As details emerge from the terrorist attack at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, we have determined that one of the victims of the Republican-incited violence was an Iraq War veteran and father of two, who died trying to save the lives of others. Former Specialist from the 4th Infantry Division Ke’Arre Stewart was outside the building when Robert Lewis Dear began shooting, but ran inside to protect the patients within.
“I believe that’s his military instinct, you know: Leave no soldier behind, leave no civilian behind, just leave no one behind. So he ran back inside, trying to help out others. I don’t know where he was at, as far as how many more breaths he had, but he knew. And before his time ran out I guess that was his main priority … to help and save other lives.My anger is not toward him, toward the gunmen … my anger is toward the laws that allow things like this to happen: the gun laws. When you allow people to carry firearms at their own will it makes a breeding ground for destruction and tragedy.”
This is the price we must pay for our recklessly lax gun laws. This is the price we pay when far-right conservatives demonize critical healthcare providers and incite their supporters to violence. This man risked his life for his country, survived the horrors of war, was a productive member of society and a family man – only to be gunned down in a health clinic by a religious terrorist inspired by the very people who sent Stewart to war in the first place.
If we really want to honor Mr. Stewart’s memory, we must enact some kind of meaningful gun reform legislation and put an end to these outrageous lies about Planned Parenthood that the right-wing continues to circulate. The blood of Ke’Arre Stewart is on the hands of Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, and all the other pro-life propagandists who are responsible for this vile slander.
You can help his family at their GoFundMe page.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.