Planned Parenthood shooter declared 'no more baby parts'

GlobalPost
Robert Lewis Dear, 57, from North Carolina.
TWITTER/@CSPDPIO

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Need to know:

"No more baby parts." This was the phrase Robert Lewis Dear reportedly chose to utter as he gave himself over to police after shooting up a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs on Friday. Three people died in the attack — including a police officer — nine more were injured.

Dear's chosen words pretty clearly refer to the now widely discredited undercover videos released by an anti-abortion group that claimed to show how Planned Parenthood profited from selling fetal organs. But there is still some debate over whether his brutal actions technically constitute terrorism.

In order for the attack to be considered terrorism it must have been motivated by an ideological belief. Now, in addition to declaring "no more baby parts," the 57-year-old white American from North Carolina told officials he holds anti-abortion and anti-government views. But that doesn't necessarily mean it was those views that motivated his actions.

The mayor of Colorado Springs said it "certainly appears" to be the case, and the Justice Department is reportedly building a domestic terrorism case against Dear. Planned Parenthood initially called the attack "domestic terrorism" — but replaced those words shortly thereafter with the phrase "acts of violence." 

The picture that is emerging of Dear is a spotty one. He was a loner who lived in the woods, sold art prints to make money and distributed anti-Obama pamphlets to his neighbors. He had more than one brush with the law for a variety of charges including animal cruelty and peeping on his neighbors.

Even if Dear's brutal acts do not turn out to constitute terrorism, we know that white Americans pose the biggest terror threat in the US.

The New America Foundation, a Washington-based research organization, did a review of “terror” attacks on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001, and found that almost twice as many people have died in attacks by right-wing groups in America than have died in attacks by Muslim extremists. Scary.

Still, some are focused less on the terrorism angle, and more on the attack as the latest in a trend of anti-abortion violence. This year alone, according to Vice, anti-abortion activists have allegedly set on fire four Planned Parenthood clinics in Washington, Illinois, Louisiana and California

Whatever motivated Dear, his acts would not have been possible without a fire arm. That's the angle Obama is riding. "Enough is enough," said the US president.

Dear is being held without bail in a Colorado Springs jail. He is due to appear in court on Monday.

Want to know: 

On the upside, global leaders may finally be taking climate change seriously.

More than 40,000 delegates from 195 countries descend on Paris tomorrow for the UN climate summit aimed at finalizing a historic deal. Among those gathering are leaders from the US, China and India, the three countries with the largest carbon footprints. Everyone is hoping that in contrast to the Copenhagen summit of 2009, this time the ink will meet the paper.

There is reason to be optimistic. As GlobalPost's Simeon Tegel reports, the politics of climate change have changed — thanks in large part to a mounting body of research showing that global warming is real and caused by humans, and, of course, the worrying flow of climate-related news. Just in the last month, Mexico experienced the Western Hemisphere’s strongest-ever hurricane, and Yemen experienced an almost unprecedented cyclone in the Gulf of Aden.

The US and China have forged an unlikely climate alliance, and the G7 group of rich nations has pledged to rid their economies of all fossil fuels by the end of the century. Meanwhile, two of the leaders most opposed to acting on climate change, Canada’s Stephen Harper and Australia’s Tony Abbott, have both been replaced by politicians with very different stances.

Of course there is much left to be worked out and many points of contention remain. But the main objective in Paris — getting countries to agree to reduce emissions so that average global temperatures rise no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels — may not only be realistic, it could also help prevent truly catastrophic impacts, like much of Florida falling into the Atlantic.

No matter how you feel about Florida, that would be bad news.

Strange but true:

And what do the pope's shoes have to do with climate change?

In addition to the site of the climate summit, Paris was supposed to be the hub of protests in the lead up to the historic meeting. But that was before extremist attacks killed 130 people in the French capital a few weeks ago. French officials banned large demonstrations after that.

So, instead of marching, many activists left thousands of pairs of shoes on Place de la Republique square. Ban Ki-Moon left a pair of sneaks, and Pope Francis sent some shoes to be placed on his behalf.

Tens of thousands of people worldwide are holding their own protests on the eve of the summit in cities as farflung as Melbourne and Mexico City.

Demonstrators in Paris did manage to pull off a 1.2-mile human chain to honor those killed on Nov. 13. But then, hours later, about 100 protesting anti-capitalist militants turned violent and clashed with Paris police. They have been detained.