Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood Shooting: Tuesday Update

[Content Note: Anti-choice terrorism; abuse; description of rape. Linked material may not be safe.]

Aphra is otherwise occupied this morning, so I'm taking over her beat, at her request. For background, please see her posts from Friday, from Saturday, from Sunday, and from Monday.

Yesterday, as Aphra noted in her last update, Robert Dear was arraigned and is being held on a first degree homicide charge, with additional charges expected next week.

The coverage of the man, since the earliest moments when his name was released, has been troubling. Despite the fact that he made it clear what his motive was, by muttering about "baby parts," the media has played the most appalling game of Occam's Big Paisley Tie ever, treating his motive like a fucking mystery.

Early reports on who Robert Dear is looked more like dating profiles than they did profiles of a domestic terrorist. The New York Times reported that acquaintances described him as "a gentle itinerant loner who occasionally unleashed violent acts toward neighbors and women he knew."

A white man who kills three people, including a police officer, and injures a dozen more, including three more police officers, gets taken into custody alive. Unlike, say, a 12-year-old black boy with a toy gun. And instead of being described as a "thug" or a "demon," he is described, incredibly, as a gentle loner who only occasionally hurt people.

Soon we learned that Dear had been reported for at least one incident of domestic violence, and that he was known to abuse animals. Less and less "gentle," it seemed.

Dear was also married three times, and his second wife has described him as someone who "erupts into fury in a matter of seconds," saying she "lived in fear and dread of his emotional and physical abuse."

Further, it has now emerged that Dear was "charged with rape in South Carolina more than 20 years ago." After harassing and stalking a married woman who was not interested in his advances, he went to her house and then beat and sexually assaulted her at knifepoint.

Not so much a "gentle loner," then.

Over and over, men who commit very public acts of misogynist violence are described, often by male neighbors who had little interaction with them, as "gentle" or "quiet" or some variation thereof. Responsible media would not race to report these descriptions. Instead, they would know by now that the real portrait of a man who commits misogynist violence can only be drawn by the women with whom they had intimate relationships—and/or the women they have previously assaulted.

Of course, that requires the media to acknowledge that acts of misogynist violence are, in fact, acts of misogynist violence in the first place.

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In other news, Paul Markovsky, the widower of Jennifer Markovsky, who was one of Dear's victims, has asked for privacy "as we try to begin the grief and healing process." Something to consider if you see further media reports on Markovsky being shared.

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