Lazy Saturday Reads: Another Domestic Terrorist Attack

People are escorted away after a deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Colorado Springs, Colo. A gunman opened fire at the clinic on Friday, authorities said, wounding multiple people. (Daniel Owen/The Gazette via AP)

People are escorted away after a deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Colorado Springs, Colo. A gunman opened fire at the clinic on Friday, authorities said, wounding multiple people. (Daniel Owen/The Gazette via AP)

Good Morning!!

A terrorist is in custody after he attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado yesterday, but not before he murdered a policeman and two “civilians” and injured nine more people. As we’re all aware, Colorado Springs is a hotbed of right wing “Christian” evangelical groups.

Here’s the latest from Reuters: Police name suspect in Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.

The suspect in a deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic was named on Saturday as Robert L. Dear, 57, the Colorado Springs Police public affairs’ section said in a Tweet.

The gunman who stormed the clinic on Friday killed three people and wounded nine others before surrendering to police after a bloody siege lasting several hours inside the facility, authorities said.

Local news media reported that Dear was being held without bail.

Robert L. Dear mugshot

Robert L. Dear mugshot

As police traded gunfire with Dear, people in local businesses were told to shelter in place.

The rampage, which took place at a clinic that provides women’s health services including abortions, was believed to be the first fatal attack on a U.S. abortion provider in six years. Police have not discussed the suspect’s motives.

The assailant in Colorado Springs, Colorado’s second largest city, was armed with a rifle when he entered the clinic – a site repeatedly targeted for protests by anti-abortion activists – and opened fire shortly before noon on Friday, authorities said.

Police swarming the scene pursued the assailant into the building, trading gunfire with the suspect as authorities tracked their movements from room to room by watching live video feeds from security cameras mounted inside.

Officers closing in on the gunman managed to finally talk him into giving himself up inside, and he was taken into custody more than five hours after the violence began.

Planned Parenthood released a statement in response to the terrorist attack on their clinic in Colorado Springs.

“The heart of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) is broken tonight as we try to make sense of the horrific tragedy that struck our beloved health center in Colorado Springs, today. Our thoughts are with the all those who were impacted and particularly the families of the two civilians and one heroic law-enforcement officer whose lives were lost. We are grateful to report that all our staff are safe and accounted for and are hoping for the best possible outcomes for the others wounded in this attack.

“We are thankful to our security personnel and to the Colorado Springs Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, and the UCCS campus officers, who came to our aid and served with such selfless valor. Their fast response, strength, and bravery undoubtedly saved countless lives today. We also appreciate that our Colorado Springs staff responded quickly following our security protocols.

“The information regarding the gunman’s motive remains unknown as does whether Planned Parenthood was targeted deliberately. PPRM’s top priority will always be the safety of our patients and staff. We maintain strong security measures and always work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure our very strong safety record.

“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.

Robert L. Dear in handcuffs after shooting rampage.

Robert L. Dear in handcuffs after shooting rampage.

Read the rest at the link. I think we can guess Dear’s motive, but I suppose we’ll have to wait to know for sure.

President Obama also released a statement.

Business Insider: ‘This is not normal’: Obama releases emotional statement on Planned Parenthood shooting.

President Barack Obama released a statement on Saturday calling for gun control in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the day before.

“This is not normal,” Obama said. “We can’t let it become normal.”

He then called to curtail the “easy accessibility of weapons of war” for some people.

“If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them,” Obama continued.

“Period,” he added. “Enough is enough.”

Unfortunately these mass shootings have become regular events in the U.S. That is our “normal” now.


The media has been uncharacteristically hesitant to speculate on Dear’s motive.

USA Today: Gunman’s motive in Planned Parenthood shootings unclear.

Police were trying to determine Saturday why a middle-aged gunman in hunting gear allegedly went on a wild shooting spree inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, killing three people, including a police officer.

The suspect, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, of North Carolina, surrendered to officers after a five-hour ordeal Friday in which he fired randomly at people in the clinic and roamed the halls shooting through walls with an assault-style rifle.

“We don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology,”

You’d think by this time reporters could have found out some information about this guy, wouldn’t you? Nevertheless, there is quite a bit of good information in the USA Today article.

One Republican Congressman demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood head Vicki Cowart while the attack was still ongoing. Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

Police have finally taken a shooter into custody after the five-hour siege at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs that has left at least three people dead, including one police officer. It was while that siege was still going on, though, that Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger decided to take to CNN’s air and demand an apology from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, if the perpetrator turned out not to be an anti-abortion terrorist.

“When I heard that statement, I thought that was very premature. We may find out this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

That was at about 6 pm, while there was still gunfire being reported at the scene. There is a long history of terrorism against Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers in this country, but the statement Kinzinger is referencing [see Planned Parenthood statement excerpted earlier in this post] actually points out that the motive is as yet unknown, and yet is still true no matter what this shooter’s mysterious motive turns out to be.

Here’s some background on Garrett Swasey, the police officer who was killed in the shootout. CNN via KTXS ABC 12: Slain officer was once champion skater.

Swasey, 44, was one of three people killed Friday when a gunman attacked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

The married father worked for the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and was on campus Friday morning when the shooting started 10 miles away. He rushed to the scene to support a city police officer who was under fire, the university said in a statement….

Officer Garrett Swasey

Officer Garrett Swasey

Swasey had been with university police for six years, authorities said. But long before that, he was a junior national couples ice dancing champion, The Denver Post reported.

He and his partner won the junior national championship in Orlando in 1992, the paper cited university spokesman Jared Verner as saying. A few years after the championship win, Swasey performed in a musical skating show in Maine.

As the community mourns the fallen officer, the University of Colorado football team will observe a moment of silence during its game Saturday.

I’ll end with this piece from Mother Jones: The New, Ugly Surge in Violence and Threats Against Abortion Providers.

Three people were shot dead and nine injured Friday at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, the first time since 2009 that anyone has been killed in an incident linked to activity at an abortion clinic. The attack comes amid an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral—and widelydebunked—videos.

While police have not discussed the alleged motives of the suspect, who has been arrested, the attack began at the clinic. According to authorities the gunman entered the facility Friday afternoon and began shooting. During an hours-long standoff, he exchanged fire with police, killing one officer.

Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress’ videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation.

The clinic attacked on Friday is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the Center for Medical Progress’ videos.

“Since the series of highly-edited, misleading anti-abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers” says Vicki Saporta, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, which has been tracking violence against providers since the 1970s.

“We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw” on Friday, she added.

Please go read the whole thing at Mother Jones.

What else is happening? I hope to see your thoughts and links in the comment thread.

36 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: Another Domestic Terrorist Attack”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Mojo article is right. I’ll bet this has to do with the debunked video and Fox’s hype. Fox’s coverage of the attack is even seriously skewed to crazy and it should be simple hard news.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Ted Cruz has accepted the endorsement of a rabid anti abortion group by citing their “leadership” which he claims we need more of in this country. Another asshole heard from.

    Don’t approve of abortion? Don’t get one. Easy as that. No one is forcing this procedure on anyone. It is the prerogative of the woman involved along with her physician and not the business of anyone else.

    But the GOP candidates have now managed to incite their base against women, minorities, low wage owners, and immigrants. Throw in Trump’s latest mockery of the disabled and you have the Republican Party in all its “inglorious glory”.

    They have created their own monsters and this is just another result of willful intolerance. This stuff is now commonplace thanks to the unchecked demagogues and the ever influential NRA.

    What a mess this nation has become thanks to an unenlightened electorate and insane lawmakers appealing to their baser instincts.

  3. gregoryp says:

    How is it that this guy got to give himself up and get taken into custody? If he would have been an unarmed black kid walking down the street and tried to run he’d be riddled with bullets right now. But a murderous psychopathic terrorist who is armed gets taken into custody. Wow! Just beyond comprehension what has been happening in this country. And my condolences to the victims and their families. This kind of tragedy just should never, ever ever happen. Just useless and senseless violence targeting innocents. Nice job Christian extremists. You are no different from the Muslim extremists. If you are willing to kill innocent people to defend your worldview or viewpoint then maybe you should think about changing your viewpoint. Just sickening.

    • gregoryp says:

      And let me be clear. If you are willing to do this then you aren’t a Christian, A Muslim, A Buddhist, A Hindu or a practitioner of any religion. You are a crazed, psychotic terrorist who is about destruction, hate and terror. No religion teaches or condones any of this crap. Assholes.

    • janicen says:

      Yeah, interesting contrast in the treatment of this white terrorist compared to unarmed people of color.

    • Fannie says:

      couldn’t have said it better.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    WaPo Wonkblog: It’s not known why a gunman stormed a Planned Parenthood, but abortion providers often face attacks.

    Over the past 20 years, there have been an average of 257 incidents a year directed at abortion clinics and staff, and an average of 139 over the last five years. The bulk of those incidents are vandalism and trespassing, although the total also includes shootings, bombings and assaults. The following chart plots the number of “extreme violence” events, which the group describes as those that have the “potential to destroy clinics and harm the lives of clinic staff.”

    In the United States and Canada, at least eight people have been killed in attacks on abortion clinics and doctors who provide abortions since 1993. The killing of Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola, Fla. that year was the first in a spate of fatal shootings. Killings of doctors who provide abortions and their patients are not as common as they were then; the last one was one of George Tiller, a doctor in Wichita, Kans., in 2009.

    Since 2000, the National Abortion Federation has recorded an average of about two attacks annually, most of them arsons. That figure does not include death threats, burglaries, assaults or batteries.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    This CNN article has some good interviews with witnesses.

  6. Horrible, this kind of terrorism needs to be called out exactly for what it is!!!!!

  7. janicen says:

    Thank you for the Mother Jones link. Very interesting.

  8. NW Luna says:

    Headlines should be screaming “White Xian terrorist attacks medical clinic”

    • janicen says:

      Are all of the wingers who insist that Obama use the term “radical Islam” calling this guy a radical Christian?

  9. NW Luna says:

    The Planned Parenthood shooter had easy access to guns and a movement dedicated to demonizing reproductive choice. Is his motive really a question?

    There has been plenty of political demagoguery about the perceived threat of accepting Syrian refugees (the vast majority of whom are women and children) but America’s real enemies wield guns, not visas. We have so much more reason to distrust and fear the American-bred shooters with seemingly unlimited access to weapons one Walmart away than someone fleeing a war.

    That became even more apparent on Friday when two civilians and a police officer were shot and killed at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado – one of the central hubs of the evangelical movement – and nine more were injured. It’s the second time this month that innocents have been killed by a man walking around Colorado Springs with a collection of armaments that many people feel he should never have had.

    The notion you might get shot by a motivated-but-irrational person with a gun isn’t considered terrorism in America: it’s a fact of life.

  10. Sweet Sue says:

    CNN is still saying the PP shooter’s motive is “unknown.”
    Hey, CNN meatheads, it’s called the war on women.

  11. Jens Lyon says:

    We are living in scary times.

  12. janicen says:

    Awesome Op Ed in the NYT written by a public defending. He describes the preferential treatment the cops charged in the Freddie Gray murder trial are getting from the court.

  13. Fannie says:

    The terrorism against women begin long, long time ago. The pioneer, Margaret Sanger, who first used the term birth control started Planned Parenthood damn near 100 years ago. She and her staff, and supporters endured torture, including imprisonment, and public harassment for many, many years. Not much is ever said about Margaret’s mother, who had at least 38 pregnancies, and possibly more. 11 of her children lived, how many made it to adulthood is not known, but Margaret Sanger’s mother died at about 48 years of age. Her father was stone carver and couldn’t support the family, where they lived in dire poverty in the Irish Shanty neighborhood. She had to take care of her sickly mother, and probably nursed her during miscarriages. Everything she did was illegal, women were not allowed to talk about birth control, much less practice it. While she was in imprisoned, she went on a hunger strike. We should never forget, she is the reason birth control, and planned parenthood is legal in every state. She never turned her back on the poor women, and neither will we.

    All the bombings of abortion clinics, pretty much started with the Pro life movement that merged with Operation Rescue, and with the anti government, and NRA mergers. They have become the most “violent” of terrorist, and they are out to shut down clinics, and strike down Roe vs. Wade. Les we forget Eric Rudolph (#18282-058) is serving in the Florence Supermax Prison there in Colorado.

    And now we have these people on national tv 24/7………particularly at Fox News. I don’t have to name them, because we have talked about this in many many blogs. There is one group that I want to mention, and that is CNN. Back in 2013, I use to watch New Day……..the hosts of that segment is Alisyn Camerota (who spent 16 years at Fox News), and Chris Cuomo, who has a tv digital program, Focus on Faith, and Michaela Pereira (who is pretty much middle of the road). The weekend segment is hosted by Christi Paul, and she been into counseling and praying for years, and believes God put you on your path. The other weekend host is Victor Blackwell, he is gay, and I don’t heard to much about his religion.

    One of the things that really upset me when the misleading videos came out, was NEW DAY allowing for the commentator Jeffrey Lord to speak on a regular basis. The one day I was so pissed, he was describing women chopping and slicing women on the tables at the Planned Parenthood facilities. He is the world’s biggest ashol, liar, and what gets me, the hosts just let him get away with it, and still do. These are the people promoting hate and fear, and thus all the violence we are getting. Having Rep. Adam Kizzinger on air while the shooter is active, just shows me that all the holy news hosts, should be perceived of breaking the rules when it comes to providing news coverage. The media personnel has it’s role, and they are part of stressing people out, and more important, can’t seem to separate themselves from their job and their religion. I don’t know if it’s to late to change, but we must make an attempt to map it out, and call it out.

    Thanks for listening to my rant, but enough is enough.

  14. List of X says:

    So, let’s say, for argument’s sake, Dear did not attack Planned Parenthood because he was specifically targeting Planned Parenthood. To who should Planned Parenthood apologize, according to Adam Kinzinger, to a murderer who killed three people? To people actually planning attacks against Planned Parenthood? To actual terrorists?
    I’m just trying to figure out whose honor Kinzinger is defending here.

    • Fannie says:

      He actually told the police when arrested “no more body parts”……………In my above rant, mentioned, Jeffrey Lord, he was talking about chopping and slicing of baby parts too, so he along with Carly Firorina need to take the blame too. Rep. Kinzinger should be ashamed of himself for defending terrorist.

    • NW Luna says:

      Logic doesn’t mean anything to these people — it’s too much like science.

      For a number of years my definition of “useless” has been “discussing evidence with Republicans.”

  15. bostonboomer says:

    The Week: Suspected Planned Parenthood gunman Robert Dear was reportedly known to South Carolina authorities

    Buzzfeed: Here’s What We Know About The Suspect In The Planned Parenthood Shooting