In the wake of the horrific assassination attempt on Republican congressmen during a charity baseball practice, the left responded with predictable political rhetoric.
Bernie Sanders’s statement was measured and respectful, but one has to wonder what his response would have been if the targets were Democrats and the shooter was “right-wing.”
Well, we already have the answer.
Six years ago, Sanders used the assassination attempt on Gabby Giffords as a campaign tool, and blamed Republicans for creating a toxic political climate.
From the Daily Wire:
In January 2011, Senator Bernie Sanders decided to capitalize on the shooting of Democratic Representative Gabby Giffords by sending out a fundraising email citing the tragedy.
The relevant part of the email appears below:
Given the recent tragedy in Arizona, as well as the start of the new Congress, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few words with political friends in Vermont and throughout the country. I also want to thank the very many supporters who have begun contributing online to my 2012 reelection campaign at www.bernie.org. There is no question but that the Republican Party, big money corporate interests and right-wing organizations will vigorously oppose me. Your financial support now and in the future is much appreciated. Also, please do not hesitate to convey to me any ideas that you may have with regard to how we can best go forward in terms of public policy, as well as politically. While I cannot respond personally to every comment, I will read them all.
ARIZONA: What occurred this weekend in Tucson was tragic, and I join my congressional colleagues and the entire nation in sending my condolences to the victims of this horrible attack. In terms of this savage shooting rampage, several points need to be made. First, this horrendous act of violence is not some kind of strange aberration for this area where, it appears, threats and acts of violence are part of the political climate. Nobody can honestly express surprise that such a tragedy finally occurred. After all, last year, after her vote in support of health care reform, Rep. Giffords’ district office was attacked and her front window was shot out. In 2009, at an open constituent town meeting in a shopping center similar to the one in which she was gunned down, a pistol fell to the ground from the pocket of a protester attending the event.
During her last campaign her opponent, Tea Party favorite Jesse Kelly, invited his supporters to an event at which they could fire live ammunition from an M-16 rifle as a fundraising device in his effort to help remove Rep. Giffords from office. Congresswoman Giffords publicly expressed concerns when Sarah Palin, on her website, placed her district in the cross-hairs of a rifle – and identified her by name below the image – as an encouragement to Palin supporters to eliminate her from Congress. Interviewed on MSNBC at the time when the cross-hairs were posted on the web, Giffords said; “When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action.”
What should be understood is that the violence, and threats of violence against Democrats in Arizona, was not limited to Gabrielle Giffords. Raul Grijalva, an old friend of mine and one of the most progressive members in the House, was forced to close his district office this summer when someone shot a bullet through his office window. Another Democratic elected official in Arizona, recently defeated Congressman Harry Mitchell, suspended town meetings in his district because of the threatening phone calls that he received (Mitchell was also in the cross-hairs on the Palin map). And Judge John Roll, who was shot to death at the Giffords event, had received numerous threatening calls and death threats in 2009.
In light of all of this violence – both actual and threatened – is Arizona a state in which people who are not Republicans are able to participate freely and fully in the democratic process? Have right-wing reactionaries, through threats and acts of violence, intimidated people with different points of view from expressing their political positions? My colleague, Senator John McCain, issued a very strong statement after the shooting in which he condemned the perpetrator of the attack. I commend him for that. But I believe Senator McCain and other Arizona Republicans need to do more. As the elder statesman of Arizona politics McCain needs to stand up and denounce the increasingly violent rhetoric coming from the right-wing and exert his influence to create a civil political environment in his state.
Despite Democrats’ efforts to label Giffords’s shooter, Jared Loughner, as a right-wing nutcase, the police never found an obvious motive.
Loughner had mental-health issues and believed grammar was a conspiracy, and if anything, he leaned to the left.
Loughner was a registered Independent, but, unlike James T. Hodgkinson, he didn’t leave behind an obvious political motive. His ideologies are fairly complicated, but, as CBS News noted in 2011, a former friend “wrote he (Loughner) had once been ‘very liberal’ and added, ‘he was leftwing when I knew him in hs & college, 3 years ago. So he may have changed, who knows.’” He did share some fringe views of both the extreme left and right, though, but was mentally ill and was angry at how Giffords responded to a question he asked at one of her events.
The [New York Times] blamed Sarah Palin’s political action committee for releasing a map that showed the electoral districts of Giffords and other Democrats “under stylized crosshairs” and said there is “no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack” in the congressional baseball shooting and the rhetoric of “anti-Trump liberals.”
Conservatives online then accused the Times of getting its facts wrong on Loughner. For starters, there was never any evidence that Loughner had even seen the map.
Loughner…did not bother to vote in 2010, the year before the Giffords shooting. He also grew angry at Giffords after attending one of her campaign events.
At the time, CNN’s Jake Tapper poked holes into the argument that the Palin map inspired Loughner.
“There’s no evidence that the shooter even heard of Sarah Palin. And Palin aide Rebecca Mansour in a podcast interview says the image was not violent,” he said during an interview.” He added, “The shooter’s motives remain unclear. One acquaintance from 2007 described him as liberal.”
Bryce Tierney, a friend of Loughner’s, told Mother Jones that Loughner “held a years-long grudge against Giffords and had repeatedly derided her as a ‘fake.’ Loughner’s animus toward Giffords intensified after he attended one of her campaign events and she did not, in his view, sufficiently answer a question he had posed.” The question? “What is government if words have no meaning?”
“There are also components of Loughner’s belief system that one could tie to the far left – his decision to ‘favorite’ a YouTube video of a burning American flag, the inclusion of the Communist Manifesto on his reading list, his possible adherence to the 9/11 truther’ movement.”
Ultimately, the network determined, “It seems illegitimate to tie Loughner to the mainstream right or mainstream left, as his beliefs were well within the realm of the fringe. Indeed, Loughner appears to have simply been a disturbed individual who lacked a coherent political philosophy other than a deep-seated anti-government sentiment.”
Now the left is using the Alexandria attack as an opportunity to bang the gun-control drum, but most alarming is the left’s rationalization for the violence.
Left-wing writer and former Vox contributor Malcolm Harris characterized the attack as “self defense” because of the GOP’s proposed AHCA budget, and went even further by tweeting, “Steve Scalise is stable, but a lot of Americans dies [sic] from hospital errors so keep your fing [sic].”
The mainstream media’s perpetual demonization of Republicans has absolutely led to this divisive powder keg.
It’s the reason why writers like Malcolm Harris feel justified in writing such hateful language. And he’s not unique.
The shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, was not on the fringes of society. He campaigned for Bernie Sanders, and was constantly inundated with “Republicans are evil” messaging from major news outlets.
Jeremy Christian, the perpetrator of the Portland stabbing attack, was also a Bernie supporter who vowed to “kill” Trump supporters, but leftists like documentarian Michael Moore used tortuous logic to blame Donald Trump.
The violence coming from the left is particularly troublesome on college campuses. Conservative speakers are forced to travel with armed security, and that’s if they’re allowed to speak at all.
Berkeley descended into violence on multiple occasions when Antifa radicals rioted to protest Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter who were invited to speak.
Radical Islam critic Brigitte Gabriel is forced to have bomb squads sweep for explosives.
A professor at Middlebury College was assaulted during a protest against guest speaker Charles Murray.
And probably most egregiously, students at Evergreen State College essentially orchestrated a coup until the university president catered to their demands.
While all of this violence transpires, university officials and city mayors tell their police and campus security to stand down, tolerating the disgusting behavior.
The left has created a monster. It’s time for them to be held accountable.