Frank Szabo, a candidate for sheriff in New Hampshire’s Hillsborough County, has finally apologized for threatening the use of deadly force to halt late-term abortions. While Szabo sounds contrite now, he made this assertion several times. This was not a gaffe. It is how he feels things should be and is only backing off because it is serious blow to his candidacy after both local Republicans and Democrats quickly jumped forward to criticize him.
This is what Szabo initially said to WMUR:
“There is a difference between legal and lawful,” Szabo said.
Szabo explained the difference by referring to the issue of slavery, which he said used to be legal but was never lawful under the Constitution. He said that even though elective abortions are legal in New Hampshire, with some restrictions, he doesn’t consider them lawful.
But Szabo may have inflamed the issue further when asked if he would use deadly force to prevent an abortion.
“I would respond specifically by saying that if someone is under threat, a full-grown human being, if they’re under threat, what should the sheriff do? Everything in their power to prevent them from being harmed,” he said.
When pressed about what he would do if he learned that a doctor was about to perform an elective abortion, Szabo replied he would do what it took to prevent that from happening.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Well, I would hope that it wouldn’t come to that, as with any situation where someone is in danger, but again, specifically talking about elective abortions and late-term abortions, that is an act that needs to be stopped.”
Szabo has it in his mind that he has the authority and right to send deputies bursting into an abortion clinic ready to fire away at unarmed medical professionals and anyone else aiding in an abortion.
Szabo’s pro-life stance has turned the argument on its head. He is the equivalent of an abortion-clinic bomber who is prepared to kill in the name of life. The difference in his case is that he thinks he can justify it because of a sheriff’s badge.
Szabo does not have a law enforcement background but calls himself well-versed in the Constitution. Anyone who understands the Constitution would realize that we live in a society with the rule of law. Disregarding federal and state law that allows a woman the right to choose is not upholding the rule of law.
Szabo’s constitutional understanding also comes into question in understanding the powers of the sheriff.
“The county sheriff doesn’t have a superior officer,” he said. “They are the chief law enforcement officer of the county. If a public official tells them to do something, they need to ask why and not just automatically do it.”
Szabo does not understand that the checks and balances of the Constitution are also present at the local level. If a judge instructs the sheriff to do something, that sheriff must do it. It is not an ask questions and decide later. The sheriff also needs to learn how to cooperate with other public officials because they are the ones in control of a sheriff department’s budget.
Szabo has a Wild West like attitude. He thinks that since the sheriff carries a gun, then his beliefs are the law. This is frightening, not just for the constitutional rights of those in his jurisdiction but for their own safety and well-being.
Szabo retracted his statement about using deadly force in abortion clinics with these words:
“I want to be clear to the people of New Hampshire that I made several comments about the use of deadly force against abortion doctors that I regret, that I apologize for and that I fully retract,” Szabo said. “In making comments yesterday, I let my passionate stance against abortion get the better of me.”
“I honestly can’t imagine a situation where I would want to use deadly force. In fact, I would use every possible peaceful and lawful tool at my disposal to execute the job of Hillsborough County Sheriff, and the people of the county should have confidence in that,” said Szabo.
Confidence in a Sheriff Szabo? I doubt there are many people in Hillsborough County who are feeling that would be a good idea.