ILLUMINATING SHADY STEWART-COUSINS REPORTS
On May 20, 2008, the news media began issuing reports about 3 “targeted attacks” at the office of State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, located in Yonkers, NY. While it seemed that the facts changed on an hourly basis, there were reports that the Senator’s office had been ransacked and that bullets were fired into the office during daytime hours, evoking the image of staffers ducking under their desks for cover.
Inferences were made that there may be a connection between these alleged attacks and ‘anti-abortion’ demonstrators who held rallies outside Stewart-Cousins’ office in protest of the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act (RHAPP). Local News 12 ran footage from a recent rally at the end of their report exhibiting a truly grandiose lapse in editorial judgment. Rally sponsors, who have an established history of peaceful pro-life activity, were not contacted for comment before reports aired and appeared in print.
On May 22nd, Senate Minority Leader Malcolm A. Smith, led a press conference attended by other Senators known to support Stewart-Cousins’ RHAPP act, where it was declared that she was under siege and that new legislation would be proposed to protect Senators and their staffers from such threats. The press conference revealed that apparently several Senators in addition to Stewart-Cousins have been threatened including Smith and Shirley L. Huntley. It was unclear if this coalition of RHAPP supporters was attempting to bring race into the issue or stick to maligning those who would dare to defend the value of human life.
The alleged incidents against Stewart-Cousins were first reported in the media on May 20th, yet apparently took place during the month of April. The media storm was the result Smith’s announcement to hold his press conference at Stewart-Cousins’ office, not information from the police investigating the claims. Clearly, the media was purposely made aware of the rallies because the only thing that remained consistent in news coverage was an attempt to somehow connect these alleged incidents to pro-lifers, despite the fact that the pro-life advocates under fire have an established history of peaceful assembly in Yonkers and the surrounding community, and there is not one single record of violence attributed to the rally sponsors. Rally attendees included clergy from all faiths, seniors and young mothers with small children in strollers. Obviously, a very scary bunch.
Strangely, the Senators at Smith’s press conference, who gathered to voice their outrage and condemn the would-be “acts of violence” against Stewart-Cousins, were deafeningly silent regarding real violence in their districts and what plans they have for creating a safer environment for the people of our State. There was also no outrage indicated regarding the obvious 'profiling' of innocent citizens exercising their constitutional rights.
It is now quite clear that the details of these ‘targeted attacks’ against Andrea Stewart-Cousins were at best exaggerated, and at worst, completely fabricated.
Police were quick to correct the many inaccuracies initially reported. The ‘gunshots’ reported turned out to be window damage possibly caused by a bb gun or rocks. Many of the office building’s windows have damage, not just the Senator’s, and the damage may have occurred as long ago as the 1980’s. Building management has indicated that landscaping rocks caught under the wheels of delivery trucks could easily have caused the minor damage.
The Senator’s office was not ‘ransacked’ either. Now the story is that the Senator’s office files were rummaged through, according to her staff – a claim in dispute due to the property’s security system. As information continues to surface, public doubt is mounting as to the integrity of the original claims and the motivation for these reports is in serious question.
Opposition to the ‘RHAPP’ act has been highly vocal and relentless. Enough so, it seems, that RHAPP opponents themselves have become the target of political intimidation tactics, however amateurish those tactics may be. Rallies held in opposition to the RHAPP act are part of an ongoing effort to educate the public about the contents of this dangerous legislation introduced to the NYS Senate by Stewart-Cousins at Gov. Spitzer’s instruction.
Dubbed the “abortion bill” for its outright assault on the unborn children of New York, the RHAPP act is also strongly objectionable to women’s rights and pro-choice advocates intent on maintaining the protections guaranteed to women under Roe v. Wade. Parental rights advocates have also been extremely vocal in their opposition to the RHAPP act.
Stewart-Cousins may not have known what she was getting into when she introduced the RHAPP act, however she has had plenty of time to figure it out and withdraw her support of this dangerous bill. Wild allegations and attempts to intimidate opponents into silence will prove to be as futile as they are disgraceful.
Opposition to RHAPP will not stop until the bill follows Eliot Spitzer into the gutter. If the Senator and her staff cannot handle the pressure of opposition to legislation she sponsors then its time for them to go home. Being afraid of the truth coming to light and exposing a series of lies to the public does not constitute being ‘under attack’.
Stewart-Cousins did her level best to avoid meeting with opponents of the RHAPP act. After a series of rescheduled and cancelled meetings it was only published letters to the editor in the Journal News that caused an appointment to be made and kept. This was not without a truly adolescent rant against one author by a Stewart-Cousins’ staffer promising a ‘strong response’ – presumably to the audacity of expecting an elected Senator to meet with her constituents.
One has to wonder why the media was fed information about the rallies and the innuendo about bill opponents given the fact that Stewart-Cousins met with a large group of people from one of the rally sponsors:
One can only surmise that the Senator and her staff did not consider this group to pose any level of threat to them. She certainly didn't look or sound scared at the time. So what has the Senator and her staff so rattled? Maybe its simply the fearful realization that the Senator’s re-election chances were thrown away when she decided to do the bidding of special interests and sell out the people that voted her into office. People do bizarre things when they’re acting out of fear.
Until the details of Senator Cousins’ troubles are sorted out by Yonkers Police, the media is responsible for the content and claims of their broadcasts and publications. If it is, in fact, any person or group’s intention to use a police investigation as a means to intimidate opponents of the RHAPP act, then they have not only broken the law in doing so, but they have utterly failed to achieve their goal.
As long as the ‘RHAPP’ act remains a potential future for New York, it will be opposed. Rallies will continue to be held. Every possible opportunity will be taken to educate the public about this bill that was supposed to be quietly put through without opposition. No amount of coercion or baseless allegations will succeed in intimidating those who have lawfully and peacefully stood in opposition to this vicious attack on New Yorkers.
With virtually every aspect of the initially reported ‘attacks’ against the Senator now in question, some disturbing questions remain…
Did Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ office knowingly file false police reports in retaliation against RHAPP opponents and an attempt to suppress the lawful exercise of their freedom of speech?
Did Democratic NYS Senators hold a press conference as a ruse with the intent of justifying legislation to stop lawful opposition to bills they introduce and support?
Were these bogus reports the brainchild of Malcolm Smith in a deliberate attempt to mislead the public, divert attention from RHAPP opposition and placate those that both financially benefit from RHAPP and have supported many democratic campaigns, including his own?
These questions are far too important to go unanswered. New Yorkers need to know the truth – before the RHAPP act is allowed to become law and before the next election.
Post new comment