Over the next period of days, Americans are going to learn a lot about Robert Lewis Dear, the alleged shooter at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic. At the moment police aren’t saying a lot about Dear, but we know that as usual, the word “terrorist” has largely been set aside for the much more popular “mentally unstable” tag that gets applied to white male shooters.
According to Yahoo News, one of Dear’s neighbors says he was a loner who never talked about religion or abortion. But Yahoo also says that the house where Dear lived was decorated with a cross made from twigs. However, it’s not clear whether Dear placed that cross, or whether it was put on his property by someone else. At this point it’s best not to speculate about Dear or any potential motives, other than to observe that for some reason he chose to attack a Planned Parenthood clinic after months of dubious news stories in right-wing media about the organization.
What Americans need to hear more about is one of Dear’s victims: University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey. Swasey was a six-year veteran of the university police force who was, by all accounts, a devout Christian. He was a church elder at Hope Chapel, an evangelical church in Colorado Springs. The church’s website features several sermons delivered by Swasey. If there is any doubt that Hope Chapel is a conservative church, the page outlining the church’s doctrine should put that to rest.
CNN reports that when Swasey heard the call about shots being fired at the Planned Parenthood, he rushed to the scene to assist local officers who had been pinned down by the gunfire. Co-pastor Kurt Aichele said that this was typical of Swasey:
I have known him for about 10 years and watched him faithfully serve and place others before himself in nearly every situation.
Swasey moved to Colorado in the 1990s to train as an ice dancer at the Olympic Training Center. He and his former skating partner, Christine Fowler-Binder won the junior national ice dancing championship in 1992. She had this to say about him:
Garrett is, or was, the most selfless person I knew. Always there as kind of my confidante, my brother, he put up with me. I kind of was pushing him probably over the edge at times, and he always had the patience to calm me down, and you know we worked together like brother and sister would.
Church co-pastor Scott Dontanville told CNN,
He [Swasey] might not be in alignment with the abortion industry, but he’d be willing to go in and lay down his life for those people, and that’s just the testimony to me of the kind of man that he is. Not just courageous, but Christlike.
“Not just courageous, but Christlike.” In John 15:13, Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Garrett Swasey died helping his friends, and trying to help others, even though he may have believed-correctly or not-that what they were doing was wrong. Which, by all accounts from the Bible, is exactly what Jesus would have done.
Here is a report about Officer Garrett Swasey, via CNN:
Featured image via CNN/YouTube screen capture