By Doug Porter
Friday’s shootout at the Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs left three people dead, nine people wounded and right-wingers scrambling to distance themselves from an act of terrorism.
Misogyny, alienation, and insanity were likely driving forces behind the actions of the 59-year-old white male who surrendered to police after the five hour seize. From what I’ve been able to ascertain, he had no ties to organized hate groups.
As the media and their sources in law enforcement have proclaimed the dozen or so “lone wolf” attacks in recent years to have been inspired by radical Islam,” it would appear what happened in Colorado Springs was a lone wolf attack inspired by radical right-wing righteousness.
A Deadly Campaign of Lies & Deception
Planned Parenthood has emerged as the wedge issue of the 2016 conservative crusades, just as gay rights was used as a bludgeon in the past decade. The Republican candidates for president have unanimously embraced the cause, driven by fallacious representations of wrong-doing portrayed in doctored videos produced by a group with extremist ties.
The Colorado Springs shooting is just the latest in an escalating series of violent incidents directed at Planned Parenthood.
From Mother Jones:
But harassment, threats of violence, and attacks against clinics have gone up again following the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos in July, according to recent National Abortion Federation court filings. That month, incidents of harassment against Planned Parenthood facilities increased nine-fold compared with June, and those numbers continued to rise through August.
In the four months following the release of the videos, there have been at least four suspected arsons that targeted abortion clinics, compared with just one in all of 2014 and none in 2013. There have been at least five cases of vandalism since August. In comparison, there were 12 total cases of clinic vandalism in all of 2014 and just five cases in 2013, according to federation figures.
The Clown Car Drives By
After a couple of days of mostly silence from GOP candidates the cascade of denial, deflection and disinformation rolled out on Sunday.
Following The Donald’s lead, the party line was that the shootings were terrible, a “maniac” was involved and repeating false claims about Planned Parenthood.
From Think Progress:
Fiorina has been hugely critical of Planned Parenthood during her campaign, calling for the organization to be defunded and using graphic language to describe abortions. But she reiterated Sunday that she doesn’t think that’s contributed to violence towards Planned Parenthood.
“This is so typical of the left to immediately demonize the messenger, because they don’t agree with the message,” she said. “What I would say to anyone who tries to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion or opposes the sale of body parts is, this is typical left-wing tactics.”
Mike Huckabee also commented on the attack Sunday. On CNN’s State of the Union, Huckabee called the shooting “mass murder” and “absolutely unfathomable.” But, like Fiorina, he also brought up claims that Planned Parenthood is selling body parts.
Senator Ted Cruz took it up a notch, mentioning speculation found on right-wing blogs about the shooter being transsexual.
From the Texas Tribune:
Cruz’s claim appeared to be based on a voter registration form that lists Dear’s gender as female. “We know that he was a man who was registered to vote as a woman,” Cruz said.
Asked if we could call the shooting an act of domestic terrorism — as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has — Cruz again urged caution about drawing conclusions from the shooting at this point.
“I would call it a murder, and we’ll see what the facts are,” Cruz replied. “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.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah… The motive is almost as elusive as that of the guy who shot up the black church because he hated black people.
Selling Baby Parts
Locally, right-wing radio show talk show host Carl DeMaio was touting the conservative blog-driven story saying the attack wasn’t really aimed at Planned Parenthood, but instead a bank robbery gone bad.
— Carl DeMaio (@carldemaio) November 27, 2015
Sorry Carl, it really was aimed at Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood said on Sunday that news reports that the gunman who attacked its Colorado health clinic had uttered “no more baby parts” during his arrest showed the suspect was motivated by an anti-abortion agenda.
The remark attributed to suspect Robert Lewis Dear was an apparent reference to Planned Parenthood’s abortion activities and its role in delivering fetal tissue to medical researchers, a hot-button issue in the 2016 race for the presidency.
“We now know the man responsible for the tragic shooting at PP’s health center in Colorado was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion,” the organization said on Twitter.
Lest there be any doubt about the ideological leanings of this ‘lone wolf’….
From ABC News:
Colorado Springs shooting suspect Robert Dear allegedly made statements about President Obama that were concerning enough he now has the attention of the U.S. Secret Service, which has dispatched agents to evaluate the remarks and possibly interview him, law enforcement sources tell ABC News.
Words As Ammunition
There are two articles especially worth reading about the connection between this wedge issue campaign and acts of violence.
Here’s Playwright and Political Science Professor Monica Bauer, writing at Huffington Post:
Words matter. Words have consequences. So I call on everyone in the anti-abortion movement to change their rhetoric going forward. Call it a sin, if you see it as such! Call down your God’s wrath in prayer against those who have abortions and those who provide them. But stop calling abortion murder, stop calling 12-week-old fetuses the size of a finger “babies,” stop lying about how many abortions are performed on fetuses that are near to term, stop showing pictures of fully formed babies on your billboards. Just stop. Because every time you portray abortion as murder, you are throwing gas on a fire. When the violence erupts, it may be one lone gunman pulling the trigger, but it’s an entire country full of anti-choice activists who are offering him ammunition.
And there’s Jessica Valenti, weighing at the Guardian:
The culture of hate against Planned Parenthood – an organization that serves mostly low-income women and provides legal, safe medical services – is so extreme that some felt it entirely appropriate to express their glee over the shootings on Friday, claiming that the people hurt had it coming. And while the gunman was still in the building, Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, went on CNN to criticize the organization, saying, “We saw those barbaric videos, and that was something many of us have a legitimate concern about.”
Even those defending the organization fell into the trap of stigmatizing abortion, tweeting corrections at media organizations that called the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs an “abortion clinic” or noting that abortions are a small part of the organization’s work. While it’s true that Planned Parenthood offers a variety of services, I think it’s safe to say the attacker wasn’t there because he was angry about pap smears.
We must demand that the violent radical language and lies about abortion stop.
On to other stories…
Black Friday Shoppers Meet Black Lives Matter
People in Chicago, Portland, Seattle, San Diego and other cities took to the streets and the shopping malls on Friday, and it wasn’t about finding a great deal on consumer goods.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
The protesters carried signs with pictures of black men killed by police and demanding an end to such killings. They also chanted that their message was more important than looking for holiday shopping deals, saying “Black lives matter — not Black Friday.”
Here in San Diego, protesters supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement held a press conference at the Hall of Justice, staged a “die-in” at Sixth Avenue and F Street (where Lamontez Jones was shot and killed by SDPD officers on Oct. 20th, after drawing what turned out to be a fake gun from a backpack), and marched while chanting through the Horton Plaza shopping center following a Black Lives Matter banner.
Perhaps the most telling article about what the Friday protests were up against appeared in the Chicago Tribune (You should read the whole thing):
But like many shoppers inconvenienced by the protest, the seething woman outside the Apple store struggled to understand what McDonald’s death and the 13-month delay to bring charges against the officer had to do with her. Like most of the aggrieved, she refused to give her full name, saying she lived downtown and identifying herself only as Marcia, 60.
She nodded as her companion, Jay Krishnamurthy, 54, said, “the whole South Side is on fire. Why don’t they tackle the violence in their own communities?” She nodded again when he said of McDonald’s killing, “Mistakes do happen.”
Paris: Shoes and Human Chains
The French government’s state of emergency declarations has forced groups planning on protests during the UN summit on climate change to cancel demonstrations. Activists from around the world planned on converging in Paris to provide a “people’s voice” at an event dominated by governments and corporate sponsors.
On Sunday, police used tear gas to break up a group of activists defying a ban on mass demonstrations in Paris. Other groups used more creative approaches to gain attention.
From Al Jazeera:
Earlier in the day, in a bid to circumvent security measures implemented after the November 13 attacks claimed by ISIL that took 130 lives, thousands of shoes were placed in the city’s sprawling central plaza to represent citizens urging a climate agreement.
Organisers of the display said that the Vatican donated a pair of shoes bearing the name of Pope Francis.
Hundreds of people also formed human chains in the late morning, interlinking arms and hands along the sidewalks between the central Place de la Republique and the Bataclan concert hall, where nearly 100 people were killed in one of the attacks.
On This Day: 1930 – Labor activist Mother Jones died at the Burgess Farm in Adelphi, Md.; “I’m not a lady, I’m a hell-raiser!” 1993 – President Clinton signed the Brady Bill. The law required a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases and background checks of prospective buyers at gun stores. 2003 – In New York, a block of East 2nd Street was officially renamed Joey Ramone Place.
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