Abortion Clinic Bombing Victim Emily Lyons Speaks Out

A terrorist's bombing victim speaks out

IR: What has been the response to you from the broader public?

JEFF: We've heard from hundreds, if not thousands, of people. [Shows a box containing seven photo albums full of cards and letters.]

EMILY: For the most part, all have said that it shouldn't have happened. One even came from one of the [anti-abortion] protesters here in town.

Then there are the ones that I call the "nasty-grams." They told me that if I don't repent and mend my evil ways, I will burn in a lake of fire, that it's better to lose an eye than burn in a lake of fire.

I say to them, I've already done that. I have no intention of going back and doing it again.

IR: What is life like now that you're such a public figure?

EMILY: We went out to a restaurant the other day and there was a guy sitting by himself right next to us. He kept turning around and staring. I'm just looking, thinking, "Is he going to bring out a gun or what's the deal?" Did he just recognize me, or was this a bad guy?

The other week in Washington, we had a bodyguard and everything. Even with him lurking around, I caught myself doing the same thing. Some guy walks a little bit too close with his hands in his pockets and in your mind you're thinking, "Is this it?"

IR: I understand that both Robert Sanderson [the off-duty police officer who was killed in the bombing] and his wife were personally opposed to abortion. What is your relationship with Felecia Sanderson now?

EMILY: She keeps in contact fairly frequently. Her opinion is her opinion. She knows what I did for a living, and it doesn't bother her, that I know of.

We were watching the memorial [for Sanderson] on the news the other night and then they showed the date on his headstone. I lost it. It just really hit home.

IR: Eric Rudolph, the alleged bomber, has been on the run for six months now. What's your reaction when you see pictures of this man?

EMILY: There are not enough words to describe what you want done to him, or to describe what kind of person would do this. I would like to sit and watch him die. I don't think it would bother me a bit.

JEFF: His life is over, one way or the other. He could spend it in a cave hiding in the woods, which is solitary confinement. It's just a matter of what causes his heart to stop beating. I mean, does he die of natural causes, or does he die in a shootout or is he executed? I don't know if it matters so much.

EMILY: I don't think of him as a wonderful child, like his mother does. He should have had counseling years ago. I have other words for him, but they are not nice. He's evil. That recent picture of him, his face is dead, just as dead as they come.

IR: What do you think when you hear people telling reporters they support Rudolph?

JEFF: It makes your head spin around and around.

EMILY: A neighbor of his the other night was saying on television that they would not turn him in.

Well, he's not one of them any more. He has killed somebody, so he's not one of the good ol' boys any more. I'm sure he would just as soon kill them as anybody else who gets in his way.

They are not looking at the issue. He killed somebody. Are they really that far back in the woods? Are they that out of touch with reality?

IR: How does it feel to have terrorism hit you personally?

JEFF: It's no longer just a concept, something you hear about in Beirut or someplace. It's something most Americans cannot relate to at all. I know people who were in Vietnam and Desert Storm, but for most people, it's just a concept what it means to be on the bad end of a bomb.

Eventually, they'll catch Rudolph. But no one is going after the people who planted this seed. No one is going after the people who did the Army of God handbook that shows you how to make these bombs. Rudolph may have been the only person at the clinic that day. But they should be paying attention to the people who turned Rudolph from whatever he was into what he is now.

IR: Is there a message that you have for America after this ordeal?

JEFF: That it didn't work. This is not the way. This did not accomplish anything, other than it made Felecia Sanderson a widow and drastically hurt Emily. It didn't further their cause. If anything, I think it set it back.

EMILY: Violence is not the way to do it. If you want to change something, go through the system. You don't take it upon yourself to decide what is right and wrong.