Thursday, June 15, 2017

Violence and Opportunism from the Left

On June 14th, a gunman opened fire on a group of Republican congressmen practicing for the annual baseball game with the Democrats. Initial reports indicate that the shooter was a Bernie Sanders supporter and had verified that it was Republicans on the field before opening fire. Further reports say that while he was from Illinois, he'd been living in Alexandria in his van since March.

I'm going to speculate a bit about his motives. The shooter's social media groups included one called "Eliminate Republicans" and he seems to have taken this seriously. It's possible that he moved to Alexandria specifically to kill President Trump and settled for shooting at congressmen after being unable to get near enough to harm the President. But, as I said, that's speculation.

What we know for sure is that this was an act of violence against the Republicans. When Gabby Giffords was shot six years ago, the Right was immediately blamed for including coded messages that their agents would understand. The Left backed off of this a bit after it came out that the Giffords shooter was an incoherent leftist who was obsessed with language purity. Nevertheless, I still see references to that shooting as Republican-inspired.

There have been no coded messages since the election of President Trump. The Left has been very straightforward with calls for violence. These range from images of Trump being assassinated (Snoop Dog killing Trump in a video, Kathy Griffin holding Trump's bloody head, Shakespeare in the Park killing Trump nightly as Julius Caesar) to memes saying that "it's OK to punch a fascist".

Once you've decided that an act of violence is proper, it can easily escalate from punching fascists to shooting Republicans.

The Left needs to take a deep breath, calm down, and stop obsessing over President Trump. They also need to start condemning the violence coming from within their side. This includes a lot of campus protests and the black-clad antifas. And they need to remember that unprovoked violence is never appropriate no matter how distasteful you find someone's views.

So far this is not happening. I've seen very few posts on social media calling for less rancor. Instead I've seen people suggest that the congressmen who were shot had it coming for opposing gun control or simply that the Republican Whip who was hurt the most deserved it for being a poor human being. This only makes things worse. It excuses the shooting.

Trying to tie this to gun control is inexcusable. While it is still early, nothing has surfaced to show that the shooter would have been failed a background check. Yes, he did have a semi-automatic rifle but kiives kill more people than all types of rifles. The gunman also had a handgun.

But this is the worst type of opportunism. The important thing her is the will to commit violence. Millions of people own rifles but only a handful are used to kill or injure. Simply having a gun does not make you want to kill members of a political party. It's the toxic rhetoric that does that.

Recent attacks including the one in London just last week show that it is the will to harm that is important. Islamic terrorists have gone from using guns to using vehicles and knives. Taking away the Alexandria attacker's guns would not remove his will to harm. He had a van. He could have as easily used it.

Currently almost all of the violence is coming from the Left. This is in contrast to the Tea Party rallies of the Obama era when protestors made it a point of pride that they never caused any property destruction. Instead of giving a wink and a nod to the violence, the Left needs to make it clear that this is unacceptable.

No comments: