In the wake of shootings in Colorado Springs at a Planned Parenthood clinic, Democratic politicians and progressive media outlets have yet again begun warning of the dangers of “heated political rhetoric,” which they have all but settled on as the motive for a lone gunman’s opening fire on. In an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper lambasted talk-radio hosts and bloggers for inspiring a shooter that we still in fact know very little about:
I think that — our community, right? — the United States of America ought to begin a discussion. How do you begin to tone back the inflammatory rhetoric that in some ways might be good for I don’t know, selling products in advertisements or whatever, but in some way it is inflaming people to the point where they can’t stand it and go out and they lose connection with reality in some way and commit these acts of unthinkable violence.
What has materialized in the aftermath of the Colorado Springs shooting is the continuation of a troubling trend among those on the political left in this country. Immediately following the first reports of a mass shooting, and with very little in the way of known details, they are quick to lay blame on the speech of their political and ideological opponents.
There are unofficial reports from unnamed law-enforcement officials that upon capture, the assailant, Robert Lewis Dear, sloganeered “No more baby parts.” Without further confirmation or corroboration, this report has fueled much of the media speculation about Dear’s motives. Indeed, El Paso County Sherriff’s officials had to reiterate in a tweet that “Unofficial motive/details on #CentennialBlshooting may impact investigation/prosecution @CSPDPIO @EPCSheriff,” reminding our overly eager media not to take early and unconfirmed reports as definitive. All this isn’t to say that shooter Robert Lewis Dear did or did not speak those words, but a narrative buttressed only by an unofficial, anonymous source from the same media behind the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” lie should be greeted with the utmost skepticism.
A BuzzFeed reporter’s tweet read: “Dear’s neighbor tells @sheeraf the Col. Springs suspect once gave him anti-Obama pamphlets.” Dear’s more troubling history of alleged domestic violence and animal cruelty was evidently considered less newsworthy.
On the heels of the shootings in Colorado Springs, the official Planned Parenthood Twitter account tweeted, “To all of the trolls who spew hatred and lob attacks at us, PP family, or supporters online, you are a part of the problem.” In doing so, PP seemed to assume without a shred of evidence that a loner from the hills of South Carolina checked social media daily, despite the fact that no Twitter or Facebook account has of yet been associated with him.
Bernie Sanders released a statement shortly after the shooting denouncing the unintended consequences of “bitter rhetoric,” with no words of sympathy for the victims themselves. Funny, doesn’t Sanders himself admit his campaign is built on the premise of riling up millions of people with heated rhetoric to cause a political revolution?
But this attempt to place blame squarely on the speech of political opponents didn’t begin and doesn’t end with Planned Parenthood.
#share#When armed attackers stormed the U.S. embassy in Benghazi with rocket launchers and mortars, killing four Americans, we were told as a country by our president and by then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton that an obscure, tasteless video on YouTube was to blame. The filmmaker was residing in California and was famously hauled away in the middle of night for reportedly unrelated legal violations.
Just the other week, John Kerry excused the Islamist terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo by tip-toeing around a rationale for being distraught at the satirical magazine’s Mohammed illustrations:
There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong.
When a mentally ill Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a Phoenix grocery-store parking lot, killing six and wounding then-representative Gabrielle Giffords, media attention turned squarely on Sarah Palin and a graphic she had used to illustrate an electoral strategy, even though no evidence was found that Loughner was involved in any tea-party or NRA movement.
Or consider the madness on campus of late. In the weeks preceding this incident, we’ve witnessed student protest groups demand restrictions on media access and free speech.
And what of the curious case of Family Research Council shooter Floyd Lee Corkins, who chose his target based on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s listing it as a “hate” group for its support of traditional marriage and who, according to his own testimony, planned to “smear Chick-fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces”?
Corkins’s political motives were demonstrably clear, almost cartoonishly so, as the investigation unfolded. And yet the calls from the left to tone down heated anti-Christian rhetoric in the wake of the Family Research Council shooting were few at best.
This may all be political posturing to score points wherever they can, but if so many on the left really believe rhetoric is the motivating factor behind these types of incidents, then what is their solution to stopping it?
All roads lead to only one frightening answer, which is why, in the face of the Left’s response to horrific incidents they find politically advantageous, we must continue to speak up and speak out.