February 26, 2018
Meet Sasha Ormand, a nurse practitioner with 20 years of experience in pediatrics. A graduate of Evergreen College and the University of Washington, Ormand serves children and their families in the Spokane area. In recent online reviews, parents wrote that Ormand “is extremely patient, thorough, and caring.” She “takes the time to listen and really find out how to help my kids. She always gives all the treatment options available and never makes me feel like my questions or concerns are unimportant.”
Ormand had served in pediatric medicine for more than a decade when she performed the first circumcision of her career on February 22, 2013. The nurse was so proud of her achievement, she shared this milestone with friends on her Facebook page, and she added a playful quip: "Did my first circumcision on Friday... watch out boys...here I come.
Unfortunately Ormand’s privacy settings were set to Public. Within hours her February 24 post was found and shared among the intactivist groups. And as we all know, intactivists have no sense of humor.
This is Kenneth Hopkins, the founder of the Blood Stained Menwho calls himself Brother K. On the evening of February 25 a friend notified him about the post. Hopkins was horrified that a nurse would quip to her friends about her first circumcision. Over the course of the evening Hopkins worked himself into a frenzy. The next morning he was so enraged, he decided to make an example of Ormand.
On February 26, 2013 – five years ago today – Hopkins rented a car in Sacramento and drove to Spokane – a distance of 820 miles (1,320 km). He parked the car outside Grand Pediatrics. With his video camera rolling, Hopkins went into the office and started to search for the nurse. A 3 1/2 minute video that Hopkins took of the encounter used to be accessible HERE, but it has since been removed.
Fortunately Ormand was out of the office that day. But let’s pause and consider how this situation could have unfolded if she had been in the office. Picture yourself in her place. After posting about your workday, you wouldn’t have given it another thought. You would have gone about your daily business, unaware that anyone other than your friends had viewed the post. Three days later an old man shows up at your office unannounced. You see that he’s filming you with a video camera. And he starts badgering you with questions about circumcision. How would you react? A reasonable person would be concerned for her safety. Once she learned how far the stalker had traveled to confront her, she might be terrified.
This is a monumental case of real-life stalking. Other intactivists have retaliated against doctors and parents by forcing them off social media or by contacting friends, relatives, and employers. In many cases, doctors and mohels have received death threats. But a surprise face-to-face confrontation takes it to a different level. And the sheer distance that the stalker traveled makes it even more disturbing.
Having monitored anti-circumcision extremists, we’ve noticed a disturbing trend over the past few years. The fanatics have become bolder in initiating confrontations. At the 2016 AAP Conference they harassed a member of the AAP Circumcision Task Force. The next year intactivists entered the building and tried to infiltrate the conference. Angry young men have threatened – and in some cases succeeded – in confronting the doctor who performed their infant circumcision.
A bitter man might resort to violence against a doctor. Last spring an intactivist stabbed three men on a commuter train in Oregon. Two of the victims died. While the killer is reportedly uncircumcised and he appeared to be motivated by anti-religious bigotry unrelated to circumcision, the tragedy illustrates a potential outcome of a face-to-face confrontation involving an enraged man and a person he blames for whatever angers him.
Kenneth Hopkins is not someone of the fringe; He leads the most visible and vocal intactivist group in the United States. The leader of Intact America offers frequent commendations, and other intactivists show him deference and respect. Hopkins is scheduled to present a talk: "Frontline and Online: Intactivist strategies of resistance” at an anti-circumcision conference in San Francisco in May. Perhaps he'll recommend stalking medical professionals as a frontline strategy.
The biggest takeaway from this incident is not that Kenneth Hopkins is unhinged and out of control – although he is. The biggest takeaway is that most in the anti-circumcision movement don’t seem to see anything wrong with this behavior. On the contrary – they encourage him.