Robert Dear– the man who invaded a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last Friday, shooting to death a police officer and two others before surrendering– is clearly a reclusive sociopath of some sort. And if he hadn’t taken out his rage on an abortion provider, he might well have found another target for it.
But it should be beyond any doubt that his attack was triggered by the widespread reports, based on misleadingly-edited videos, that Planned Parenthood was heartlessly “selling baby parts” for profit, when in fact they were seeking to recover the costs of donating fetal tissue for medical research.
“No more baby parts,” Dear said to police after his arrest.
The deaths of the three in Colorado Springs brings to 11 the number of people murdered in the US since 1993 in anti-abortion violence. There have been many other instances of attempted murder, arson and destruction of property aimed at abortion providers.
While the anti-abortion Right has largely condemned Dear’s murderous rampage, they tend to focus on his mental health rather than his political motives. (Of course many of them would do precisely the opposite if, say, a Muslim committed a similar attack against a church or synagogue.)
But for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, many on the Right are focusing on the fact that Dear was registered to vote as a female. Now this could be a simple mistake or it could be something else. I’m not exactly sure what this fact is supposed to prove or disprove, but it requires a huge mental leap to declare– as Senator Ted Cruz did— that Dear may have been a “transgendered leftist activist.”
I’m no expert on such matters, but based on his arrest photos, Dear does not appear to be transgendered (unless he identifies as a bearded lady).
Further, even if he was transgendered, that would not automatically make him a “leftist activist.” After all Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner calls herself a conservative Republican.
And I realize there are many different kinds of leftist activists, transgendered and otherwise, but I don’t know of any who go around attacking Planned Parenthood facilities.
Finally Cruz refused to call this attack what it clearly was– an act of domestic terrorism.
“It was a multiple murder of what appears to be a deranged individual. And it was horrific, it was evil, and we’ll find out more out about the facts, but I don’t think we should jump to conclusions,” he said.
In contrast fellow Republican Mike Huckabee– who is every bit as anti-abortion as Ted Cruz but more willing to speak the truth when it stares him in the face– said:
“What [Dear] did is domestic terrorism, and what he did is absolutely abominable, especially to us in the pro-life movement, because there’s nothing about any of us that would condone or in any way look the other way on something like this.”
If Donald Trump’s campaign ever implodes, Cruz actually stands a good chance of being the Republican nominee for president in 2016. Huckabee doesn’t.
Update: Dana Milbank of The Washington Post reports:
Just days before the shooting, Cruz trumpeted an endorsement from an antiabortion activist who once called killing an abortion doctor a “justifiable defensive action” and who leads a group, Operation Rescue, where a colleague did prison time for a conspiracy to bomb an abortion clinic.
The activist whose endorsement Cruz celebrated, Troy Newman, is also on the board of the Center for Medical Progress, which made the surreptitious Planned Parenthood videos that prompted Cruz and many other conservatives to accuse the organization of selling “baby parts” — the phrase Dear allegedly used. The videos, including footage from a Planned Parenthood in Denver, not far from Colorado Springs, were followed by a wave of threats and smaller attacks on the organization’s facilities.
Newman, the Operation Rescue official whose endorsement Cruz touted, has called women who have abortions “murderesses.”
You can’t routinely accuse abortion providers or the women who have abortions of murder and then pretend to be shocked when a handful of deluded people feel the need to take justice into their own hands.
Further update: This just in from Cruz: “The overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats.”