Many in the media have rushed to pin the blame for Friday’s Planned Parenthood murders on Christians, Republicans and pro-lifers, even as the shootout was still going on.
Robert Lewis Dear, who’s in custody for killing three at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colo., has a lengthy criminal record and has previously faced accusations of animal cruelty, being a peeping tom and domestic abuse. (RELATED: Colorado Springs Shooter Robert L. Dear Was An Accused Peeping Tom Once Arrested For Animal Cruelty)
The website Heavy.com seemed to be so sure of the shooter’s ideology that they included the words “conservative” and “pro-life” in their URL for a piece titled “Robert Lewis Dear: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know.” Despite the misleading URL, the piece does not yet include any claims that Dear is conservative or pro-life, possibly because the piece has the word “facts” in the title.
Before Dear had even surrendered, CNN commentator Sally Kohn on Twitter blamed the “rhetoric” of the “anti-abortion right” for Friday’s murders. Kohn has previously blamed “white conservatives” for mass shootings.
Negar Mortazavi, an Iranian-American journalist who writes for the Huffington Post, CNN and BBC among others, described Dear as a “Christian terrorist” before he was ever in custody. Mortazavi also asked what “moderate Christians are doing about their extremists?”
Similarly, Huffington Post blogger Brett Gleason demanded that “self righteous white christians [sic] please just admit that they have plenty of their own terrorists,” while the shooting was still going on.
Heather Hogan, a senior editor for lesbian feminist website Autostraddle, tweeted that “if you can differentiate [between] Christians and the white dude who shot up Planned Parenthood, you can differentiate [between] Muslims and ISIS.
Norm Goldman, a radio host who claims to represent “fierce independence,” tweeted that “Republicans have yet more blood on their hands.” Goldman blamed “heated rhetoric about Planned Parenthood and abortion” for the shooting.
The rush to blame Republicans and Christians for the attack comes despite a warning from the Colorado Springs Police Department that they “don’t have any information on this individual’s mentality, or his ideas or ideology.”
One of Dear’s neighbors who spoke to the AP said he didn’t remember the gunman ever talking about religion or abortion.