RUN, RUDY, RUN
By Mary Starrett
June 4, 2003
I don't know if Eric Rudolph did all the terrible things they say he did, but I have my doubts.
Apparently, all those people who wore tee shirts bearing the message "Run, Rudy, Run" have had their doubts as well. Short of a confession by the man, I'll continue to hold on to those doubts.
Like many people, I followed his story closely, from his 1998 disappearance after an abortuary was bombed, to news that a massive manhunt by hundreds of law enforcement officials had failed to turn up one of "America's Most Wanted."
Five years later, they have their man. Or do they?
Rudolph's name was first linked to bombings after a shrapnel and nail device went off at The New Woman All Women abortuary in Birmingham. That blast seriously injured a woman and killed an off-duty cop. Someone said they saw Rudolph's truck nearby and a man fitting his description walking away from the scene. Weeks later his truck was found abandoned near the rugged hills of the Appalachian Trail. Rudy had run and was nowhere to be found, despite the high-tech search that ensued.
Two years, plus a million dollar bounty later, Rudy was like a ghost in those hills. The cops were feeling silly. What happened next doesn't pass the smell test. Not only was Rudolph charged with the Birmingham bombing but with a few other unsolved bombings as well. After all, why not dump all the other cases law enforcement wasn't able to solve on Rudy?
Remember how poor Richard Jewell was demonized and falsely-accused of the 1996 Olympic Park bombing? That quiet, gentle man had his life turned upside down by Keystone Cops desperate to find a culprit. Could it be that what they couldn't pin on Richard they decided to add to Eric Rudolph's list of sins? That list had grown over the years he was presumably hiding out in the mountains of western North Carolina to include additional bombings-another abortuary and a gay nightclub in Atlanta. The evidence against Rudolph? Nails. They say nails in the bombs were like nails found amongst his belongings.(Other than this, prosecutors are mum on the evidence they say they have linking Rudolph to all four bombings.)
Is this just a case of law enforcement feeling like fools because a simple country boy had eluded them all these years?
What should be cause for concern for all Americans is the way they've described this man: "…he studied the Bible, believed the United Nations was usurping U.S. sovereignty, held anti-government sentiment…was an anti-abortion crusader…questioned the Holocaust…was anti-gay, anti-foreigner" to name just a few of the phrases labeling him in the press. Here we go again- paint the man with those colors and he's…guilty! Such tagging is what most Americans accepted to excuse what happened to Randy Weaver and his family when they were the victims of an all-out blitzkrieg by the federal government in Ruby Ridge, Idaho some years back. Anymore, all you have to do is co-opt a willing media to go along with these categorizations and you can garner widespread approval for considering someone a dangerous criminal.
Now, maybe Eric Rudolph really was behind the crimes for which he stands accused. But, as I see it, there are some glaring inconsistencies in the whole thing.
First off, by all accounts, the man was not obsessed by the abortion issue. He didn't talk about it, rail against it or display any sentiment whatsoever about the gruesome practice. Most anti-aborts are well-known for their position. Certainly those who find the wholesale murder of babies abhorrent- talk about it. Rudy didn't. That may or may not be a clue as to whether he'd have a motive to blow up an abortuary.
Secondly, one of Eric Rudolph's brothers is gay. Again, not likely he'd be rearranging the floor plan of a gay nightclub.
Third, what possible vendetta could be behind the bomb left at Centennial Olympic Park?
Attorney General John Ashcroft wasted no time announcing the fine police work that netted this dangerous criminal 5 years after he went missing. Like most mothers whose sons are suspected of committing violent crimes, Patricia Rudolph doesn't think Eric's guilty. The Christian mother of six said "I pray the Holy Spirit will intervene and Eric will be exonerated, but once you're in the hands of the people who have power, it'll take a miracle."
Start praying all you "Bible-studying, anti-government, U.N.-bashing" zealots- those descriptions could mean you're the main suspects in unsolved crimes.
© 2003 Mary Starrett - All Rights Reserved
Mary Starrett was on television for 21 years as a news anchor, morning talk show host and medical reporter. For the last 5 years she hosted a radio program. Mary is a frequent guest on radio talk shows. E-Mail M123STAR@aol.com
"Remember how poor Richard Jewell was demonized and falsely-accused of the 1996 Olympic Park bombing? That quiet, gentle man had his life turned upside down by Keystone Cops desperate to find a culprit. Could it be that what they couldn't pin on Richard they decided to add to Eric Rudolph's list of sins?"