Even before the shooter at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was identified as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, — a “white bearded” stocky white male from Hartsel, Colorado, about 6-feet tall, wearing a long coat and a hunting hat with flaps on the side — Twitter had erupted with hundreds of tweets under hashtags such as #whitechritianterrorist, #whiteterrorist and #Christianterrorist.
The tweets alleged that the incident at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was yet another case of homegrown right wing terrorism. Some social media users cited a recent study by a Washington-based group New America Foundation, which claimed that nearly twice as many innocent people have been killed in attacks by right wing anti-government and white supremacists than have died in attacks by jihadi terrorists.
Suspect confirmed as Robert L. Dear date of birth of 4/16/1958 pic.twitter.com/4v2GtIsUgT
— Springs Police (@CSPDPIO) November 28, 2015
Other tweets alluded to the recent statement attributed to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) that “generally white males” have been responsible for more acts of terrorism since September 11, 2001 than Arabs or Muslims.
The Inquisitr reported recently that Senator Brown cited several cases of mass shootings in recent years carried out by “white males,” saying, “We’ve had individual crazy people, normally, they look more like me than they look like Middle Easterners — they are generally white males — who have shot up people in movie theaters and schools. Those are terrorist attacks, they’re just different kinds of terrorists.”
Within hours of the first report of an active shooter at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, a June 2015 article by Global Post republished by MintPress News, titled, “White Americans are the Biggest Terror Threat In The United States,” went viral online sparking a furious and bad-tempered debate between liberal readers and conservative readers who thronged the comments section.
Following proliferation of social media comments by liberal-leaning users attributing the latest shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs to a “white Christian terrorist,” conservative-leaning social media users pushed back, arguing that details of the incident were still emerging and that liberals were making assumptions that could backfire if it turns out that the shooter was a left-wing extremist.
But liberal-leaning social media users jeered at conservatives, asking who would think of “shooting up” a Planned Parenthood building besides a right wing pro-life extremist.
— Puesto Loco (@PuestoLoco) November 28, 2015
— David Stepanczuk (@woodrackets) November 28, 2015
— Camille (@gypsy1020) November 28, 2015
— F. Vyan Walton (@Vyan1) November 28, 2015
— Julie Martinez (@gwenky) November 28, 2015
Anyone else deathly afraid of the American right wing and these religious gun nuts who take things into their own hands? #PlannedParenthood
— MF David Deery (@MFDavidDeery) November 27, 2015
— Sharon E (@Xaron4) November 27, 2015
The irony in all of this is that the #PlannedParenthood shooter probably calls himself “pro-life”
— Lindsey (@LindseyMachelle) November 27, 2015
— Heady Bongwater (@MattHasTheMusic) November 27, 2015
“Colorado Springs is harboring more terrorists than Syria. Sick that my birthplace has become ground zero for right wing radicals.”
“Anyone else deathly afraid of the American right wing and these religious gun nuts who take things into their own hands?”
“Hey @GOP being pro-life and 2nd amendment means killing innocent people is OK right?”
“I’m still wondering why Fox News won’t discuss this #whitechristianterrorists.”
“A #WhiteChristianTerrorist Killed a Cop in #PlannedParenthoodAttack, clearly we must now discuss White Terrorist on White Terrorist crime.”
“@seanhannity #whiteChristianterrorist #coloradosprings you won’t call it what it is because it doesn’t fit your narrative.”
“@MSignorile but will the media actually call them what they are? #WhiteChristianTerrorist.”
— Reid (@Reid_CO) November 28, 2015
— Vivien Vårsdóttir (@Vreddy_Grueger) November 28, 2015
— Soliman (@King__Soliman) November 28, 2015
— Mad as hell (@kmarlettk) November 28, 2015
A “pro-life” supporter I bet…proving the GOP primarily speaks to the hateful mouth breathers out there https://t.co/Al43mePbzy
— tj matheny (@TJECS206) November 27, 2015
Will Trump call for closing all churches or just the ones that preach “radical Christianity”? #PlannedParenthoodShooting
— Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) November 27, 2015
Have pro-life activists started putting together a defense fund for the Christian terrorist barricaded inside the #PlannedParenthood yet?
— Kisco75 (@Kisco75) November 27, 2015
Another attack from Christian fundamentalist terrorists. https://t.co/v5oV0xT4LL
— Denim Dave (@DTenenbaum) November 27, 2015
Bet he’s Christian and nobody will call him a terrorist https://t.co/MPe3PjhCis
— Bovice Miller (@BoviceNFL) November 27, 2015
— Wayne Jones (@MrSoLo_DoLo919) November 27, 2015
Conservative readers on right wing-leaning news sites, such as TheBlaze, raised doubts about early reports that the shooting was at the Planned Parenthood building. Reports from Fox News and Breibart claimed that the shooting had started at a nearby Chase Bank building and that the shooter later escaped to the Planned Parenthood building and barricaded himself in.
Catherine Herridge: “We do not have intelligence… that would suggest that there was a specific threat directed towards #PlannedParenthood.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 28, 2015
@TrevorHughes This incident wasn’t at Chase. Please DM us if you need more information. Our thoughts are with all those affected. ^JS
— Chase (@Chase) November 28, 2015
But Chase Bank quickly posted a tweet that denied the story. Police also later denied these claims, saying that the shooting had started at the Planned Parenthood building.
When it became clear that the shooting had occurred entirely at a Planned Parenthood building, some conservatitve Blaze readers resorted to conspiracy theory speculations, claiming that the attack was yet another of “Obama’s false flag operations” designed to discredit conservatives and “take away our guns.”
A Blaze reader, Todd.P, wondered aloud whether this “Is just another isolated incident. Isn’t it interesting that just as the U.N. is about to pass a global law on gun control, all of a sudden, we not only have another shooting, but it is at one of Obama’s favorite causes – Planned Parenthood. So now, the MSM can go after the rightwing nuts who love their God and guns for being mass murderers.”
Other Blaze readers seemed to imply that the shootings would not take place if Planned Parenthood was not “killing so many unborn.”
A Blaze reader, turkey13, commented, “This is what happens when Planned Parenthood does an Abortion without the father’s consent!”
Another Blaze reader, GlennPenn, wrote, “What’s the big deal, half the people that walk into Planned Parenthood are going to be killed anyway.”
Three people, including a police officer, were killed in the shooting that started at about 11:45 a.m, on Friday, November 27 at the Planned Parenthood Clinic, 3480 Centennial Blvd., north of West Fillmore Street, on the city’s west side.
Nine, including five police officers, were also injured in the shooting.
University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Police Officer Garret Swasey, 44, was identified as one of the officers killed in the shooting.
— LKVents (@LKVents) November 28, 2015
— Jason Whitely (@JasonWhitely) November 28, 2015
The shooter was taken into custody just before 5 p.m., after several hours of exchange of gunfire with officers. Police said he was taken into custody after he surrendered to officers who entered the building.
Photos taken at the scene show a tall, bearded white male wearing glasses being led away in handcuffs after the shooting.
— Ride Or Die Democrat (@EthanObama) November 28, 2015
According to KDVR-TV, the suspected shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, reportedly from Hartsel, Colorado, was previously a resident of North Carolina. His family was originally from South Carolina.
Public records, according to Heavy, confirm he is 57.
He has arrest records in North and South Carolina and has been convicted of multiple traffic offenses. In 2002, he was charged in South Carolina on two counts of cruelty to animals, but he was acquitted after a trial.
[Image via Colorado Springs Police/Twitter]