From the article "Armed Lawmaker Stopped by Police in Highland Park" (StarTribune, November 23) by Chao Xiong:
A misunderstanding happens over Thanksgiving dinner, when your relatives make snide remarks about your vegetarianism. When a pro-life legislator from waaaaaay out in the exurbs is found chillin' with a loaded gun in the parking lot of a big-city PP where surgical abortions are performed, even my carnivorous cousins know better. But let's allow Tom Hackbarth to explain himself, shall we?
[Hackbarth] didn't know he was at Planned Parenthood when he pulled into the empty lot so that he could look for a woman he had met online.
It's been a long time since I was in the dating pool, but I don't remember arranging rendezvous at Planned Parenthood. And I'm pro-abortion, remember??
Hackbarth said he had coffee with the woman on Nov. 15, and asked her to dinner the next night but she told him she couldn't because of a commitment she had with a female friend in Highland Park. Hackbarth said he felt that she might have been seeing a man instead, so he parked his car and walked around the block looking for her car. (The security guard spotted Hackbarth's gun when he got out of his car and put on a winter coat.)
I see the misunderstanding now. He wasn't threatening to shoot up the clinic, the doctors, the staff, the clients; he was stalking someone! That's cool, right? Pat Kessler, a reporter with the local CBS affiliate, connects the dots that Xiaong wouldn't:
Police say Hackbarth exhibited the behavior of a stalker: angry, looking for a woman, with a fully loaded gun.
Not much to misunderstand, there.
Hackbarth provided officers the name of the woman but said he had no contact information for her and could not recall the website where he met her. He said he uses "maybe three or four" different dating sites and couldn't remember which one..... He said the woman he was looking for was the only one he had ever actually met face to face through online dating. "You don't get a lot of responses when you say you're separated," he said.
Or when you're a really, really big asshole.
No misunderstanding here: a recently divorced jerk met a woman online who was wise enough to keep her phone number and address to herself. Said jerk, convinced that this woman could not possibly be immune to his charms, drove down to the big city to stalk her. Sadly, there are dicks like Hackbarth everywhere, armed or otherwise.
I don't relish the fact that a guy who votes with the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life 100% of the time is shown to have little respect for post-born life. It happens all the time. To this crowd, a woman's body is property: of the state, of heterosexual men, and especially of heterosexual men who run the state!
As Minnesota gets nuttier, all I can say is: Jesse Ventura, come back! ALL IS FORGIVEN!