When baseball-field shooter James Hodgkinson tried to kill as many Republicans “as possible” on Wednesday, he didn’t act alone. Oh, in a de jure sense he did, but the de-facto reality is that there were many accessories before the fact: the media, academia, and Hollywood — Kathy Griffin and President Trump-killing Shakespeare in the park come to mind.
Many leftist commentators, exhibiting selective memory, behave as if the Hodgkinson shooting occurred in a vacuum. Yet it’s just the latest in a pattern of leftist violence, only with a different tool. Instead of fists, a club or incendiary device, Hodgkinson used a gun.
The Daily Caller just outlined this phenomenon, what it calls “an escalating pattern of violence and intimidation against Republicans.” Here are some examples (quotations are from the Daily Caller):
• A town-hall event by Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett that required heavy police protection after he received death threats, which included “This is how we’re going to kill your wife.”
• A female GOP congresswoman received an email after the Wed. shooting that read “One down, 216 to go”; another congresswoman received a threatening voicemail stating her days were “numbered.”
• After recent town halls, one congressman encountered a woman who tried to run him off the road; another was accosted by a man; and yet another had to be escorted back to his car by police, only to find four slashed tires.
• A “71-year-old female staffer for California Rep. Dana Rohrbacher was knocked unconscious during an angry protest activists staged outside Rohrbacher’s office.”
• Violence has been used to prevent conservative speakers from appearing at colleges.
• “A month before the election, someone firebombed a North Carolina GOP office.”
• Republican students have been assaulted at schools. Schoolgirl Jade Armenio was attacked by a girl who said to her, “You support Trump. You hate Mexicans” (video below).
My, where could the attacker possibly have gotten the idea that Trump support=hating Mexicans? Not from the media, I’m sure.
Add to this the last year’s leftist riots, vandalism, arson and attacks on Trump supporters, and the picture is clear. It’s exactly what Democrat operatives tried to foment, as they admitted on hidden camera in a 2016 sting operation (video below — warning: vulgar language).
It’s also precisely what national organizer for BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), Yvette Felarca, called for on not-so-hidden camera (video below).
Now it’s time for perspective. Please ponder what the reaction would be to the following statements:
1. “They should be lined up and shot” (referencing members of a certain mosque).
2. “I’ve thought a lot about blowing up Mecca.”
3. I want to “pick up a baseball bat and take out every f****** Muslim I see.”
4. “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Mohammed’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.... [T]hey are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
Of course, the last one gives it away; everyone knows that a variation of statement 4 wasn’t uttered about Muslims but about Trump supporters by Hillary Clinton. Likewise, 1 actually was written by a professor referencing GOP politicians and not a mosque, 2 was expressed by Madonna with “White House” in the place of “Mecca,” and 3 was disgorged by actress Lea Delaria with “republican and independent” in the place of “Muslim.”
The point? Had those comments been made about Muslims, the powers-that-be would be railing against “Islamophobia” and shrieking that such rhetoric could lead to violence against Muslims. And the careers of those making them would be over.
Yet people who’d swear these examples were violence-spawning Islamophobia will say, with a straight face, that the actual statements aren’t violence-spawning Conservaphobia.
In fact, despite Conservaphobia’s rampancy — there’s a multitude of examples — we still see outrageous denial, an example being a University of California-Irvine psychology professor who said that individuals such as Hodgkinson would commit violence regardless, finding justification from somewhere. This ignores that when a person becomes a walking powder keg, the wider society was one of the many influences in his life. As for the timing of combustion, even a powder keg requires a spark.
Moreover, if words are irrelevant, why does most of the Western world have hate-speech laws? Why are Michael Savage, Pamela Geller, and Robert Spencer banned from Britain? Why does every statist Western politician warn of Islamophobia? Why is rhetoric taught? Why does the Left trouble over what it terms Trump’s “demagoguery”? Demagogues’ weapon, mind you, is words — and only words.
This isn’t a screed against freedom of speech, only a reminder that with freedom comes responsibility. As G.K. Chesterton once noted, “Having the right to do something is not at all the same as being right in doing it.”
There’s also a generally missed point here. It isn’t just the violent rhetoric — it’s the lies.
When people believe they’ve gotten a raw deal, that the game is rigged and/or that the “other side” is destroying the planet or nation, they get angry. The more this drum is beaten, the angrier they get. And when that reaches a boiling point....
And what’s occurred for the last many months? The media, Democrat Party, academia and others have incessantly claimed that Trump “colluded with Russia to steal the election.” Add to this the emphasis on how “he didn’t really win because he lost the popular vote.” There has been a full-court press to portray Trump as an illegitimate president leading an illegitimate party.
In fact, with the terms used to demean conservatives today (fascist, Nazi, mouth-breather, hater, etc.), the level and type of rhetoric has exceeded political-realm norms. It now reflects something far more extreme and dangerous — wartime propaganda — smacking of what we might have said about the Japanese during WWII or what they said about us (calling the American the “hairy white ape”).
I know of a high-school student in a wealthy Northeastern suburb who wouldn’t express his support for Trump in school because he feared persecution. What if Muslims were afraid to reveal their Islamic heritage in school for fear of same? Could you imagine the holy cause this would become in the media, how we’d be preached to about the “intolerance” and bigotry of America? Yet Conservaphobia is scoffed at.
Having said this, claiming it’s always wrong to deploy harsh rhetoric against a group would be to render superficial analysis. For example, when facing a burgeoning Nazi movement (which is what some leftists claim they face), condemning it in harsh terms is necessary. Yet one first better make sure he’s right about his oppenents’ nature because, first, he needs to know he’s battling the evil, not the good.
Second, one or both of two things will happen if the demonization if effective enough:
• The targeted group will be persecuted.
• Upon being pushed too far, it will strike back.
Then you may have civil war.
As I’ve often warned, those who cannot be reasoned with can only be fought. Those who insist upon being unreasonable should take note.
Photo of law enforcement investigating the scene of the shooting: AP Images