While it was easy to assume what motivated Robert Lewis Dear to open fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, resulting in the deaths of three people with several more wounded, I put off writing anything about it until there were verified facts about what led him to commit such a heinous act.
But with reports from law enforcement officials confirming that Dear spoke of “no more baby parts” and other anti-abortion rhetoric, along with anti-Obama and anti-government views verified by more than one source, it’s clear Dear is exactly who most liberals thought he was: A right-wing nut job driven by fear-mongering GOP rhetoric.
Before going forward, let me address conservatives who I’ve seen posting all over the Internet that “liberals are hoping this guy’s a Republican so they can bash conservatives.” For some, that’s absolutely true. As a progressive, I spent the better part of my day Saturday calling out many liberals for seemingly caring more about “gotcha” politically commentary than addressing this situation genuinely and factually.
The truth is, what most liberals want – and what conservatives don’t seem to understand – isn’t the ability to point and say, “See, it’s a Republican.” What we want is for Republicans to stop infringing upon the Constitutional rights of Americans; to stop pushing anti-abortion propaganda and lies; and to start minding your own damn business.
That’s what we want.
With that said, much of the responsibility for the deaths of three people (including a police officer) in Colorado Springs rests on the shoulders of the Republican party.
And I can promise you this much, if this myth-based propaganda, constant fear-mongering and outlandish vitriolic rhetoric continues to become accepted among the Republican party, we’re going to see more of these instances of violence carried out by conservatives who feel their actions are justified because they’ve been told by the right-wing media that their delusions are valid concerns.
Doubt me? Just look back a few months ago at the Jade Helm shootings directed at military personnel that were a result of the Republican party embracing conspiracy theorists, adding legitimacy to bona fide crazy people who were then empowered to act out on their insanity. Hell, there were groups of people monitoring the movements of our military “just in case” Jade Helm really was an attempt by President Obama to confiscate guns.
(Oh, by the way, there’s a good chunk of conservatives out there who honestly believe Dear is a plant by the Obama administration to enact stricter gun control laws.)
Speaking of guns, this would be the second incident of gun violence in Colorado Springs where a “good guy with a gun” was simply exercising his open carry rights. Well, that is, until he turned into the “bad guy with a gun,” brutally murdering multiple people. Back on Halloween, 911 ignored pleas from residents of Colorado Springs who were concerned that a man who eventually gunned down three people was openly stalking around their neighborhood carrying an AR-15 rifle. The reason 911 dispatchers mostly ignored those pleas is because, until he opened fire, he was legally allowed to openly carry his rifle.
This begs the question, in a pro-gun city like Colorado Springs, where were all the “good guys” to stop these “bad guys”? (That’s a topic for another article.)
There’s no real gray area to this. With reports that Dear specifically mentioned “no more baby parts,” that’s rhetoric taken directly from Republican propaganda which they know is based on highly edited anti-abortion videos. Yet, despite that knowledge, they’ve used these discredited videos to push their political agenda anyway.
Congressional Republicans who’ve called for an “investigation” into Planned Parenthood based upon these edited videos.
Governors and other state-level Republicans who’ve pushed to defund Planned Parenthood based upon these edited videos.
Republicans like Ted Cruz who suggested that the government should have been shut down to prevent funding for Planned Parenthood. Then there was Carly Fiorina who blatantly lied during a presidential debate about things she had seen in these videos – that didn’t exist. A lie she has since doubled down on.
Then there was Mike Huckabee, another presidential candidate, who compared Planned Parenthood to terrorists.
A political party backed by tens of millions of people cannot fill a large part of its base with this hate-filled, fear-mongering propaganda without it eventually leading to violence. Republicans are lying to people, willfully trying to make them terrified of practically everything, so they can use that hatred and fear to benefit their party politically.
Many of these people actually seemed to feel the shooting was justified because it happened at a Planned Parenthood clinic where “babies are murdered every day,” seemingly unaware that 97 percent of what Planned Parenthood does has nothing to do with abortion. Then again, why would they know that? That’s not something factual that you’ll ever hear Republicans or the conservative media ever admit.
And trust me when I say this, if this anti-Muslim rhetoric continues to grow within the GOP, it’s only a matter of time before another mosque or Muslim center is violently attacked by a right-wing, gun-loving fanatic. That’s exactly what terrorist groups like ISIS want to happen.
This rhetoric from Republicans cannot continue. If it does, acts of violence like we saw happen on Friday are only going to become more common and more violent.
Why wouldn’t they?
The modern-day Republican party, built upon lies and fear-mongering, has validated the beliefs of crazy people. So, when these lunatics act out violently, in their minds, their actions are justified. After all, they’re seeing elected officials in Congress and all over the country tell them that it’s reasonable to believe that President Obama is going to confiscate guns; or that he’s working with terrorists to take down the United States; or that Planned Parenthood is selling “baby parts” for profit. Even when none of that is true.
Hell, as of my writing this it’s been nearly 48 hours since the shooting and almost none of the Republican presidential candidates have even had the courage to address it – and the ones who have declined to admit that their lies and propaganda need to stop.
That’s why I don’t hesitate when I say that I fully believe the modern-day Republican party has become America’s largest hate group.