On Nov. 27, a man named Robert Dear killed three people and wounded nine others. The 57-year-old Caucasian male, described as “evangelistic” and “abusive,” allegedly opened fire on a Planned Parenthood Friday morning. After a shoot-out with police, Dear was taken into custody where officers reported hearing Dear say “no more baby parts.”
After the scandal involving doctored footage of Planned Parenthood “selling baby parts,” it’s easy to see where Dear may have found the inspiration for his actions that Friday. However, not all of the blame should fall on those videos because Dear seems to have a history of violent behavior and radical beliefs.
He has previously been accused of beating women, participating in animal cruelty and bragging about vandalism. Dear had no friends and didn’t trust anyone, said Barbara Micheau, Dear’s ex-wife. Online he would call those who disagreed with his beliefs “demons” and “slaves.”
In fact, this isn’t the first time that Dear has made Planned Parenthood a target. More than 20 years ago, Dear allegedly vandalized a Planned Parenthood by putting glue in all of its locks so no one could get into the building. Dear believed the Army of God, an anti-abortion extremist group responsible for multiple killings and bombings, was heroic, according to a New York Times article. He considers his violence “God’s work.”
“He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases. He is obsessed with the world coming to an end,” Micheau said.
His beliefs and subsequent actions may bring certain words to mind. Words like murderer, extremist, terrorist.
Those words are extremely serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly, and neither should Dear’s actions.
Many Republican candidates seem to have a different opinion. While Donald Trump has called Dear a “maniac,” and Ted Cruz labeled him as a “transgendered leftist,” other candidates, such as Jeb Bush, have only managed to send vague tweets regarding prayers for the victims. Mike Huckabee is one of the few Republican candidates calling for justice instead of prayers, describing the act as “domestic terrorism.” The phrase “domestic terrorism” is what Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley used to describe the event as well. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are saying they “#standwithpp” and are calling for the greater support of Planned Parenthood.
However, Planned Parenthood has taken it one step further and called Dear what he really is: a terrorist.
Using violence as a means to force your political or religious beliefs on others is widely condemned in the United States. When such actions are performed by persons of color or people subscribing to faiths other than Christianity, it’s seen as an act of terrorism.
Let’s not let the name Dear calls his god or the color of his skin affect the way Dear’s actions or beliefs are interpreted. Dear was armed not only with a gun, but also with anti-abortion rhetoric that only served to fuel the flames of his hatred. While we should keep the victims in mind and wish their families the strength to get through their loss, we also need to hold Dear accountable. Dear used his religious beliefs as a foundation to build the radical notion that violence against those who disagree with you is acceptable.
Alissa Smith is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.