In the wake of yet another tragic mass shooting, Sen. Bernie Sanders released a controversial statement on Friday warning of the dire consequences caused by bitter religious rhetoric. Although police have not revealed a motive behind the recent Planned Parenthood attack, the mayor of Colorado Springs hinted at the shooting’s location as a possible motive.
Just before noon on Friday, Robert Lewis Dear, 57, arrived at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic and opened fire. Three people, including a police officer, were killed during the shootout. Nine others, including five officers, were injured in the attack.
After a five-hour standoff with police, Dear surrendered and was placed in custody. Although law enforcement is not prepared to publicly discuss a possible motive for the shooting, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers stated that people are able to make “inferences from where it took place.”
Since September, at least three Planned Parenthood facilities have been vandalized after an anti-abortion group released several heavily edited videos accusing the organization of callously selling fetal organs for profit. Instead of supporting Planned Parenthood’s preventative health care, including HIV, cancer, and pregnancy screenings, several GOP presidential candidates launched attacks on the organization based solely on their religious beliefs. During the Republican debate in September, Carly Fiorina described a disturbing Planned Parenthood video that fact-checkers later discovered does not exist.
“While we still do not know the shooter’s motive, what is clear is that Planned Parenthood has been the subject of vicious and unsubstantiated statements attacking an organization that provides critical health care for millions of Americans,” Sanders issued a statement on Saturday. “I strongly support Planned Parenthood and the work it is doing and hope people realize that bitter rhetoric can have unintended consequences.”
Failing to realize that although their inflammatory rhetoric is useful in garnering votes from the religious right, these presidential candidates are also inadvertently inducing psychopaths to commit mass murder motivated by a literal reading of the scriptures. Between 1993 and 2009, violence directed towards abortion providers resulted in the deaths of at least eight people, including four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort. Besides the thousands of incidents including trespassing and vandalism, there have also been hundreds of death threats, arson reports, assaults, and attempted bombings.
With the nation’s attention focused on the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, our politicians failed to recognize the growing number of homicidal religious fanatics living within our own borders. And seemingly unbeknownst to our potential future leaders, most of these deranged maniacs do not pray to Allah.