Just before noon on November 27, 2015 — a gray, wet, and snowy day in Colorado Springs — the tragic shooting assault on the clients and staff of a Planned Parenthood clinic, the subsequent shoot out and standoff with first responders, and the eventual arrest of a suspect in the shooting forced a community to directly confront the manifest threat of ideology-inspired violence against abortion providers, and to begin the difficult task of healing for victims and the community.
In November’s edition, Cosmopolitan magazine has published a story by Jim Rendon which tracks with harrowing detail the events that transpired outside in the parking lot and inside the clinic that day. The first-person accounts from those involved track the trauma they experienced, as well as documenting their efforts to heal physical and psychological wounds.
The piece begins:
Sitting on the couch in the living room of her Colorado home, a woman we’ll call Karen leafs through a small notebook as she gathers her thoughts. Her legs are curled up around her — her feet bare, toenails painted blue. She pauses on one page. At the top, she’s written the letters PTSD in all caps. The letters have been traced over and over again in ballpoint pen, leaving thick, dark creases in the paper. At the bottom is a doodle of flowers growing upward.
For most of the time that she and her husband have lived in their 100-year-old Craftsman house in a small mountain town, she never locked the front door. She would sometimes even leave it wide open when she was home. “I was always more afraid of a bear coming into the house than a human,” she jokes.
But that has changed. A reporter from the New York Times once knocked on her door, and she was terrified. If he can find me, anyone can, she thought. We should get more locks.
The Planned Parenthood health provider professionals and support staff at the clinic are identified with pseudonyms in Rendon’s story, given the on-going threats of violence and harassment they continue to face from anti-abortion extremists.
Read the entire piece by Jim Rendon in November’s Cosmopolitan here.