News,  Politics

On the Colorado Springs Shooting

I have waited until now to comment on the shooting last week. I had hoped for us to understand a little more clearly what happened and why. Details are still murky, but I’m sure more will be clear soon. As I write this, the gunman has yet to make his first appearance in court, but he will do so later today. As we await details, here are my thoughts based on what we know now:

1. The shooting was an unmitigated evil. Full stop. The gunman—no matter his motivation—committed unconscionable acts of violence. We need to have the moral clarity to declare that he violated the sanctity of human life with his assault on people created in the image of almighty God. His actions deserve every bit of moral opprobrium we can muster.

2. It is not yet clear what his motivation is. His mugshot offers an image of someone who looks deranged. News reports have been able to piece together a profile of a man who has had frequent run-ins with the law—from alleged peeping-tom incidents to shooting his neighbors’s pets with a pellet gun. He lives alone on patch of land and scares the neighbors when he passes by. He said something about “baby parts” after his arrest, but authorities are still loathe to attribute a motive for his crime. Apparently it is not yet clear. The suggestion that this guy in any way represents the pro-life movement is absurd. He has more in common with the Gerasene Demoniac than the Little Sisters of the Poor. I think most rational people can see that. But then again, not everyone is rational, are they?

3. Some are already suggesting that pro-life rhetoric has contributed to this man’s crime. The logic goes like this. Pro-lifers who exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby parts have angered people. This anger translates into violence like we saw last week. Ergo, pro-life rhetoric leads to murder. Here’s a sampling of this kind of talk:

The culture of death has always hidden from moral clarity, but it is a new low to see them trying to hide behind the Colorado Springs murderer. Here are the facts. Since 1973, fifty-eight million people have been killed legally in our country. Without question, abortion-on-demand is the greatest human rights crisis of our time, and as the largest abortion provider in America, Planned Parenthood is the leading culprit of this killing.

But abortion rights proponents don’t want you to see that carnage. They dissemble and distract from the central moral issue—the people that are killed by abortion. They talk about “choice” and “women’s health,” but what they don’t talk about is the unborn lives that are destroyed in abortion. They have to do this because they know that if the public ever lets the light into their consciences, abortion-on-demand will end. And so they take every opportunity they can to distract from that central moral issue, and now they are doing it again. Except this time, they are hiding behind a murderer. It is pathetic.

It is also transparent what the pro-abortion folks are doing. They are trying to claim the moral high ground by associating pro-lifers with the Colorado Springs shooter. They can’t get the moral high ground through reason and persuasion, so they are going for guilt-by-association—even though the shooter’s motives are yet to be established and even though there’s no evidence of any connection to the pro-life movement and even though pro-life leaders everywhere have denounced the shooting.

Nevertheless, abortion rights proponents are doing what the Bible calls “bearing false witness” (Exod. 20:16), but I don’t think it’s going to work. As Ben Domenech has argued, pro-lifers are so numerous in America that no one accepts that this deranged shooter is an accurate representation of how pro-lifers behave. People know better, but that won’t stop the culture-of-death cynics from trying to perpetrate the lie.

Bottom line: If abortion proponents think they can hide behind this murderer in a cynical effort to distract from the daily killing that goes on in Planned Parenthood clinics, they are wrong. Pro-lifers are not going to be cowed by this. We will continue to shine the light on the sanctity of every human life—both those inside and outside the abortion mills.

4. Although the shooter did not kill anyone inside the Planned Parenthood clinic, he did take the lives of three people—including a police officer who we now know was pro-life evangelical pastor. If you want to know what pro-life people are really like, look at this hero named Officer Garrett Swasey. He rushed in to protect the very ones he disagreed with about abortion. Why? Because every life is sacred, including those working inside of Planned Parenthood. And Garrett Swasey knew this, and he gave his life defending theirs. That is what being pro-life is all about.


  • steve hays

    Freedom of the press has tradeoffs. If an investigative reporter does a story exposing a company that dumps toxic waste into a river, that will create a public backlash against the company and its CEO.

    Suppose a vigilante firebombs the company. Is that a reason to suspend or repeal freedom of the press? Do people who blame this attack on the PP sting videos think we should outlaw undercover reportage or investigative reportage because it might create a public backlash, resulting in the occasional vigilante act? I seriously doubt they are that consistent.

    Don’t blame the facts. The PP videos exposed, in their own words and actions, what goes on behind closed doors at PP clinics. PP receives massive taxpayer subsidies. The public has a right to know what its tax dollars subsidize.

    It’s arguable that PP has broken the law. The public, as well as prosecutors, have a right to know.

  • Christiane Smith

    Thank you for the tribute to Garrett Swasey, DENNY.

    There is enough of trouble here so that no one wishes to add to conjecture or inflame an already sad situation. The death of Garrett Swasey ought to be something we all take to heart . . . his reaction to the situation there was a positive one, wanting to save lives and protect people . . . he died honorably in the service of othe

    The startling juxtaposition of the death of this good man at the hands of a deranged person stirred to kill those he thought were evil . . . this DOES make us say ‘full stop’ . . . the sadness at least ought to make us think about how this came to be and, if we find elements of ‘lashon ha ra’ (the serpent’s tongue that leads to death) present in our own speech, we need to ask ourselves what our own negative words might unleash indirectly on the lives of good men and more directly on very vulnerable mentally-ill people
    . . . that reflection might be a more fitting tribute to the life of Officer Swasey, than assuming that our words have no power over what happens and so we bear no responsibility for our words.

    His life should mean something more now, yes.
    Some time spent reflecting on our ways seems the least we can do, if only to still our strident angry voices in honor of his more positive example of self-sacrificing service to others.

  • Charity Rodgers

    I wonder if you are familiar with the group Abolish Human Abortion? They are quite militant and condemn Right to Life and Crisis Pregnancy Centers claiming they will never stop abortion. They demand an immediate and complete end to all abortion allowing no exceptions even for the life of the mother. They are the new Operation Rescue on steroids and they scare me.

    • Gus Nelson

      Charity: I went to their website. What is it precisely that scares you? That they are unabashedly against abortion? That they picket churches that actively support abortion? That they use graphic signs? This is a non-violent movement (best I can tell) that is calling on the church and its members to repent of our silence in the face a monstrous evil.

      If by militant you mean they can be offensive, then you are right. If by militant you mean they are in favor of using violence, that doesn’t appear to be accurate. I have good friends who are heavily invested in the anti-abortion movement and not one of them has ever advocated violence of any kind and all of them would, as Denny has, decry the use of violence even against those who perpetrate abortion.

      I see a very close correlation here between this movement and the anti-slavery movement of the 1800’s – both initiated by Christians, and both labeled “militant” by those who hated them and those who were too timid to speak out.

    • Christiane Smith

      Hi CHARITY and GUS,

      I would be concerned. One of the leaders is Jared Michael Ragon, a convicted felon.
      His crime was trying to bomb a church in 2007 . . . one of the reasons he gave at the time was ‘to draw attention’ to the problems of organized religion, which his cult opposed. The group he worked with to bomb that church included one under-age individual.

      So, my advice is to examine this group in more depth, particularly it’s leadership, and keep watch over its activities over a period of time. GUS, you might want to look at more than one source for info . . . there’s quite a lot out there, and some of it IS disturbing. Thank you, CHARITY, for the heads-up on a group that I had not heard of until I read your comment, and I will follow their activities myself to see patterns and ‘rhetoric’ so as to make a better evaluation about their ‘mission’ . . . I am concerned after hearing about Jared Ragon, yes. Most people would be.

      • Charity Rodgers

        Thank you Christine. I was afraid to give more detail thinking readers would only think I had gone off the beam. I know multiple families involved in AHA and they are very militant, anti-government, owners of multiple weapons including assault riffles and tons of ammo, etc. Other pro-life organizations have separated from association with AHA or refuse to be associated. Possibly, all with group are not the same but that does not change cause for concern.

      • Gus Nelson

        I’ll look into it. As I said, I know quite a few people who are heavily involved in the anti abortion movement and not one would advocate violence. If this group in fact uses violence as an means to its end, then it is no different than Planned Parenthood and deserves our scorn. That, however, does not justify any sort of accommodation with Planned Parenthood, which is blatantly evil and seeking to deflect the truth of what is doing by trying to use this incident as a political wedge, particularly with those who are fearful to stand firm against this holocaust.

  • James Stanton

    I think the reaction from PP and its supporters are nothing surprising. There are some deranged people who will be set off by heated rhetoric or their personal demons and go on to do some terrible violence.

    The same can be said about some deranged person shooting police officers after getting riled up by the rhetoric against law enforcement abuses. People will use incidents like these to tar and scapegoat the movement/cause trying to create change.

    It’s also similar to some people wanting to scapegoat Muslims or Muslim refugees for the actions of a few deranged people.

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