Thursday, June 15, 2017

Was He a Gun Owner?

James Hodgkinson, the 66 year-old shooter who tried to massacre Republican lawmakers as they practiced for a ball game against Democrats, was a Bernie Sanders supporter and campaign worker. He was also a big fan of Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher and other left-wing television personalities.

Given his ideological affinities, I think it's safe to presume that he was himself a down the line left-winger, which, if true, raises an interesting question. One of the key issues on the liberal social agenda is the elimination of firearms, so why did Hodgkinson own not only a semi-automatic rifle but a handgun as well?

Did he, like many others of his political stripe, think that the policies they endorse are meant only to limit the rights of others and not themselves? How many other opponents of the right to private ownership of guns own their own firearms even as they strive to deny firearms to everyone else?

It reminds me of the debates over taxes which liberals think we need to pay more of. Very well, we can disagree on the merits of tax increases, but if liberals think that all of us should be paying more taxes, why do many of them take all the tax deductions the law allows them? Why don't they send the IRS as much of their paycheck as their income would warrant? On the contrary, many of them, it's safe to say, pay their accountants and tax preparers handsomely to figure out ways to avoid having to pay what would otherwise be due.

It also reminds me of the Affordable Care Act which was passed by Democrats without a single Republican vote. They passed a law which required everyone to live under its burdens, but they exempted themselves. They impose laws on us which they don't have to live under, which is exactly how Martin Luther King defined an unjust law in his Letter From a Birmingham Jail.

It reminds me, too, of liberal climate change proponents who want to curtail our carbon footprint even if it costs jobs and raises taxes while they fly to speaking engagements and vacations all around the world in their private jets, pumping tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere from their engines.

In the wake of yesterday's attempted massacre, a massacre prevented only because the House Majority Whip, Steven Scalise was at the practice and, being in congressional leadership, had a security detail which returned fire and killed Hodgkinson, there'll be the usual demand by liberals for gun confiscation and control. When our politicians start lecturing us on the subject, though, the first question they should be required to answer is whether they themselves own a weapon. If the answer is yes, we should just tune them right out.

Actually, the very first thing that liberal progressives should be asked to explain is, what is it about the left that seems to attract so many hate-filled, violent people? Every presidential assassin and would-be assassin in the twentieth century, to the extent he or she was ideological at all, was a person of the left.

In recent weeks we've witnessed not only the gruesome antics of Kathy Griffin, but college professors and others calling for Republicans to be shot, a play in New York depicting the assassination of Donald Trump, a pop singer (Madonna) declaring that she's thought about blowing up the White House, a round of approbation on Twitter from progressives applauding what Hodgkinson tried to do, and so on.

This stuff goes beyond legitimate political disagreement. It reveals a profound, dehumanizing hatred on the part of these people for those with whom they disagree.

You can't keep stoking that hatred, you can't keep demonizing the other, calling them irremediably evil and deplorable, without someone eventually taking the incendiary rhetoric to its logical conclusion.