After shooting in Alexandria, social media explodes as shooter’s politics revealed

Capitol Police

Historic photo of the Capitol Police. (Federal Government)

It was not surprising. Within moments of news breaking about the shootings in Alexandria (VA), Twitter, Facebook, and other social media exploded. Republicans were reportedly targeted by the shooter. 

The first posts I saw were from those who are calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump who has done nothing remotely close to grounds for impeachment. Some were hate-filled. I am not quoting them. Soon other posts followed from supporters of the president. At present there’s a back and forth current of anger.

The shooter was identified as a supporter of [technically] independent Bernie Sanders who attempted to compete for Democrats’ presidential nomination against Hillary Clinton. Various reports from media on both left and right alleged the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, volunteered for Sanders’ campaign. Sanders normally votes with Democrats on most issues, and he participated in Democrats’ presidential primary process.

I managed to look at Hodgkinson’s Facebook page before the site removed it. The page was hate-filled, promoting false stories as truth, and targeting not only Trump but Republicans in general. Like Sanders, Hodgkinson claimed to be a socialist.

Numerous media captured screen shots of the shooter’s page, including Breitbart. The screen shots were not confined to right of center media. Left of center CNN also aired the images.

Breitbart also said Hodgkinson belonged to a group, Terminate the Republican Party, on Facebook.  That page is filled with content similar to items the shooter populated his page with.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, a user claiming to be national director of public relations for Antifa weighed in on the shootings, but not with sympathy. Instead, the group whose tactics and goals are very similar to fascism, posted a message saying “Our statement on the shooting of #SteveScalise and other fascist Republicans…”

The statement included an image of people holding a placard stating “The Only Good Fascist is a Dead One.” I assume they excluded themselves from the dead fascists’ club.

The same Antifa page earlier contained a photograph of the late Democrat icon, Senator Robert Byrd. The photo showed Byrd in an obviously photoshopped KKK uniform alongside his Senate photo. The group had identified the photo as Attorney General Jeff Sessions. I messaged the user to explain his error and apparently he took the photo down rather than do the honorable thing and correct it publicly or retract the falsehood. The KKK was anti-Republican. The page spews nothing but hate otherwise.

Violence is nothing new to the human race in general, but as I scanned the shooter’s page before Facebook removed it, I was reminded of a declaration of war issued by a leading voice in today’s Democrat Party. The manifesto was published at Daily Kos in 2008 shortly before the presidential election in November:

“[W]e have an imperative to take advantage of a historic opportunity to break the conservative movement’s backs and crush their spirits. In the White House, that means getting Obama a broad popular and geographic mandate for change. In the House, that means annihilating the Republican caucus and working toward a 100-seat Democratic majority. In the Senate it means getting to a 60-seat filibuster proof majority…Republicans will claim that McCain wasn’t one of them, hence rationalizing away their loss. But if we decimate their ranks, including their conservative icons, it’ll make it harder for them to justify their spin. Remember, we want them broken, their ranks thinned, their treasury in heavy debt, their morale in the gutter, void of any leadership, discredited in the eyes of the public…A key component of this effort is to destroy their most beloved leaders…”

Democrats succeeded until Republicans regained the majority of seats in Congress and more importantly, took the White House with Trump’s victory. Obviously the political war continues with efforts comprising a soft coup being waged in hopes of overturning the presidential election.

The manifesto, however, is like so much antipathy between people in both parties today. I count many different kinds of people among those I care about, and I count members of many different political philosophies among them. When it comes to the oft-touted “multiculturalism”, I count people from a number of countries in my circle.

I’ve always respected the rights of others to have different views from my own—I think that is truly the spirit of America.

Unfortunately some others haven’t extended me the same courtesy. One loved one literally cut me from his life because I am a Republican.

If you shun others simply because they believe differently from you, you do yourself no favors. A small mind cannot grow, and in the end, hatred only consumes the hater. Such was the end today’s shooter experienced, and we can only hope that unlike his anger partly fueled by propaganda and false news accounts, we do not yield to hatred in the end.

The Capitol Police founded in 1828 saved many lives today. The CP mission is defined as:

“Protect the Congress – its Members, employees, visitors, and facilities – so it can fulfill its constitutional and legislative responsibilities in a safe, secure and open environment.” 

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/June 14, 2017)


About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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