Robert Dear Planned Parenthood Attack: "This is legal pot's fault? Really?"

In the wake of Robert Dear's attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility, which killed three people and injured nine, we noted the response of one anti-pot crusader to reports that Dear was a marijuana enthusiast.

Specifically, Christine Tatum, a writer and wife of Dr. Christian Thurstone, among the most prominent Colorado voices decrying the alleged dangers of cannabis, insinuated on Twitter that "marijuana psychosis" could have played a role in the tragedy.

Now, the Denver Post is connecting marijuana to this horrific crime in a front-page story headlined "Planned Parenthood gunman was a 'marijuana newcomer,' say rural neighbors."

The piece, by journalist Kirk Mitchell, pivots on comments from residents of tiny Hartsel, Colorado, where Dear was living in a recreational vehicle after moving to the state from North Carolina in late 2014.

Local sources argue that Dear was part of a "green rush" to the area that followed legalization of limited recreational marijuana sales in 2012, with many of the arrivals living in "squalid, makeshift homes" so dangerous that they call for new zoning laws.

They also fear that "bad publicity stemming from the Dear case will damage the area's tourist interests and hurt land values."

Unsurprisingly, the piece has generated a slew of commentary, with many of the items questioning what their authors see as a highly dubious linkage of marijuana and murder.

One post reads: "You have GOT to be kidding me. This is legal pot's fault? Really? Not the ability for any lunatic to get their hands on as many weapons as they could possibly want? That couldn't possibly have anything to do with this, but legal pot does? These 'rural neighbors' are worried about their property values? They bring the price down every time they open their mouths.

Plenty of other readers were uncomfortable with the it's-marijuana's-fault interpretation, too.

Here's a sampling:
I was and still am against the legalization of marijuana. I have been around its use far too much in my life, and I believe that we as a society are poorer for its legalization, and that time will bear out my belief. But I also accept the fact that the majority of voters in my state have legalized it and the die is cast. It will be legal i most states in the next few years. I will cope and adapt. Having said that, I think there are many reasons why people have chosen to move to Colorado. Better environment, better weather, better recreational benefits, lifestyle, moderate politics and economic opportunities are among them. My point about the jackwad who shot up the PP facility and the others like him isn't that they think rationally. It's that they likely saw an opportunity for themselves that really doesn't exist, because they truly do not have the intellectual capacity, discipline, cognitive thought, etc. necessary to succeed anywhere. But that doesn't mean that they didn't delude themselves into thinking that legalized marijuana posed an opportunity for them. It provided an opportunity for some clear thinking, rational people to get rich, but not this loser. He didn't know that going in, though because he was a delusional loser. And there are plenty of them out there. They will come. They did in the 1800's, and they will now. But their migration will quell as more states legalize MJ.

Propaganda at it's best. I moved to Colorado in 1976 and could buy pounds of pot by making one phone call. My friend got stopped for a burned out tail light. As she was hiding the joint the cop told her to put it out, gave her a ticket for the burned out tail light and sent her on her way. This had nothing to do with legal pot! Colorado has been a mecca for pot users for years. Hello, as John Denver says "Colorado Rocky Mountain High."

I honestly don't believe it's either pot or guns to blame. Society let this evil psychopathy slip thru the cracks, when he should of been put away permently for the multiple violent acts he did over his disgusting life. Blaming guns on this is no different then blaming pot. Both did not cause this guy to go on a murderous rampage. He's a nut case, psychos like this find ways to murder, guns or no guns.

Once again that eeeee-vee-ill merrywanna has hypnotized a good person and turned him into a criminally insane criminal. There's no doubt that but for the existence of cannabis that the culprit in this case would have instead been singing in the church choir on Sundays, working as a full time volunteer at the soup kitchen feeding the hungry and helping diminutive, elderly women negotiate busy traffic intersections in his spare time. There's no doubt whatever that were it not for merrywanna that there would be no crime in our society! You want a story about people FORCED to move to Colorado for access to weed. My wife and I personally know of a women who moved here to treat her daughter for seizures using CBD oil, and thankfully it is working for her - but it ain't cheap. The women left a nice home out of state and came here at great expense to do this. She now lives in a crappy apartment in Colorado Springs in a not t0o safe neighborhood. She has no car and relies on the bus to get to work. But it's a price she is willing to pay for the sake of doing what ever it takes to help her kid. You want more UBCREDIBLE BULLSPIT regarding marijuana. Another poor woman had her child taken away by the state because she tried a known cure for her kid who happened to mention it in school. She is still not with her son and facing jail time for doing so. It's an older link but the story still sticks. Any one of us would also do whatever it takes to cure a sick child.... SHAME on the DP for their obvious extreme bias against marijuana. They make fools of themselves. They gloss over stories of incredible recoveries for thousands of people who no longer suffer thanks to marijuana. The proof is out there yet they clutch at straws to spew their vile opposition. So Mr. Kirk Mitchell, how far would you go to help YOUR kid??? SHAME ON AMERICA!
Granted, numerous readers focused less on marijuana than they did on other potential targets for blame, including religious zealotry and, in the words of one poster, the "murderous pigs at Planned Parenthood" — no surprise in a story as awful as this one.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts