About Gary Alton Russell

While occasionally engaging in the frivolous, I prefer to spend my time engaging in pursuits that enrich my life and the lives of others.

Border Lines

At least four dictionaries – Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, Oxford, and MacMillan – define “pro-life” as being “anti-abortion.” That’s fitting. “Pro-lifers” seem to actually be “pro-birthers.” Pro-lifers appear to be solely focused on preventing abortions and generally disinterested in protecting children after they are born. Organizations like National Right to Life and Operation Rescue clearly support the right to be born, but do they really support the right to life?

The crises involving children crossing the border into the United States and children being blown to bits in Gaza have provoked many to assume their positions. So-called pro-family organizations like the American Family Association and the Family Research Council seem unconcerned by the deaths and incarceration of children.

At the Family Research Council, Ken Blackwell claims that Golda Meir once said, “We can forgive you for killing our children; we cannot forgive you for making us kill your children.”

In an opinion piece, Israeli figure Yair Lapid holds a similar view, saying that Hamas exploits the images of murdered children for political gain. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims Hamas is “exploiting Palestinian deaths to create striking televised images that will garner international sympathy.”

The images are certainly striking.

At a hospital in Gaza, “three babies shar[e] an incubator that is meant to only hold one newborn.”

Four Palestinian children playing on a beach were killed by Israeli weapons.

One article includes a photo of a bleeding child.

This collection of photos contains several images of children, including one of a dead Palestinian youth surrounded by grieving family members.

Ken Blackwell may think that President Obama “seems blissfully distracted,” but Blackwell and others seem attracted to heartless justifications for killing Palestinian children.

For many in the U.S., border lines blind them to the plight of those on the wrong side.

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association sees the influx of immigrant children into the U.S. as an issue of border security.

The border crisis is not an invasion; it’s an evasion – of violence: “Gang violence and domestic abuse are driving thousands of unaccompanied children across the U.S. border from Central America”:

During a recent late-night visit to the San Pedro Sula morgue, more than 60 bodies, all victims of violence, were seen piled in a heap, each wrapped in a brown plastic bag. While picking bullets out of a 15-year-old boy shot 15 times, technicians discussed how they regularly received corpses of children under 10, and sometimes as young as 2.

Those who do make the treacherous trek across the border face horrors on the other side.

One immigration detention center is reportedly bursting at the seams.

In cinder-block rooms with concrete benches and a toilet in the corner, there are no chairs, beds, showers or hot food. On a recent day, migrants caked in river mud were packed shoulder to shoulder, many on the floor, trying to warm up in space blankets the Border Patrol provides.

Who wouldn’t have compassion for these migrants? Plenty.

The fact that children are at the heart of this immigration crisis has not deterred activists like those in Murrieta whose nativist ideology seems to have inspired a similar action in Vassar, Mich., against the possibility of a local facility being used to house Central American children. In Vassar, some protesters even carried rifles and guns alongside their flags and their “Don’t Tread on Me” signs. Another small town named Oracle in Arizona also erupted in anti-immigrant hysteria over the prospect of migrant children being placed at a local school.

Nativists seem to forget America’s open-door policy.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed, sunset- gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin-cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she,
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore;
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Border lines blind minds.

Eleanor McCullen won a Supreme Court case challenging buffer zones in front of abortion clinics in Massachusetts. The buffer zones apparently hampered efforts by those like McCullen who wished to “counsel” women approaching clinics that provide abortions.

In one article, an accompanying photo shows McCullen standing in front a sign depicting a baby with the word “LIFE” above its head.

McCullen said she saw it as an opportunity to save lives. “If you see a baby crossing the tracks by himself, and there’s a train coming, you don’t say, ‘Oh, we don’t care, the mother must be close by.’ We would run across there. It’s something we do as human beings,” she said.

Suppose McCullen’s analogy was applied to conditions in Central America:

If you see a baby crossing the border by himself, you don’t say, “Oh, we don’t care, send the illegal back.” We would run across there. It’s something we do as human beings.

Now apply the analogy to Palestine:

If you see a Palestinian baby killed by an Israeli bomb, you don’t say, “Oh, we don’t care, Hamas is to blame.” We’d stop the bombing there. It’s something we do as human beings.

If the analogy fails to persuade the pro-lifers, then maybe they really are just pro-birth.