Carly Fiorina and the House Republicans should be held responsible in the court of public opinion for inciting Robert Lewis Dear to commit murder at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday.
Robert Lewis Dear, 57, has been arrested and charged with shooting to death with an AK47 three people, including a police officer, and wounding nine others, including five police officers, at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday. An Initial Appearance is scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) at which time a judge will (1) tell him what crimes he has been accused of committing, (2) advise him of his constitutional rights including his rights to remain silent and to be represented by court-appointed counsel, if he is unable to retain counsel and (3) set or deny bail. Since this is likely to be a death-penalty case, you can reasonably expect the judge will appoint counsel at public expense and deny bail.
In addition ABC News is reporting,
Sources told ABC News the Justice Department is building a domestic terrorism case against Dear, though it would only move forward if somehow the state capital case was sidetracked.
In a statement released late Saturday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the shooting a “crime against women receiving healthcare services at Planned Parenthood.”
While police haven’t released a motive or said whether the clinic was the intended target, Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in a statement Dear “eyewitnesses confirm that the man … was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion.”
“We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months,” Cowart said. “That environment breeds acts of violence. Americans reject the hatred and vitriol that fueled this tragedy. We do not accept this environment as normal. We should not have to live in a world where accessing health care includes safe rooms and bullet proof glass.”
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he was not aware of any threats to the clinic, but said “we can speculate” on the motive.
“It happened at a Planned Parenthood center,” he said. “My suspicions are that has a lot to do with the motive.”
NBC News also is reporting,
In one statement, made after the suspect was taken in for questioning, Dear said “no more baby parts” in reference to Planned Parenthood, two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case told NBC News.
Although the two law enforcement officials added that the comment about ‘no more baby parts’ was part of a longer rant against government and President Obama, I think we can reasonably conclude from this information and his booking photos that (a) he is mentally ill and (b) he targeted Planned Parenthood in significant part because of Carly Fiorina’s intentional lie about Planned Parenthood during a Republican Presidential debate when she made her infamous harvesting-baby-parts comment about Planned Parenthood clinics. She was referring to heavily edited videotaped interviews of Planned Parenthood officials by an anti-abortion organization calling itself the Center for Medical Progress. She said,
Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’
Fiorina knew her statement was false when she uttered it because she claimed to have witnessed the incident and the conversation while watching the videos. However, the videos do not support her claim. Therefore, Fiorina’s indelible word picture was a lie. Even though she was confronted about her false statement by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, she doubled down insisting that she was telling the truth despite zero evidence to support it.
Since then grossly irresponsible Republicans in the House of Representatives have formed a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood as part of an incendiary hate-driven mission to defund the organization, despite the absence of any evidence that the organization has violated any state or federal laws.
The First Amendment right to freedom of speech is not absolute. As United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said in Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. (1919),
The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. […] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.
Carly Fiorina might never be charged or sued for inciting Robert Lewis Dear to go on a shooting spree at a Planned Parenthood clinic killing three people, including a police officer and injuring nine others, including five police officers, but we can and should hold her and the House Republicans responsible in the court of public opinion for the deaths and injuries.
Their deplorable behavior is part of a larger problem. The Republican Party has become a hate group and no one should vote for any of their candidates at the federal or state level.