When 62-year-old Shelley Shannon was released from a federal prison earlier this week after nearly 25 years of incarceration, many on the left were demanding that she be denied her freedom.
Shannon was sentenced to prison for 11 years for in the non-fatal shooting of Wichita abortionist George Tiller in 1993 and another 20 years for a string of abortion clinic fire bombings.
“The conditions of her probation must be the most stringent possible,” said Katherine Spillar, executive director of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “This is a woman who inspired three murders. And she has never renounced murder as a legitimate strategy. Never.”
Spillar continued, “So to have her out and having ongoing communications with extremists from across the country who promote the use of violence, this is a dangerous situation waiting to explode again.”
Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, was no more forgiving. “This is someone who not only committed multiple acts of violence herself, but also encouraged others to murder abortion providers,” said Saporta. “She has shown zero remorse.”
Shown zero remorse? Maybe so, but how does that differentiate Shannon from the terrorists holed up at Guantanamo, the very same terrorists for whom the American left has shown almost nothing but sympathy?
According to the Director of National Intelligence, at least 121 of the so-called terrorists released from Guantanamo Bay have re-engaged in terrorism. These numbers have not diminished the left’s drive to have more terrorists released.
Or consider the disparate treatment of President Barack Obama’s favorite terrorists, Bill Ayers and his lovely bride, Bernardine Dohrn.
In 1970, the pair’s fellow travelers in the Weather Underground plotted to plant an anti-personnel bomb at a dance for non-coms and their dates in nearby Fort Dix, New Jersey.
This is a fact to which Ayers readily owns up. Not as competent as they were committed, the bombers ended up killing three of their own when the bomb exploded prematurely.
Had they succeeded, we would remember Ayers today the way we remember Timothy McVeigh, and any kind of relationship with the man would have cost Obama a gig as alderman, let alone president.
For much of the following decade, Ayers and Dohrn continued their bombing spree. After the Greenwich Village bomb factory disaster, the Weather Underground bombers claim they avoided human targets.
The San Francisco police beg to differ. The police union accused Ayers and Dohrn of the 1970 bombing of a city police station that killed Sgt. Brian McDonnell.
Remorseful? No chance. In August 2001, Chicago Magazine helped launch Ayers’ memoir “Fugitive Days” with a color photo of Ayers, hands in pockets, face alight with his superior wisdom, feet firmly planted on an American flag.
The article is aptly titled “No Regrets,” and the sympathetic author suggests no reason why Ayers should harbor any.
The New York Times followed soon thereafter with a lengthy article of its own. Dinitia Smith begins her review of the book and its author with a now famous quote from Ayers, ”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Ayers tells her. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.”
Given Ayers’ career as a bomber, the review is sober, lengthy and exquisitely non-judgmental. Despite the occasional quibble about his career choices, Smith allows Ayers the last word: “I was a child of privilege,” he tells her, “and I woke up to a world on fire. And hope and history rhymed.”
Under normal circumstances, a lengthy Times article titled “No Regrets for a Love Of Explosives” would have propelled “Fugitive Days” onto the best-seller lists. But there was nothing normal about the day of this article’s publication.
Within hours of the paper’s release, the world, or at least the lower Manhattan part of it, was literally on fire. On this memorable Sept. 11, more competent terrorists than Ayers had suddenly thrown his “love” into disrepute.
Unlike Ayers and Dohrn, Shannon never tried to kill anyone, including Tiller. She shot him in his arms, the strategy then common among hard-core pro-lifers whose goal was to disable abortionists not to kill them.
For all of Shannon’s admitted violence, there cannot be many women in the federal prison system who have served longer for a non-lethal crime. As to Ayers, he served no time at all.
“Guilty as hell. Free as a bird,” said an unremorseful Ayers who was responsible for as many as four deaths.
Oh yeah, and Ayers did “pal around” with Barack Obama, helped write his scam of a book as well.