Did You Know the Planned Parenthood Shooter was a Pro-Life, Christian, Conservative, Republican?
Last week a man committed a terrible act of violence at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, CO. Depending on what article you read about this incident the picture you will get of the gunman, Robert Dear, will be very different. In fact, as more details emerge about this man and his crime(s), the entire story becomes very troubling.
Abortion activists are painting Mr. Dear as a pro-life activist and calling his crime an act of “domestic terrorism.” They are using the tragic events as an opportunity to paint pro-life activists as extremists that condone violence (a twisted sort of irony).
Gun control advocates are using the incident as an opportunity to call for stricter gun laws. They see Mr. Dear as the typical American gun owner and want to make it more difficult to own a gun.
Some even decided to be very specific with their blame by saying the shooting was the fault of “Christian, white, conservative, Republicans.” These accusations were made while the shooting was still going on and before the suspect was in custody? Either the media coverage was extremely biased and those reporters should be ashamed of themselves; or someone is trying to create an artificial picture of specific groups for a political agenda.
Listen, I’m not prone to advocate conspiracy theories or join the tin foil hat brigade often or easily. But this incident seems so odd to me. The picture being painted by the media is so very different than the one being painted by those who actually know the suspect. In articles here and here we learn a little about this suspect and his seemingly troubled past. What we quickly learn is this:
Mr. Dear was registered as an unaffiliated voter in Colorado – though his registration is as a female.
Mr. Dear lived part-time in a cabin in the North Carolina Mountains with no electricity.
Mr. Dear has a record of domestic violence, animal cruelty, and peeping in his background.
Mr. Dear, according to those that knew him, was not very coherent and never discussed religion or abortion with anyone.
That picture is quite different from the one being painted by the media presently. They would have us believe that Mr. Dear is representative of every white, Christian, pro-life Republican in the country. They want to paint us all as “domestic terrorists” for simply believing that abortion is murder, Jesus is Lord, and people should be allowed to own guns. Never mind the fact that the pro-life movement is incredibly diverse, with many women, minorities, and even atheists joining the movement. Those pesky facts are inconvenient and not important to their narrative. As far as they are concerned, the pro-life movement is a bunch of stodgy old white guys just trying to oppress women.
As a pro-life advocate I will gladly say that what Mr. Dear did was wrong. Addressing social issues with violence has never and will never work. But, I will also quickly add that painting in broad strokes at a time of tragedy is equally wrong. Any journalist that uses this tragedy (or any other) to advance a political or social agenda should be ashamed. I respect what Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said in the wake of these criminal acts:
“While the investigation into the shooting at the Planned Parenthood center continues, regardless of what the motive is determined to be, we strongly condemn this violence. As the target of domestic terrorism inspired by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the staff of the Family Research Council empathize with all the victims of this violence. All of us at the Family Research Council join with the pro-life movement in praying for the injured officers and victims of these deplorable acts. Only through peaceful means –not violence— can we truly become a nation that once again values all human life, born and unborn.”
Huh, what do you know, no labels? Perkins didn’t paint the suspect as a terrorist, a liberal, a Nazi, or anything else. He simply did the right thing by condemning the violence, and offering prayers and support for the victims and their families.
This brings to light another problem we are facing in our culture: grouping people together. In the wake of the Paris tragedy we are being told that “all Muslims are not terrorists” and that we should extend love to others. Then, in the wake of this tragedy the same media groups pro-lifers, gun owners, Christians, conservatives, and Republicans into one group as labels us “terrorists.” I can’t be the only one that sees the problem here?
Let’s be clear about a few facts:
If you want to denounce violence against animals or human beings; you absolutely cannot support the violent murder of unborn children. To do so makes you a hypocrite and there’s not an argument in existence that will change that fact.
If you want people to “give Muslims a chance” because “all Muslims are not terrorists”; you must offer the same courtesy to every religion, including Christians. You cannot demand for Muslims to be treated with tolerance while refusing to do the same for Christians (see above comments on being a hypocrite).
It seems our culture has grown so accustomed to labeling everyone for everything that we make instant judgments about people once we hear certain descriptors:
You’re pro-life so you must be misogynistic and hate healthcare.
You’re Christians so you must hate everyone that does not believe like you and want to persecute gay people.
You’re a gun-owner so you must enjoy violence and want people to be walking around the streets with guns like in the wild-wild-west.
Once upon a time we were trying to get rid of labels. It seems many people had “a dream” that labels wouldn’t define us and we could simply be judged based on our character and deeds. Somewhere along the way that dream seems to have died. We are more labeled and divided than we’ve ever been as a nation. Not only are we encouraged to look for our differences, we are also told we can’t be friends with people that disagree with us. So much for tolerance.
I don’t know why Mr. Dear decided to commit this act of violence. What I do know is that he in no way represents the pro-life movement, Christians, gun owners, Republicans, conservatives; or any other group you want to throw in there. He is a man that made a decision. His decision cost others their lives, and will result in him spending the rest of his life in jail. And unless we are ready to say that certain groups believe in this kind of heinous violence, his motives are worthless and his ideals are meaningless. He is now nothing more than a highly disturbed individual.
Maybe if we start there, rather than with our own bias and labels, we can get back to that dream we once believed in so much.