Religion and Rage in Colorado
Six days after his prolonged rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, the man charged with murder in the first degree in the shooting of three people has been exposed for what he is: a virulently anti-abortion domestic terrorist.
Even at his arraignment, the police would not discuss his motive for opening fire on a police officer, an Iraq war vet, and a mother of two children ‒ the latter two accompanying friends who had appointments that day. The official line was that it remained “unclear” whether the accused ‒ Robert L. Dear ‒ had targeted Planned Parenthood because he was opposed to abortion. This even after a senior law enforcement officer, who asked to be anonymous, reported that following his arrest Dear had said “no more body parts.”
A lengthy investigative article in the New York Times (December 2nd) substantiated what witnesses had said following the carnage, that his motives were directly related to his views on abortion. Interviews with a number of people who knew the shooter said that ‒ besides being a serial philanderer, gambler, and wife beater ‒ he is “a staunch abortion opponent.” He has praised people who attacked abortion providers, and was heard to describe as heroes members of the Army of God, a group of anti-choice “extremists” that has, according to the NY Times, claimed responsibility for a number of killings and bombings.
In the past several months, there has been a marked escalation of violence or promised violence against Planned Parenthood facilities, in particular following the release of heavily edited videos alleging that PP was in the business of selling fetal tissue and body parts to research labs. However, threats and actual murder of those who work at or visit reproductive health clinics are not new. Since 1993 eight clinic workers, including four doctors, two clinic employees, a clinic escort, and a security guard, have been murdered in the United States. There have been 17 other attempted murders.
The presidential candidates who had frequently linked PP with the doctored video and its allegations and had adamantly called for the defunding and dissolution of the nearly 100-year-old health care provider were silent immediately following the Colorado carnage. Within a few days, they denied any link between their heated, hateful rhetoric and what had happened.
And while House Majority leader Kevin McCarthy told the media that there were no plans this week, as previously announced, to force a showdown between the White House and conservative lawmakers with shutting down PP as a condition of voting for a must-pass spending measure, there are still efforts going forward in a separate bill to do the same.
So we will mourn the deaths and injuries, write the Justice Department demanding that anti-abortion murders be treated as reprehensible acts of terrorism, and work to defeat the callous efforts to shut down providers of women’s health care.
We will stand with Planned Parenthood once again, through our tears.