I’m not sure why, but the story of the atrocities committed by Dr. Kermit Gosnell over a period of decades has really gotten under my skin.
I think what really astounds me is that details of his deeds are only just now beginning to leak out to a broader audience.
The exposure of his hideous behavior began in 2010, three years ago. And his trial has been going on for nearly five weeks. Yet only in the past couple of weeks has there been any semi-substantial news coverage – from any source – shedding light where light needs to be shed with great intensity.
In fact, over the past week or so, the primary focus of any news “stories” have been focused on pointing blame for the lack of coverage. Some of this has been self-flagellation by the media admitting failure.
Much of the blame has been centered on the idea that no one wants to or knows how to touch this “football issue” that seems to be about, you know, the “a-word” – abortion.
But it’s not really about the a-word, it’s about a serial killer
There are so many aspects to this story I’m amazed that any true journalist/reporter is having a hard time finding an angle from which to begin approaching the story and dig into it.
Yet, because everyone seems to have been rendered deaf, dumb, and blind by the a-word, that’s exactly what’s happened.
But it really isn’t about abortion. It’s about much more. Yet it’s mostly about killing.
Probably the best “reporting” I’ve read is the report of the grand jury that investigated Gosnell and recommended charges.
The report is surprisingly well-written in incredibly compelling and lucid prose. It’s gripping to read, especially the 17-page overview.
Here’s a link to the entire report: http://www.phila.gov/districtattorney/
Here are the first two paragraphs:
“This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.”You really should read the entire report or at least the full overview. It’s graphic and contains graphic images, so keep it away from your kids.
“Let us say right up front that we realize this case will be used by those on both sides of the abortion debate. We ourselves cover a spectrum of personal beliefs about the morality of abortion. For us as a criminal grand jury, however, the case is not about that controversy; it is about disregard of the law and disdain for the lives and health of mothers and infants. We find common ground in exposing what happened here, and in recommending measures to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.”
What you will discover when you read this document is that Gosnell, under the guise of offering abortions and other “medical” services, is really nothing more than a greedy, misogynistic, sociopathic serial killer.
The report state’s bluntly, “Killing really had to be part of Gosnell’s plan” (page 105).
Gosnell’s behavior and habits are as gruesome as those of a Jeffery Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy.
Not only did he kill viable babies by “snipping” their spines, he took pictures (page 73) and kept trophies (page 74).
A three-year media blackout
As far as the lack of media coverage, it isn’t about not covering the trial now as most claim, it’s about the near total void of reporting in the previous three years.
The initial story broke with a raid on Gosnell’s clinic, or “sham medical practice” (page 2), in 2010.
A year later in 2011 the grand jury report came out.
Now, three years after the raid and two years after the grand jur report, the case is going to trial.
Reporters are citing that a gag order is in place as one excuse for not reporting more. Have you ever known a gag order to stop a determined reporter?
Besides, there was no gag order for three years. The media, both conservative and liberal, have just been sitting on their hands.
Why? Because they see the a-word and it’s an open and closed, hands off story.
It’s too volatile. It’s too political.
But there’s so much more!
Providing abortions was simply the guise under which Gosnell committed murder and more.
All you need to do is read the grand jury report and there are dozens of threads that could lead to additional stories as engrossing as anything associated with the Jodi Arias case.
Here are a few questions that need answers:
- How about following up with details about the drug trafficking that broke the story (page 2)? Were other doctors involved?
- How could a state’s Department of Health choose to not enforce current laws (page 9)? What’s been done to ensure this doesn’t happen again?
- How many of the grand jury’s recommendations (pages 247 – 261) have been implemented? If not, why not?
- How is it that area hospitals were aware of problems in Gosnell’s “clinic” yet failed to take action (page 213 and references throughout the report)? What’s being done to ensure this neglect isn’t continuing?
- One of Gosnell’s office workers (an accomplice to the murders) acknowledges she and Gosnell had a “fling” (page 37). They met when she was only 17 and she now has an 13-year-old child. Were they involved when she was a teen? Were there others? Could Gosnell, besides being an adulterer as be a child molester?
- Investigators also found a gun and $240,000 cash in his 12-year-old daughter’s closet (page 22). Were child endangerment charges filed? Where’s the child now? Was the gun registered? Were there other guns? Are there other children?
- There are records that Gosnell and his accomplices “treated” at least one “14-year-old girl carrying a 30-week-old baby” (pages 9-10). Were child abuse charges filed against everyone involved? Were there other underage girls “treated”? What happened to these girls who are victims?
- Gosnell’s victims came from several states outside Pennsylvania (page 27) and he worked in at least one other state (page 41). Are those states bringing charges or conducting investigations?
Sadly, because this case is being viewed from the perspective of the a-word, Gosnell has only been charged with a few counts of murder because, “Most of these acts cannot be prosecuted, because Gosnell destroyed the files” (page 5).
Serial killers don’t keep records and they can be prosecuted based on the number of bodies recovered.
Gosnell kept dozens of bodies in his “clinic,” including one frozen in a water jug (page 5).
Why is it important to demand more reporting and media coverage?
Gosnell ran his “clinic” for nearly four decades. In that time, thousands of “patients” passed through and were victimized in his chamber of horrors.
Why was he and his staff (accomplices) allowed to get away with murder for so long?
Because, as the grand jury report points out, the authorities turned a blind eye.
Once the raid occurred and some initial press reporting took place and that prompted the authorities to actually do their jobs:
- “Only after the raid occurred, and the story hit the press, did the department choose to act. Suddenly there were no administrative, legal, or policy barriers; within weeks an order was issued to close the clinic” (Page 10).
- “A department attorney said there was no ‘pattern of conduct.’ He never bothered to check a national litigation database, which would have shown that Gosnell had paid out damages to at least five different women whose internal organs he had punctured during abortions. Apparently, the missing piece in the ‘pattern’ was press coverage. Once that began, after the raid, the department attorney quickly managed to secure a license suspension against Gosnell” (page 11).
Even his staff, who are accomplices, were ill-informed, although not totally ignorant, as to what was and was not legal and necessary.
So we need the press to do more now.
We need the media to go deeper and broader to ensure that other Gosnell’s are not out there doing the same or worse. And if they are, that they are exposed by relentless, in-depth, Watergate-style reporting.
We don’t need more editorializing. We don’t need more politics. We need solid reporting.
We need to ensure that justice will be done for the victims who suffered at the hands of Gosnell and his accomplices.
And we need to ensure there are no more Gosnells out there getting away with murder and more and doing it under the guise of “medical” treatment.
Links to notable recent articles and TV reports:
- 4/15/13 - The Gosnell case: Here’s what you need to know (Washington Post)
- 4/15/13 – Politics Aside, the Gosnell Trial Deserves — and Is Getting — More Coverage (The New York Times)
- 4/15/13 – What I saw at the Gosnell trial (PhillyBurbs.com)
- 4/15/13 - 14 Theories for Why Kermit Gosnell's Case Didn't Get More Media Attention (The Atlantic
- 4/12/13 – Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell's Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story (The Atlantic)
- 4/12/13 - Anderson Cooper report that includes the director of the documentary, 3801 Lancaster (CNN)
- 3801 Lancaster is a project to bring more awareness to the Gosnell case as well as provide updates and additional insight. The focal is a 20 minute documentary about the clinic and its victims.