The Planned Parenthood shooting has raised questions of whether abortion opponents’ rhetoric holds any blame. While people are free to criticize the practice, nonetheless it was not exactly constructive to selectively edit footage of a Planned Parenthood executive discussing the costs of transporting organs for research, and then claim they sell fetal body parts. Especially considering Robert Dear cited that smear specifically.
Understandably, critics of Planned Parenthood denounced the shooting, while nevertheless insisting that the entire pro-life movement cannot be discredited. That’s all well and good, but it got me thinking, What do they say in response to a shooting not influenced by their own cause? In particular, what did they think of the “Black Lives Matter” movement when Officers Liu and Ramos were killed?
Donald Trump, the man with seemingly limitless material for these columns, rushed to defend opponents of Planned Parenthood:
I think it’s terrible. I mean, terrible. It’s more of the same. And I think it’s a terrible thing. He’s a maniac…Well, I will tell you there is a tremendous group of people that think it’s terrible, all of the videos that they’ve seen with some of these people from Planned Parenthood talking about it like you’re selling parts to a car. I mean, there are a lot of people that are very unhappy about that.
So did Trump use the same argument to defend Al Sharpton and other police critics after the officers’ deaths? Of course not. He said Sharpton was guilty of murder, many times over: “He’s gotten away with a lot of murder…I just can’t believe he gets away with this murder.” Trump also handed some blame to Bill de Blasio
And Mike Huckabee on CNN also denounced the Planned Parenthood shooting while nonetheless defending its critics:
What he did is domestic terrorism, and what he did is absolutely abominable, especially to us in the pro-life movement, because there’s nothing about any of us that would condone or in any way look the other way on something like this.
Although I could not find any quotation from Huckabee explicitly blaming police critics for the Liu and Ramos murders, nonetheless Huckabee published an open statement on his Facebook page strongly implying it, while explicitly blaming Sharpton for riots:
My question for the “Reverend” Sharpton, who has been so outspoken on this issue, Will you be holding a candlelight march for these two officers? Were their murders racist?…It isn’t necessary for us to close stores or streets, nor to break windows, loot businesses, or turn over cars. We’ll leave those forms of public display to the Sharpton-inspired thugs…We hope that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who told his own son to be afraid of policemen, will tell his son to shed a tear for these two cops instead
(As a matter of fact, Sharpton did hold a vigil for the officers.)
Ben Carson, for his part, told CBS News he actually did believe strong verbal attacks on Planned Parenthood contributed to the shooting, saying, “There is no question that hateful rhetoric, no matter which side it comes from, right or left, is something that is detrimental to our society.” Presumably that would mean criticism of police falls under the same category. In fact in a FOX News interview he rebuked the idea that President Obama or Mayor de Blasio bore some responsibility for the officers’ deaths and said, “The blame game always exacerbates the situation.”
So Ben Carson gets a few points for being consistent.