The Facebook pages of James T. Hodgkinson, the 66-year-old Illinois man who shot Rep. Steve Scalise and three others this morning, are made up almost exclusively of anti-Trump, anti-Republican, and pro-Bernie Sanders memes and videos going back at least into 2015.
Anyone who spends more than a few minutes on social media has seen these types of memes from the left and from the right, and we all have a few friends and relatives who seem to have a fixation on politics and a disturbing level of anger. Most likely, Hodgkinson was “that friend” for a few people.
Here is a sampling of what was on his pages – what we were able to save before they were taken down.
Anti-Trump – “Trump is a Pig”
“Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
The Russia obsession…
“He is Truly a POS.”
Republicans weren’t held in any higher esteem, not even the Freedom Caucus.
Republicans hate EVERYONE, in his view.
In a comment to one of his own posts: “Republicans are the Taliban of the USA” linking to a quote by James Carville saying Republicans want less government so they can get away with murder.
Sen. Bernie Sanders said from the Senate floor that he is “sickened by this despicable act” and that he “condemns this attack in the strongest possible terms,” but some commenters on Hodgkinson’s page had no problem with what he did.
“You ran a campaign full of hatred and bigotry! This is the beginning of the resistance. A message for Trrump and Trumpers alike!”
“He’s my hero! Wish he would have gotten them all!”
“77% of all terror attacks are committed by right wing extremists. You inbreds need to clam the f*** down”
Today, Shaun King is saying it’s ridiculous to link Bernie to this attempted massacre.
I agree with him. But, it’s more complicated than that.
People are asking others to not “politicize” the shooting, but that’s just not possible. Hodgkinson went out looking for Republicans to kill. He wanted to kill them because of their politics. This is a political attack – and this is a man who was influenced by the incessant drumbeat of rhetoric which dehumanizes political enemies.
When a comic posts a photo where she’s holding the (fake) severed head of the president, when a Shakespeare play is modified to show the assassination of the president, when it is okay to mock the 11-year-old son of the president because of the T-shirt he wore, and all of these things are done without a second thought, without considering that these people are human beings who have thoughts, dreams, needs and desires just like you and I have, we have arrived at a point in our civilization where we really need to take a long, hard look at what we’re doing.
I can’t know for sure, but I would suspect that when James Hodgkinson stepped on that baseball field today he didn’t see Steve Scalise, Jeff Flake, and the rest of the GOP baseball team as people. (For God’s sake, there was a child there, and that didn’t stop him.) I suspect he saw them as evil, dishonest, greedy impediments to progress who needed to be eliminated for the greater good.
Bernie Sanders is not to blame for Hodgkinson’s acts. Neither is Kathy Griffin or any number of trolls who say crappy things or wish a horrible death on President Trump, Melania Trump, Barron Trump, or Republicans in general. This is squarely on Hodgkinson.
But, the environment of “other-ing” and dehumanization of anyone who disagrees with our politics definitely played a part, which is an attitude evident in the memes and postings on Hodgkinson’s Facebook pages over the last two years – and evident on the Facebook and Twitter timelines of many people.
“I don’t care what happens to that person. I hope they suffer and die a slow, painful death. They’re getting what they deserve for voting for [fill in the blank].”
That’s what James Hodgkinson’s Facebook page says about all of us.
Me Here....I like many of you are sickened by the attempted assassination of Representative Scalise and other Republicans on the baseball field in Virginia yesterday. With all the hate ginned up and encouraged by the extreme left I guess this had to be expected by some nut job that completely bought into the hate they peddled.
While the Democrat Party is not legally responsible for what Hodgkinson did, they do have the responsibility to aggressively tone down their extreme hate. You have Representative Waters as a prime example of this hate. You have the Democrat money bag and NAZI George Soros funding this hate and violence. It is time for the Democrat Party to reign in their extremists and refuse any more money from Soros. I just doubt they will.
We have Democrats already abusing this assassination attempt for more gun control. Since the Republicans practicing were not armed, thankfully Scalise's guard were armed. If the guards had not been there and despite wounds took down Hodgkinson, this would for certain have been much worse. Weapons are a tool. The problem has been and always will the person.
We cherish a free society. It is our greatest gift to being an American. Yet we have to find a way to be able to find these nut jobs before they can do harm. Social media gave us a clue that he was into extreme hate. He had wrote letters to the editor with strong views. While none of these are illegal, I have to ask were there people out there with information that he was planning to do harm and said nothing?
I was and still am very anti Usurper Barry Soetoro. Would I have done or supported doing physical harm to him, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I had known of a credible threat, I would have reported it. Soetoro still should be exposed and LEGALLY punished for what he did. The same is true for both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Those and more should be locked up for life. That and only that is the "harm" they have earned. Physical harm of any vigilante form would only make these ilk heroes to the left. That would do further harm to this nation. I most strongly oppose this.
This article makes a great point that the left is dehumanizing the Republicans and President Trump. This is most dangerous. As a student of WWII history, I have read about how NAZI Germany slowly did this to the Jews. This led to the Holocaust and the industrialized slaughter of millions of Jews. Both the GOP and the Democrats need to wake up to this. This dehumanization must be most strongly denounced and stopped, NOW! If not, we will have more assassination attempts. The next will probably result in death of the target or targets.
Yesterday and today, more death threats, serious ones have been received by GOP lawmakers. I hope that law enforcement will track down every last one and at least talk to those that made them. While most will not need to be arrested and charged, there are few that should be. That is probably the best way to prevent the next assassination attempt. These arrests must be headline news in all media.
This crap must stop here and now! Democrats, are you doing to take action to help? Or are you going to quietly continue to support and fund the fascist antifa? You all started this. It is time to end it!