Robert Lewis Dear, the suspect in Friday’s Planned Parenthood shooting, was a rage-filled, sporadically employed philanderer and drifter who believed that the end of the world was nigh. And as long as he believed in God, he trusted he had a get-out-of-Hell-free card, no matter what violence he advocated or inflicted upon the people in his life, according to an exhaustive, harrowing report published in The New York Times Tuesday.
Among the kernels uncovered from Dear’s sparsely documented life is a sworn affidavit from his second of three wives, given during their 1993 divorce, in which she said of Dear: “As long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases. He is obsessed with the world coming to an end.”
The Times reports:
[I]n court documents and interviews with people who knew Mr. Dear well, a picture emerges of an angry and occasionally violent man who seemed deeply disturbed and deeply contradictory: He was a man of religious conviction who sinned openly, a man who craved both extreme solitude and near-constant female company, a man who successfully wooed women but, some of them say, also abused them. He frequented marijuana websites, then argued with other posters, often through heated religious screeds.
“Turn to JESUS or burn in hell,” he wrote on one site on Oct. 7, 2005. “WAKE UP SINNERS U CANT SAVE YOURSELF U WILL DIE AN WORMS SHALL EAT YOUR FLESH, NOW YOUR SOUL IS GOING SOMEWHERE.”
In explicating Dear’s extreme evangelical Christian views and impassioned anti-abortion comments (referring to violence against abortion providers as “God’s work”), the article confounds recent right-wing attempts to obfuscate his motives. Although Dear was reported to have said “No more baby parts,” echoing comments made by conservatives in Congress and on the campaign trail, Republicans were quick to put distance between their rhetoric and the shooter’s actions.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) even went so far as to suggest that Dear was a “transgendered [sic] leftist activist,” because, Cruz asserted, he had been registered to vote as a woman (a clerical error that Dear had sought to correct, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette).