Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood Shooting: Monday Update

[Content Note: This post includes descriptions of anti-agency rhetoric and violence, gun violence, and misogynistic framing. Linked material may not be safe.]

For background, please see posts from Friday, from Saturday, and from Sunday.

According to NBC News' report from this morning (CN: video autoplays at link) Robert Lewis Dear will be arraigned today. The Washington Post reports that his arraignment is set for 1:30 PM Mountain Time. The DA has up to ten days to file charges. Presumably that will include evidence from the crime scene that police are still investigating. Police have also investigated the recreational vehicle-type trailer that he was living in, deploying a bomb robot during the course of that investigation. Prosecutors may seek the death penalty. Joshua Tolini, a Colorado Springs attorney speaking to the Colorado Springs Gazette, noted that the number of victims, the death of a law enforcement officer, and the fact that Dear laid an ambush were factors that might play a role in prosecutors seeking capital punishment.

The City of Colorado Springs has a Crisis Center set up for those affected; you can read its official statement describing services available.

Slain police officer Garrett Swasey came to Colorado from Massachusetts originally because of his serious pursuit of figure skating. His childhood friend and sometime training partner, Olympian Nancy Kerrigan, paid tribute to Swasey after learning of his death.

Civilian victims Ke'Arre Stewart and Jennifer Markovsky both had military ties, according to a profile in the Military Times. Stewart was an army veteran who had served on active duty in Iraq and Markovsky had moved to Colorado Springs because her husband was stationed there for his military service.

It is thought by his surviving relatives that Stewart's military experience may have played a role in his reaction to being shot: he made his way back into the building and warned others about the gunman. I don't yet know how crucial his actions were to the survival of others, but even a few seconds warning in a situation like this can make a tremendous difference.

Amburh Butler, who is referred to by the Canadian Press as a friend and family spokesperson, has set up a GoFundMe Account for Stewart's family here, to assist at least in part with covering his funeral expenses and transporting his remains back to his native Texas. A YouFund Account for a college fund for the children of Officer Swasey is here. The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that another YouFund account will support Jennifer Markovsky's family, including her widower, Paul.

Some good news is that at least five wounded victims, including two police officers, have been released from hospital. Three law enforcement officers remain in Penrose Hospital and a continuing to receive treatment.

Vicki Cowart, spokesperson for the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, has vowed it will re-open its doors. They will have a lot of work to do; in addition to damage from gunfire, the building was rammed by a BearCat armored vehicle as part of police efforts to distract Dear and rescue his hostages. If you wish, you can donate directly to Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains here.

There is also less good news.

Apparently, some reporters think that pro-choice advocates are just now using the term "terror" to describe anti-agency violence. For anyone laboring under that illusion, allow me to introduce you to Shakesville's "anti-choice terrorism" tag. It goes back years, and not everything is even covered in that tag. I'm glad people are finally listening, but feminists have been talking about the inherent violence of the "pro-life" movement for a very, very long time. As Liss wrote back in 2011:
And, I know I'm just an exhaustingly tedious feminist hysteric and all, but I actually find the anti-choice position inherently violent, no matter how politely it is stated. If anyone else suggested that I should be forced to submit my body against my will to nine months of potential discomfort and pain, followed by an act that might include the skin and muscle between my vagina and anus being torn open, I don't think we'd mince words about whether they were using violent rhetoric. But because we can couch it in the bullshit terminology of "a pro-life position," that's supposed to be evidence of civility.
In other garbage news related to this tragedy, the Daily Mail (to which I will not link) has a headline claiming that Dear was once a "happily married father" and suggests his behavior only became problematic after he divorced in 2000. Happily married, I guess, except for the part where his then-wife called the police and made a DV report about him in 1997. Neat trick of blaming a woman for his decline, and yet another variation on the if-only-he-had-the-love-of-a-woman crap we have heard about other violent misogynist mass killers before. Why is it so hard to imagine that maybe part of his divorce was his ALREADY problematic behavior? And Dear reportedly lived with a woman in Colorado; he was not a "loner."

And I'm not going to cover the garbage responses from GOP candidates here, because Liss will cover that later, but I will note that, for all their distancing and claiming that of course they don't support anti-choice violence, here is Ted Cruz's campaign tweeting just days ago about what a swell guy Operation Rescue's Troy Newman is. You know, the same Troy Newman who argued that the murderer of an abortion provider should be allowed to claim "justifiable homicide." Ted Cruz, you are a terrible person.

Update #1: According to the Twitter account of USA Today reporter Trevor Hughes, the Mayor of Colorado Springs, John Suthers, said today that open carry laws have little effect on overall violence. He also urged respect for the rights of gun owners, and for the First Amendment right to free speech. And we definitely need better spying information-sharing on people with mental illness. Among the rights that the mayor did not apparently mention: women's right to their own bodily autonomy.

Update #2: A "suspicious person" may have made threats against survivors in a Colorado Springs hospital, which is on lockdown.

Update #3: Robert Lewis Dear has appeared before a judge, wearing what ABC news described as a "suicide prevention" garment. His defense attorney, Daniel King, is a public defender who also defended Aurora shooter James Holmes. Dear is being held ona first degree homicide charge. Further formal charges will come next week. There is also some possibility that federal charges might be laid:

Still, U.S. Attorney John Walsh said investigators have been in touch with lawyers from the Justice Department's Civil Rights and National Security divisions, suggesting officials could pursue federal charges in addition to state homicide ones. One possible avenue is the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which makes it a crime to injure or intimidate clinic patients and employees.

Reporter Lance Benzel Tweeted that DA Dan May and 2 other assistant DAs will prosecute; such large team is unusual in his experience.

Judge Stephen J. Sletta has sealed court documents for the case. Although this means that evidence gathered during the case is not officially available, CBS news is citing unnamed sources that say Dear brought "all the guns he owned" to the site, and that authorities are trying to determine if the guns were legally obtained or not.

ABC news is reporting that Dear made remarks about President Obama during his detention that were serious enough the Secret Service is now investigating Dear.

As ever, please keep comments safe with appropriate content notes, and please refrain from posting images in the thread.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus