On Friday afternoon, a gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs, killing three people, including a police officer and an Iraq war veteran, and shooting nine others, during an hours-long assault. The accused was taken into custody and is being held without bond.
There is, of course, no shortage of relevant angles surrounding the latest mass shooting, which came less than a month after an unrelated shooting spree in the same area. The role of the far-right campaign against the health care organization, the degree to which this constituted domestic terrorism, and how this fits into the broader "war on women" all matter a great deal.
But as an electoral matter, I was eager over the holiday weekend to see how presidential candidates would respond -- or in many instances, not respond -- to the deadly violence in Colorado. After all, it seems likely that if the shooter were a Muslim radical responsible for politically motivated violence on American soil, White House aspirants would likely have quite a bit to say.
And yet, as the Washington Postnoted over the weekend, some Republican candidates chose to remain silent following Friday's slayings.
The Republican presidential field, which for much of the year has been full-throated in its denunciations of Planned Parenthood, has been nearly silent about the shooting in Colorado at one of its facilities that left a police officer and two others dead.
In contrast, all three of the leading Democratic contenders quickly issued statements in support of Planned Parenthood.
Indeed, the partisan distinction was striking. Fairly quickly after Friday's crisis was resolved, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley each issued statements condemning the attack and standing in support of the gunman's targets. By Saturday morning, President Obama and the Democratic National Committee had issued statements of their own.
The sizable GOP field, meanwhile, chose a slower, quieter path:
First up from the God Machine this week is a look at some unsettling developments in Irving, Texas, where an anti-Muslim social-media post is raising serious concerns about the intentions of local right-wing activists.
Irving, a Dallas suburb, recently made international headlines when a local Muslim high-school student was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school. Now, however, an even more striking incident has put the community back in the spotlight. TPM noted this week:
The leader of a group of armed anti-Muslim protesters in Texas posted the addresses of dozens of local Muslims and "Muslim sympathizer(s)" to Facebook on Tuesday.
David Wright III was behind an armed protest Saturday outside of a mosque in Irving, Texas by a group calling itself the "Bureau on American Islamic Relations," according to The Dallas Morning News.
Wright prefaced the list of addresses, which appeared to be copied over from a city document, by writing that those named "stood up for Sharia tribunals."
To the extent that reality matters, none of the listed individuals "stood up for Sharia tribunals."
It wasn’t altogether clear what the unofficial "Bureau on American Islamic Relations" and its allies intended to do with the list, though a dozen or so members of the group held an armed protest against the “Islamization of America” outside the Irving Islamic Center last weekend.
The Dallas Morning Newsreported on Thanksgiving, however, that the list of “Muslim names and addresses has been removed from the armed group’s page, and BAIR spokesman David Wright’s personal Facebook page is either down or blocked.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings talked to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes this week and denounced the "Bureau on American Islamic Relations" effort. “We have got a great Muslim community, have met with many imams and really the whole faith-based community is lifting our Muslim brothers and sisters up in this time,” the mayor said. Rawlings added that the right-wing activists are “out there in the fringe” and just “a blip on the screen.”
A counter-rally in support of respect and diversity is scheduled for today.
Happy Thanksgiving from MaddowBlog. We're grateful for your support and hope you enjoy the holiday.
In terms of the schedule, we're off today and tomorrow, though I'll be around in the event there's important breaking news. For "This Week in God" readers, note that I fully intend to have a new installment on Saturday morning.
Rachel Maddow reports on the how four Republican candidates will be given free ad time on some NBC networks to make up for the time Donald Trump spent on the air recently as the host of Saturday Night Live. watch
Rachel Maddow reveals that the annual tradition of a U.S. president pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey is surprisingly recent and began with President Ronald Reagan trying to make a joke to avoid a tough question from the press about issuing pardons in the Iran-Contra scandal. watch
Jamie Kalven, the journalist who uncovered Laquan McDonald's autopsy report, talks with Rachel Maddow about how the official narrative of the police shooting was so different from the facts shown on video for so long. watch
Joy Reid, MSNBC national correspondent, talks with Rachel Maddow about the unsavory relationships Ted Cruz is forming with religious extremists in an effort to shore up support from religious right voters. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on Ted Cruz, Republican presidential candidate, avoiding directly addressing his association with religious extremists who cited the Bible as justifying executing homosexuals and abortion doctors. watch
* Keeping a level head: "President Obama tried to reassure nervous Americans on Wednesday that the nation’s security services were ready for anything terrorists might throw at them. Speaking on the eve of Thanksgiving, Obama said law enforcement officials have received no credible reports of 'a plot on the homeland' like the horrific Nov. 13 massacre in Paris."
* Turkey's version of events is under scrutiny: "Russia's foreign minister called the shooting down of one of its warplanes a planned provocation Wednesday but said Moscow was not going to declare war over the incident. Sergey Lavrov said Russia has 'serious doubts' that Turkey's downing of the plane was 'an unplanned act.'"
* Waiting for the signing statement in response to a flawed bill: "President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a $607 billion defense policy bill despite his opposition to restrictions in the legislation that ban him from moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States and making good on a long unfulfilled campaign promise."
* Related news: "Fourteen peace activists from across the United States will begin a protest vigil and fast along the perimeter fence of the US military detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on Wednesday in an attempt to draw attention to what they consider to be ongoing human rights abuses at the prison."
* Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, a "white 14-year veteran of Chicago’s police force, has been accused of misconduct 17 times before, according to data from the University of Chicago and the journalism non-profit Invisible Institute."
* Better understanding a tragedy: "A U.S. warplane attacked a medical charity's hospital in Afghanistan last month after its crew mistook it for a nearby government compound taken over by the Taliban in a 'tragic mistake,' a U.S. official said Wednesday."