Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooter Kills 3, Now in Custody

Three dead, 12 injured in biggest abortion-clinic attack in years.


Colorado Springs PD

A shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic yesterday left three people dead and 12 injured.

The accused shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, is in custody.

Among the dead is Garrett Swasey, a member of the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs police force.

President Barack Obama released a statement that reads in part:

"This is not normal. We can't let it become normal. 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. Period. Enough is enough.

On his Facebook page, The Blaze's Glenn Beck, who opposes abortion, posted an eloquent and heart-felt message that reads in part:

I don't understand the mind set of anyone who kills in the name of God. Be it Isis or someone who shoots at a planned parenthood facility.

I just saw the news and I know more will become clear as the hours pass but NOTHING JUSTIFIES THIS.

Darkness cannot bring light and only love will defeat hatred.
This shooter should be received with the same welcome that the right would welcome the Fort Hood killer.

The killer would say, "planned parenthood is murdering children." The killer has failed to understand he is murdering humans too.

All life matters!

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM), which operated the facility, issued this statement:

"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.

For the whole statement, go here

According to statistics from the National Abortion Federation, the three deaths at PPRM are the first deaths since 2009 of people at an abortion clinic. Violence at clinics peaked in 2001, with 795 cases of various forms of attacks such as attempted murders, arson, bombings, vandalism, and the like. In 2014, the last year for which they provide numbers, there 99 such incidents, the overwhelming majority being vandalism. In 2013, there 299 cases.

Mother Jones says there has been an increase in attacks on abortion clinics since the release of anti-abortion videos from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) in July:

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.

For Reason's coverage of the CMP videos, go here.

For Reason's coverage of abortion issues, go here. Given recent events, it's worth especially reading Matt Welch's "The Strange Convergence of Pro-Lifers and Gun Controllers."

Terroristic violence at abortion clinics inevitably brings up the topic of religion and the case of Eric Rudolph, the deadliest and most-prolific anti-abortion bomber in U.S. history. His confession and motiviation are hardly models of lucidity, but this 2005 USA Today story notes that he prefers "Nietzche to the Bible" and was annoyed by the "condescension" toward him displayed by supporters who assumed that he was Chrisitan.

By my guess, most libertarians are staunchly in favor abortion rights—I'd say 70 percent or so are in favor of abortion rights in all or most cases, with the rest against in all or some.  

In 2013, I moderated a discussion of abortion rights within a libertarian context featuring Reason's Ronald Bailey and Katherine Mangu-Ward and The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway. It's an intense, open, and honest discussion, I think. Watch below: