By Dave Andrusko
The irony, for lack of a better word, is stunning. On the one hand we are trying fervently to persuade movie theatres that instead of dropping “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” if they give it half a chance, it should duplicate its early success–$2.4 million the first two weeks. (For a list of theatres where it is still showing, go to gosnellmovie.com/theaters.].
What is Gosnell, the movie and the man, about above all else? Remembering. Remembering what?
Remembering that courtesy of two pro-abortion Pennsylvania governors and an indifferent local and state medical establishment (his “House of Horrors” wasn’t inspected for 16 years), this evil man made many millions killing thousands of late term babies and murdering at least three babies whom he consciously delivered alive and then severed their spinal cords.
At least two women died as well–22-year-old Semika Shaw and 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar. There was a settlement in one and a conviction and a settlement in the other death.
On the other hand we have the West Philadelphia community where his 2,700 square foot abortion clinic was located at 3801-3805 Lancaster Avenue which is trying to forget—to “move on,” as Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Caitlin McCabe put it in a story that appeared today.
Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Center has been abandoned for years (he is serving three consecutive life sentences). McCabe tells us there is nearly $50,000 in delinquent real estate taxes which have accumulated since the famous raid in 2010 that the city is trying to collect.
Granted, the property is in bad shape—“Its windows are boarded up,” McCabe writes. “Paint on the trim is peeling. Crumpled paper and trash are scattered just inside the entryway, as if someone tossed the debris into the air, let it fall — and permanently locked the door.” But this is a hot corner property, “a main commercial corridor in gentrifying West Philadelphia, should have no problem attracting a developer to buy and flip it.”
Earlier this year, “the city initiated sheriff’s sale proceedings,” McCabe writes. “A court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 27, during which anyone with ‘interest’ in the property — meaning Gosnell himself or someone affiliated with him — can petition the court to pause the sheriff’s sale process.”
But buying a building” tainted by imprisoned abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell?” as McCabe put it. The community itself appears divided between razing the building, maintaining it “for its architectural value,” and just making sure its properly used.
“We have not had a true community engagement about that parcel yet, but one thing that I know needs to take place is healing,” De’Wayne Drummond, president of the Mantua Civic Association, which has boundaries that fall just two blocks outside of where Gosnell’s former clinic stands, told McCabe. “You can destroy something, but don’t be healed, and you can restore something and still don’t be healed.”
“How can the community come together and go through a healing process with this development?”
Beyond chronicling some of Gosnell’s monstrous behavior, McCabe provides a history of Gosnell as a building owner and what has been done with other properties associated with horrific crimes, including the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. In a word there is no one answer, because they are all “different,” according to McCabe.
There have been inquiries over the years, according to Blaise Tobia, the former president of the Powelton Village Civic Association. Most interestingly
According to Tobia, the AlphaCare Philadelphia clinic next door, a pregnancy center that does not “refer for abortions,” expressed interest at a civic association meeting last year in buying the property. He said the organization has been helping with exterior maintenance.
Karen Hess, executive director of AlphaCare, declined to comment.
Whatever the ultimate disposition of the property, the memory of what the Grand Jury report called a “baby charnel house” must never be lost. Which is another powerful reason why you should attend “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.”
As Dean Cain, who portrays detective James Wood, said in a recent interview, “They say it was dead silent through the credits.
“Then it sparked conversation, with people talking about it for days afterward. It sticks with them. It’s the kind of film that makes you think twice.”