“This is why the work is important. Its power doesn’t lie in the me that lives in the words as much as in the heart’s blood pumping behind the eye that is reading, the muscle behind the desire that is sparked by the word…” —Audre Lorde
The original of the Lord’s Avenger letter is here in the menu above. Different people have different views of it. The view I most favor evolved from deconstructing the letter into its various voices, identifying them by name, studying those who used a similar voice, and then merging them into an individual or a group whose members had identifiable, common interests.
When the news of the bomb first reached California’s Northcoast and redwood timber country reactions varied from laughter at the bumbling terrorists to heart sickness at the cruelty of ‘civilization.’ The FBI blamed Judi Bari within an hour of the bombing for carrying the bomb implying she was the one who put it in her car. The passenger, Darryl Cherney was next to be blamed and then the letter arrived in our morning newspaper.
The FBI pushed forward with their accusations for two or three months and then withdrew when the Oakland DA refused to file charges based on the FBI’s case which included a newly minted, just for this case, scientific theory. A bullet can be traced to the weapon it was fired from by marks made when the bullet passed down the barrel of the gun. The FBI claimed they could trace the finishing nails that had been taped to the pipe bomb as shrapnel to Bari’s back seat – a carpenter she carried nails in her car trunk.
The reaction of the activist community changed in the days and weeks afterward as some pressed ahead with the kick off of Redwood Summer, Mississippi Summer in the Redwoods. As the summer progressed the finger of blame fell upon one or another until five individuals had been blamed. In 1996 or ’97 a new suspect was added: The Unabomber.
In order to suspect any individual or group there are certain characteristics, habits and psychologies that, if existing, lead to a valid suspicion. We see the letter as the major source of information about the Lord’s Avenger’s history, beliefs, intentions and skills. Some analysis is needed.
The reaction most people had to the letter was the letter was fake, meant to misdirect. Some thought Cherney wrote it. Some thought the FBI wrote it, including some anti-abortion activists. Eventually, no individual stood up to the standard of complexity set by the bomb and the letter. This complexity becomes clearer after studying the letter. The individual suspect that came closest to matching the challenge of complexity in this analysis was the Unabomber.
Dominionism, the religion of the letter, is the religion of Wise Use and Ron Arnold. The threat, the Lord’s Avenger calls the message of the bomb, is a Wise Use threat as are the other death threats Bari received. Dominionism is the religion of the known anti-abortion groups including known Army of God [AoG] members.
The letter specifically mentions the November 1988 Ukiah Planned Parenthood demonstration. Bari, Cherney, Sutley, Staley and Sweeney were at the scene of the demo – all then empowered to recall the scene. Of course, the anti-abortion demonstration also placed Operation Rescue and AoG members at the scene as well.
No evidence points to an FBI presence though some find the FBI everywhere behind every suspect. Likewise few if any corporate or PR agents would be present. 1988 was too early for the hate campaign ramp up to the 1990 elections. The first initiatives were non-existent until late 1989.
Someone at the demo may have told the story to others, the story of the song Bari sang which could then have enraged someone not on the scene to contemplate killing her. The misogyny in the letter indicates a strain of Dominionism and a male voice. Which makes this notion plausible.
The mention of the demo points to the first five individual suspects, all of whom were suspects based on the opinion that the letter was a fake and a misdirection. If so, it was a poor fraud because to blame attendees means taking the letter as truthful. None of the individuals named above wrote the letter as misdirection because the letter pointed directly towards him/her.
The letter says that an anti-abortion activist decided at the demo that Bari was controlled by satan and therefore the Lord’s Avenger’s god will kill Bari. The writer must have been steeped in such thinking.
The ideas of misdirection and fraud are not the same. The letter is not a fraud though it may have elements that are misdirecting. For instance, as we talk about elsewhere, the Army of God manual and the Unabomber both practiced misdirection in their bombings. The AoG manual specifically talks about using DNA and fingerprints to misdirect investigators.
Who wrote the letter?
None of the individual suspects wrote it. It could not have been Ron Arnold or any corporate PR firm because it points directly to the corporations and the Wise Use groups. The FBI did not write it though law enforcement generally has a reputation of faking evidence and FBI specifically has been recently admitting such. The FBI would be trying to blame others but the letter directs our eyes to examine the corporations and PR firms since the message of the bomb is a Wise Use threat.
So the conclusions include:
The letter may include misdirections such as DNA. The letter does not point away from the Lord’s Avenger.
The letter is not a fraud. There is no evidence to support the notion, nor any theory that benefits anyone as a motive for fraud. The letter has a composite feeling to it as if it’s a group project.
The existence of the letter dates the time the anti-abortion activists opened a door to a decision to murder for god that three years later would become the trademark of the Army of God. The Lord’s Avenger is a transformational character. In the letter the Lord’s Avenger tries to use misdirection to bring infamy down on her ie frame her for the first bomb. Then deciding to go all out and kill. This transition occurred with a number of AoG members during the late half of 1988 and mid-1993. Leads one to speculate that the Lord’s Avenger was an AoG member and in the Atlanta jail in October 1988 where this transformation began.
If not then the Lord’s Avenger was prescient, anticipating the emergence of the AoG by several years – a task difficult to imagine.
Considering these conclusions the arrow is pointing towards a subset of the AoG members either an ad hoc group or some named group such as the Lambs of Christ. Because of the ‘leadership’ indicated in the transition from defamation and terrorism to murder we look towards Shelley Shannon who employed the transitioned thinking in her attempted murder in 1993.
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