Just Like Us

On the last day of February in 1983, two men entered the basement of an abandoned Victorian home in St. Louis, Missouri. One lit a cigarette in the dark, perhaps to make their search for scrap metal easier, but the glow revealed something else. Lying on the floor was the body of a headless female, hands tied behind her back and naked from the waist down. Originally thought to be a prostitute, police soon confirmed that the victim was a child between the ages of eight and eleven. She had been raped and strangled to death before she was decapitated with a large blade and deposited in the basement. She was never identified; her head was never found. She was nicknamed “Precious Hope” and ultimately laid to rest at the St. Louis Calvary Cemetery.

There are a lot of questions that go through our minds when we hear stories like this. Who was she and where did she come from? How could a little girl go missing and not be identified after all this time? What kind of monster could treat the body of another human being – especially a child – in such horrid, gruesome fashion? Why was she discarded like trash and apparently forgotten?

Of course, these are questions we can never answer. The story simply reminds us of humanity’s potential for depravity – something we know, but often forget. The poor St. Louis girl may have been treated like an animal, but she’s hardly alone. In all parts of the world, there have been countless stories of brutality and barbarity, even on a massive scale and right up to the present.

In ancient Rome, it was customary for spectators to gather by the thousands in the Coliseum, where they could watch gladiators fight to the death or Christians be devoured by lions. The bloody sport filled stadiums long before any ballgame. That was over a thousand years ago, but human nature never changes. It was just last century that six million Jews were exterminated in Europe – starved, shaved, and shoved into gas chambers, their skeletal corpses piled up like garbage and literally bulldozed into mass graves. In some parts of the world, these things still occur.

Even the United States – a relatively young and progressive nation – once consented to the unsavory practices of the wider world. It took thirty years for America to ban the slave trade that took so many from their homeland. Most blacks continued in lifelong servitude for more than fifty years after; many were separated from their families and sold like cattle. Over time, they were often and increasingly abused, both physically and sexually, even killed without consequence.

As if that weren’t enough, the United States allowed and committed wrongdoing against the American Indians to dispossess and even annihilate them. The Indian Removal Act forced entire tribes westward; thousands died along the so-called Trail of Tears. The famous Sand Creek massacre saw American soldiers butcher and mutilate women and children; in retaliation for Indian violence, they adopted the very tactics for which they regarded the natives as savage.

None of these were primitive or backwards societies. These were some of the most advanced and enlightened civilizations of their time; and rest assured, they were civilized societies. The word civilized doesn’t mean nice or peaceful; it means organized, developed, and educated as a society. But none of that disqualifies them from doing horrible things.

These ideas weren’t just forced upon them by a few. It took the general consent of the people, the cheering of the masses, to normalize them. Many Americans supported the government even at its worst – not because they were genocidal, but through ignorance, cowardice, or the selfish desire to have what they wanted at the expense of others. This was true for the Nazis as well. We forget now that they were a political party, not just an extremist wing of radical militants. They were regular people who supported a charismatic leader in his quest to bring glory to the country. In their desire for order and prosperity, they accepted or ignored the dark side of his vision for Germany. We don’t know how many were duped and how many chose to turn a blind eye, but they were all complicit – intentionally or not – in the horrors of the Third Reich. Like pro-slavery Americans, many died still believing in their awful and outdated cause.

It’s easy to give in to this kind of corruption. The American founders allowed slavery as a necessary evil and kicked the can down the road for posterity. But instead of solving the problem, the next generation accepted and condoned it, embraced and finally defended it as a positive good. That’s how these things usually work: regular people adopt some terrible idea with great reluctance, but eventually celebrate and demand it as a right. This goes beyond the ends justifying the means; the means become an end in themselves. It no longer matters if the means are useful or the ends are worth it, so long as we use the means we want. In our hubris, we fail to consider our own actions because we prioritize personal comfort over principle. We justify our atrocities by dehumanizing the victims and marginalizing their suffering. Anyone who speaks on their behalf is ridiculed.

That’s why the oppressors never engage with the other side, why they would rather start a Civil War than debate the subject: because they’re not interested in the truth. The only thing that matters is their “right” to what they want, and they don’t care if they’re wrong. Their primary concern is with silencing anyone who takes that “right” away. That’s how the south dealt with abolitionists; and it’s how a lot of people now defend their “right” to do as they please – even doing to their own children what someone did to Precious Hope.

Last November, New York police were called to an apartment building in the Bronx, where a pair of newborn twins were found dead in the trash. Reports say they were beaten to death when they were a day old. Two weeks ago, with no leads by which to identify the victims, local police held a funeral for the baby boys, whom they named Zeke and Zane. They swore to keep searching until they found the mother or the murderer… who are likely one and the same.

But you may not have heard this story. Most media outlets didn’t cover it. Zeke and Zane might have been more helpless and innocent than any other murder victim in the world – they might have shed blood from their tiny bodies when their skulls were crushed – but it doesn’t matter because they were unwanted babies. And the loudest voices in our society are incapable of expressing grief or sympathy for them without exposing their support for the very same practice.

You see, if Zeke and Zane had been killed by a doctor just an hour earlier, it wouldn’t have been called murder at all; it would’ve been healthcare. Their heads wouldn’t have been smashed, but still crushed into bloody pieces. Their arms and legs would’ve been twisted from their bodies and pulled from the womb before anyone else could see. Instead of delivering the children and killing them herself, the mother could’ve hired a professional to do the dirty work, and the body parts would’ve been collected in a neat plastic bag instead of wrapped in paper.

Sure, these are babies, but if we bring them to people’s attention, someone might ask the obvious question: “What’s the difference?” And that’s when the “pro-choice” crowd shows up to dehumanize the victims and justify their actions – just like Nazis and slaveowners. It’s not a person, they say, but a fetus (which is a scientific euphemism meaning “offspring” – i.e., a child). But they can’t explain why a fetus isn’t a person. It’s a stage of development, after all, like infancy and childhood; but we don’t condone killing children because they aren’t adults. Why should it be different for unborn babies? When do they become human beings?

  • When they’ve been carried to full term?
    • No. Premature babies have survived as early as twenty-one weeks into the pregnancy.
  • When they can survive on their own?
    • No. Babies can’t survive on their own at any age even after they’re born.
  • When they’re capable of conscious thought?
    • No. We don’t lose our humanity when we faint or slip into a coma.
  • When they can feel pain?
    • No. There are adults with congenital analgesia who never feel pain.
  • When they develop their own heartbeat?
    • No. Some people would have no heartbeat if not for medical technology.
  • When they can breathe on their own?
    • No. Some people need oxygen tanks to survive.
  • When they begin to look “normal”?
    • No. Many people live with visible abnormalities, and they’re no less human for it.
  • When they develop their own DNA?
    • Yes. Because that happens at the moment of conception, when they begin to exist.

In truth, people make these excuses because the baby is out of sight, out of mind. They accept the superstitious idea that we’re not human until we pass through the birth canal – because no one can hear the screams of the victims. That’s why some doctors have delivered babies halfway and performed a “partial birth abortion” by cutting its head open. But most abortion advocates avoid the subject of humanity altogether. They resort to stupid clichés that never hold up to scrutiny.

  • “What if my life is in danger? I could die!”
    • The child can be delivered without intentionally killing it. If it doesn’t survive, it will be by natural causes. If it does survive, congratulations.
  • “It’s my body!”
    • Nobody’s talking about your body. We’re talking about the body of the individual person in the womb. Stop being a psychopathic narcissist and think about your child.
  • “It’s my choice!”
    • Newsflash, sweetheart: you had a “choice” before you got pregnant. Once a child begins to exist, “reproductive rights” are irrelevant because you’ve already reproduced. The question now is, what happens to the child?
  • “What about rape?”
    • That would be tragic – and certainly not your choice – but killing the child won’t make up for it. The biological father committed a terrible crime; why should the mother do likewise? And these are extremely rare cases that make up around 1% of abortions; since abortion advocates aren’t willing to give up the other 99%, it’s a moot point and a distraction from the morality of the issue. Should you have the right to kill any other child for the same reason?
  • “What about birth defects?”
    • Again, there are lots of people with deformities, disabilities, and handicaps. What gives you the right to kill someone for their imperfections? And again, should you have the right to kill any other child for the same reason?
  • “What if I can’t support the child?”
  • “What if the child would be unloved?”
  • “What if I’m not ready?”
  • “What if it hinders my plans?”
    • You can put the child up for adoption. Babies are almost guaranteed to find a home. And you probably should’ve made better choices. Once more: should you have the right to kill any other child for the same reason?

In the end, the only determining factor is that the mother doesn’t want the baby and selfishly decides to kill it so that nobody else can adopt it. That’s the only standard being applied, which is why some babies have been “accidentally” born through failed abortions and simply left alone to die. It’s why the abortion lobby won’t accept any limits or condemn any method.

Like slaveowners of the antebellum south, they’ve moved past “necessary evil” to “safe, legal, and rare” and finally arrived at “shout your abortions” – all to defend the means itself. They care more about themselves than their children, so much that they now mock and condemn the desire to have kids at all. Just as slaveowners wanted no limits on forced labor, abortion advocates want no consequences for their actions. That’s why they call it “dystopian” when a state tries to pass a pro-life law: because butchering babies scares them less than losing the right to do it. They, like the slaveowners, become more depraved over time, more violent in their demands – and it will cost them in the end, as it cost the south.

The year after Precious Hope died, a six-year-old girl named Heather was killed in a car accident. Her parents had adopted her when they found themselves unable to conceive (only to bear a biological son shortly after). Her father, Anthony Levatino, was a gynecologist who performed well over 1,000 abortions. After Heather’s death, he went back to work, took one look at a dismembered baby, and realized for the first time that he had killed someone’s child.

Oftentimes, we hear abortion described in clinical terms as a neat and clean process. Some people distinguish “early” from “late” abortions because there’s less mess and no “real” baby. But murder isn’t justified by cleanliness or development. If I poison someone, I’m just as much a murderer as the maniac who killed Precious Hope – and so is the killer of newborn twins, despite their stage of development. Our inability to see this is the worst part. We use inoffensive terms like fetus, choice, and termination to cushion the blow; we cover up the ugly truth with medical terms and procedures. Meanwhile, women are flushing their children down the toilet. It’s a horror story.

These are human beings like you and me. And the crime isn’t being committed in a vacuum. It’s enabled and shrugged off by regular people. They might be ignorant, but that was no excuse in Germany and it’s no excuse now. We have a responsibility to know what we support. Those of us who do know – who see it for what it is but support it anyway – have blood on our hands, just as if we’d permitted the murder of Precious Hope or Zeke and Zane, all of whom were killed and discarded in the same manner.

If someone were going about killing newborns in their cradles – cutting them to pieces and then disposing of them like trash – most of us would feel no pity if he were shot on sight. It takes the worst kind of murderer to target babies. But if you dress him in a lab coat and pay him for the job – before anyone’s had the displeasure of actually seeing the child – we accept it like Nazi cowards or celebrate it like bloodthirsty spectators of Roman sport. Whether by ignorance, stupidity, or the sheer depravity of our own twisted minds, we perpetuate something far worse than the atrocities of old. We murder our own babies – by the thousands – every day.

So for those of you who believe in this sick, demonic practice – the next time you marvel at a civilized society for allowing genocide, take a look in the mirror. They were just like you.

Please… don’t be like them: open your eyes.

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