Colorado Springs, Colorado, is no stranger to controversy or acts of terror. The city is home to James Dobson's right-wing Focus on the Family as well as the mega-church founded by Ted Haggard, a man who fell from grace when it was discovered that he used the services of male prostitutes and did meth. It is also home to the United States Air Force Academy, a college long-noted for faculty members proselytizing to students about the "rightness" of fundamentalist Christianity.
Colorado Springs is also a cesspool of prostitution, bars, liquor stores, gun shops, and pawn shops set up to take the money of soldiers at nearby Ft. Carson. Those seeking to know more about the sleazy underbelly of Colorado Springs would do well to watch the PBS Frontline Documentary "The Wounded Platoon." It is an eye-opener on both the effects of too much war as well as trying to function in a warren of clashing sanctimony and sin like Colorado Springs.
Last January there was a bombing in Colorado Springs that drew national attention primarily because it took place near the city's NAACP headquarters. The bomber later denied that the NAACP was his target, saying instead that he was focused on the office of his accountant - an office that had been closed for over fifteen years. Regardless of the target, a bombing in a public place is a terroristic act, one with the intent of frightening, wounding, and killing people.
Yesterday there was another serious act of terrorism in Colorado Springs. This time a 57-year-old man by the name of Robert Lewis Dear stormed the Planned Parenthood clinic and barricaded himself inside for several hours. Mr. Dear, who reportedly was armed with multiple weapons, killed three people, including a police officer, and wounded nine others. He was later arrested without harm to himself.
The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic had been the scene of a large public protest in August.
All that is known of Mr. Dear so far is that he was formerly of North and South Carolina, and has an extensive arrest record for crimes such as driving violations, animal abuse, and being a peeping tom.
And he is a terrorist.
It will be interesting to watch as the story of Robert Dear unfolds, particularly as the light of public scrutiny begins shining on those individuals and organizations who influenced his delusional thought processes. Not every terrorist is armed.