November 29, 2015 § Leave a comment
To be clear, Robert Lewis Dear shot and killed 3 people and injured 9 others at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, November 27th, 2015.
To be clear, the impulse to immediately politicize the crime as it unfolds is wrong, whether it’s pro-lifers (or “anti-choice”) celebrating the shooting or supporters of abortion (or “pro-choice”) capitalizing on the tragedy as a Planned Parenthood fundraising opportunity.
To be clear, contrary to some reports, Dear was not a Christian, which is evident in his premeditated, murderous actions. “By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:16)
To be clear, the only one on the scene who was evidently a Christian, at least so far, was 44-year-old veteran police officer Garrett Swasey, one of the first officers to respond. Swasey was an elder at an evangelical church and was “described by his fellow church members and friends as a courageous man and loving father who drew strength and inspiration from his Christian faith.” He was killed at the scene, sacrificing his life without hesitation for those inside. A co-pastor of Swasey’s for 15 years “noted that although Officer Swasey would disagree with the abortion industry, it would not have been a factor in his actions on Friday. ‘He was there to save lives. That’s the kind of guy he is.’”(1)
To be clear, the other victims at the scene deserve recognition too. The two civilians killed at Planned Parenthood were not publicly identified until late 11/29: They are 29 year old veteran Ke’Arre Marcell Stewart, a DJ, entrepreneur, and father of two children, and Jennifer Tarkovsky, a 35 year old Hawai’i native and mother of two. The unborn killed at the site are also due recognition, but will likely never be named.
To be clear, whether Dear makes conservative claims, is sympathetic to the pro-life movement, or identifies himself as a Christian (all of which are contradicted by his actions), his behavior does not reflect the vast majority of conservatives, pro-lifers or even nominal Christians. And if Dear is found to have identified as an “independent female” or a liberal or a martian, the vast majority of those groups are not reflected in his behavior either.
To be clear, what Dear did was murder. It doesn’t matter if Dear considers himself a Democrat or Republican, Christian or Atheist. He killed 3 people, and that was evil.
To be clear, abortion is also murder, but the fact that Planned Parenthood supplies abortions does not justify violence against its doctors, clinics or patients. Pro-life means exactly that.
To be clear, Dear’s apparent mental illness does not excuse him from moral culpability. He had the mental capacity to plan and carry out his crime and he is able to take responsibility for it. We can’t blame gun laws, climate change, the GOP, or the growing opposition to abortion for Dear’s sin.
To be clear, the church needs to act as Garrett Swasey did and purpose to be a vehicle of selfless love, action and clarity in the face of tragedy.