Saturday, June 17, 2017

Reflections on the Alexandria, Virginia Shooting

On June 14, 2017, James T. Hodgkinson III opened fire on a group of Republican Congressmen practicing for a Congressional baseball game, critically injuring Rep. Steve Scalise and grazing three others.   The shooter was shot and killed by police shortly after that.  Fortunately, there were no other fatalities.

What we know about the 66 year old shooter from Illinois is that he 1) hated Trump and Republicans in general, 2) was an ardent "Bernie Bro" who hated Hillary at least as much as he hated Trump, 3) had quite a dark side underneath his veneer of progressivism, including a history of domestic/dating violence against women, and 4) was clearly mentally disturbed to one degree or another at the time of the shooting.   These are the things we know so far about this angry white man, while anything else is purely speculation.

We at the TSAP whole-heartedly condemn this shooting and any other acts of (non-defensive) political violence of any kind, regardless of who does it or what their political views may be.  In fact, Bernie Sanders himself feels the same way, despite the extremist "Bernie Bros" putting words in his mouth in order to push a much darker agenda.   But we as progressives are not going to allow our movement to be tarnished by one crazy extremist that does not accurately represent progressivism, especially Bernie's brand, which (unlike fascism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia--in other words, Trumpism) is not an inherently violent ideology.  That is the crucial difference here, though it is horrible nonetheless regardless of the political motivation.  And when we fight fire with fire, we all get burned in the end.

For those who feel that Hodgkinson was some sort of hero or martyr, we say you couldn't be any more wrong.  This guy was a coward who snuck into a baseball practice armed to the teeth, assuming that no one there was armed, and opened fire before anyone knew what was going on.  That is nowhere even close to a fair fight by any stretch of the imagination.  So get those "warrior" tropes about him right out of your head right now, as he was no warrior.

Additionally, we need to say that "enough is enough" with all of the almost-daily (!) mass shootings these days, and need to pass more sensible gun laws while still respecting the Second Amendment.  After all, the shooter is a poster child for why men with a history of domestic/dating violence should not be allowed to buy or own guns of any kind, and that it is far too easy for the mentally ill to get their hands on such killing machines.  With no apologies to the NRA or the MRAs (just one letter different), of course.  And how ironic that the injured Congressman, Steve Scalise, who had voted to allow the mentally ill to buy guns, was himself shot by such a disturbed individual.  We all know what they say about karma, of course.  I swear, you really can't make this stuff up!

No comments:

Post a Comment