Contrary to Republican claims, the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter was not a left wing activist. The shooter was a conservative and according to the data, extremist Republicans and conservatives are the real terror threat to the American people.
A New York Times profile described the Planned Parenthood shooter as living in a trailer with a black cross painted on one end. Robert L. Dear was seen by a neighbor handing out anti-Obama pamphlets. Dear was described in the profile as generally conservative, but not obsessed with politics.
In short, the Planned Parenthood shooter fit the profile of anti-government, extremist Republicans who represent the biggest threat to the American people. To be clear, the anti-government extremist Republican is different from the typical Fox News watching, Republican voting relative who speaks about Obamacare with disgust while happily collecting their Medicare.
According to Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer, data suggests that the homegrown extremist is a much bigger threat that ISIS or Al Qaeda:
Despite public anxiety about extremists inspired by Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, the number of violent plots by such individuals has remained very low. Since 9/11, an average of nine American Muslims per year have been involved in an average of six terrorism-related plots against targets in the United States. Most were disrupted, but the 20 plots that were carried out accounted for 50 fatalities over the past 13 and a half years.
In contrast, right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities, according to a study by Arie Perliger, a professor at the United States Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center. The toll has increased since the study was released in 2012.
As Republicans try to spread fear about immigrants and refugees, their hateful and inaccurate rhetoric is fuel for the right-wing domestic terrorist.
Instead of toning down their rhetoric, Republican presidential candidates like Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina blamed the left for the attack on Planned Parenthood. Republicans are trying to avoid the unintended consequences of their actions. The Republican Party doesn’t set out to create a terrorist like Robert Dear. They embolden these extremists through bogus scandals and reckless behavior.
The American people have more to fear immediately from the unhinged Republican extremist than they do that a group of international terrorists will strike again.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association