Yesterday morning, most of us were probably expecting the biggest and most depressing news story to be one involving some sort of Black Friday shopping kerfuffle. But at 11:38 a.m., a lone suspect (that we know of, who has since been identified as Robert Lewis Dear) began shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, killing three people and wounding nine others. While details pertaining to the shooter's ideology and motive remain unclear, many are (very reasonably) speculating that this was yet another attack on Planned Parenthood in particular and women's reproductive health in general.
Very shortly after the initial call to police, media outlets began reporting the incident with what little information we had. The stand-off began shortly before noon and went on for approximately five hours before the suspect was taken into police custody. Many took to Twitter to voice their support for Planned Parenthood and the shooter's victims with the hashtag #StandWithPP, a hashtag, I should mention, that has necessarily been invoked an awful lot lately (more on that as we move forward). Within hours, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shared the statement released by Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains.
Earlier today, Bernie Sanders joined Clinton in her support, and included strong words for those who have politicized women's healthcare.
But what about the 14 Republican candidates still in the race? What have they talked about in the day since this tragedy? Surely they were full of sage pronouncements and outpourings of support... right? Well, almost half of them — Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum — haven't tweeted at all in the past few days. Total silence. But what about the other nine?
The Hole They're Trying To Dig Themselves Out Of
This is, of course, in reference to Trump's alleged wildly offensive impression of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski. As you can see, Trump really likes describing himself in superlatives. I get the impression that he's one of those guys who rails against the idea of "everyone gets a trophy," but only because he believes those Little League trophies rightfully belong to him. (I'm also highly dubious of his claim, given Trump's history of lying.)
If you asked yourself "Wait, who is Jim Gilmore? Oh! Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore? Is he running?" you're not alone. We're basically all saying that. Even The Washington Post described him as "the hermit candidate of 2015." Gilmore's lack of popular support disqualified him for any of the Republican debates, including the undercard debates with other lower-polling candidates like Lindsey Graham or Chris Christie. As such, he has called the debate process dishonest, saying "The people who get on stage get the poll numbers, and the people with the poll numbers get on stage." He tweets a lot, relative to many of the other candidates, but most about himself. And if you're tweet about something that, like, no one else is paying attention to, that's not going to gain you a lot of attention on Twitter. From a sheerly calculated, self-interested perspective, Gilmore would have done well to discuss the shootings at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.
Their Life Story
For a 30-second ad, you get a lot about Lindsey Graham, who is much more palatable when Jon Stewart is doing a hilarious Blanche DuBois-style impression of him. I feel like I just had a speed-dating meet with Graham, and, like speed-dating, it was really awkward and disjointed. "In a dangerous world," the ad warns, "experience counts." Well, Senator, it is a dangerous world, and here in the United States, mass shootings like the one we saw yesterday in Colorado Springs are on the rise. If you can tell me your life story in 30 seconds, surely you can spare 140 characters to give me a reaction to yet another act of gun violence.
Lots of F-Words
Food! Football! Freedom! Faith! France! It's like Huckabee lives on Sesame Street and the letter of the day was F! No word on "firearms" and "forcing healthcare facilities to close their doors."
In August, Huckabee supported the government of Paraguay denying an abortion to a 10-year-old girl who had been raped by her stepfather saying, "Let's not compound the tragedy by taking yet another life." He went on to say that "every life matters." No word from him on the three lives lost in Colorado Springs.
These dudes for real love football! I'm surprised the Republican debates haven't taken the form of a tailgate. Give it time...
Black Friday Shopping
This dude tweeted about his online store five friggen times on Friday. Five! Let it never be said that he in any way wishes to hamper the crass materialism of his beloved free market.
Yes, they're still on about this. (Nevermind that so-called Obamacare is saving lives by providing healthcare to an estimated 16.4 million people who had been uninsured. ) You'd think someone so against government involvement in healthcare would be delighted when institutions from the private sector step up to provide services to vulnerable populations, but Rubio has spoken against Planned Parenthood, insisting it pushes women into abortions.
Oh, and he also wants you to buy stuff from his online store
The Attack On Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs
Wow. Well, color me shocked. Now, I'm not going to fall over myself congrautlating him here. For one: it's a tweet (albeit a nice tweet), which takes very little effort (more than any of the other candidates have put into mentioning this shooting, but still). Next, it took almost 24 hours, and for someone who goes on about the sanctity of all life, I'd expect swifter action. Third, this incident touches upon at least two issues that are hotly debated in the current political theater: gun violence (especially mass shootings) and Planned Parenthood.
So, Final Tally:
Republican presidential nominees who actually mentioned Friday's Planned Parenthood shooting: 1
Republican presidential nominees who love football: At least 3
People injured in Friday's shooting in Colorado Springs: 9
People killed in Friday's shooting in Colorado Springs: 3
Images: Ty Wright/Getty Images