You know who’s to blame for this shooting? James Hodgkinson is.
You knew it was coming.
You felt it with a sickening certainty the instant news of a mass shooting flashed out from Alexandria, Virginia. So it was disheartening, but hardly surprising, to hear certain conservatives reflexively blame Democrats and their so-called “hate speech” for the carnage.
It happened Wednesday morning. The quiet camaraderie of Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game against their Democratic colleagues was shattered by rifle shots from one James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. Police officers providing security returned fire.
When the shooting was done, five people were wounded, including two officers and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), whose injuries were critical. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old left-winger and former supporter of Bernie Sanders who was apparently motivated by hatred for Donald Trump and the GOP, was mortally wounded.
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There was still blood on the ground when conservatives began laying the shooting at liberals’ feet. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) blamed “outrageous” Democratic rhetoric. (He later expressed regret for that comment.) The InfoWars website cited a “hysterical anti-Trump narrative.” Radio host Michael Savage spoke of a “constant drumbeat of hatred.”
It was predictable because it’s what we always do. Jerry Falwell blamed the ACLU for 9/11. Jane Fonda blamed Sarah Palin for the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
At some point, you’d think we’d learn that rhetoric — excluding that which explicitly or implicitly calls for violence — does not “cause” people to shoot, stab, or bomb. By that logic, you’d have to blame Fox “News” and other organs of the right for the Planned Parenthood shooting and the Atlanta Olympics bombing.
It makes about as much sense. You know who’s to blame for this shooting? James…