Russian fans embrace the act as good in se. See this site for some good pictures of the mess he made of that town: http://marvinheemeyer.ru/photos.htm)

Reflecting upon these events, I thought it a shame that the deceased did not make better use of their impulses. Moreover, it was also a tragedy of circumstance that both of these contemporaries never met one another to combine skill and passion into one glorious enterprise. If a person has an overload of righteous indignation or sorrow and he just doesn’t want to bear it any more, he ought to pray to the Lord and find a good way to creatively and righteously channel such energy.

Now in the case of Mr. Heemeyer, there was the need of a higher level of righteous indignation. He needed to focus on the widespread evil of child slaughter, for example, rather than the personal abuse he suffered at the hands of townsmen who made bad zoning judgments. The anonymous woman might have so enlightened him.

As for the anonymous woman who apparently bore great sorrow and fury over child slaughter, Oh that she had been able to confer with one so skilled in wreaking havoc! What a fine couple they would have made even for a short time.

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