Ever since it came out that Robert Dear, the Planned Parenthood shooter, was referring to “baby parts” during his arrest and in court, anti-choice activists have done their level best to distance Dear from their movement, saying all manner of crazy things in order to keep their crusade as clear and pure as possible. Stuart Shepard of CitizenLink, which is the political arm of right-wing group Focus on the Family, has made possibly the craziest claim about this yet.
Shepard went on The Meeting House, which is a Christian radio show, to make the claim that Dear was probably high on hallucinogens when he shot up Planned Parenthood. Shepard said:
If you trace his path backwards from where he ended up at Planned Parenthood to that grocery store where the first person was shot and go back another half mile, you know what they sell there? It’s a couple of marijuana shops.
I don’t know the facts of this case, but I’m sure law enforcement is looking into this, we’ve had multiple instances of people consuming what are called marijuana edibles … I’d just be curious to know if he stopped by one of those. We’ve had a number of folks who have eaten these things and then had psychotic episodes.
He went on to say that this is what happens when you legalize marijuana, so his case is two-fold: First, that the videos that smeared Planned Parenthood and the anti-choice movement itself had nothing to do with Dear’s behavior, and second, that this is why we need marijuana to remain outlawed.
We should probably outlaw alcohol again too, since people get stupid and drive while drunk, say horrible things and hurt other people. Prohibition worked out so well for alcohol and it’s clearly working out very well for drugs, is it not? This is the logic the Christian Right is using to justify the shootings in Colorado.
The interview appeared on the radio show last Friday; however, Dear appeared in court nine days ago and proclaimed himself a “warrior for the babies.” Either Shepard didn’t know that, or he thinks Dear is still riding a psychotic high. Either way, Shepard is looking more and more like he’s the one who’s off his rocker.
Someone else who’s trying to shift the blame for the Planned Parenthood shooting is the president of Priests for Life, Frank Pavone. He said that it’s really pro-choicers who are responsible, because they’re “poisoning the moral climate of the country.” When the moral climate of the country includes subjugating women and taking away their autonomy, then it’s not really a “moral” climate.
Pushing a nutty conspiracy theory isn’t going to help the situation. It’s just going to make it worse, but this is what we can expect from people who know, at some level, that their lies and rhetoric are dangerous. They want to keep pushing their agenda without push-back from people who get it, so they’ll say the nuts are just the nuts, and have nothing to do with the real world.