It’s been way too long since I’ve written here but I’m about ready to get back into it. I’m more frustrated and saddened than I’ve been in a while and it’s difficult right now to really process the current moral state of my country, Canada, and particularly its cultural and economic locus, the city of Toronto.
This is going to be a slightly emotional post for me. I’m a little scared to write it. I’m fighting back the urge to resort to either blind rage and contempt or excessive restraint and silence. I think writing this will help me more than anything to find a useful middle-way. I hope there’s something here for others as well.
This past week had multiple occasions where civil pro-life activists in Toronto were senselessly victimized in public with physical violence.
The first incident on September 30 featured Jordan Hunt “roundhouse kicking” a pro-life campaigner across the shoulder (video below). This is now well known and public knowledge. Yesterday, he apparently turned himself in and has been charged by Toronto Police with multiple counts of assault.
The very next day, October 1, two of my Toronto-based pro-life friends were at Ryerson University, legally and politely inviting students and passers-by into discourse on the issue of abortion and human rights. A pro-choice woman then approached and attacked them both (video).
I’ve personally participated in this activity (called Choice Chain) with them, where we set up on public property and ask people questions, and I can vouch for the very kind, confident, and civil manner in which they conduct themselves in conversation. It’s all about engaging the other side in a thoughtful back-and-forth, with ears as well as words. The only people disputing this, it seems, are the groups expressly and entirely devoted to shutting down any conversation between pro-lifers and otherwise-minded folk. Ironically, it was a member of Ryerson’s Reproductive Justice student group that was the aggressor in this incident. I say this is ironic because (a) the mother-ship of pro-choice argumentation is the dignity inherent in self-determinism and human autonomy, and (b) this particular group’s Twitter page is stacked with posts warning Ryerson students of the presence Anti-Choice Protesters who threaten harm (albeit from nearly a year ago). Well, whose safety is really in danger? And whose autonomous rights are we really trying to preserve?
What might be worth adding is, as Roaming Millennial succinctly pointed out in her response video to the Jordan Hunt case, the dead giveaway that this is a leftist ideologue pushing an agenda and not a genuine women’s rights advocate is that he quite literally roundhouse kicked a woman. Interestingly enough, after he appealed to the tired rape argument.
Hearing of these two incidents was more or less like being dunked in ice water. I hear about Jordan Hunt first and naturally I’m pissed. Satan feels the need to tempt me into hatred and I come close to giving in. Then, I catch the video of familiar faces being targeted and my inward contortion is on another level.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. Pro-lifers in Toronto and elsewhere have been on the receiving end of assault for a while. It’s nothing new.
Nothing seems more counterproductive to the pro-choice movement’s agenda than a violent outburst like the ones seen in those clips. Not just for the obvious reasons but because violence, as a response, is directly in conflict with the core doctrines of the pro-choice worldview. How is anyone supposed to take their message seriously? Or lend it any intellectual credibility? But, moreover, it’s the safe-space leftist-types that are bent on convincing the masses of the so-called anti-choicer’s diabolical motivation, the absolute desire to hurt, guilt, and shackle. Yet, there’s been four reported incidents in the last month in Toronto alone of pro-choice counter-protesters harassing pro-life activists.
So, to the moderate, rational pro-choice person that may be reading this, I’m sure that if you were previously aware of these recent attacks, you’ve already expressed your disgust. Thank you for being consistent and, well, decent.
I guess the takeaway items I’d put forth, after all of this, are the following:
- Having done Choice Chain myself, I’ve personally been questioned on why somebody keeps a phone/camera out while doing activism. This is precisely the reason. It’s a means of defense against those incapable of rational debate.
- There are people incapable of rational debate who will resort to aggressive behavior and I have scant idea how that could be. Unless there was already an informed inclination to a violent solution. I don’t know.
- Of course, I will remain consistent and not judge an entire position/movement by the misconduct of a single member or multiple members. Of course not. I expect my camp to be treated likewise. I further expect rational pro-choicers to be as vocal against this aggressive behavior as pro-lifers.
- Keep in one’s thoughts and prayers those going out on the front-lines, having the face-to-face discussions, changing minds not through intimidation and childish taunts but through the power of argument and compassion, that they would be safe and persevere.
- It is no small task to return to these front-lines after one has been publicly made a target. It takes real courage. And from what I’ve been told, the victims of these attacks, understandably shaken, will return to doing activism because it makes a difference in the lives they reach every day they take to the streets. Ultimately, it’s about saving lives.
- The free flow of open discussion is the ultimate means of exposing and eradicating false and heinous ideas. It is how the truth is discovered and promoted in a society. Using violence to keep parties quiet is to immediately create a space for darkness to thrive. Civility has left the building. Heaven, help us.
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