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COMMENTARY: Murderous words beget murder

Columnist K. Gerard Thomas believes the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting is the product of hateful speech directed at the organization

Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting is the product of hateful speech

In less than two months our nation is grappling with another senseless mass shooting of innocent citizens. On Nov. 27, a 6′ 4″ gunman walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo. and began shooting staff and holding hostages. After five hours he was taken into custody. In the aftermath three are dead and nine wounded – of which five are police officers.

One of the slain was University of Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey, 44. He was a six-year veteran on the force and also served as a co-pastor at Hope Chapel Church in Colorado Springs. He leaves behind his wife and two children. Also killed: an African-American Iraq War veteran and father of two who died while trying to warn others, and a mother of two who was accompanying a friend to the clinic.

According to The New York Times, former neighbors of Robert L. Dear, 57, describe the suspect as quiet and to himself, occasionally engaging in conversation, and distributing anti-government literature.

Dear reportedly walked into the Planned Parenthood facility to kill randomly because he believed Planned Parenthood was harvesting baby parts. The arresting officers reported his direct quote as: “No more baby parts.”

The suspect was apparently influenced by an altered video circulated online by anti-abortion groups to make it appear Planned Parenthood representatives were discussing the sale of organs and tissue from a fully-formed aborted fetus – heart beating, legs kicking while someone is overheard saying, “We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”

In the second GOP debate Carly Fiorina insisted she witnessed said tape.

After multiple investigations by different states, by several top fact-checking organizations, and by Congress, this video was proven to be fake and Fiorina’s comments misleadingly false. No such tape existed, but you can’t un-ring a bell.

Republican candidates like Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Fiorina and others often speak of Planned Parenthood in such a manner that it was only a matter of time before a shooting or violent act targeting the organization occurred.

Even if one is anti-abortion, that is no excuse to kill and the Bible should never be used as a tool to justify murder, yet some online trolls are cheering the assault at the Planned Parenthood clinic with comments like “This shooter did more to save Black lives than Black Lives Matter.”

Sentiments such as these coincide with harsh comments made by 2016 GOP presidential candidates about Planned Parenthood because the Religious Right is a strong supporter of the Republican Party; it is commonplace for Republican candidates to pander among religious conservatives for votes using every tactic they can to win over the converted.

There are questions that the public is asking.

Where are the voices of Republicans attacking the shooter for his actions or the rhetoric leading up to his actions? Where are the cries about Police Lives Matter?

Where are the Benghazi leaders crying about the death of three brave Americans who gave their lives? Where are the political leaders in Congress who are speaking about gun violence?

Why do White suspects who shoot and kill police officers and innocent victims live through being apprehended, when unarmed Black children and teens are so often denied the option of life while being detained?

President Obama said, “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.”

Vice President Joe Biden said of the victims: “They join Americans, of every background, in cities large and small who, every day, leave home in the morning like they always do, but never return. Their families and communities are left with black holes in their hearts wondering why.”

Kevin G. Thomas is a veteran Los Angeles-area freelance journalist whose editorial runs weekly in the St. Louis Evening Whirl, a 76-year-old publication. Locally, he has written for the Los Angeles Wave and the L.A. Watts Times. He is a former educator with B.A. degrees in theology and marketing.

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