By Billy Ung & Kylie Cheng
While politicians argue over admitting refugees out of worry about terrorist attacks from outside the nation, incidents of terrorism already occur within the US. The San Bernardino and Colorado Springs shootings both occurred within two weeks; however, media portrays the two shootings differently. The Planned Parenthood shooting was seen as a less threatening shooting, perhaps because the shooter was not Muslim, while the San Bernardino shooting was seen as further evidence for Muslims being terrorists.
On Wed., Dec. 2, a married Muslim couple opened fire at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, husband and wife, dressed in “assault style clothing” and “armed with assault rifles and handguns,” killed 14 people and injured at least 17, according to The Wall Street Journal. The shooting took place before noon, and around 3pm police surrounded an SUV on East San Bernardino Ave. The two suspects were killed and an officer was wounded.
Five days earlier, on Nov. 27, a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo. killed three people and wounded nine, according to CNN. After a six-hour shootout, police arrested the suspect Robert Louis Dear, 57, who was formally charged last Wednesday. One police officer and two civilians were killed, while all Planned Parenthood staff members and patients were accounted for.
Mr. Farook and Ms. Malik were both radicalized. Just before the attack, Ms. Malik posted a Facebook message, pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of IS (Islamic State).
Investigators determined that the couple practiced shooting days before the attack. Furthermore, they found out that the couple had amassed an arsenal of weapons costing about $6500 at the time of the San Bernardino shootings, getting around California’s strict but complicated gun laws.
Mr. Dear, after his arrest, muttered anti-government and anti-abortion comments about “baby parts.” Although no motive has been announced, officials infer that he attacked Planned Parenthood with anti-abortion intent. Investigators who found propane tanks in the vicinity of his car suspect that he wanted to blow up the clinic.
While in court last Wednesday to be formally advised for a total of 179 charges against him, Mr. Dear admitted guilt and shouted that he was “a warrior for the babies,” according to USA Today. He also refused to be examined for mental illness. In the past, he was accused of domestic abuse and animal cruelty. His former wife called him deeply religious but conflicted, and indicated that he likely targeted Planned Parenthood because of abortion.
The shooting at San Bernardino furthers the misconception that all Muslims are terrorists. In response to the San Bernardino shooting, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump called for “complete shutdown” on Muslims trying to enter the US. Almost all headlines describe the San Bernardino shooting as an act of terrorism.
The attack on Planned Parenthood occurred while the organization faced responses to videos released by an anti-abortion group. The tapes, which Planned Parenthood disputes as heavily edited and distorted, showed the clinic selling body parts of aborted fetuses for profit. Debate about the organization’s morality ensued, and on Thurs., Dec. 3, the Senate passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. The Colorado Springs shooting, along with vandalism and violence directed at other clinics, has largely been glossed over in comparison to the San Bernardino shooting, even though officials such as Planned Parenthood chief experience officer Dawn Laguens has called it “domestic terrorism.”