[This transcript is provided as a service of Journal Graphics. The WGBH Educational Foundation is not responsible for any errors or mischaracterizations in this transcript. JES]

FRONTLINE Show #1411

Air Date: February 6, 1996

Murder on "Abortion Row"

ANNOUNCER: Tonight on FRONTLINE, a shocking murder.

REPORTER: We had a shooting at an abortion clinic in the 1000 block of_

ANNOUNCER: The victim_

SHANNON LOWNEY: My name is Shannon Lowney.

ANNOUNCER: The accused gunman_

JOHN SALVI: I am not insane. I am not incompetent.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: He said, "Mom, I was the thief on the cross with Jesus."

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: An absolute deformity of Christianity.

ANNOUNCER: In the fevered climate of a holy war, two lives tragically collide. Tonight, "Murder on 'Abortion Row'."

PRO-CHOICE DEMONSTRATORS: Women will decide our fate, not the church, not the state! Women will decide our fate, not the church, not the state!

ANTI-ABORTION DEMONSTRATORS: Please be a mother to your child! Your baby has a heartbeat!

RECEPTIONIST: Hello, Planned Parenthood. Do you have an appointment for an abortion somewhere? Okay. What we would do first is make you an appointment, okay? You can come here or you can go elsewhere. And then I'm going to have you speak with a counselor and what the counselor does_

NARRATOR: There are three women's health clinics along a two-mile stretch of road in Brookline, Massachusetts. Anti-abortion activists call it "abortion row."

BETH WATERS: The only time the protesters bother me_ I mean, I can forget that they're there. I'm used to_

NARRATOR: Beth Waters is the head nurse at Planned Parenthood.

BETH WATERS: It's when I happen to walk through the door at the same time in the morning as someone who the protesters really affected and that person's crying and needs, you know, 10 or 15 minutes just to get themselves recovered to even be able to fill out their forms or say why they're here.

ANTI-ABORTION DEMONSTRATOR: Your baby is not a criminal! Why should it receive the death penalty! Don't let Planned Parenthood kill your baby! Ask them to show you_

NARRATOR: Bill Cotter is a devout Catholic who has been a full-time anti-abortion activist for seven years.

BILL COTTER: It just seemed very self-evident to me it was very wrong. It was obvious that it was killing a human being, that life began at conception and didn't seem at all controversial to me.

PRO-CHOICE DEMONSTRATORS: Safe, legal and on demand abortion rights throughout the land! Safe, legal and on demand abortion rights throughout the land!

BETH WATERS: They say in the media, you know, there needs to be more debate about the_ no, there doesn't need to be debate. This is a legal choice and a legal right that women in this country have, to have an abortion, and we don't need any more debate about that. We've had plenty of debate and the courts have said that this is legal.

NARRATOR: The clinics have been a battleground of protest and confrontation for years. Lieutenant Bill McDermott has watched it from the beginning.

Lt. BILL McDERMOTT: They were a constant group of people who showed up predictably every day at every clinic at a certain time and did what they had to do, whether it be sing or pray or hold cards, and then leave. You could set your clock by them, your watch, by the time they came, by the time they left.

NARRATOR: He noticed nothing out of the ordinary about a young man in the crowd in early 1994.

Lt. BILL McDERMOTT: I used to call them "mechanics" because they wore work boots, dungarees. There was nothing unique about their dress. They dressed like_ like a mechanic would. And what struck me about this group_ there was about seven or ten of them. They were white males who got there early and didn't really mingle with the big body of the group, the prayer vigil people. They always stayed on the outside.

Nothing he did caught my attention.

NARRATOR: Richard Serrone, a security guard, had just finished target practice when he reported one day for duty at the PreTerm clinic and saw the same young man.

RICHARD SERRONE: I spotted a young man enter the front door, dressed in a black spy-type coat with lots of pockets and big cuffs. This alarmed me right away. He was acting kind of furtively. So what I did was to gaze at him and put my hand on the butt of my service revolver. And while he walked the length of the corridor, I tailed him and escorted him out the rear door, from where he disappeared into the neighborhood.

BILL COTTER: December 30th of 1994, a Friday morning, it was a cold winter morning. And as I typically was, I was down in front of the PreTerm abortion clinic in Brookline with another individual. We were sidewalk counseling there from about 6:30, 6:40 in the morning. It was fairly uneventful.

DAVID KEENE: She was sick and I told her to stay home, but it was just typical of her that she was afraid that somebody would call and not be able to get the help they need.

NARRATOR: David Keene was the boyfriend of Shannon Lowney, a 25-year-old receptionist at Planned Parenthood.

DAVID KEENE: I kissed her good-bye and she ran across the street and that's the last I_ last time I ever saw her.

BETH WATERS: I was in a procedure with the doctor and I heard a funny noise. I didn't hear the_ the gunshots and neither did the doctor, but I heard a funny_ it was a funny yell for help. And I said, "Can you check on them?" And just as he was opening the door, one of the other nurses yelled in that she needed me, also, and I started running out and she said, as we were_ she's, like, "And bring the emergency cart and the oxygen. Shannon's been shot."

NARRATOR: Minutes later, the gunman appeared at a second clinic down the street.

WITNESS: He just came in the clinic, opened up the door and started shooting anything he seen. He did not hesitate. He thought the office was open, so he just started shooting. And I was in front of the lady or I would have got shot, too. I think I was the only one that didn't get shot.

NARRATOR: Ed McDonough heard the news and rushed to PreTerm, where his fiancee, Leeanne Nichols, worked. When he got there, he was sent on to the hospital.

ED McDONOUGH: So they took me into a room and they asked me to_ talk, to see what she was wearing. And they came in with her engagement ring. And right then and there, I_ I fell. I just_ that was it. I couldn't believe it.

NARRATOR: Leeanne Nichols and Shannon Lowney were dead. Five others had been critically injured.

PRO-CHOICE DEMONSTRATORS: Murderer! Murderer! Murderer! Murderer! Murderer! Murderer!

PRO-CHOICE DEMONSTRATOR: All of these people are to blame and the blood of these women and the other people who were shot in Brookline is on your hands!

BILL COTTER: I don't feel that I have anything to apologize for because I didn't do anything. I mean, this thing was a great tragedy and_

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: I feel very sad. When I got the news, I went to the chapel.

REPORTER: You never thought it would happen here in Boston.

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: No.

NARRATOR: Bernard Law, the Cardinal of Boston, was in his historic residence when he heard the news of the clinic shootings.

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: I immediately went_ I went to the chapel and_ and prayed. And I took a_ I took a_ I took a notebook with me. I knew that it was going to be necessary for me to address this. From my perspective, the violence of the killing of these two young women was part of a larger violence that I saw as_ as an evil_ the violence of abortion itself.

NARRATOR: Cardinal Law emerged from his chapel with a hand-written statement that called for a moratorium on anti-abortion protests outside the Brookline clinics.

Rev. DONALD SPITZ: Stop killing babies! Stop killing babies! You need to stop it! Stop it!

NARRATOR: News of the moratorium spread quickly across the country and in Norfolk, Virginia, the cardinal's call for peace was scorned by Reverend Donald Spitz, an ex-Catholic turned evangelical Christian.

Rev. DONALD SPITZ: It was like the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of. What would happen if the protesters were out there and they conduced a woman not to go in there and kill her child and because of his words, those protesters were not there and that woman went in and killed her child? Would the blood of that baby be on the hands of Cardinal Law? I think he would have a part of that.

NARRATOR: That night in Boston, pro-choice supporters grieved. At the two clinics where Shannon Lowney and Leeanne Nichols had died earlier that day, the entranceways had become shrines to the first female casualties slain in the anti-abortion violence.

PRO-CHOICE DEMONSTRATOR: We're being murdered for exercising our right to choice. We're being murdered for being women.

ANTI-ABORTION DEMONSTRATOR: They're not going to tell you that you can die from this simple little surgical procedure, that they can perforate your uterus!

NARRATOR: The next day, 1,200 miles away in Norfolk, Virginia, Reverend Spitz and his followers were ending their protest outside a women's health clinic. Fifteen minutes later, a gunman suddenly appeared at the building's main entrance and sprayed the lobby with a hail of bullets. Nobody was hurt. Within 15 minutes, police surrounded a pick-up truck and the gunman was arrested. His name was John Salvi. For Reverend Spitz, he was a divine intervention.

Rev. DONALD SPITZ: I personally believe that God brought John Salvi here because there was support for him for the concept of_ that unborn babies deserve the same protection as born babies by whatever means necessary.

MAN AT VIRGINIA JAIL: I think probably the most remarkable thing to me is when Salvi came in here, he was not a zealot. I expected this guy to come in here and be full of fire and brimstone and, you know, be screaming "Jesus saves" and all that. He didn't. He was very quiet. He didn't seem to have any particular interest in religion.

NARRATOR: Salvi was interviewed by a defense psychiatrist.

PSYCHIATRIST: So with that background, let me just come back and say_ first of all, at some point, do you plan to share what happened, you know, whether you did or didn't do the crime, with your attorneys, or do you plan never to reveal that to them?

JOHN SALVI: My plea is a plea of silence. There are certain questions which I just do not wish to answer.

PSYCHIATRIST: At any time, even if_

JOHN SALVI: That does not indicate one way or the other. "Did you eat a Burger King at 3:00 o'clock in the morning?"


JOHN SALVI: Silence.

PSYCHIATRIST: Okay. I understand that. But, you know, once you get to court_

JOHN SALVI: What_ how does that mean that I did eat there or didn't eat there?


JOHN SALVI: You know, in what way? I_ you know, I don't choose to answer certain questions, just as certain questions you asked me I didn't want to answer.


NARRATOR: During the first week after his arrest, John Salvi appeared quite normal during several court appearances.

TASWELL HUBBARD: I'd say he's in very good spirits. He's an intelligent young man.

NARRATOR: A Virginia public defender, Taswell Hubbard, was Salvi's first attorney.

TASWELL HUBBARD: Otherwise, I found him very competent and a very nice individual.

NARRATOR: But when Salvi arrived in Boston, his new attorney, J.W. Carney, had a different answer.

J.W. CARNEY: I'm having real concerns about his mental health and his mental condition and his ability to serve as a defendant in a criminal case.

PSYCHIATRIST: Let's just kind of get started, see how it goes here. First, you're how old, Mr. Salvi?

JOHN SALVI: Twenty-two years old.

PSYCHIATRIST: Okay. And were you employed at the time that you_ before you ended up in jail?

JOHN SALVI: Oh, well, yes. I was.

PSYCHIATRIST: What were you doing?

JOHN SALVI: I'm a hairdresser and_ an assistant.

PSYCHIATRIST: Okay. Where were you born?

JOHN SALVI: I was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on 03-02-72.

NARRATOR: Salvi grew up north of Salem, in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the only son of Anne Marie, a piano teacher, and John, a dental technician. He attended St. Stanislav Roman Catholic church, where his grandfather played the organ and his mother was the choir leader. Father John Jusseaume was the parish priest.

Father JOHN JUSSEAUME: He was a well-behaved child. He was an only child, but he_ and his parents spent so much time in wanting him to be a_ you know, a good citizen, a good member of the church, you know? He was_ he was an ideal child.

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: He was a very religious boy. He asked to become an altar boy and we thought that was wonderful. We agreed to that.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: All the families knew one another, so it was like one big family, and when you attended mass on a Sunday, you got to see people you knew and loved and it was a community activity, as well as a religious activity.

Father JOHN JUSSEAUME: He was a very good altar boy and one who enjoyed serving, so it was_ everything was just fine, you know? It's_ that's why it's so puzzling, what happened later on in his life.

PSYCHIATRIST: Do you have any unusual beliefs, as a Catholic, or is it pretty straight Catholic church, in terms of your own attitudes?

JOHN SALVI: My beliefs as a Catholic would be more along the lines of exactly what the church has to say. The Pope went to a conference in Cairo, or some cardinals went there, and I was for everything that they were for and against everything that they were against.

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: I think it's generally understood that the Catholic church is pro-life, that we respect every human being from the first moment of conception to the last moment of natural death and every moment in between. For me, the difference is a matter of life or death, so it matters profoundly. And there's no way that I could walk away from that.

NARRATOR: Bernard Law had led the fight against abortion from the moment he became cardinal of Boston in 1984. In his first public pronouncement, Cardinal Law described abortion as "the primordial evil of our time."

The morning after the murders, Cardinal Law received a visit from Bill Cotter, leader of Operation Rescue.

BILL COTTER: The day after the shooting, I went over to the cardinal's residence, rang his bell and asked to see him. And he showed me his statement that had in it a request for a moratorium. How could anybody read this statement and not infer from it that it is our presence, our demonstrations, our rhetoric that is the catalyst for the shootings, because if you have the shooting and then you say, "Okay, get away from the clinic," it's a very natural conclusion to say, "Well, gee, the people in front of the clinic, the demonstrators, the picketers, the prayers, the counselors must be in some way a contributory factor."

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: I was giving what I thought was a reasoned explanation as to why I felt it would be best to refrain from this and I was appealing to people individually and collectively to consider what I had to say with respect. And that's what I said, basically, to_ to Mr. Cotter.

NARRATOR: The cardinal and the Operation Rescue leader had been battling for years over the proper tactics the anti-abortion movement should use against the clinics. Since 1988, Cotter had attempted to shut the clinics down by physical blockades and invasions and had been arrested more than 40 times.

BILL COTTER: If abortion is murder, we've got to really act like it's murder. We've got to put our bodies on the lines, make a tangible sacrifice, to make a tangible effort to actually stop the killing, not just hope that it will be stopped by a politician or a judge or something. But if it's happening now, we've got to do something now.

NARRATOR: But in 1991, he broke a court injunction prohibiting such activity and he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. In jail Bill Cotter received an important visitor.

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: I had felt a certain admiration for persons who would feel so strongly about the pro-life movement that they would be willing to risk even imprisonment. But I have never felt that it was appropriate for the church to be involved in organizing Operation Rescue activities. I just felt that that was not right.

NARRATOR: Cardinal Law's call for a moratorium had now become a nationwide controversy. The moratorium had already been endorsed by several New England bishops, but elsewhere in the country the Boston cardinal's call for peace outside the clinics received little support.

In New York City, Cardinal John O'Connor, arguably the most powerful Catholic leader in the country, told pro-lifers in his diocese that they should continue their protests. In Boston, Cardinal Law downplayed the controversy.

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: One is always happy when one's friends are with them, but as a matter of fact, that didn't occur and that's fine. I am archbishop of Boston. I'm not archbishop of New York. And they know that they're not archbishop of Boston. So I did what I needed to do.

NIKKI NICHOLS GAMBLE: I call this evening upon every political, moral and religious leader across the country and in Boston and Massachusetts to demand that the anti-abortion movement stop demonstrating in front of clinics_

NARRATOR: Nikki Nichols Gamble is president of the Boston chapter of Planned Parenthood.

NIKKI NICHOLS GAMBLE: _and that the movement cease their inflammatory rhetoric that has fostered this climate that we must end. We must end the climate of fear and violence.

NARRATOR: Outside the Brookline clinics, pro-choice activists commemorated the two victims. Leeanne Nichols would be remembered more privately, but Shannon Lowney had become much more a public figure.

1st FUNERAL SPEAKER: Every single day, Shannon was a light in the lives of women in need of help, in need of comfort, in need of compassion. It's that image we should take with us as we leave here today, the warm reassurance that Shannon's light will not only live on in the lives of those she knew, but in the lives of every woman in America through a deep communion with the Planned Parenthood movement.

CLERGY WOMAN: Farewell, Shannon. The world is better for your having lived. We and all whose lives you touched are better for having known you. We loved you living. We love you now.

NARRATOR: Shannon Lowney was baptized in the Roman Catholic faith by her parents, whose ties to the church were strong. Before meeting and marrying in their 30s, Shannon's father, Bill, a history teacher, had served a decade as a religious brother in the Holy Cross order. Shannon's mother, Joan, a music teacher, had been a nun for 10 years.

JOAN LOWNEY: I was brought up in a very strict Catholic family and in the days in which I_ I am a woman of my time and in the time that I was brought up, I accepted dogma and I accepted the faith as it was presented to me. But very early in my parenthood, I heard a Jesuit priest talk about parenting and one of the things he said that affected me very much was that all of us, as parents, have a responsibility to pass on to our children the strongly held beliefs we have. The children's responsibility is to reject that belief, try it out, examine it, wrestle with it, and either come back to it or not.

BILL LOWNEY: And we really became that way ourselves. In our own lives, we made decisions that were sometimes contrary to the general public's vision of the way you should do things. But we've done that ourselves, as individuals, and wanted to support that and do support that with our own children.

NARRATOR: Shannon was very close to her older sister, Meghan.

MEGHAN LOWNEY: I think we had a great advantage in being only two years apart and so our experiences were a lot the same. We were seeing things from a similar age. And I think, secondly, we were just born close.

NARRATOR: Liam Lowney was Shannon's younger brother.

LIAM LOWNEY: She was a very fun person. You can see that in her childhood, growing up, when she was smiling all the time. And she smiled throughout her life. I think the smile says a lot about a person.

NARRATOR: In high school, Shannon Lowney had two passions she inherited from her parents: her mother's love for music and her father's specialty, history. She was a straight-A student, but Shannon sometimes discovered she'd pay a price for her high achievements.

SUE SOLOMON: She had a very definite sense of what was right and what was wrong from a very early age and kids are definitely eager to jump on that kind of a piety kind of thing going on and I think she got stomped on for that a lot of times.

NARRATOR: Sue Solomon was Shannon's best friend from early childhood through high school.

SUE SOLOMON: I remember there was a trip to Washington and a bunch of girls had decided to kind of ditch another girl and leave her and, kind of, like, "Come on. Let's go." And Shannon just wouldn't do it. She wouldn't go. So she spent the day with this girl, you know? And that's always they way she was, you know, kind of looking out for the little guy, making sure nobody was getting stepped on. She was_ she was very special.

NARRATOR: When he was 13, John Salvi and his parents moved to Naples, Florida, where they bought a modest bungalow in a middle class neighborhood. Salvi was struggling academically at Naples High School, but in his sophomore year, he focused his energies on wrestling, the school's most prestigious sport. He started on the junior varsity team.

Arthur Ogden was his coach.

ARTHUR OGDEN: John was, from that perspective, a model student. I liked John. I liked him a great deal then. John's temperament, when it came to wrestling, I think, can be summed up in one word. He was intense. He did not like defeat. And many times I would find myself after John had lost a match trying to talk with him to point out some of the good things that he did. No, he did not have a great record, but that seems to me to be secondary to what he was looking for. And I kind of think he was looking for a personal identity.

NARRATOR: Paul Chamberlain became John Salvi's best friend.

PAUL CHAMBERLAIN: He was_ he was taking the vitamins more and the shakes and mixing this and it was God wanted him bigger, is what it was, is what he would tell Donald and I. God was making him lift the weights. He was helping him get stronger. And we started thinking, "Well, John's getting a little weird."

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: He was reading the Bible all the time. He would carry a Bible with him to school. And, you know, I thought it was a good_ maybe a little bit on the fanatical side to be reading all the time, reading the Bible all the time, but then if you're going to be a fanatic about something, the Bible isn't a bad thing to be a fanatic about.

NARRATOR: In his senior year at high school, John Salvi walked away from his dream of becoming a star wrestler when he realized he couldn't make the varsity team.

ARTHUR OGDEN: He did not come and discuss it with me, but I could understand why_ why he would leave. And I was very disappointed, did not have the opportunity to contact him. When I finally did contact him, he just said that he had a job.

PAUL CHAMBERLAIN: He was constantly in church or God wanted him to do this or God wanted him to do that, which basically isn't wrong, but it was to make him bigger and stronger and things like that. He basically went his separate ways and it was, "Hi. How're you doing?" in the hallways and that was_ that was basically all it was. There was no more going out.

NARRATOR: When he graduated from high school, John Salvi was ranked 205th out of 265 students in his class. Soon afterwards Salvi enrolled in a fire academy.

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: He tried to become a firefighter. He had passed everything. And there was one_ one last thing to do and that was to run I think it was less than a mile. It could have been a mile. But he had been a cross-country runner and that would have been the absolute simplest thing in the entire test. And he couldn't do it. And I was told that he just stopped, held his head and refused to do the run.

PSYCHIATRIST: What was the message you were anxious to put out at that time?

JOHN SALVI: Well, a few things, like, I don't think that the Catholic church is addressing.

PSYCHIATRIST: And what is that?

JOHN SALVI: The financial persecution of Catholics.

PSYCHIATRIST: Please_ I mean_

JOHN SALVI: In this country as well as worldwide. They know who the Catholics are, laying off certain Catholics. This occurs also not only in the business world, but also in the public school systems, as well as police departments and fire departments. It's a lay-off procedure for Catholics.

PSYCHIATRIST: And how do you know this is going on?

JOHN SALVI: Everyone knows that it's going on.

NARRATOR: When Shannon Lowney graduated from high school with honors, she chose to join her sister at Boston College rather than go to Notre Dame, her father's alma mater.

BILL LOWNEY: She really hated to not go to Notre Dame, so we had a tough night. I remember that very well. But I said to her, "You can only walk in your own shoes."

NARRATOR: Boston College is a Catholic university run by the Jesuit order. Their historic encouragement of rigorous intellectual pursuit also placed its staff and students in conflict with the church hierarchy. One day, Shannon wanted Kristin Korn , one of her roommates, to go to a protest rally.

KRISTIN KORN: The women were protesting the patriarchal society at Boston College and they were sitting in a circle at_ with one woman in the center, holding up kind of a stuffed sheet on a pole. She invited everyone to come in and do what they wanted to this representative of the patriarchy at B.C. and the women ran into the center of the circle, screaming and kicking this_ this object and_ and spitting on it and_ I was shocked and I think that a lot of the other people who were watching were shocked, also. And Shannon was furious. She was so upset. She thought that that was just the sort of feminist ideal and attitude that was setting feminism back.

NARRATOR: But Shannon also had a running argument about the role of women with her 80-year-old grandfather.

JOAN LOWNEY: He came from a generation in which women were expected to be homemakers and were expected to support their husband. And Shannon came from a generation, and from her own personal philosophy, that women were to be people in their own right. So that was a discussion they had over and over and over again.

LIAM LOWNEY: Shannon went through what I referred to as "the stage" that both my sisters went through, where they became militant about feminism and issues like that. And I was only a high school kid and I didn't know much about it and, really, at that point, didn't care. However, I remember a time coming back from my grandmother's house. It was Meghan, Shannon and I driving in the truck and I wanted us to drive faster so that we could get back and see Jack the Ripper. It was, you know, some miniseries that was on. And she went on_ off on me for a good period of time about how I could watch something that glorifies a man that did such horrible things to women. We had numerous fights about things like that.

NARRATOR: In her sophomore year, Shannon Lowney took a controversial course in radical feminism taught by Mary Daly, a theology professor at Boston College.

MARY DALY: I was a feminist before one could use the word, before I even knew the word, when I was a little kid, when I would say, "Why can't girls be altar girls?" You know, "What's wrong with that?" Then I no longer wanted girls to be altar girls or women to be priests. I just wanted out. But that took a while.

JOAN LOWNEY: Mary Daly writes a good deal about "beyond God, the father." The whole concept of God is not necessarily male. So this idea of a_ of a woman who could call herself Christian or call herself Catholic, who could grow up in a culture, but could still question it_ this was very valuable to Shannon because here was Mary Daly, who had done something like that.

NARRATOR: Jennifer Mernell was Shannon's roommate.

JENNIFER MERNELL: She wasn't angry and negative about the Catholic church. She just had chosen_ found something else, through her knowledge and her education, that suited her, that sat with her, that, you know, didn't create conflict for her. It wasn't a negative, you know, angry thing. It was just, you know, what she found through the course of her life.

MARY DALY: She was a very, very quiet student, in my experience. And although I had many radical students the year that she was in my class in 1989 _ overtly radical, activist _ she just didn't jump out in that way. But the quiet ones are often the ones who are absorbing the most. It's_ it's sinking in. It's organically developing a radical feminist consciousness and it blossoms later. And this was an astonishing example of_ of that.

NARRATOR: Shannon had become a campus activist and she now wanted to stage a debate among male professors called "Men and Abortion." The first person she approached was her history professor, Paul Breines.

PAUL BREINES: I have felt, in my numerous years at Boston College, that the issue of abortion is really the_ the main issue which one, as a faculty member or as a student, really has to make a very conscious decision to take the risk to bring that subject up and to talk about it here. I mean, it really_ I think it's the taboo subject_

That's not an answer. You're just here harassing people.

ANTI-ABORTION DEMONSTRATOR: They're murdering babies every day.

PAUL BREINES: Murdering babies every day?


PAUL BREINES: That's what's going on?


NARRATOR: Breines was a pro-choice activist who often confronted pro-life protesters outside the clinics.

PAUL BREINES: Don't you have a mind of your own? Do you have to listen to your organizer? You can't speak?

ANTI-ABORTION DEMONSTRATOR: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Jesus is Lord!

PAUL BREINES: There's a thought.


PAUL BREINES: When I was a college undergraduate, my then-girlfriend, who subsequently became my wife, got pregnant. We tried to deal as responsibly as we could, as 20-year-olds, with that issue and we agreed that she would have an abortion. And certainly, after that point, for me, in a deep, emotional way, my commitment to the woman's right to a free and safe and hygienic abortion, as risky as it may be, is the best thing. It seemed good for me, but I thought it was really best for_ for women. And that's why I'm pro-choice.

PETER KREEFT: All human beings have a right to life. Our unborn children are members of the human race. They're human beings, so they have a right to life. Or, alternatively, to kill an innocent human being is intrinsically wrong and abortion kills an innocent human being, therefore it's intrinsically wrong.

NARRATOR: Shannon asked Peter Kreeft, a philosophy professor, to represent the pro-life view.

PETER KREEFT: Women, like men, have a right to control their own bodies and my right to swing my fist ends at your nose. And a man does not have another body inside of his womb because he doesn't have a womb and a woman does, so there's a special case for a woman. A woman has a responsibility and a privilege that a man doesn't have of given birth to another human being.

PAUL BREINES: From the standpoint of the anti-choice people, women tend to be recognized rather_ almost not at all, that what's central is the womb, the fetus. And I feel that women are not instruments or vessels for the production of infants, but people who give birth.

NARRATOR: Shannon then asked Louie Haag, an ex-Catholic priest teaching ethics, to participate in the debate.

LOUIS HAAG: She made it fairly clear that she came down on the side of choice. And one of the things that I tried to do was get her to_ to go beyond that. I suggested that the question was not pro-life or pro-choice. Those are too simple. I would argue that if the absence of brain wave is the medically and morally accepted criterion for death, that index ought to be equally important on the front end of the spectrum. And we know that we do not have human brain wave activity until the beginning of the third trimester. I am suggesting that abortion in the first two trimesters does not constitute, morally, the equivalent of homicide, of murder. And that, I think, is where the debate must be engaged.

NARRATOR: In her senior year at Boston College, Shannon Lowney spent her Christmas break on a Jesuit missionary program which provided American college kids with their first experience in the third world. In a diary she kept, Shannon wrote about her 12-day stay in a poor Ecuadorian village.

READER: "The stories the children have told me already of dead brothers and sisters ground me in the reality of their existence. Death is not sanitized here. It is part of daily life. The children clamor to take out our garbage, surely to claim those things which we found unusable. Yesterday we through out a load of ant-infested candy and today the children are eating it anyway. I am ridden with a dull guilt that I want to walk away and never look back. Right now I feel like the smell that permeates my clothes, my hair, my skin is something that has crept into my soul. I hope I can shake this misery without losing its impact on my point of view.

MEGHAN LOWNEY: Her experience each day, waking up to the poverty and, really, the despair of the people with whom she was sharing those days was_ it was really tremendous. And she was dropped in this place, as an outsider, not to really affect change in 12 days, but to learn. And I think that had a really dramatic impact on her.

NARRATOR: On a sunny June day in 1991, Shannon Lowney graduated from Boston College with a magna cum laude degree in history.

JOAN LOWNEY: Oh! Her graduation from Boston College_ we were just so proud. I can't tell you how proud we were.

BILL LOWNEY: I was elated and_ and she was and she just smiled from ear to ear. We gloried in her success and it was a very, very, very special time in our own history.

NARRATOR: Three and a half weeks after her murder, the president of Boston Collage, Father Donald Monan, had decided to personally conduct a memorial mass for Shannon. The Jesuit's decision to memorialize a clinic worker set off an immediate media controversy with Bill Cotter of Operation Rescue.

BILL COTTER: Well, we said in the press release that the mass in honor of Shannon Lowney was scandalous and, in a sense, sacrilegious because it was using the sacrament of the Eucharist to bestow honor on the life and, by extension, the work of Shannon Lowney and that work was the procurement of abortions. That really is a betrayal of the Jesuit tradition. It's a betrayal of_ of the Catholic tradition and it's something that's really remiss in a shepherd of the church.

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: From everything I know, this was a young woman who was doing what she thought was right. Do I think that it's a good thing, in and of itself, for a Catholic to be working in an abortion clinic? Well, clearly, I think not.

BILL COTTER: I think it's valid to ask this question: Had Boston College been truly and faithfully a Catholic college, truly and faithfully teaching the Catholic faith, would Shannon Lowney be alive today?

JOAN LOWNEY: Shannon believed in people's having strongly held beliefs. She would appreciate those strongly held beliefs, and so do we. But despite the fact that those people believe it was inappropriate for a Catholic college to acknowledge her passing, I personally am very grateful to Father Monan for focusing on the fact that she was a young woman who lived out her beliefs and respected that. They said, "This bright and caring young woman was snatched away and we mourn her passing."

NARRATOR: In Naples, Florida, John Salvi still lived at home with his parents and worked part-time for a family friend, Mark Roberts.

MARK ROBERTS: He_ he used working for me as a workout moreso than a job. He liked the idea that what I did gave him a workout on a daily basis or whatever. when he came to work for me, he was getting into body-building and that type thing. I learned that he was a type guy that if I, for a day, would give him a list of things I wanted done, he'd always get them done. You could not stand over him and tell him how to do something, though. It never worked with him. He had to do things his own way.

NARRATOR: But Mark Roberts had no reason to be suspicious when his employee wanted to buy his .22-caliber semi-automatic.

MARK ROBERTS: I took it one time to shoot and I took John Salvi with me and we went out in the woods and shot some cans and that kind of thing. But at the time that wife was pregnant, I just decided I didn't want it in the house and I debated getting the gun destroyed, but I thought, "Well, it's going to"_ he had asked about it and wanted it and I thought, "Well, it's going to a good family. I know the family." I never thought that it would get in any kind of trouble or anything like that.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: A couple of times, he came to the dinner table and I was fixing dinner and he said to me, "Mom, are you trying to poison me?" And I_ I looked at him and I said, "John, why would you think a thing like this?" And he wouldn't answer. He wouldn't reply. He wouldn't_ he would_ I wouldn't get any feedback. There were times I would get so angry with him, I would yell at him at the top of my lungs. I_ it was feelings that I had, like I wanted to shake him and just get a reply, but I wasn't getting a reply. There was no feedback.

MARK ROBERTS: At the same time that was happening, his personality completely changed. He got to where he could go into a rage. I was very careful what I said to him. He would just blow off. You would be afraid when you were around him sometimes. But then on the other hand, he could be so nice and it was just kind of_ you got used to dealing with that.

NARRATOR: One day on a job site, John Salvi exposed himself to a woman.

MARK ROBERTS: I believe what he had_ was_ started to do was he basically was going to urinate off the roof, which_ that's bad enough, but a lady starts yelling back at him and I then peek over just as he's pulling his pants back up. She told me what he had done to_ in front of her and I decided, at that point, I_ I had a problem. And I was actually afraid to tell him that I was going to fire him or whatever. And he worked in such a situation where it was just part-time and that_ that I decided that what_ the best thing to do was I just told him that work was slowing up and he ought to go find something else. And that was just the way I_ I was afraid he'd come back or do something to me or whatever, so I was trying to part on good terms with him.

NARRATOR: John Salvi needed a new start and decided to move back to Ipswich, Massachusetts, where he had spent his childhood. In Ipswich, Salvi moved to a second-floor room in an uncle's house. It was right next door to a garage owned by his cousin, Charlie Hall.

CHARLIE HALL: I never thought John Salvi would become the kind of headline news that he is because while he was around here, he was a quiet person and never seemed to have giant aspirations, never thought he would do anything quite like that.

NARRATOR: Salvi used to drop by Charlie's garage to borrow tools for his truck.

CHARLIE HALL: I thought he was a pretty hard-working guy. He always seemed to have a job, was always keeping himself busy. He seemed to be a pretty normal guy, in most respects.

We never discussed abortion. I did notice that he had a certain strong anti-abortion sentiment, especially considering the fact that those stickers were on the back of his truck.

NARRATOR: The anti-abortion stickers on Salvi's truck were the first outward signs of his interest in the abortion issue. Three months later, when his parents arrived for a visit, they noticed another change in their son.

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: His apartment was the filthiest place I've ever seen. There were maggots everywhere. To say that food was stuck to things and the rubbish had never been taken out_ and he was_ hadn't bathed in God knows how long. He said, "John the Baptist lived in the desert on grasshoppers and honey" and he said, "and he didn't bathe all the time and he didn't_ and he was the finest man that ever lived" or "one of the finest men that ever lived." And I said, "Well, you_ you have to clean this place." And his mother and I cleaned it.

NARRATOR: Salvi now had a landscaping job, driving spikes through railroad ties.

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: He said that he had asked God to tell Satan that every time he drives a stake_ a spike into the_ with the sledgehammer into this railroad tie that that would be like a spike going through Satan's heart. And he said that he also prayed that Satan would know that it was he who drove the spike.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: I said, "Don't think about Satan." I said, "It's frightening to think about Satan." I said, "Think about Jesus. Think about love. Think about nice things. Don't think about Satan. It's too frightening." And he said_ then he thought a couple of minutes and he said, "Mom," he said, "I guess it wasn't very smart of me to challenge Satan."

JOHN SALVI: Now, a Catholic girl that gets an abortion is not bright. At all. For the main reason is you don't want to be outnumbered too much. Abortion, in a great way, is wiping out the Catholic church.

PSYCHIATRIST: Now, do you_ do you oppose abortion for_

JOHN SALVI: Catholics have the wrong outlook on life. They'll say, "Oh, if we're not financially ready, we won't get married." That's not what you say. The Catholic people are weak, very weak.

PSYCHIATRIST: Listen to my question.

JOHN SALVI: You have to have a government. You have to have a structure in society. We can't be a bunch of monkeys.

PSYCHIATRIST: Okay. Do you oppose abortion only for Catholic individuals or for all individuals?

JOHN SALVI: Do I oppose_ could you please repeat that?

PSYCHIATRIST: Do you oppose abortion only for Catholics or for all individuals?

JOHN SALVI: I would advise all individuals not to. I don't think it's good. That's my opinion.


BARBARA BELL: You mothers will never be the same after your baby's dead and gone!

NARRATOR: In Brookline, Massachusetts, a women's health clinic run by Planned Parenthood had an opening for a receptionist. Clinic director Alice Verhoeven interviewed Shannon Lowney for the job.

ALICE VERHOEVEN: I remember thinking that here was this woman from an Irish Catholic family, a graduate of B.C., and it was somewhat ironic that she was applying for a job at Planned Parenthood. And I talked with her about those issues_ how would her family feel?

MEGHAN LOWNEY: As children, we were given the choice to choose our own spiritual path and I think that was tremendously freeing for us. And so I think that was an experience early on in our lives where we felt we had choice and we were empowered by that choice. So as a person growing and developing her own way of thinking and believing, Shannon really believed everyone had choice and everyone needed to have choice.

JOAN LOWNEY: That's why she worked there without a blink of an eye. But the picture for Shannon at Planned Parenthood was broader than the abortion issue and that's important. She was there to serve women in a very broad context, whether it is to help them get some basic medical care that they need, whether it is to get screening for cervical cancer_ I mean, there are many reasons to go to Planned Parenthood. But if it came to the abortion issue, if it was for an abortion, Shannon fully agreed with their right to have that and she treated them with respect, if that's what their choice was.

NARRATOR: Inside the clinic, Shannon Lowney and her co-workers did their best to cope with the effects of the protesters outside.

BARBARA BELL: Don't kill your baby! Don't kill your baby!

BETH WATERS: They call it "sidewalk counseling" and they're not counseling anyone. They're showing horrible pictures of fetuses. The average patient that comes in here is nowhere near that pregnant and they have to walk through that and they have to be told that they're killing their baby. They have to be told that these people are going to help them. How are they going to help them? Are they going to take them into their homes? No, they're not doing that. They just give them pamphlets. That's what they do. It's not sidewalk counseling, it's harassment.

ALICE VERHOEVEN: Our phone staff and our reception staff are absolutely critical to give the first signal to patients that we are a good place to come to, that we welcome them and we care about them. She was a master at handling, you know, the_ the phone calls and the reception of people walking into the clinic. She had_ she had an innate ability to connect with people in a very short period of time.

MEGHAN LOWNEY: Her first reaction was to try to reason and say, "Why is it that you believe that way? I believe differently. Can we talk about this?" And so as she first started at Planned Parenthood, she would actually greet the protesters and kind of have a dialogue_ attempt to have a dialogue.

JOAN LOWNEY: "Do you understand what's going on in here? This is not an abortion clinic. This is a women's health center. Do you understand the other kinds of work we do? Do you understand that the Supreme Court has said that women have a right to seek health care and abortions, too, if that's their choice?" And when she could not engage them in dialogue, this was a source of enormous frustration to her.

NARRATOR: At Repro Associates, another women's health clinic down the street from Planned Parenthood, Leeanne Nichols decided she needed a change. She'd worked for four years as a telephone counselor, but now she wanted a different job. She was encouraged to try another field altogether by her friend, Eileen MacDougall.

EILEEN MacDOUGALL: I spoke to her on several occasions and tried to get her to at least give me her resume because I was working at a financial institution that was much closer for her and a much better commute. And said, "You know, let me see what I can find for you here," but I could never even get her to send me a resume. Leeanne's commitment was to working in clinics.

NARRATOR: In September, 1994, Leeanne Nichols went to the third clinic on Brookline's main street, PreTerm, where she became the receptionist.

EILEEN MacDOUGALL: She had a very sweet voice. You know, if you look at a picture of her, she has a very sweet face and "sweet" is probably the word you'll hear consistently. Leeanne was just a sweet type of person.

NARRATOR: Leeanne Nichols was the first sweetheart for her finance, Ed McDonough.

ED McDONOUGH: In 1987, we went to a Red Sox game and we happened to sit next to Leeanne. We went on a date the following week and she brought me a flower. It was the nicest thing that anyone ever gave me. No one ever had brought me a flower. And we just spent our whole time together ever since then.

NARRATOR: The couple began to build a future together when they bought a small cottage in rural New Hampshire.

ED McDONOUGH: Our house was_ it was a fixer-upper, but we didn't really mind working on this house. It was a nice place for our cat. Butterscotch was our little_ little kitten, our little kid. You know, Leeanne loved that cat more than anything. We had little nicknames for each other. She was Mummy Scotch and I was Daddy Scotch. We just wanted to start living, you know, the American dream, to live, work and survive.

NARRATOR: Shannon now had a boyfriend, David Keene. They'd met working part-time at a pizzeria during college. David says he fell in love with her smile.

DAVID KEENE: It was contagious. She smiled and other people smiled or she laughed and other people laughed. She really, not even trying, could change the world around her by just being herself. I was worried that there's no way she would want to be with me, you know? And here she was, this brilliant student, doing all these_ even then, going to Ecuador, doing_ being involved in school and I was hard-pressed to, you know, show up at work and make it to one class a week or_ the single reason why I actually had the drive to push for a college degree was Shannon.

NARRATOR: At the clinic Shannon settled into a routine and was now a familiar figure to protesters outside. Operation Rescue was no longer attempting blockades, but instead staged prayer vigils and demonstrations on the sidewalk.

BARBARA BELL: I can take all the pictures I want. It's a free country. Isn't it? All right. Oh, no, it ain't no "some degree."

MAN IN STREET: You shut up.

BARBARA BELL: You make me. You make me shut up!

BARBARA BELL: You know, I take pictures of everybody that's out there and, you know, just to_ for my_ for my album and stuff.

NARRATOR: Barbara Bell is a veteran Operation Rescue activist who's been arrested 33 times and she quickly sized up a new protester who'd appeared outside the clinic one morning.

BARBARA BELL: I met John Salvi in front of Planned Parenthood. You know, the second Saturday of every month, we have a prayer vigil where the Catholics come out. I went over to him and asked him_ you know, introduced myself and talked to him for a few minutes and this kid was very hostile even then. I took pictures of him. He got very, very upset and started cussing and swearing and yelling at me and didn't want his picture taken.

And when the prayer group came in sight, I had said to one guy, I said, "John, please watch this kid here." I said, "This kid is off base. There's something wrong with him. He's not in tune with the rest of us. He's not here for prayer. I don't know what he's here for. But he was just cussing and swearing at me and I just don't trust him in what's going on." That was the first time I met John Salvi.

NARRATOR: John Salvi had moved into another community closer to the clinics and was living in a rooming house in Everett, Massachusetts, a working-class town on the edge of Boston.

Mary Stoddard was John Salvi's landlady.

MARY STODDARD: He was a very nice, quiet gentleman and he always paid his rent on time and very polite. He always called me "Miss Mary." And he went out with a couple of girls. One girl lived here and one didn't.

NARRATOR: Arlene Anderson dated John Salvi for a few months.

ARLENE ANDERSON: He was a very loving human being, very caring, loved children, very polite. Couldn't say a bad thing about him at the time I knew him.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: I did meet one of his girlfriends, Arlene, and she said to me, she said, "I just want you to know, Mrs. Salvi, that John is such a gentleman" and I_ I felt happy about that. Those were nice words for a mother to hear.

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: A very nice girl.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: Very nice girl. And I was glad to see he was dating someone.

NARRATOR: In August, 1994, John Salvi came to a Roman Catholic church just a few blocks down the street from the Everett, Massachusetts, rooming house where he still lived. Father Edmund Sevoko, the parish priest of Immaculate Conception, met for 15 minutes with Salvi in his rectory office.

Father EDMUND SEVOKO: He came here and he wanted to preach at all of the masses and I told him that was absolutely out of the question. I mean, he just was not qualified to do that. He was not pleased and_ because he thought that he could really educate these people as to how terrible abortion was.

NARRATOR: During a visit to Everett, Salvi's parents urged their son to move out of his rooming house.

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: We told him we'd like him to get an apartment and that way he'd be able to cook and have his own bathroom. Well, he did get the apartment and we went and helped by things for the apartment that he needed. We saw him the next day and he said_ he looked terrible and he says, "I was up all night. Evil was at the_ in the apartment," trying to get him. He said, "I was up all night praying and reading the Bible to keep the evil back_ away."

NARRATOR: John Salvi soon appeared at a Baptist church a mile and a half down the street from Immaculate Conception. Reverend Tom Coots, pastor of Glendale Baptist, was just starting a Sunday service when he saw Salvi for the first time.

Rev. TOM COOTS: I noticed when John came in, he had something in his hand and he was trying to get my attention. And I ignored him because I was afraid of_ he might interrupt our service. During the prayer time, John Salvi gave another gentleman in our service this rolled item which he had. And this gentleman is a gentleman that is really against abortion. He immediately started weeping and crying and that is when he handed me the picture. I first got a very sick feeling because the picture was a picture of an aborted baby, but I was quite sick about it. And then John left.

NARRATOR: John Salvi's parents had purchased a 40-foot mobile home and decided it might be good for their son if they took him on a tour across America.

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: The trip was_ he didn't talk to us. When he did, it was repetition, over and over, things in the Bible. And that went on to the point where you'd want to start screaming. At least I did. So maybe that says something about my mental health, but I just couldn't listen to it anymore. We went to Las Vegas as part of our trip. He said, "It's an evil place," wanted to get out of there. He said_ the only thing he was doing was he'd read the Bible and he'd take the dog for a walk. And he spent the rest of the time in the trailer.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: You know, I said, "John, you just can't stay_ it isn't healthy. It isn't healthy for you to stay in the trailer. It's wonderful to read the Bible, but you can't just read the Bible and walk the dog, read the Bible and walk the dog." And he said_ he was sitting at the dinette and he had his Bible open in front of him and he said, "Mom"_ he was_ a desperation in his voice. He said, "Mom," he says, "don't you understand? I was the thief on the cross with Jesus." And what could John and I say? We were_ we were rendered speechless. We didn't know what to_ what to think, what to do.

JOHN SALVI: But there's no reason that anyone would think I was insane. I've never acted insane or carried myself in an insane way. Why would they think I was insane?

ANNE MARIE SALVI: We thought if he_ if he isn't mentally ill, how are we to know? And that'll_ there's such a stigma and it's so difficult to find a position. You just can't find employment.

JOHN SALVI: Does that mean you're crazy now?

PSYCHIATRIST: Let me answer you.

JOHN SALVI: That's called a 5th Amendment right.

PSYCHIATRIST: Okay. Let me answer your question that you're asking me.

SHANNON LOWNEY: My name is Shannon Lowney and I work for a group called Advocates for Children and Advocates is the child abuse prevention council for Androscoggin County. And as an educator, it's my role to go into classrooms like this one_

NARRATOR: Shannon Lowney had quit her job at Planned Parenthood to move to Lewiston, Maine, where her boyfriend, David Keene, had found a job.

NADINE EDRIS: She related to the kids wonderfully. They were very interested to hear what she had to say. She was going_

NARRATOR: Nadine Edris had hired Shannon to talk to teenagers in local high schools about sexual abuse.

NADINE EDRIS: _talk about with kids. And Shannon was able to do it in a way that the kids could really get a lot of information. And they were also very interested in her, as a person.

SHANNON LOWNEY: If you see the kinds of stuff that can happen to kids who are abused_ you feel alone. You feel like you don't have anybody to talk to, as we said. You're afraid you won't be believed_

MEGHAN LOWNEY: She was really having a sense of impact with the people that she was working with. At the same time, she was growing herself and saying, "I'm pretty good at this and I think I can find a place in this world for me to talk about the truth, to empower people to move themselves from situations of oppression and abuse" and, you know, whatever it was that was keeping them from really developing themselves.

SHANNON LOWNEY: You have a right to say no to any unwanted sexual touch, okay? What's important to remember, though, is that it's not your responsibility to say no. It is not your responsibility to tell someone. It is not your responsibility to get away or to say no, but these are your rights, okay? You have a right to_

LIAM LOWNEY: Shannon became a vegetarian in college. She had a book called The Politics of Meat and animals have rights. Here we go, "Rights, rights, rights." She would sit there and riddle me for a good half an hour at dinner when I'd be eating my burger or steak or whatever it might be at the time, and then always finish the conversation with, "I'm only saying this because I love you," you know? And I would really question that while she was talking to me. I was quite an antagonist, though, of course, with both of my sisters. I would put my meat right in front of their face, my hamburgers and turkey or whatever right in front of their face and try to get a rise out of them. So I guess I was deserving of anything she said. But she only said it because she loved me.

HALLIE TWOMEY: Shannon did not like my husband being a hunter. She did not like him killing anything, didn't_ doesn't agree.

NARRATOR: Hallie Twomey is David Keene's younger sister.

HALLIE TWOMEY: She didn't like the fact that we have guns in the house, even though they're locked up and kept, you know, out of sight, out of mind. She thought that was terrible of us and really upset my husband to the point of he wouldn't even discuss it with her. He just said, "It's my life, my thing, and that's it." You know, "You have to respect that."

But she would go to every extent to let us know that she didn't agree with it and that she wanted them out of the house and just, you know_ you know, I've always thought it's kind of ironic, the way things turned out, that, you know, it's so sad. But we_ my husband is a responsible gun owner and his idea was, "What I believe is my belief and if you don't believe that or understand, well, then, that's fine, but"_ you know, she wanted us to get rid of the guns.

NARRATOR: On a visit home to Florida, John Salvi dropped by his old boss, Mark Roberts, to show off the gun that Roberts had sold him.

MARK ROBERTS: He had told me that he had changed it himself. He had taken the gun and cut the stock, as far as the wood part of it, down. And it was a brown color originally and it was a pretty gun and he had literally changed_ changed it in length and that and he just painted the whole thing black. And he had put a_ this silencer on the end of it and he said he was using out in the woods to shoot cans and wasn't disturbing anybody, so_ it kind of bothered me when he showed me the gun, but I didn't think anything of it. And that was the last time I saw the gun and, actually, the last time I saw him, too.

NARRATOR: The first gun in the war against abortion clinics went off in Pensacola, Florida, 630 miles north of John Salvi's home town. In March, 1993, Michael Griffin killed Dr. David Gunn. But in the radical fringe of the anti-abortion movement, a statement supporting the murder circulated.

PAUL HILL: I believe it was morally justified and that's the truth and often the truth does seem extreme in a decadent culture that_

NARRATOR: It was originated by Paul Hill, a fundamentalist Christian minister, and signed by 30 radical pro-life leaders from across the country, including Donald Spitz of Norfolk, Virginia.

DONALD SPITZ: I believed what Michael Griffin did would be analogous to someone going up and shooting a Nazi guard, shooting some Nazis, trying to save the innocent Jews. I believe this in that same vein. And I can understand perfectly why somebody would do that. It makes perfect sense. It makes perfect sense to me.

NARRATOR: In July, 1994, Paul Hill murdered Dr. John Britton and a security guard during a protest outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida.

PAUL HILL: Now it's time to defend the unborn the same way you defend slaves about to be murdered.

REPORTER: Mr. Hill, why did you do it? Why did you do it?

PSYCHIATRIST: Tell me, a few months ago a man in Florida killed a doctor who performed abortions. Do you recall? I don't remember his name.

JOHN SALVI: No. What was that?

PSYCHIATRIST: Do you remember reading about it? Reading about it_ he shot a physician to death and he was charged and convicted of murder. Do you recall reading about it?

JOHN SALVI: I've heard different things in the paper about different individuals doing stuff like that.

PSYCHIATRIST: Okay. Do you support that kind of conduct or not?

JOHN SALVI: Do I support it? That's a question that I_ I don't_ does the Pope support it? If the Pope supported it, I support it.


JOHN SALVI: How does the Pope feel about it?

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: I think what we have is we have a person who decided to do something which was wrong and decided to do a wrong thing in a very misguided way because of something that is good and that is the defense of human life. Does that mean that everything that contributed to that good therefore is to blame? I don't think so. I don't think anyone could rationally say that.

MARY DALY: He has to disassociate himself from John Salvi, but he's not really, in my opinion, in a different position from Salvi, essentially. Salvi is a product of that mindset and that kind of education. He's a little altar boy who maintained his extremely conservative views to the utmost and followed through on them. So I think they're on a continuum.

ALICE VERHOEVEN: I absolutely hold many other people responsible for the crime and the crimes_ he may have pulled the trigger, but he was part of_ he was incited, I believe, by the movement. He was moved by the rhetoric and I think that there are other people out there who are potential Salvis who are being moved by the rhetoric, by the hate.

NARRATOR: In her diary, Shannon wrestled with the issue of violence.

READER: "I cannot get over the stumbling block of the futility of violence in any other context than direct self-defense. I do not understand how violence can bring about change in the mind of someone on the other side of a dispute. Hate is a destructive force in and of itself."

NARRATOR: Shannon also wrote about a recurring nightmare she had.

READER: "In my dream of being chased and killed, the man chasing me either wears a mask or has no face. He seems to be shooting and I always awake in a sweat."

NARRATOR: In September, 1994, Alice Verhoeven received a phone call from Shannon, who was moving back to Boston.

ALICE VERHOEVEN: It was a_ you know, it was one of those calls out of the blue and we were actually looking for someone, at the time. Our receptionist had_ had just resigned and we were looking for someone. And Shannon called and I remember walking through the halls and saying, "Guess who's coming back?" I couldn't have been more delighted.

NARRATOR: In September, 1994, John Salvi packed up his pick-up truck and moved out of his rooming house on the edge of Boston. After an hour's drive north, Salvi arrived in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, a seaside resort town that in the cheap off-season is a lonely haven for drifters. Salvi moved into a bachelor apartment where Jeff Marshall, a 19-year-old laborer, was his downstairs neighbor.

JEFF MARSHALL: I thought he was gay. I'll be honest with you. I did. I had nothing against that, as far as that goes, but I mean, I just thought he was a little_ kind of feminine, as far as_ you know, I mean, he was very quiet, you know? I never saw anyone come in the building with him, leave with him. I mean, no_ no noise coming from his apartment.

NARRATOR: During the day John Salvi attended a beauty school to become a hairdresser and after school worked part-time as an assistant at a local hair salon. Rick Griffin was his boss.

RICK GRIFFIN: At the beginning, the people in the salon thought, "Gee, he's odd," and he did have a certain oddness about him, but it was mainly that he was so quiet. And, you know, he was only a young kid and we figured we could bring him out of that a little bit.

NARRATOR: Jesse Marcoux, a hairdresser, used to play backgammon with Salvi during breaks.

JESSE MARCOUX: I don't know. He just didn't look like a hairdresser, didn't_ didn't have the people skills to be a hairdresser. You got to talk to people if you're going to cut their hair. "How do you want it?" Right? John had a hard time doing that.

RICK GRIFFIN: He never really mentioned abortion in the salon. And only a few times, after other people in the salon had noticed the picture on his truck, did it become a topic of conversation amongst the employees.

JESSE MARCOUX: I saw the picture and I asked him one day what it was and he told me it was a picture of Jesus. A picture of a fetus didn't quite look like a picture of Jesus, but I wasn't going to push it. I just said, "All right," and let it go.

NARRATOR: On December 11th, 1994, John Salvi attended an office Christmas party hosted by Rick Griffin.

RICK GRIFFIN: He was drinking, like, straight vodka with a little bit of cranberry juice _ no ice or anything _ and so he was unusually gregarious. And one of the girls who was also_ had been to another party and she came pretty much in a good mood, she thought, "Well"_ she said to some of the other people around, "Well, I'm going to bring John out of his shell." So she grabs John, gives him a great, big kiss and it lasts, like, about 10 seconds. And the minute, you know, John comes up for air, he just says, "Will you go home with me tonight?"

And it was very strange because, you know, we_ we were just_ everyone just sat there and laughed_ you know, the people that were there. And instead of acting like he was being made fun of, he just sort of went along with it. And everyone wondered if it was a joke, but he pursued this girl. And the odd part of it is, the girl was married and everything and she was_ she said, "John, I'm married. I have two kids. That was just a Christmas kiss."

JESSE MARCOUX: He never talked about his past at all. He never said nothing about his family or any friends, because I asked him. I said, "You got a girlfriend?" He'd say no. I'd say, "You got a boyfriend?" He'd say no. I said, "How about a dog?" You know, and he'd say no to that. Strange kid.

NARRATOR: In Fairfield, Connecticut, Shannon Lowney spent a special Christmas with her family.

LIAM LOWNEY: Now, Shannon had this big brainstorm. Everyone would buy each other a present, but you could only spend $20. Now, we knew we were, you know, gypped because that meant Shannon would only spend $20 on each of us, so we went along with it. And it actually turned out very nice because every present was so thoughtful.

JOAN LOWNEY: And Shannon came up with wonderful gifts and we opened them slowly, one at a time, and laughed a lot about it.

BILL LOWNEY: Well, that's been sort of a history in the family with my two daughters. I always give them a flannel nightgown at Christmas to keep them warm.

MEGHAN LOWNEY: So, you know, it was the same as always, but she really was such a strong young woman with such future. It's very clear in my own_ my own memory, looking back at Christmas when I saw her, that she was herself, you know_ finally becoming herself.

NARRATOR: At the beauty salon, John Salvi had a new boss, Doreen Potter.

DOREEN POTTER: My first impression of him was that he was like a stick of dynamite fixing to go off. John Salvi scared me just by the way that he was. And I felt very uncomfortable being alone with him in the room.

NARRATOR: Potter's fears were realized on the afternoon of December 23rd.

DOREEN POTTER: The guy said that he needed a haircut and John said he was doing it and I said, "No, you won't be doing this haircut," that someone else would be doing it. And he got kind of angry and he came from around the counter and he grabbed the guy by the back of the coat and ripped his coat off of him and the guy, at that point, was, like, you know, "If you had a bad day, don't take it out on me."

And I kind of looked at John. I was, like, "What are you doing?" And he came up to me and he said, "I'm sorry. It doesn't happen very often." And in my mind, I'm thinking, "Okay, John. How often does this happen?"

And it was, like, 30 minutes after that, his parents came in. And I know if it was my parents coming in from out of town, I'd be excited_ you know, hugs, shake hands, something like that. And there was no emotion whatsoever with his mother and father and that was my opportunity to just say, "John, why don't you just go ahead, take some time off. Spend it with your family."

NARRATOR: On December 24th, John Salvi and his parents attended a Christmas Eve mass at a small Roman Catholic church in Seabrook, New Hampshire.

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: It was like a nightmare. We went to the 5:00 o'clock mass.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: It just happened so suddenly. It was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute he's singing and the next minute I could see him getting extremely agitated.

KEVIN LONERGAN: I heard a disturbance next to me with some profanities, which, obviously, you never hear in church, and especially on Christmas Eve. And I just sort of thought I was hearing things, at first, but then I heard a second profanity and I observed a woman grabbing a younger man and the younger man spun around and went walking, very deliberate, down the center aisle towards the altar.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: I immediately went to see my husband and I said, "John, you've got to get up there. John's in the_ he just_ he just stomped down the aisle and he's screaming."

KATHLEEN O'DONAHUE: And I was just standing there thinking that this man is not doing something normal. He's going to walk up and do something funny. I don't know what it is, but I think he has a gun, because he had both his hands in his pockets and he just kept going.

NARRATOR: Kathleen O'Donahue, a 15-year-old school girl, was standing at the back of the church.

KATHLEEN O'DONAHUE: And just the whole time, I was ready to drop to the floor because I thought he had a gun.

KEVIN LONERGAN: He pointed right at Father Haim and called him a "fuckin' whore." When he was coming down the aisle, as he was looking at all the parishioners, he was calling them a "bunch of pussies."

KATHLEEN O'DONAHUE: He kept one hand in his pocket and I thought that he was just going to whip it out and start shooting. So I was terrified.

KEVIN LONERGAN: We started to lead him out of the church because it was causing quite a disturbance and the ushers had opened the door so that we could get him out and he knew he was losing his audience and he started to try to break free of myself and the other gentlemen. And I was grabbed from behind by somebody who identified themself as a state trooper, who said, "I have the situation under control."

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: I have_ I have trouble believing_ I was there. I have trouble believing it. When we got back to his apartment, he ranted and raved. His mother and I were sitting there in disbelief.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: He said, "If_ if it had been my son, I wouldn't have stopped him from saying what he had to say." And then he became perfectly silent. He just started_ he was staring and gazing. I_

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: For about 10, 15 minutes.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: Yeah. I tried to talk to him and_

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: And then_

ANNE MARIE SALVI: _he didn't seem to_

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: _like nothing happened, he stopped_ he said, "Well, how about spaghetti for supper? I'll make us some spaghetti." I mean, it_ we couldn't eat anything.

ANNE MARIE SALVI: No. We didn't eat anything_

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: He made a thing of spaghetti and_ and like nothing was_ I don't know if he_ if he knew what had happened earlier. I don't know.

NARRATOR: On December 27th, John Salvi, in his pick-up truck, arrived outside the beauty salon where he worked, but Salvi remained in the truck.

DOREEN POTTER: John never knew about us wanting to terminate him. It was never discussed. And then on Tuesday, they called and said he was out in the parking lot and they changed the locks that night. I mean, he was just sitting out there.

NARRATOR: On December 29th, after saying good-bye to his parents, who were returning to Florida, John Salvi appeared at a shooting range in Seabrook, New Hampshire. There two brothers, P.J. and Ryan Day, were practicing.

P.J. DAY: This strange guy walked in with a big, black bag and a black jacket. He pulled out this .22 rifle and then he pulled out two banana clips that were taped together, with lots of bullets in it.

RYAN DAY: It was, like, an assault rifle. It really wasn't a gun that was made for fun shooting. Looked like it was made to kill people. It didn't look like a pleasure gun.

P.J. DAY: He got his target up and just started to shoot. He had it about 10 feet away until he brought it up and put the end of the barrel right on the target and started to shoot, so it was leaving powder marks.

RYAN DAY: You don't usually see people firing off that many round point-blank. I thought that he was capable of hurting someone real bad.

NARRATOR: On December 30th, Shannon Lowney unlocked the front doors of Planned Parenthood and opened the clinic for the day.

BETH WATERS: The morning of the 30th was pretty much like any morning. I was in a procedure. I heard a funny_ it was a funny yell for help. And I'm really being the nurse in charge here. I'm often_ you know, I'm attuned to that. You know, you hear_ other people don't even notice it. People who haven't worked in hospitals and stuff, you hear running down the hall, they don't think anything of it and it's, like, my heart stops. I'm, like, "What's going on? What's wrong?" Because if you're running, it's an emergency.

ALICE VERHOEVEN: I heard crackling noises, which I immediately thought was some kind of electrical equipment backfiring. That's all I could think of. But it sounded ominous somehow. And I went down the hallway and I immediately smelled gunpowder.

BETH WATERS: When I got to her, she was on her back and there was blood everywhere and there was a big hole in her neck. And she was still breathing.

ALICE VERHOEVEN: At that point, we didn't know whether the gunman was in the clinic or not.

NARRATOR: By the time the first 911 call was received by the Brookline police, John Salvi had arrived at PreTerm clinic two and a half miles down the street.

1st WITNESS: Some guy went in there with a shotgun. There was six of us standing_ ladies standing in the hallway. I was one of the last to come to the door. If I would have been in front of the lady that got shot, I would have been shot, too. He charged_

NARRATOR: In a ground floor room at PreTerm, Richard Serrone was just changing out of his security guard's uniform when he heard shots coming from the reception area.

RICHARD SERRONE: I immediately recognized it to be .22-caliber semi-automatic gunfire. I could see a young man standing near Jane Sauer who was slumped down behind a pillar. We locked eyes for a fraction of a second and exchanged one shot each. What I would do is to lean out, make a fast shot and then jump back in to avoid the hosing that he was giving the doorway.

2nd WITNESS: He went down there!

1st WITNESS: He went this way! He was right behind me.

2nd WITNESS: He turned around and_ [crosstalk]

1st WITNESS: If it wasn't for me jumping over the gate, he would have shot me! He just came in that clinic, opened up the door and started shooting anything he seen.

NARRATOR: Salvi had made a successful escape and inside the clinic Serrone surveyed the carnage left behind.

RICHARD SERRONE: I noticed Leeanne Nichols slumped face down on the floor like a rag doll that someone had dropped. Jane Sauer, on the other hand, was still alive and was moving and her eyes were open.

NARRATOR: Down the street at Planned Parenthood, Beth Waters and a doctor were trying to save Shannon's life.

BETH WATERS: We were getting an airway into her mouth. Just as I was doing that, heard a yell that there were more people shot in the waiting room.

NARRATOR: Beth Waters and another nurse rushed into the clinic waiting room, where two men lay wounded, while nearby a female clinic worker was in critical condition.

ALICE VERHOEVEN: Some of the bravest acts I've ever seen and probably ever will see are some of the medical staff here_ those two nurses who went out into the waiting room not knowing who was out there and what was out there, but they knew that_ that people were shot and they went out there and took care.

BETH WATERS: You know, I didn't know whether Shannon was definitely_ whether it was too late for her or not, at that point. I assumed it probably was, but till the EMTs came, I was, like, "She's the most serious. Go in to her." And they came right back out after going in to her and I knew then there was nothing that they could do for her.

JOAN LOWNEY: I thought it was the most incomprehensible, obscene thing I had ever heard in my life. Who she was, all the promise of her life, and all that she could do in the world_ just her being in the world, her presence in the world lightened it and brightened it and all her whole motivation to help others_ there was so much to do in the world to make life better. I could not believe that all of that promise was over.

My father said, "This is the first tragedy that has struck our family" and those are practically the last things_ words he said. He just sat there and he kept saying Shannon's name over and over. And my father just gradually slipped away almost 12 hours to the minute after Shannon died.

MEGHAN LOWNEY: I had naively believed that I would grow old with my sister and yet on_ on December 31st, I had to identify her body. The_ the trip to Boston was forever. And the sense that she was so far away and_ you know, physically, and that we needed to travel to find her dead was a very strange experience. When we did arrive on this eve before the new year, the experience of people on their way to parties and celebrating New Year's Eve was really so strange and so surreal.

BILL LOWNEY: I was very much aware of the coming of the new year and that we were not celebrating the new year. We were involved in identifying the body of our beautiful daughter.

LIAM LOWNEY: We did go to the morgue, as a family, to I.D. her body. And it's a very vivid picture in my mind. It's something I'll never forget. Unfortunately, my last picture of her is not of her at Christmas, it's of her at this morgue.

JOAN LOWNEY: If anybody asked any parent, "What do you think the most difficult job would be in the world?" it is to see_ to identify one's child who is dead. But I will always carry with me the memory of her face that night. She looked about 16 years old and she looked asleep. And those who loved her were shoulder to shoulder for her that night. And it's_ it's a warm memory. It's an important memory. It isn't a happy one, but it's not a horrible one, either.

NARRATOR: In a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, a small private service was held for Leeanne Nichols, the second receptionist murdered by John Salvi.

EILEEN MacDOUGALL: Lee was like the forgotten woman and that was very sad. And Lee would not have liked notoriety, but Lee would have very much wanted her political beliefs to be known and she would have wanted people to know that she was doing this because this was what she wanted to do, not because it just happened to be a job she saw in the paper.

NARRATOR: On the steps of PreTerm, Ed McDonough placed his own memorial for his fiancee.

ED McDONOUGH: I had my cousin make her a little cross for me, a little wooden cross. Wrote a little saying for Butterscotch, that "Mummy Scotch will love you always, Butterscotch." And I wrote "Leeanne, I died along with you. I can't wait to be together again. Love, Ed," because we were taught when we were young, when we die we all get together again in time, we would be together.

ALICE VERHOEVEN: The very day we opened the clinic again _ one week from the day of the shooting, we saw a few patients _ we had a handful of people outside. And I remember thinking_ I never talk to the picketers. I never acknowledge their presence. That's how I deal with it. But on that day, I remember turning around and saying, "How dare you?"

Rev. DONALD SPITZ: John Salvi, we're on your side! If you need anything, let us know! We want to help you any way we can! John Salvi, you are a hero!

NARRATOR: Outside the Norfolk jail where John Salvi was being questioned, Reverend Spitz and his radical followers hailed a new hero.

Rev. DONALD SPITZ: And I would like to ask why is the life of a_ of a receptionist worth more than the lives of 50 innocent human babies?

They were guilty. They had blood on their hands. I'll be honest. If they died without accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior in that split second before they died, they_ they are in hell now and must remain there for eternity.

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: One thing that_ that I never do is discuss what_ where an individual stands before God, which would be the question put to me in asking, you know, theologically, "Where would she be?" Scripture says, "Judge not that you be not judged."

COURT CLERK: The jurors for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the county of Norfolk, John C. Salvi III of Hampton did assault and beat Shannon Lowney with intent to murder said Shannon Lowney. As to that indictment, sir, how do you wish to plead, guilty or not guilty?

JOHN SALVI: Not guilty.

NARRATOR: John Salvi's parents appeared at their first and only press conference.

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: If we had gotten him help, maybe this terrible tragedy might never have happened. We want to urge all parents_

ANNE MARIE SALVI: There were so many signs of mental illness, but I didn't know anything about mental illness. I feel_ I do blame myself. And my husband and I have a lot of regrets_ so many regrets! I was_ I had very archaic_ I was so archaic in my thinking, I thought if somebody's mentally ill, they're in a room_ my picture of it was that they were in a room. They were either sitting in a chair or curled up in a corner and they_ they were like a vegetable. I_ I had no idea they walked, talked and they felt pain! And they couldn't express themselves and sometimes when they did, it wasn't what you expected or wanted it to be.

JOHN SALVI, Sr.: We_ we should have done something. We should have seen more. Those women and their families_ we both pray for them daily. It's_ because we really_ we must have been terribly blind not to see something, to stop this.

PSYCHIATRIST: If your attorneys thought your best bet would be some kind of insanity defense, would you go along with it?

JOHN SALVI: Insanity defense?


JOHN SALVI: What benefit is an insanity defense?

PSYCHIATRIST: Well, the benefit is_

JOHN SALVI: What are the benefits?

PSYCHIATRIST: If you succeed, you would go to a psychiatric hospital rather than to prison and as soon as you're considered not dangerous to others, you could be released from the hospital.

JOHN SALVI: How_ and what time period would you stay in the mental institution?

PSYCHIATRIST: That would depend upon when you're considered not dangerous to others. So people could be there for just a month or they could be there for a lifetime. But it's not fixed. You know, like a prison, you know, you got a fixed term_ five years, ten years, life. In a psychiatric hospital, it would be depending when you're_ if the court viewed you as no longer mentally ill and not dangerous.

JOHN SALVI: What psychiatric facility would you recommend for an individual who was incompetent?

PSYCHIATRIST: Well, that's up to the courts in Massachusetts. One of the ones that people go to is Bridgewater State Hospital.

JOHN SALVI: Bridgewater State Hospital. And what is that facility like?

PSYCHIATRIST: It's not as nice as this new jail.

NARRATOR: In July, 1995, a five-day hearing was held into John Salvi's competency to stand trial.

1st EXPERT WITNESS: It's my opinion, with reasonable medical certainty, that at the present time, Mr. Salvi is not competent to stand trial.

2nd EXPERT WITNESS: The opinion I formed was that there are no signs or symptoms of mental disorder.

3rd EXPERT WITNESS: In my opinion, Mr. Salvi is suffering from schizophrenia, undifferentiated type.

4th EXPERT WITNESS: Mr. Salvi is not schizophrenic.

5th EXPERT WITNESS: He is suffering from a psychotic disorder and as best characterized as schizophrenia.

JOHN SALVI: I definitely consider myself competent to stand trial.

PSYCHIATRIST: You do? Are you anxious to stand trial? Would you like to stand trial or would you like to avoid it as long as possible?

JOHN SALVI: Stand trial or avoid it as often as possible_ no, it_ I don't run from trial. But when there's a trial that's set at a date set, I would go to trial.


JUDGE: The court has found that the defendant is presently competent and will stand trial on the charges before him.

NARRATOR: Five months after the Brookline murders, most protesters had returned to the clinics. And on June 2nd, 1995, Cardinal Bernard Law acknowledged that reality and announced he was lifting his moratorium.

Cardinal BERNARD LAW: The moratorium was not universally respected. After five months, it seemed to me that the situation had gone quite peaceful. I may live somewhat insulated. I don't know. But my sense is that the rhetoric and the tension around the issue that we're discussing has been lessened.

ALICE VERHOEVEN: When I heard the news that the cardinal lifted the moratorium, I felt, "So what?" It has had no effect on us. I am really sorry that the cardinal's moratorium didn't have more of an effect, but it has not had an effect on our lives here in the clinic one bit. And I guess I feel_ I guess I feel sorry that he did rescind it because it means, on some level, he's given up, too. I think we're back to square one.

BILL COTTER: There'll be peace on the abortion issue when abortion stops because if you want peace, there must first be justice. And as long as there is abortion, there is, by definition, injustice.

NARRATOR: Yesterday, on February 5th, 1996, John Salvi's trial for the murders of Leeanne Nichols and Shannon Lowney began.

MEGHAN LOWNEY: I haven't spent much time with the question of who killed her and why. I guess I don't feel that it's really a valid, you know, use of my time. When I think about Shannon, I think about her and her life and what I miss. At Christmastime, growing up, my mother would always buy a few presents that were the same for both of us because we were "the girls." As the girls, we often had, you know, the same identical presents and at Christmas morning we would see that our_ our presents were similar by a card that was cut in half and they would be identical_ you know, the one half of the card on each present. And so when you found one of those presents, you had to look, you know, to the other. So I would look to Shannon and say, "Find the one that looks like this." You know, "We have to open it together" so that neither of us would know ahead of the other. And I_ and I think, you know, not having the other half of the card is what I miss.

ANNOUNCER: Visit FRONTLINE on the world wide web via PBS at this address. Go on-line with FRONTLINE for a longer examination of John Salvi and the insanity defense. Read the transcript from his psychiatric interview or listen to longer excerpts from him. And read the court transcript of Salvi's four-day competency hearing. Finally, find out more about the trial and stay informed with daily updates by linking to the Boston Globe's full coverage. On our feedback page give us your views about the website and the broadcast. It's all at this internet address.

Hundreds of you did give us your feedback on two recent FRONTLINE programs. "The Long March of Newt Gingrich" drew criticism from liberals and conservatives alike.

BOB KING: [Vancouver, British Columbia] Dear FRONTLINE: Even though I generally oppose Newt's views at every turn and I consider him too arrogant and overreaching, I found myself squirming as I listened to your artful character assassination, particularly since a simple recitation of the actual historical record would have said more than enough to prove the case. Bob King, Vancouver, British Columbia.

DAVID A. DOWNES: [Chico, California] Dear FRONTLINE: Newt Gingrich's rise from the most common human roots is an amazing story deserving comprehensive analysis. Instead, viewers were offered primarily a petulant litany of his rough beginnings offering no insight to how his career has flourished at the national level. David A. Downes, Chico, California.

DUANNE SEARSMITH: [Champaign, Illinois] Dear FRONTLINE: If Gingrich is paranoid or thin-skinned, it's probably because of reports like this one. Come on, guys. This isn't real journalism, is it? Duanne Searsmith, Champaign, Illinois.

ANNOUNCER: Many viewers, also bipartisan, responded with praise.

CANDICE KELLER: [Middletown, Ohio] Dear FRONTLINE: I loved your program on Newt Gingrich. The closeness at which you focused on every aspect and period of his life was riveting. I couldn't stop watching. He's a man with focus and the ability to take the country where it needs to go. Sincerely, Candice Keller, Middletown, Ohio.

THOMAS D. GOOTZ: [Deep River, Connecticut] Dear FRONTLINE: Mr. Gingrich and his comrades will undoubtedly try to discredit your documentary as "specious lies concocted by the liberal left." The fact of the matter is that most of the testimony presented in your story was given by Mr. Gingrich's family and close friends. Tom Gootz, Deep River, Connecticut.

TED HASKELL: [Randolph, Massachusetts] Dear FRONTLINE: This is the kind of candid and thought-provoking expose we need to raise the level of political discussion in this country. It is a crying shame that we will never see a similar piece on the biggest criminal elements in this government, the Clinton administration and some members of Congress in both parties who actively promote a hideous form of corporate socialism. Ted Haskell, Randolph, Massachusetts.

ANNOUNCER: Reaction to FRONTLINE's two-part Gulf war series was mostly positive, but here's a sampling from viewers who thought it fell short.

BEN MOSS: [Austin, Texas] Dear FRONTLINE: What struck me most about the program is the complete lack of any coherent critique, beyond occasional strategic concerns, of the war, its justifications, its real motivations within the U.S. political economy or the media's role, which your program continues, of uncritically transmitting the most blatant and absurd propaganda lines imaginable. Ben Moss, Austin, Texas.

STEPHEN CHENI: [Whitewater, Wisconsin] Dear FRONTLINE: What was otherwise a marvelous review was damaged by almost constant second-guessing and a rush on your part to highlight the negative parts of the war. No war is a clean operation, but I challenge you to find another where the damage inflicted to non-combatants was less. Stephen Cheni, Whitewater, Wisconsin.

SCOTT RICK: [Kenosha, Wisconsin]

Dear FRONTLINE: What happened to investigative journalism? Wasn't four hours enough time to provide alternative viewpoints? Like we hadn't already seen enough of Powell and Schwarzkopf? Who funded this program anyway, the State Department? Scott Rick, Kenosha, Wisconsin.

STEVE DRINNON: [Flint, Michigan] Dear FRONTLINE: Yours is the best program on PBS. Why? Because you occasionally allow a left-of-center viewpoint to be heard. This is an extreme rarity in our supposedly democratic "free press." Even PBS censors itself to appease anti-democratic corporate sponsors and right-wing Congresspersons. Why were no prominent American dissidents allowed to speak? Noam Chomsky would've been an excellent counterbalance to the political commissars you cited. Steve Drinnon, Flint, Michigan.

ANNOUNCER: And finally, a positive view.

RON ROIZEN: [Berkeley, California] Dear FRONTLINE: This two-program report was a superb journalistic and historical achievement, riveting from start to finish, so much so that I even sacrificed watching my favorite T.V. show on NBC, Law and Order. Just couldn't touch that dial. It offered not only a new and rich account of the war's actual history ... but also a keenly independent voice that was clearly not "out to get" anyone, but instead aimed to provide the truest possible picture. Ron Roizen, Berkeley, California.

ANNOUNCER: Let us know what you think by fax at (617) 254-0243, by e-mail, at FRONTLINE@ pbs.org, or write to this address: Dear FRONTLINE, 125 Western Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02134.

And next time_

singing [Come you masters of war]

ANNOUNCER: Before the Gulf war,

singing [You that build all the guns]

ANNOUNCER: Saddam Hussein bought a cannon

singing [Oh, I think you will find]

ANNOUNCER: as long as a football field with a range of hundreds of miles, the dream of a ballistics genius, Dr. Gerald Bull. "The Man Who Made the Supergun" next time on FRONTLINE.

singing [Come you masters of war]

JOHN SALVI: But there's no reason that anyone would think I was insane. I've never acted insane or carried myself in an insane way. Why would they think I was insane?




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