Vandalism is not the way to get message across


I had toyed with writing this letter in any case, but the story gives me a bit of a push.

I find it a difficult letter to write. Not because I feel an ambivalence or uncertainty about the issues. I do not. Nor do I condone vandalism in any way, shape or form. The difficulty lies in the vocabulary at play. One cannot discuss abortion without resorting to terms burdened with connotations. I have no desire or need to jerk those chains. The fields of crosses illustrating abortion statistics have become ubiquitous.

We, and I suspect, the anonymous spray painter, understand the intended message. “Confusion seemed to rule the day with Rutten, Chase and others at the parish building unclear as to what the vandal was trying to get across.”

Let me take a shot at an interpretation. Perhaps the spray painter, like me, wonders where is the field of crosses for 2,668 American sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, cousins, fathers and mothers dead in the Iraq War. (

Living, breathing people with goals, aspirations and futures, with loved ones who will mourn them until they go to their own graves. Where is the field of crosses for the uncounted thousands of Iraqi dead?

“Catron said he supports an abortion ban, but can’t understand what the anti-war statement had to do with the cross display.” Until the ‘pro-life’ movement can truly advocate for life, all life not just the (insert preferred term), I can summon no respect for it.

The Catholic Church may not support the war but neither is it in the forefront of protest against it.

To the anonymous spray painter: Please consider your form of protest more carefully. Vandalism is not an effective rhetorical tool.

Kathy GustafsonBrookings, South DakotaSDSU alumni