I'm not going to single out the right's recent anti-Planned Parenthood rhetoric as the sole reason for Robert Dear's shooting spree. We're learning from The New York Times and other sources that -- as we regularly say when we're talking about jihadist terrorists -- Dear wasradicalized years ago:
A number of people who knew Mr. Dear said he was a staunch abortion opponent, though another ex-wife, Pamela Ross, said that he did not obsess on the subject. After his arrest, Mr. Dear said “no more baby parts” to investigators, a law enforcement official said.
One person who spoke with him extensively about his religious views said Mr. Dear, who is 57, had praised people who attacked abortion providers, saying they were doing “God’s work.” In 2009, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concerns for the privacy of the family, Mr. Dear described as “heroes” members of the Army of God, a loosely organized group of anti-abortion extremists that has claimed responsibility for a number of killings and bombings.
Dear "did not obsess on the subject"? That wouldn't matter if he were a lone wolf who'd killed people in the name of ISIS or Al Qaeda. The fact that he'd ever spoken favorably about a violent radical group would have led a lot of people to say, "When are the so-called peaceful Muslims going to start dealing with this kind of thing in their own communities?"
So I'm asking the same thing: When are heartland white people going to start intervening to stop these radicals before they can kill?
Dear praised the Army of God in 2009 -- the year abortion doctorGeorge Tiller was murdered by Scott Roeder, who's been identified as an Army of God member, and who is described to this day as an "American hero" on the Army of God website. The group unabashedly advocates violence in the fight against abortion.
So people in the community knew Dear was pro-terrorism. And it was known that he had a propensity for rage and violence:
The man she had married professed to be deeply religious. But after more than seven years with Robert L. Dear Jr., Barbara Micheau had come to see life with him as a kind of hell on earth.↓ Story continues below ↓
By January 1993, she had had enough. In a sworn affidavit as part of her divorce case, Ms. Micheau described Mr. Dear as a serial philanderer and a problem gambler, a man who kicked her, beat her head against the floor.....
In May of , according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Mr. Dear was arrested and convicted in Charleston for the unlawful carrying of a “long blade knife” and the illegal possession of a loaded gun.
... Records obtained from the North Charleston Police Department show that in November of , Mr. Dear was arrested as a suspect in a rape case. But the state Law Enforcement Division, which offers criminal records checks to the public, has no record of Mr. Dear being convicted of such a crime, meaning it is likely that the case was dismissed.
According to the police incident report, the woman told the police that a man named Robert approached her at her job at a Sears store in a mall and asked her out on a date. She refused. The man proceeded to call her two to three times a day, she said, “saying he wanted to see her,” according to the report.
On the afternoon of Nov. 29, 1992, the woman said, the man turned up at the front door of her apartment, put a knife to her throat, forced her inside and sexually assaulted her....
This is another problem: Officials don't connect the dots. Dear's ex-wife accused him of abuse, but the violence was never treated as a criminal act. He was charged with rape, but we're told by the Times that the lone witness refused to testify, and prosecutors urged the woman and her husband to drop the case. Dear has also been charged with animal cruelty and being a peeping Tom, but those charges also didn't stick.
None of this put guns out of reach for him.
We chide Europeans for letting people with jihadist sympathies and a series of run-ins with the law plot new actions seemingly at will -- for instance, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the recent Paris attacks:
Exploiting Europe’s passport-free zone and patchy intelligence sharing, Mr. Abaaoud and his team moved not just across the Continent, but also to Syria and back. They did so despite being questioned at airports, flagged by security services or pulled over during routine traffic stops.
“Abaaoud was in the database of every single European country, but he returned to Europe like he was going on a vacation to Club Med,” said the mother of an 18-year-old Belgian jihadist who died earlier this year after joining the same Islamic State brigade to which several of the Paris plotters belonged.
But future mass murderers whose rage is an open secret to U.S. authorities cross state borders, obtain weapons, and hatch plots at will, too. Why doesn't the community or the government stop them? You tell me.
Crossposted from No More Mister Nice Blog