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The Fight of Their Lives

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"At this time, it is my professional opinion that Mr. Scott does not meet the criteria for continued involuntary treatment. Though I recommended voluntary treatment to Mr. Scott, and he refused to accept it, the current amount and severity of psychiatric symptoms do not justify continued involuntary care and treatment."

Scott was released that afternoon.

Soon after his antagonist was set free, Hern got more bad news: Eleodoro Maynas was desperately ill. His cough had developed to the point that he could hardly speak; doctors suspected a particularly virulent form of tuberculosis.

There was little Hern could do beyond arranging for the best possible medical care; the hospital had refused to take his friend unless he could prove he could pay the bills.

A week later, Maynas was dead. Guilt washed over Hern. If he had been there, his friend might still be alive. Instead he'd been stuck in Boulder dealing with Ken Scott, a common hate-filled criminal, while a good and decent man lay dying.

"Basically, he died because he was a poor Indian," Hern says. "He was my very best friend for thirty years."

In June, Hern returned to the Peruvian Amazon to visit his friend's grave. He'd paid for a cement tomb and marker so that if the river altered its course, it would not disturb his friend's rest. Although he'd lost faith in Christianity as a college student, and the actions of Christian zealots in the ensuing years had done nothing to restore it, he'd embraced a spiritual connectedness with the natural world, "accepting that there are things that we can't or don't know."

A jungle grave was Maynas's destiny. Hern's destiny was thousands of miles to the north. He knew that now. His place was fighting to keep abortions legal.

And the fight was on in earnest.
At the Republican National Convention in San Diego the abortion issue dominated the first day. Even as moderates tried to paint a happy face of party unity and inclusion, anti-abortion activists were demanding that the party platform include the abolition of legal abortions. In the first row, the Oklahoma delegation held up placards with such messages as "Life--The First Inalienable Right."

Behind the scenes, there was Ken Scott. He greeted governors Pete Wilson and William Weld, of California and Massachusetts, as well as Maine senator Olympia Snowe, with a taste of what Colorado abortion clinics heard on a daily basis. "Abortion is murder," he screamed. "Why are you part of the Republican Party when you're breaking God's law? You won't be able to run and hide from God!"

As reporters and police rushed backstage and guards whisked the three politicians away, Scott got into a shouting match with some delegates. "You guys are libertines," one moderate yelled at Scott and his cohorts. "Get out of our party!"

Scott partied on.
On December 17 Winston filed a lawsuit on Scott's behalf that contends that Hern, Newell, the mental-health-institute doctors, prosecutor Rundus and the Boulder police had all used their positions to try to shut him up. The real reason for Scott's commitment, Winston argues, was a conspiracy to keep Scott from appearing at the January 2 Gilpin County hearing where Hern was granted a restraiing order that prohibits Scott from coming within a mile of him.

In the suit, Winston also claims that Hern used the report he sent to the Justice Department, "based on a slanted and misleading dossier" assembled by Newell, to target Scott for federal prosecution. (In fact, Scott had been subpoenaed the previous spring to appear before a federal grand jury investigating allegations that there was an organized conspiracy to assassinate abortion doctors.)

"At best, the Hern document shows that [Scott] is a fervent anti-abortion advocate," Winston argues, "even though in such document, Hern tries to falsely portray him as one of many assassins who are being influenced by conspirators who use the air-waves to broadcast a form of electronic fascism intended to cause listeners to execute abortion doctors."

According to the suit, "At no time did [Scott] have homicidal thoughts about defendant Hern nor did [Scott] ever threaten the life of Hern." Nor, during the 41 days Scott was incarcerated, did the doctors talk to any of Scott's family or friends to ascertain if they believed he was dangerous to anyone.

What's more, the suit argues, there was no mental health reason to commit Scott in the first place or to keep him after the psychiatrists had evaluated him. As a result, Scott has suffered injury to his health and also to his "rights of speech, liberty and due process."

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Steve Jackson

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