DEAR MR. DEAR: Pro-Lifers Don’t Kill People. You Don’t Speak for Us.

DEAR MR. DEAR: Pro-Lifers Don’t Kill People. You Don’t Speak for Us. December 9, 2015

By drsuparna [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By drsuparna [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Robert L. Dear Jr., the shooter who burst into a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic and fired a semiautomatic rifle, shooting twelve people and killing three of them, now claims he “did it for the babies.”

The impassioned and unshaven killer, cuffed at the arms and legs, appeared in court today for the first time since the November 27 shooting. “I’m guilty!” he admitted to Judge Gilbert A. Martinez. “There’s no trial. I’m a warrior for the babies!”

So at the offset, before the abortion-biased mainstream media pundits get their hands on the story and say “I told you so,” I want to clarify:






I know that there will be reports out there from pro-abortion activists, claiming that Mr. Dear speaks for all pro-lifers (whom they call “anti-abortion activists”) and that “the rhetoric should be toned down.”

For example, at USA Today, columnist Greg Toppo repeated the old saw that “Threat of violence is ever-present at abortion clinics.” CBS News reported “Violent attacks are nothing new for Planned Parenthood.” And the National Abortion Foundation reports that “since 1977, there have been eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 186 arsons and thousands of other incidents, including vandalism.”

Of course, no murder, no violence is ever acceptable; so I am not claiming that the comparison of abortionists murdered (8) to unborn children murdered in the same time period (58 million) renders the violence at abortion clinics acceptable.

And please, don’t get me wrong! I’m not denying that these violent acts occurred. What I’m saying, though, is that the perpetrators of those crimes are troubled or mentally ill or hot-tempered, but they’re not “pro-life.”

Within hours of the news that there had been a shooting in Colorado Springs, prominent pro-life leaders and organizations were unanimous in their condemnation of violence. They came out to publicly dissociate themselves from Dear, to condemn violence, and to offer support and prayer for a return to peace in that community.

While the event was still unfolding, Operation Rescue and the Christian Defense Coalition issued a statement denouncing the violence that appears to be in progress at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, released a statement which said,

“Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies. We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone.”

National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) President Carol Tobias was quick to speak out against the shooting. Tobias said,

“National Right to Life, which represents 50 state affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, unequivocally condemns unlawful activities and acts of violence regardless of motivation. The pro-life movement works to protect the right to life and increase respect for human life. The unlawful use of violence is directly contrary to that goal.”

An accompanying NRLC statement said the group “has always been involved in peaceful, legal activities to protect human lives threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia.”

The Christian Examiner summarized the first responses of other well-known pro-life organizations:

Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, tweeted, “Vigilante violence at abortion facilities is immoral & condemned by Christians. We overcome evil with good, not with more evil (Rom 12:21).”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins condemned the shooting, noting that FRC’s building in recent years also was the target of a shooter.

“While the investigation into the shooting at the Planned Parenthood center continues, regardless of what the motive is determined to be, we strongly condemn this violence,” Perkins said. “As the target of domestic terrorism inspired by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the staff of the Family Research Council empathize with all the victims of this violence. All of us at the Family Research Council join with the pro-life movement in praying for the injured officers and victims of these deplorable acts.

“Only through peaceful means – not violence — can we truly become a nation that once again values all human life, born and unborn,” Perkins added.

Lila Grace Rose, president of Live Action, sent out a series of Tweets condemning the violence.

“Being pro-life is to uphold the preciousness of all human beings – born & preborn. Praying for those hurt at Planned Parenthood in Colorado,” she wrote. “We condemn violence against any human being, whether abortionists, @PPact workers, patients, or preborn babies. Every life is precious.”

So please don’t try to lump the actions of one disgruntled loner with the prayerful service and educational outreach of pro-lifers. It’s not equivalent. I know that, and you know that.

Robert Dear may be mentally ill; or he may be a violent criminal. That will be determined through psychiatric testing.

What he is not, however, is certain: He is not pro-life.

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  • Bemused

    ” I am not claiming that the comparison of abortionists murdered (8) to
    unborn children murdered in the same time period (58 million) renders
    the violence at abortion clinics acceptable.”

    In that line, you have made the comparison that implies that it is acceptable. Pro-life is also for born-people.

  • Korou

    With so many people saying that abortion is murder, that America is committing genocide and that Planned Parenthood employs the most evil and heartless baby-killers imaginable, why should you be surprised that someone took them at their word?

    • That Catholic Gamer Dude

      Because returning evil for evil is not right? Shooting up a PP clinic only furthers the horrific violence that occurs at a PP abortion mill. It goes against pro-life goals.

      • Korou

        When pro-life people use inflammatory rhetoric then they should not be surprised when someone takes it seriously. The pro-life movement should accept responsibility for this incident, after promoting falsehoods about Planned Parenthood and using terms such as “baby killers” and “genocide”. What did they think would happen? If the answer is “we thought that nobody would think it appropriate to act upon our labelling medical professionals as murderers” then I hope they will learn their lesson.

        • kathyschiffer

          When speaking the truth is labeled as “inflammatory rhetoric,” then there’s something wrong going on. An abortionist IS objectively a baby killer. It would be inflammatory to say “Go kill the baby killer,” but pro-life people don’t do that. They stand there outside the door, praying.

          • Korou

            Then they are immoral in a different way. If my child were being murdered I would not stand outside the room praying. If I prayed, of course.
            Interesting to see that you do not consider saying “millions of babies are being murdered in the most horrible way by Planned Parenthood”: as being inflammatory.

        • That Catholic Gamer Dude

          >When pro-life people use inflammatory rhetoric then they should not be surprised when someone takes it seriously.

          That’s absurd.

          >after promoting falsehoods about Planned Parenthood

          We don’t.

          >and using terms such as “baby killers” and “genocide”.

          Abortion IS murder. We just call it what it is. It’s the pro-aborts that distort language and disguise murder under “women’s health”. That you disagree doesn’t change that fact. And attempting to silence us though such a silly argument is close-minded and a bit bigoted.

          It’s a silly attempt to shame the other side into silence. We will not take the bait.

          • Korou

            Then bear the cost. Learn that words have consequences, and stop pretending to be surprised when someone takes your talk about murdered babies seriously.

  • Korou

    I’ll be travelling for a couple of days, so I’ll leave you with this thought:

    This post highlights something which I’ve always found confusing. I don’t myself believe that abortion is evil, and I’ve given my reasons for that on this blog before. If I did believe it, however, I would not consider that the pro-life stance was sufficient. Even if I did not have the courage to be like Mr. Dear myself I would support him in his crusade. Pro-lifers constantly talk about how terrible abortion is – genocide, murderous bloody genocide, sanctioned by the state! And they have been content to watch it for years and years and years, hoping it will be outlawed.

    Your fellow Patheos blogger Fred Clark, an evangelical and progressive Christian has an explanation for this:

    “The anti-abortion political movement in America overall is “a self-serving exercise in self-righteousness, self-congratulatory grandstanding and disinterest in the most pressing matters of human rights and dignity in our world today.”
    It is not only that, but it is pervasively that. Self-righteousness, self-congratulatory grandstanding and disinterest in the most pressing matters are what this movement is for. They are a feature, not a bug. They are not an unfortunate side-effect threatening the original purpose of the movement, but rather they are and have always been central as cause and motive, as driving force, as raison d’etre.
    Brother Horan laments the long record of futility and ineffectiveness associated with the “March for Life.” “For nearly 40 years people have been doing the exact same thing with no progress of which to speak,” he writes.
    But that’s not really true. For nearly 40 years, these marchers have been extraordinarily successful. Year after year they have accomplished their goals, achieving just what they set out to do. Year after year they have savored their self-righteousness, congratulated themselves, grandstanded and distracted themselves from the most pressing matters of human rights and dignity. Year after year after year the march has been a great success.”

  • Korou

    Another article relevant to the topic:

    “It’s a pretense, a game — a dishonest game played by people who have chosen to embrace this dishonesty and to make it their essential defining characteristic. They don’t behave as if they believe what they say. They don’t believe what they say. This is as apparent in the pseudo intellectual pomposity of the anti-abortion play-actors at First Things as it is in the pseudo-spiritual pose of earnestness by the anti-abortion play-actors at Christianity Today.

    They don’t behave as if they believe what they say.

    They do not believe what they say.

    No one else ought to believe what they say either.

    But every few years, tragically, someone does. Every few years some disturbed or unhinged individual fails to appreciate that these anti-abortion pretenders are merely “frivolous persons who don’t choose their words based on their meaning” but, rather, “behave like the worst caricature of a politician.”

    Every few years, tragically, some poor confused bastard fails to realize that it’s all a big game, a pretense, a lie. He takes them seriously and he takes their words seriously and he behaves as someone who believes what they say. So Paul Hill murders a doctor in Florida. Eric Rudolph bombs the Atlanta Olympics. Scott Roeder guns down a doctor in church.
    And each time this happens all of the people who have, for years, been suggesting that such violent resistance is obligatory recoil in horror at the sight of someone treating their words as anything other than the disingenuous lies they were always meant to be.”

  • Danny

    Mr. Dear is a pro lifer and a terrorist murderer. Therefore, a pro lifer can be a terrorist murderer. Mr. Dear actually does speak for a portion of the pro life movement. We never hear from those speaking for the portion of the pro life movement that is against killing abortion providers, until after it happens, again and again. The majority of pro lifers own guns and support capital punishment. Perhaps pro life is a very inaccurate banner for these religious zealots to stand under.

    To scream “fire” in a movie theater when there is no fire is not much different from preaching that “abortion is infanticide” when there is no infanticide occurring in an abortion clinic. Both statements creat an environment for dangerous possibilities, and culpability should be applied the same way in both. We are governed by laws, not religious assertions. Aborting an unwanted pregnancy is not murder according to our laws. How you govern yourself within your religion is your right, but to demand the the rest of us be governed by your religion or other unsupported ideologies is idiotic at best and certainly not condoned by our secular constitution.

  • Sandra K Jenner

    I know hundreds of committed pro-lifers, and I’ve never met anyone like this man. I would ask the people who are slandering the entire pro-life movement by associating us with him: Would you say the same thing about Floyd Corkins, the gay man who attempted to kill the entire staff of the Family Research Council? Is he a typical gay man?

  • Max

    When slavery was legal, the abolitionists (most of whom were Christian) were accused of using inflammatory rhetoric. When you’re trying to do the right thing, people will use any tactic to try to shut you up.

    • Korou

      The difference being that abolitionists were willing to do something about it. They didn’t just “stand outside the plantation and pray”; they also helped slaves to escape illegally, worked to overturn laws and, when that didn’t work, started the Civil War.
      Not to mention that fact that slavery is self-evidently and provably evil, whereas abortion self-evidently and provably is not.