Thursday, July 21, 2005

Rudolph Pleads Guilty

Eric Rudolph, who in the 1990’s carried out a string of bombings targeting abortion clinics, gay bars, and the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta has pled guilty in federal court. The four life sentences without parole he received seem somewhat mild when one considers that he could have received the death penalty for the two fatalities that resulted from his attacks. Rudolph, in a written statement given in court, comes across as an intelligent, unrepentant man, similar in some ways to the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski. In an interesting side note, it appears that federal prosecutors may have offered a plea deal to Rudolph in order to spare themselves the embarrassment of a hung jury in court. After holding several mock trials, it became clear that a significant minority of potential jurors would refuse to convict Rudolph on the grounds that anybody harmed while working at an abortion clinic “had it coming”. It reminds me of a George Carlin line: “Pro-life people don’t really care about life. All they care about is their right to decide who gets to live and die.”


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