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Posted by on Nov 28, 2015 in Featured, Society | 34 comments

“No baby parts”: Colorado terrorist to police

NBC is reporting that Robert Lewis Dear, the North Carolina native arrested Friday for a mass shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, said “no more baby parts” while talking with law enforcement officials.

The phrase references discredited video distributed this summer by anti-abortion extremists.

The officers quoted were not named but identified as having “knowledge of the case.”

Dear was able to legally buy “an AK-47 style, high-powered rifle used in the shootings” despite a record of violence: “domestic violence against his then-wife in 1997” as well as an arrest as a “Peeping Tom” in 2002.

The names of the two civilians killed in the rampage have yet to be released. The policeman killed Friday was identified as Garrett Swasey, a 44-year-old father of two. According to The Guardian, a Planned Parenthood spokesman reported that its 15 staff members were unharmed. This suggests the two killed were patients, but the Colorado Springs police chief would only say the names should be released Monday after the autopsies are complete.

Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers said security cameras in the clinic showed the gunman wearing a trenchcoat and carrying a rifle as he walked calmly through the building.

No mainstream media has yet referred to this as domestic terrorism.

However, Peter Holley at the Washington Post asks: Did ‘whiteness’ save the life of the alleged Planned Parenthood shooter?

Both are the consensus on Twitter:

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  • JSpencer

    “Can someone explain to me why cops can’t shoot a white man w a gun but have no problem shooting unarmed black boys”

    I’d be interested in hearing that explanation too…

    As for the bogus body parts meme, the more fervent anti-choice people are way beyond caring whether the things they parrot are factual or not. If they were truly “pro-life”, they would be advocating for the millions of fully realized human beings in the world so desperately in need of help instead trying to tell women what to do with their own bodies.

    • Thanks. Fixed my headline, BTW.

    • adelinesdad

      “I’d be interested in hearing that explanation too…”

      Firstly, unless we know some background about the cops involved, the cops are different people. An accusation of favoritism doesn’t make sense against different people acting independently. Don’t most of us agree that most cops are good? Are we now assuming the cop(s) that apprehended this white guy would have shot him if he were black just because some other cops might? That seems rather unfair, especially considering their heroic efforts.

      Secondly, it’s pretty hard to compare this situation to recent controversial situations involving black men/boys. There are many differences, depending on which situation you are comparing it to. The man was holed up for several hours which allowed for backup to be called in who were specifically trained for this sort of situation. Also, the possibility of hostages required a more patient approach. That’s a lot different than otherwise ordinary police encounter that goes bad in a matter of seconds, which is typically where we see lethal force used.

      Thirdly, yeah some cops are racist. But not very many, and this doesn’t seem like the right time to make that argument given the two points above.

      • JSpencer

        ” this doesn’t seem like the right time to make that argument”

        So when is the right time?

        • adelinesdad

          In case there is confusion, I don’t mean “time” as in “it’s too soon.” I mean “time” as in “instance”. I mean that this situation isn’t an instance of the pattern. The “right time” would be in context of a situation that illustrates the pattern we’d like to discuss, or better yet a data set that illustrates the pattern. Since we have several recent examples, that could be any “time”, but this isn’t the right instance.

          • JSpencer

            I understand where you are coming from, but I respectfully submit that if your skin was a few shades darker you might be inclined to view this as yet another example of two-tiered justice. We bring our own experience to our opinions.

          • adelinesdad

            True, we do. If I were black (which would be several shades darker–a few shades would only get me to Italian), I might have a different perspective on things, but still just as limited a perspective. I might be more likely to see the racial injustice around me, but I might also be more likely to see it where it doesn’t exist. Either way, I’d expect myself to address the arguments I made above, rather than diminish them because of my race, so that all our perspectives can be enlarged and hopefully we can come to a shared understanding.

      • A one-on-one comparison isn’t likely because PP violence is perpetuated by white men. Not black men.

        Do you know of a real-life example where a black man has taken a bunch of people hostage in a woman’s health clinic? Me, neither.

        What we are seeing in statements like these is a general frustration with documented differences in how police, in general, treat black men compared with white men.

        • adelinesdad

          I don’t dispute there is a racial disparity in law enforcement and the justice system. I think the connection with that to this situation is a stretch at best.

          Are you saying that the question is meant to be rhetorical; just a manner of expressing a general frustration (eta: one unrelated to this situation)? That’s fine if that’s the case. I was just responding to JSpencer’s request.

          • I doubt the person expressing the sentiment in the tweet intended it to be rhetorical. My point is that people are possibly expressing the sentiment because the straw is breaking the camel’s back — especially given the release of the Chicago video this week.

      • rudi

        Their actions speak to the problem.

        However, activists like the members of the Black Lives Matter movement argue that police kill blacks at a rate disproportionate to their total percentage of the population — an assertion supported by The Guardian’s statistics. Police killed almost five black people per every million black residents of the U.S., compared with about 2 per million for both white and hispanic victims.

        • adelinesdad

          I’m afraid I don’t see how this addresses my explanation, which, in summary, is that (a) the police don’t act collectively–what matters in this situation is what the cops that apprehended Dear did or would have done if he were black, and (b) this situation isn’t comparable to most situations where black men tend to be killed by police.

          • rudi

            Statistically Blacks are shot at nearly three times the rate of whites. Dear wasn’t shot, yet a black youth in Cleveland with a toy gun was killed.

          • adelinesdad

            Different cops. Different situation. In other words, there are many other things different about the two situations you are comparing other than race.

            That’s doesn’t mean those statistics aren’t right or don’t represent a troubling trend, just that this situation isn’t an example of the trend. But I think we are talking past each other here. Sorry we couldn’t come to some understanding.

  • I am trying not to read too much into this. The media has interviewed several of his neighbors and it’s fairly obvious Mr Dear was bat (you know what) crazy. Most of his neighbors were terrified of him.

    • adelinesdad

      That does seem to be the case, though without the anti-PP movement he probably would not have been triggered to act in this way. An interesting question is how much a movement is responsible for the crazies that are inspired by them. We’ve had several examples lately from varying ideological perspectives. In my view, unfortunately the degree to which we hold movements accountable for their crazies depends on whether we agree with the movement or not.

      • Having this discussion on a couple of different threads on Facebook. Agitprop is legal. Inciting a riot is not. Where is the line?

        • adelinesdad

          I think rather than a line there is a gradation, and I’m more interested in the moral question rather than the legal one. Legally, we have to be pretty lenient because we value free speech. But the moral requirement is more strict, I think.

          Telling the truth is always acceptable regardless of the consequences. But telling a lie (including partial truths, exaggerations, etc), especially intentionally, makes you partly morally responsible for what happens as a result of it. And of course explicitly encouraging violence makes you even more responsible. Ultimately, the person doing the shooting is most responsible, but there is partial responsibility to go around.

          A related question is what responsibility does someone have that affiliates with a group or movement that has members engaging in lies or incitement. Does that person have an obligation to disassociate from the group, even if he agrees with the larger movement, to avoid granting those people more legitimacy? I’m not sure of the answer to that.

    • So why was it possible for him to buy a gun?
      (That was rhetorical.)

  • shannonlee

    “No baby parts”

    “Triggers to pull the trigger, tonight on Fox News”

    • O.M.G.
      Headline writers should be strung up. Seriously.

      If you see it again, pull out your phone and snap a pic of the TV, would you? Or are you being sarcastic?

      • shannonlee

        just being sarcastic… sorry 🙁

        • Need emoticons. Seriously – that was awful enough to be believable.

      • dduck12

        Not all headline writers are sick puppies, some mean well and gosh darn it sells more views. 🙂

  • willwright

    This guy will probably turn out to be a garden variety nutter. Unfortunately we seem to be producing a lot of these type of people now days. I think these people have always been with us but before talk radio and the internet there weren’t voices ready to focus their nuttiness on specific targets. Today the people with the most dangerous thinking find ready homes on both radio and the internet that demonize specific groups and organizations. Is it any wonder that some percentage of them decide to take it the next step through acts of violence. This whole (mainly) right wing media complex is a cancer growing in our society. Not sure what can be done given free speech in this country. However there should be severe penalties when it is shown these outlets are (or try) inciting violence.

    • Slamfu

      I agree. He will likely be a lone gunman type, barely hanging onto his sanity as it was, and while he may have been pushed over the edge on this, the root cause is he’s just another scared white male who’s life is a wreck and he needs to focus on some external source to blame for why. Seems more and more these days that choice of focus is the perceived noting that white men are being “persecuted” and “traditional America” where white men were the unquestioned receivers of privilege are losing that because liberal something something. So lock and load and go take out your own failings on a bunch of random strangers, of course with a BS righteous cause in your pockets to justify it all.

  • rudi

    In a hostage situation cooler heads apply. The situation is better organized with a command structure. In a police response to a traffic stop or potential crime, adrenaline clouds the thinking. In these situations, a bad or incompetent cop is quick to pull the trigger without a command structure,

    • Thanks for that perspective. It does sound like this one started off in the high adrenaline mode, however, before it evolved into the hostage situation. However, I read somewhere that he was never able to get past the lobby of the building.

  • Slamfu

    If there is an actual connection from those faked videos to this shooter, we need to have a long hard look at what we tolerate from our media and politicians. Those videos being released was bad enough, but the GOP and their surrogates continued to push them as reality long after it was shown to be otherwise, and the media’s tepid reporting on it is something we should be very upset about. Those who are supposed to filter this out, filter out the lies intended to mislead people, are asleep at the wheel. Apparently only comedians these days do what journalists are supposed to do.

    The GOP isn’t responsible for the actions of madmen. But to say that something like this isn’t stoked by the intentional spreading of lies to anger people is incorrect, and everyone knows it. And yet the GOP still calls for more investigations and will do so not until the truth is revealed, because the truth doesn’t support their cause, but until they get the results they want. But they won’t get those because the things they imagine are happening aren’t happening, and so they will call for more investigations just like Benghazi, so they can keep fundraising, misleading people, and continuing to distort reality in their craven quest for political power. They aren’t responsible for what happened in Colorado Springs, but they should be ashamed of themselves nonetheless.

      • JSpencer

        …who is arrogant, impervious, and wrong.

    • The challenge of rebuttal is this: research shows that repeating the message is likely to cement it – even in the minds of people who may not have heard it the first time. 🙁

      There were lots of rebuttals — FactCheck and PolitiFact did analyses after the unedited interview was released. But no one (other than a journalist or political junkie) is going to watch/read the entire thing — particularly if “the thing” matches your existing worldview.

      AgitProp is designed for people who already think like you do — to “agitate” the like-minded. It’s not designed to change minds.

      • Lorie Emerson

        A problem I see in a lot of the reporting is that they don’t explicitly call out the videos as lies/ false propaganda. Even “discredited” is pretty mild. In other reporting (the Hill, for example) I’ve seen articles that refer to the videos repeatedly than mention since that they are ‘disputed’ or ‘controversial’. Its the Acorn thing all over again, and it’s depressing.

      • JSpencer

        Amazing how repeated lies so often carry more weight than the debunking of lies. As often as I talk with people who prove this, I still have a hard time accepting that our society is saturated with so much stupid. Maybe I’ll start digging that moat after all..

        “We seem to have crossed over an invisible border from the ordinary narrative bullshit that is customary to presidential campaigns into a strange shadowland in which bizarre (and easily—and, occasionally, previously—debunked) tales have come to define candidates, and to define them, if not positively, then not entirely in a negative way, either. To stick with your story about Muslims on the rooftops in the face of all the available evidence is a way to demonstrate that you “won’t back down” or that you’re not “politically correct.” The logic seems to be that, if you stand firmly behind your hogwash, and the wilder the hogwash the better, then you will face down Vladimir Putin before breakfast and frighten Daesh to death just after lunch. Apparently, if you’re bold enough to tell obvious lies in public, and then stick to those lies when you get called on them, you are brave enough to be president.” – Charles Pierce

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