On Black Friday, I watched on Twitter as a shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs unfolded real-time, and while I had to leave to go to my taiji class, I knew several things immediately. I knew that the shooter was overwhelmingly likely a man, most likely a white man, that he had mental issues, that he was probably Christian, and that he was rabidly anti-abortion. I also guessed that he probably watched Fox ‘News’ on a daily basis. It’s not because I’m a brilliant profiler, but because this is who commits the majority of mass shootings in America, neatly cross-sectioned with those who are most ardently anti-abortion. In other words, it’s not fucking rocket science. I also predicted that the shooter would be called a loner and that media would not call it terrorism. I tweeted my thoughts on the subject, and then I had to go to taiji–which I sorely needed. The last thing I saw before I left was that the shooter was shouting something about ‘baby parts’ as he shot–which I’ll get into later.
After I returned home from taiji, I checked the news again, and I was right. The shooter was white, male, supposedly Christian, and rabidly anti-abortion. Later, the NYT wrote that acquaintances described him as “a gentle loner who occasionally unleashed violent acts toward neighbors and women he knew.” There was an outcry on social media at the inherent awfulness of that wording, and they quickly took out the word ‘gentle’ from the sentence. From that same Salon link, the NYT later changed the sentence to read that he was an “itinerant loner who left behind a trail of disputes and occasionally violent acts toward neighbors and women he knew”, but the bias to describe white shooters as loners (and in this absurd case, gentle loners who are prone to violence!) in the mainstream media (MSM) is so strong, I was able to call it before it even happened.
My disgust with the refusal to call it terrorism grew as I continued to read reports on the shooting. Let me back up a step. All through the first day, the media and public officials were cautioning people not to jump to conclusions as to the motive of the shooter. What the fuck? It’s clear what the motive was–the man shouted it as he was shooting. “Baby parts” for those fortunate enough not to be in the know, was a key phrase used in conjunction to heavily-edited videos that an anti-abortion group illicitly shot at Planned Parenthood. In it, they appear to be discussing the bartering of fetal tissue with a PP doctor, which somehow morphed into the selling of baby parts in the mind of rabid anti-abortionists. These videos have been debunked, but it matters not in the mind of anti-abortionists. They are not going to let facts change their minds, damn it.