LETTER: 10-year old daughter seeing counselor due to anti-abortion protestor

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]


My daughter (10-years old) is seeing a professional counselor this week because this guy has given her nightmares. She has suffered nightmares and tries to hide herself now when we go through that intersetion. She hasn’t slept in her parent’s bed for 5 years, but now climbs into our bed when she has nightmares about him. She has never had specific, repeating nightmares before in her life. She believes he kills and cuts up children, now that he’s seen her and shoved the poster at her window, she thinks he’ll come for her. Though as her dad I have worked with her, that is what is set in her mind by his materiel, by his singling out of children in cars.

“Save the babies harm the children here and now,” should be what his sign reads.

He has 5 or six signs front and back. 1. Dead infants, 2. dissected fetuses, 3. bloody vagina with a dead fetus, 4. disected hands, and what looked like a 5. mass grave of dead nude bodies.

Secondly when I tried to present case law history to DMPD, I was hustled out the door with the words “our command staff has met, nothing we can do, have a good day sir.” They didnt want to hear anything they may have had to act on.

Simple question: if this guy was legit, why try and run from PD when they show up? Why try and hide his sign in the bushes as he did when DMPD showed up early on.

Obviously I’m upset by this guy, but I think Des Moines needs to get a refund from their lawyer. I believe that there are roads available to the city and PD if they “wanted” to do something; i.e.:

First off I don’t believe he’s protected under Freedom of Speech. Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire shows that disturbing images are not free speech (Google “Freedom of Speech exceptions”). There is a great quote in the Wiki about it under fighting words “Speech might be unprotected if it either intentionally knowingly, or recklessly inflicts severe emotional distress.”

– Normandy Park Dad
(name withheld at writer’s request)

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16 Responses to “LETTER: 10-year old daughter seeing counselor due to anti-abortion protestor”
  1. Ashley says:

    This is so sad. City officials need to look into keeping graphic and disturbing images from being shoved in the faces of children. These images should not be unavoidable for kids.

  2. AB in DM says:

    Funny, I feel the same way about seeing “I can’t breathe” T-shirts and picket signs. Gives me PTSD and gas for which I need medical treatment too. Makes me want to curl up into a little ball and shiver.

    But wait, there is that 1st Amendment thing. Guess I am stuck dealing with another person’s erroneous opinions huh? Darn “nation of laws, not men” thing again…

    • Brandon says:

      The difference between the “I can’t breathe” shirts and this guys images, are just that. If his sign just had words on it, no one would complain. It’s his right, but because of the images he is really harming the “people” he his trying to protect.

  3. Anonymous says:

    OMGOODNESS,We too went through this when he was in front of Burger King on Pac Hwy a few months ago! My daughter was so upset that I had to pull the car over and hold her in my lap while comforting and explaining to her what this all meant. She’s only 10 and clearly too young to and immature to handle something like this.

    While I’m all for freedom of speech, This visual version is harmful! He’s concerned about the unborn but has not one consideration for the children and adults alike that he is harming..

    Shame on him and shame on officials unwilling to take action.

  4. speters says:

    This guy is truly a PUBLIC NUISANCE!
    Shall we all go over and stand in front of his house with signs? The city is not stepping up to do what the public wants! This horrible man can hold up all the signs he wants with words on them or yell through a megaphone. He even told the city council that his 8 yr old granddaughter has seen the photos and understands ALL about abortion. Someone should call CPS! Does he show her other nasty pictures too?

    • BirchCreek says:

      “The city is not stepping up to do what the public wants!” Give me a break. Law is law. Just because the “public” doesn’t agree with his free speech rights doesn’t mean you can trash the constitution.
      Sure the signs can force an uncomfortable conversation with kids about what they represent. When is the best age to teach your kids about abortion rights? When is abortion taught as a form of birth control in Sex-ed classes at school?
      In relation to abortion, “harming” is a relative term if you are on the receiving end.

  5. Saylestay says:

    Des Moines is largely a retirement and young family community, so #1 the man with these signs has the WRONG market and a very ineffective, mislead approach.
    HOWEVER, if you currently don’t have young children, you may not realize what an assault these visual images are to a young person. It is jarring and disturbing. It’s essentially raping and robing them of their innocence…they don’t even understand what his message is. Years ago, before I had a child, I would have driven by his signs and just brushed him off as an overzealous idiot. Now, he is force feeding a message that is not reaching it’s intended market. You have to reach the hearts of the people who’s minds you want to change.
    Now that my son goes to elementary school literally just a few blocks away from these graphic signs it feels like a true violation of our right to peace with out visual abuse/assault. His graphic pictures are forcing parent and young, innocent children to have conversations that should not be forced upon us.
    I’m having to drive out of my way to not traumatize my kindergartener.
    We at the elementary school didn’t abort our children, they are with us in the car looking at your bloody, gory, thoughtless photos. Please cease and desist. I know many parents that have personally gone and asked him respectfully to stop. HELP, have a heart! Rethink this useless and harmful approach. Instead, go help people who are considering abortion, fund money and time into helping them with options. PLEASE!!!

  6. AB in DM says:

    You people are essentially saying “Stop, its for the children.”

    Yet that is EXACTLY the same thing the fella is saying too…

    Don’t you see your hypocrisy?

    [Yoda] Emotional arguments you make. Logical you are not.[/Yoda]

  7. Ryan says:

    I am so happy that one man decided to fight fire with fire. He stood quietly holding a sign that called out the old man with the dirty pictures. When I look at this article I see a good man with courage saying in person what most reserve the anonymity of the Internet to say. You are a true blessing young man. Thank you on all of our behalf.

  8. Joe Teeples says:

    I stopped and chatted with the guy. I asked is there were any abortion clinics in Des Moines… Nope…
    I asked his views on sending our children to war… He’s ok with that.
    He mentioned that he had a guy for thirty years u til his new wife told him to get rid of it.
    The guy is a hypocrit. Perhaps that’s the lesson we should be reaching our children…

    • Joe Teeples says:

      He had a gun for thirty years… Typo…

      • BirchCreek says:

        I’m sorry, I missed your point about a gun. What influence does that have on these discussions about his free speech rights and his sign?

        • Joe Teeples says:

          No argument about his free speech. But it is hypocritical to claim the righteous path of saving lives, then carry a weapon whose only purpose is to kill. He also had no problem with sending innocent soldiers overseas to die. It’s just hypocritical.

          • Bill says:

            You assume people who carry guns want to kill people? That is pretty ignorant. All cops want to kill people? Of course not. What differentiates the police from me other than a badge? I can guarantee I’m better trained with a firearm than most police.
            I carry a gun to protect my life and the lives of those around me from dangerous people who want to hurt and kill innocent people.
            This man mentioned wants to defend people who aren’t born yet. And he’s not using a gun…. He even got rid of it!
            Your argument holds no water. Try again.

  9. Dunn says:

    U.S. Supreme Court, Three Prong Obscenity Test, MILLER v. CALIFORNIA, 413 U.S. 15 (1973)

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