Shannon Burnett Relationship

The history of the relationship between Shannon and Burnett might be described in this way:

Burnett and his group in Portland, Oregon may have been central to the philosophical shift that radicalized rescuers into termites as the AoG Manual suggests. Burnett was central to the production of the propaganda distributed at rescues. Burnett is a print shop owner capable of reproducing the AoG Manual. He traveled throughout the US and may have been the prime distributor of the underground publication as well as the prime distributor of the ACLA publication.

Burnett had a demonstrable effect on Shannon. Eventually she attempted killing. The question is did he attempt murder? He was at the demo. He was radicalized in Atlanta or before. He may have been an early advocate of violence against humans favoring legal abortions.

The following is from a website maintained from prison by Scott Roeder who in 1996 killed the doctor Shannon confessed to wounding in 1993.

Its importance is in its description of the Shannon-Burnett relationship. It also identifies an ATF agent who appears to share our thesis.

Andrew Burnett is portrayed by Korn as a possible accomplice to Shelley. “Maybe, Allene [Allene Klass, the founder and administrator of Lovejoy] is thinking, they’ve missed their chance to get Andrew Burnett. Shannon was with him shortly before she went to Wichita, after all.”102 Agent Glenn [Cheryl Glenn, a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm] says, “I think he’s a person who could snap . . . He’s wound pretty tight. But I think we have at least fifteen years before his kids are grown and gone, before Andrew picks up a gun.”103


Near the end of January, Hill [Paul Hill, convicted murderer] faxed a letter to the thirty-some signatories of the Griffin “Defensive Action” statement [David Griffin, convicted murderer]. He appealed to them to sign the same statement, modified by Shelley’s name replacing Griffin’s. The Shannon trial was scheduled for February 7 and Paul Hill was hurriedly asking the signatories to phone and confirm their permission to include their names under the short statement:

We, the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life including the use of force. We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life an unborn child.

We assert that if Shelley Shannon did in fact shoot George Tiller, her use of force was justifiable provided it was carried out for the purpose of defending the lives of unborn children. Therefore, she ought to be acquitted of the charges against her.92


Lovejoy: An Enemy’s View of Shelley

On 27 May, 1997, Lovejoy suffered its third and most devastating fire ($250,000 in damages). This last blow occurred a year after Peter Korn’s Lovejoy: A Year in the life of an Abortion Clinic was published.93 His account which began in March of 1995 and went through November of that year purports, according the book’s cover, to give “voice to all points of view – from Allene Klass, the founder and administrator of Lovejoy, to Shelley Shannon, a small-town housewife now in prison for shooting a Kansas abortion doctor” and “puts a dramatically human face on the moral debate that continues to rip apart the American social fabric.”

Korn rattles off the fact that there had been shootings of abortionists in North America in “the last five years” ─ and these assailants were “all men” as if to imply some sinister male chauvinist spirit behind the terminations.94 But “then there is Shelley Shannon. Andrew Burnett is Allene Klass’s enemy, but Shelley Shannon is her nightmare, a woman over the edge for whom violence is the only justifiable option.”95


In June of 1995, Cheryl Glenn, a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was sitting in the offices of Lovejoy talking with the staff. She “has made Shannon the focus of her career.”96 The staff, including Carye Ortman (Klass’s likely replacement administrator in due time), is “aware that Shannon was frequently in the company of Burnett outside Lovejoy before and possibly during the period she committed her crimes. But nine months of investigation and two grand juries leave that an open question, Glenn confesses.”97

At the time of this visit, Shelley is about to be sentenced for the abortuary attacks. Agent Glenn confidently tells Klass and Ortman that Shelley is not expected to reveal the names of anyone who might have “mentored [her] in the ways of violence.”98 Glenn “has spent countless hours talking with Shelley” and says “Shelley is not your average criminal. . . She wouldn’t give up anyone. . . For her, it’s not ratting off her friends, it’s ratting off God, and she’s not going to do that.”99

Agent Glenn has a kind of jaded respect for Shelley. “She’s the mad Oregon housewife,” says Glenn playing upon the characters found in the Army of God manual ─ “The Mad Gluer” and “The Mad Bomber.” Glenn (a feminist upbraider of homemakers?) continues “painting a picture of a shy and bored small-town homemaker with children soon to leave home, a woman ripe for a cause, for something to lend purpose to her life. Her husband had no idea Shelley was torching buildings and shooting doctors.”100


Whether as a cordial and cooperative interlocutor or a fellow ideologue, “Carye wonders out loud if Shelley was motivated to take the plea bargain by a desire to stay in prison, to play out a role that she perceived as her destiny all along.”

Imaginably, “Glenn has been thinking along the same lines. ‘Life in prison for a martyr for the cause is not significantly different from being a bored Grants Pass housewife,’ she says.”

Even as her enemies and captors recognize her extraordinary character, they are unable to leave it untarnished. She must be disparaged in someway, lest they leave themselves open to condemnation for seeking and applauding the prosecution of one of such a surpassing virtue as Shelley Shannon.

One may fairly suppose that feminist Agent Cheryl Glenn is not happily married, in contrast to Shelley, whose husband at her sentencing is described by Korn as a man who kept his head down sorrowfully during the sentencing proceedings. But he gets his opportunity to speak: When he approaches the judge he finds it difficult to speak. Eventually the words do come, slowly and in a hushed tone. “Your honor, Shelley’s been my wife for twenty years,” he says. “She is a kind and loving person. She has been a wonderful mother. She has been active in the community. She takes responsibility for her actions. I’d like to have her back.”101

Burnett and Shelley

Andrew Burnett is portrayed by Korn as a possible accomplice to Shelley. “Maybe, Allene is thinking, they’ve missed their chance to get Andrew Burnett. Shannon was with him shortly before she went to Wichita, after all.”102 Agent Glenn says, “I think he’s a person who could snap . . . He’s wound pretty tight. But I think we have at least fifteen years before his kids are grown and gone, before Andrew picks up a gun.”103

It is in the nature and strategy of warfare, as Sun Tzu would say, to demonize one’s enemies. The propaganda which can arouse opposition to one’s opponent is an aspect of war. It is no different in the current “culture war.” Ideally, the truth without slander is sufficient to motivate warriors on to combat and victory. Andrew Burnett’s magazine and the truth it published were recognized by abortion practitioners as the greatest threat to their business. Advocates for Life, by its unabashed presentation of truth and sound doctrine, preached an implicit call to arms that needed no propaganda or demonization of enemies in order to motivate troops. The unvarnished truth was clear enough.

Arguably there might have been no activist known as Shelley Shannon without Andrew Burnett. Korn says that according to Steve Walters, a Planned Parenthood attorney in Portland, “Shelley Shannon would not have shot Tiller if Burnett hadn’t been encouraging her for years. . . Shelley Shannon would not have shot Tiller without Life Advocate supplying detailed information about the doctor and his habits.”104

It is clear that abortionists regarded Life Advocate magazine to be the primary threat against their abortion deeds. But it isn’t the names and addresses of abortionists which is so fearsome. (Those are often in the phone books.) It is the irrefutable presentation in the magazine of a consistent life ethic that is threatening to the guilty abortionist: 1) Human life is sacred (created in the very image of God). 2) Innocent human life is worthy of protection. 3) Womb children are innocent human beings.

THEREFORE . . . (What? Fill in your own blank.)

It is this truth which, in contrast to other anti-abortion organizations, Burnett’s magazine did not fail to proclaim. And it is this truth, acted upon by Shelley, which Lovejoy as well as Planned Parenthood had to silence. It really wasn’t the money that Klass wanted out of Andrew Burnet’s pocket in the $8.2 million surprise punitive judgment she was awarded by a left-wing kook on the court after bringing a civil lawsuit against the protestors outside her abortuary. No. As Korn declares: It’s his magazine.

Burnett is one of about six national leaders of the arm of the anti-abortion movement that advocates the use of force against doctors, even to the point of shooting them. But Life Advocate is the only established means the movement has of getting the word out to its members and prospective members.105

No. Neither Burnett nor any other of “the six,” nor any of the putative “Army of God” soldiers has ever “advocated” the use of force against any abortionists. All such apologists, including the author of the foremost and systematic treatise on the ethics of the use of force (Bray’s A Time to Kill), have simply declared that such use of force as is justified to defend those outside the womb is equally justified to defend those inside. Affirmation of the humanity of the child requires this doctrine to be affirmed. 106

The deft statement of this fact – that it is not a mandatory but indeed ethical to defend a particular child at a particular place – may seem awkward if not disingenuous. But no one, to this writer’s knowledge, has ever put to any apologist for defensive action the following question:

“Would you denounce anyone who publicly or privately advocates by any or all citizens anywhere or everywhere to defend children by terminating abortionists?”

All apologists for the use of force would view the ethics of such personally costly risky action as similar to, say, being a missionary to Muslims in Iran. It is a costly but Lawful vocation.

It is not recommended or urged upon anyone, but it is Lawful.


93 Peter Korn, Lovejoy: A Year in the life of an Abortion Clinic, (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1996) 94 This is so commonly asinine as to require additional notation to drive a point home. Does the same “chauvinist” charge apply to the fact that most abortionists are male, including all those at Lovejoy? The simple truth is that abortionists – male and female – abort children who are both male and female. But if a sexist charges are to be made, they certainly do not help the polemicists for abortion. Most abortionist are male as are most forceful defenders of womb children. So what?
95 Ibid., p. 95.
96 Ibid., p. 96.
97 Ibid., p. 97. 98 Ibid., p. 98.
99 Ibid., p. 97. We may presume that either Agent Glenn or Peter Korn are unfamiliar with the expression “ratting out” (not “off”), which is colloquial and prison language for “testify against.”
100 Ibid., p. 99.
101 Ibid., p. 187
102 Ibid., p. 98.
103 Ibid., p. 100. “There’s still a bomber out there.” Glenn
104 Ibid., p. 287. ‘if Burnett had not been encouraging her for years.’ Steve Walters PP atty Portland ore.

Note: p. 101. ‘Two Days later Carye takes a call from the National Clinic Defense Project of the Feminist Majority Foundation. The Mad Bomber, Shelley’s possible accomplice, has been spotted outside an abortion clinic in Kansas City.’


p. 106 burnett becoming famous