James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, came to Alexandria, Virginia, where for the last few months he lived in his van . . . undoubtedly down by the river. Yesterday, he wielded an assault rifle, attempting to massacre Republican congressmen at a park practicing for tonight’s annual charity Congressional Baseball Game.
He shot House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who remains in critical condition; a lobbyist also in critical condition; a staffer, hit in the leg and released from the hospital; and two Capitol Police officers, who still shot and captured the shooter. Hodgkinson later died in custody.
Politically, the down-on-his-luck, 66-year-old assailant was a big fan of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and volunteered for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. So, what does his act of violence say about Maddow? Nothing. How much is it Sen. Sanders’ fault? Zero.
The Washington Post reports that Hodgkinson was “angry with President Trump,” noting this violence came “amid harsh political rancor and a divided country.”
Michelle Malkin declared she had “warned for more than a decade about the unhinged left’s rhetoric.”
“The hatred is raw, it is undiluted, it’s just savage,” Rush Limbaugh offered. “These are the mainstream of the Democrat base, and I don’t have any doubt that they are being radicalized.”
It harkens back to then-President Bill Clinton’s success in blaming the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing on “loud and angry voices” (read: Rush Limbaugh) who “spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable.”
Sure, we should hold speakers accountable for dehumanizing verbal attacks on their opponents. But not for acts of violence these speakers do not commit, nor condone.
Condemn the violence. Stop using it to smear your opponents.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.