The vicious and senseless attack on the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood left many of us shocked and reeling last week. The attack, which took three lives on November 27, seemed to be completely unprovoked and to come virtually without warning. While many authorities have hesitated to term it a “terrorist attack,” there are many (including Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, famous in his own right for anti-abortion rhetoric) who are calling the Planned Parenthood attack precisely that, CNN reports.
The alleged gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, reportedly, mentioned “baby parts” to arresting officers following his nearly six-hour attack. Later, during the interview process, he further expressed anti-abortion and anti-government opinions to investigators. During the arrest and sweep of the Planned Parenthood vicinity, police located several propane tanks near Dear’s vehicle. This discovery led police to presume that the alleged mass shooter may have intended to shoot the tanks in order to spark explosions, causing more death and destruction.
Police have yet to release an official motive for the attack on the Planned Parenthood, as their investigation is ongoing. Mayor John Suthers said during an interview that “inferences (could be made) from where it took place.” Attorney General Loretta Lynch referred to the Planned Parenthood attack as a “crime against women.” The president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Vickie Cowart, went on record to say that the attack “was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion.”
“We share the concerns of many Americans that the continued attacks against abortion providers and patients, as well as law enforcement officers, is creating a poisonous environment that breeds acts of violence. But, we will never back away from providing critical health care to millions of people who rely on and trust us every day.”
Dear had his first court appearance on November 30, where he was informally charged with first-degree murder for his alleged role in the Planned Parenthood attack. He was advised that the charges carry the penalty of life in prison or the death penalty, as well as denied bond. He will return to court to be officially charged on December 9.
While the local community, most politicians, and law enforcement have been quick to condemn the Planned Parenthood attack, many citizens chose to utilize social media to applaud the senseless killings. Some religious leaders and leaders of anti-abortion groups have, in part, done the same. Some, such as Joshua Feuerstein in the above video, have in the past even actively called on their fans and followers to perpetuate more violence against abortion providers, Patheos reports.
“I say, tonight, we punish Planned Parenthood. I think it’s time that abortion doctors should have to run and hide and be afraid for their life.”
While Joshua Feuerstein’s video was originally posted on July 29, he re-posted it to his Facebook page in response to the November 27 Planned Parenthood attack, Peacock-Panache reports. He included a statement linking the old post to new events.
“My thoughts on the PLANNED PARENTHOOD shooting… and abortion!!!!”
Some believe it is precisely these kinds of calls for violence against Planned Parenthood facilities that are directly responsible for the senseless murders we saw just days ago.
Feuerstein is far from the only anti-abortion fanatic to call for violence against the pro-choice community in general and abortion providers in particular.
— CNN (@CNN) November 30, 2015
While presidential candidates have publicly come out in opposition to the Planned Parenthood attack, at least one pro-life politician bragged about receiving campaign donations from Troy Newman. Newman is the leader of Operation Rescue, a far-right anti-abortion group. Just days before the attacks, GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz touted a campaign contribution from Newman, Think Progress reports. While Cruz did come out almost immediately following the Planned Parenthood attack to publicly call the murders and assaults “horrific and wrong,” he had no problem accepting money from Newman, who’d written a book calling for the execution of abortion providers.
“In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.”
The hatred from the anti-abortion community toward the victims of the Planned Parenthood attack permeated Twitter following the attacks, as well.
— Ted Frank (@Colonel_Ted) November 27, 2015
— Enviro Mint (@Enviro_Mint) November 28, 2015
At least one anti-abortion crusader on Twitter even called the shooter a “brave hero.”
planned parenthood kills a million babies and no one bats an eye. but 1 brave hero tries to put a stop to that, everyone loses their minds
— riskys top (@rouge_th3_bat) November 27, 2015
With the investigation into the Planned Parenthood attack still in its infancy, it remains to be seen if any of the individuals or organizations advocating violence will see legal consequences for their part(s) in inciting a mass shooting.
[Photo by Getty Images/Pool]