The attack was carried out by a lone gunman; however, hostility toward Planned Parenthood is common in this city. The clinic recently moved to a new facility, equipped with safe rooms and an extensive security camera system, hoping it would provide more security for staff from potentially dangerous pro-life protesters.
Scary anti-abortion rhetoric is common in Colorado Springs. Last spring, after a Colorado woman’s unborn-baby was cut out of her womb with a knife in a horrific attack, state representative and Colorado Springs and local Christian fundamentalist TV host Gordon Klingenschmitt said the attack was a “curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb.”
From the Guardian:
Colorado Springs featured in the documentary film Jesus Camp, where evangelical Christian children were taught to engage in anti-abortion protests. Two of the film’s lead characters travelled to the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where they met church pastor Ted Haggard, a one-time leader of the National Association of Evangelicals who had weekly communications with president George W Bush. Haggard resigned from his position later that same year following revelations that he purchased methamphetamine and the services of a male prostitute.
The city’s pro-gun contingent flexed its muscles in 2014 with an unprecedented recall election, ousting state senator John Morse. The recall was primarily motivated by new gun control laws in Colorado – following the Aurora cinema shootings in Denver – which banned magazines holding more than 15 rounds, and demanded a universal background check for all gun purchases.
— lisa h-s (@lyfeofriley) November 28, 2015
As the Guardian piece states, three weeks before Friday’s Planned Parenthood shooting, a man was seen walking down the streets of Colorado Springs on Halloween morning carrying a rifle. A concerned citizen called the 911 Emergency Line, but was told by the operator:
“Well, it is an open carry state, so he can have a weapon with him or walking around with it.”
Shortly after the call the man shot and killed three people before being shot dead by police.
After the Halloween shooting, Colorado Springs resident Jessie Pocock organized a vigil with her fellow citizens. She thinks that the problem is a “wild west mentality” when it comes to guns in Colorado Springs. According to Pocock:
“It’s important that we can go to the grocery store and not be worried about someone randomly shooting us down on the streets, and right now that is not the case in Colorado Springs. You’re not safe on the streets here, and that is a problem.”
Featured image via Flickr