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Mercenary for Justice


“You saw him?”



“In our old house,” Joseph remembers the boy saying. He meant the place his parents had moved from on Linden Boulevard. “He came up to see us once.”

On the Friday night after one car trip, Loretta picked up Joseph at his apartment for his first clinic action. Joseph was married now, and he told his wife, Rachel, that he was going out to play cards. When he opened Loretta’s car door, he saw she was wearing fatigues. She’d gone to three different stores to buy toothpicks, glue, and a dark cap for Joseph. They drove across Brooklyn to a doctor’s office on Church Avenue that they had cased during the day. Loretta parked. In Joseph’s hand was a toothpick dripping with glue. He opened the car door, and walked out into the rain.

When he got to the clinic, Joseph picked up his cell phone and called Osborn.

“Michael,” said Joseph, “I have a toothpick. I have Krazy Glue. I’m gluing it.”

“You’re not gonna glue it,” the agent said.

“Michael, I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”

“You’re not gluing it. You’re breaking the law.”

Joseph laughed. “Come on!” he said. “A little won’t hurt.”

A pause. Then Joseph reassured him.

“Michael, I’m dropping the glue.”

Some glue dripped on Joseph’s fanny pack. A happy accident; now he’d have something to show Loretta. “Look at this!” he said, back in the car. “It’s all over me!”

Loretta couldn’t contain herself. She called Dennis. “Dennis, we did it, we did it!” All the way home and through the next day, it was all she could talk about.

Kopp started making plans to leave Ireland toward the end of 2000, perhaps for Germany. He was issued an Irish passport under the name John O’Brien in November, and applied for a driver’s license under the name Daniel Joseph O’Sullivan in December. But to travel, Kopp needed money, and Dennis and Loretta happened on a way to raise some.

In January 2001, Dennis and Loretta drove south on the New Jersey Turnpike to attend the annual White Rose Banquet in Bowie, Maryland—the ultimate radical pro-life trade show. Created by Army of God’s Michael Bray to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the White Rose featured speakers paying tribute to people jailed for attacking abortion clinics. (The name White Rose was borrowed from a group of German resisters to the Nazis.) Dennis, an A-list celebrity in this circle ever since the New York clinic bombings, agreed to be one of that year’s honorees. To raise money, he would auction off a wristwatch he’d used as a timing device in his attacks.

Dennis and Loretta invited Joseph to come with them on the trip. Milling around the banquet room, Joseph got his first look at the stars of the pro-life movement. There was Donald Spitz from Army of God, who called Barnett Slepian a “serial murderer” and his assassin a “hero.” There was Chuck Spingola, who wrote, “I believe James Kopp was serving Jesus the righteous, if and when he killed the baby-butcher Slepian, ending his abhorrent and satanic lust for innocent blood.” And there was the Reverend Matt Trewhella, founder of Missionaries to the Pre-Born, who once said, “This Christmas, I want you to do the most loving thing. I want you to buy each of your children an SKS rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition.” Joseph remembers watching the banquet room fill up with women in long skirts, men in ties and jackets, and children—“little blonde girls, 11, 12 years old. You could hear the kids preaching hate against the animals who killed babies.”

Then came the speeches. “They were preaching hate to faggots,” Joseph says. Later, Bray and Spitz brought up the Jews—Dennis shot Joseph a look.

“Don’t say a fucking word,” he said.

Joseph was silent.

Loretta never set foot inside the hall. There was media there, so she stayed away, afraid of being recognized. She did, however, help write Dennis’s keynote speech in the car on the way down. “One favorite [saying] is, ‘Violence never solves anything,’ ” he told the crowd. “Of course it does. It solves all kinds of problems. And just men have used it as a tool throughout history.” Dennis ended by saluting “the noble work of supporting your local baby-defender, from lock-gluers to bombers ... arsonists, and snipers. Your help makes all the difference in the world—to the babies themselves.”

On the way home, Joseph decided to push a little harder. He talked with Dennis about what it might take to meet the man who killed Barnett Slepian.

Dennis looked at Joseph.

“Maybe,” Dennis said. For $4,000 or $5,000, he suggested, Joseph could have a picture taken with him.


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