What About Them? One Year Later: A Reflection on the Carleton Arrests
by Ruth (Lobo) Shaw
In Hawaii, there is an island called Molokai where, historically, those suffering from leprosy were sent to live in isolation from the community. Molokai became somewhat famous when Fr. Damien, a young priest, set up his missionary work there. History tells us that Fr. Damien was a great man: a hero who helped change Molokai and gave the people hope for a future. He eventually succumbed to the very disease those around him suffered from. In a true-to-life novel about Molokai, as his death was grieved throughout the religious world, one leper made an astute observation, saying,
“What about us? The world seems content to focus more on the death of one white man, than on the thousands of lepers that have died every year on this island. What about us?”
One year ago today, October 4, 2010, five students were arrested for attempting to show the world what abortion really looks like. There was a media storm, outcry from the public, and a realization that universities are no longer what they should be. I, Ruth, and my four courageous friends James, Nicholas, Craig, and Zuza, were cast as heroes. And yet, through it all, I sense—I know—that something more than free speech was lost that day.
The day the five of us were arrested, more than 270 pre-born children were decapitated, dismembered, and disemboweled by abortion.
And so today, on behalf of the pre-born, I ask, “What about them?”
Yes, the “Carleton Five” were treated unjustly and yes we should be upset. However, I can easily say that our goal was never to become heroes, or to divert attention from abortion. Rather, it was to stand between the world and pre-born children and say in the words of Mamie Till, who held an open-casket funeral for her son Emmett who was brutally murdered by racists in 1955, “Let the world see what I have seen.”
On this the anniversary of our arrests, I echo Mamie Till’s sentiment, but this time, regarding the plight of the pre-born: “Let the world see what I have seen.”
We are nothing more than arrows that point to a greater injustice—weak, vulnerable pre-born children are being killed and the world is watching. Their deaths are a greater tragedy than our arrests. So when we remember October 4, let that be brought central to our minds.
There are two final thoughts I wish to leave with you today:
First, I would like to thank all those who have shown immense on-going support to Carleton Lifeline in our battle at Carleton University for free speech and against abortion.
Second, I wanted to give a special message to all young people: I once heard it said that courage is not the absence of fear, but a will to do what’s right in spite of your fears. And so I implore you to stand up and do the right thing for the pre-born, even if you’re afraid. Whether that’s carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term, or speaking up in class, or talking to a pregnant friend, or standing with a graphic sign, please be a voice for the voiceless. When we all rise up, together we can EndtheKilling.
Important Note: This past Saturday, October 1, Ruth was married to James Shaw (who was also arrested last October). CCBR congratulates them on this exciting new beginning! Since Mr. and Mrs. Shaw are on their honeymoon, they are unavailable for comment this week. If there are media inquiries/interview requests regarding the Carleton incident, please contact the following individuals:
*Stephanie Gray, CCBR executive director who filmed the arrest: 403-200-0777 (cell) or 403-668-0485 (office)
*Albertos Polizogopoulos, lawyer for the students: 613-241-2701 (office)
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