RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

King writes: "In today's gotcha culture, thousands of statements are now being tweeted blaming Bernie, blaming progressives, blaming the Democratic Party, blaming the Julius Caesar play, blaming everything and everybody imaginable for this shooting. Just moments ago I saw some fool online saying 'Shaun King has blood on his hands.'"

Police at the scene where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. was shot at a Congressional baseball practice. (photo: AP)
Police at the scene where House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. was shot at a Congressional baseball practice. (photo: AP)

Blaming Bernie Sanders or Progressives for Congressional Baseball Shooting Is Preposterous

By Shaun King, New York Daily News

15 June 17


ernie Sanders from the floor of the U.S. Senate Wednesday spoke out firmly against the horrific shooting that took place at a congressional baseball practice. Sanders, in his remarks, also acknowledged early reports that the alleged shooter, James Hodgkinson, was said to be a volunteer for his presidential campaign.

In today's gotcha culture, thousands of statements are now being tweeted blaming Bernie, blaming progressives, blaming the Democratic Party, blaming the Julius Caesar play, blaming everything and everybody imaginable for this shooting. Just moments ago I saw some fool online saying "Shaun King has blood on his hands."

All of that is absolutely preposterous.

First off, Bernie is as close to a pacifist hippy as we have in the Senate. The man worshiped the ground Dr. King walked on and has been an advocate for non-violent protests and boycotts his entire life. He has never advocated violence against Donald Trump, against conservatives, or even suggested that we should consider violence as a worthwhile tactic as we fight against problematic policies. This notion that Bernie, of all people, had anything to do with Wednesday's violence is foolhardy, unintelligent and poorly considered.

Secondly, the progressive movement in general is a movement about organizing and empowering people for systemic political change. I am a part of this movement. I was a volunteer for Bernie's presidential campaign. To this very day I work directly with several dozen progressive grassroots organizations fighting for real change in this country. I've attended and hosted and contributed to hundreds of meetings with these organizations. Not once, publicly or privately, did a single person in a single meeting I was a part of ever suggest, explicitly or implicitly, that someone should go do what James Hodgkinson allegedly did today. Period.

I don't know James Hodgkinson or what inspired him, but I can say with complete confidence that it damn sure wasn't Bernie Sanders or the progressive movement he helps lead.

I can tell you one prominent politician who has drastically degraded the quality of political discourse in this country and has repeatedly advocated violence from the microphone — Donald Trump. Over and over again, throughout his campaign, Trump spoke of how he yearned for the day where protesters were carried out on stretchers and how he'd personally pay for the legal costs his supporters incurred for being violent with protesters. That wasn't Hillary Clinton. That wasn't Bernie Sanders. That was Donald Trump. To this very day, he has supporters in legal trouble for the violence he encouraged at his rallies.

That's not to say that Donald Trump caused James Hodgkinson to do what he did — because that man is grown and makes his own decisions — but we've clearly crossed over into an ugly place in this country where the manner in which people speak to and treat one another has devolved into something terrible.

The United States is the only country in the world that has more guns than people. That's why nearly 100 people a day are shot and killed in this country. Frankly, with as many guns as our country has in circulation, it's surprising that we don't see more targeted shootings like the one we saw Wednesday.

Like after every mass shooting, I continued to see conservatives say, "Now is not the time to talk about gun control." I saw others say, "How dare they talk politics while blood is still fresh on the ground?" But here's the hard truth — in America, blood is always fresh on the ground. Somebody is always getting shot and killed here. This notion that we must wait for some mythical point in time between shootings to be able to talk about how to fix our problems is bogus. That time never comes. It never will come. In fact, I don't know if I can recall a time in my life where conservatives have ever been ready to have a serious conversation about gun control.

Nonetheless, here we are. It seems like our nation has lost its will to tackle our most difficult national challenges. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+21 # Working Class 2017-06-15 09:40
I am listening to the pols talk about ending the hateful talk and creating a better political/socia l environment. Where was this awakening when FOX has spewed hate and divisiveness? Where were these concerned “leaders” when the likes of Bill O Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, and so many others, day after day ranted and raved spreading hate and false news. And where the hell have these concerned leaders been when Trump rants at his rallies and on twitter? The link below is truly sobering. If you click with your mouse over one of the icons it will show the name and location of the group the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group.
+19 # diamondmarge7 2017-06-15 10:13
The nasty, hate-filled misogynistic "greed is our only value" KOCH BROTHERS & THE EQUALLY misanthropic "grred is good" NRA are the ones responsible for yesterday's horror. Paul Ryan on the floor speaking mauseated me. The only reason for his sudden piety is that ONE OF THEIR own--a RETHUGLICAN--wa s injured. LyinRyan wouldn't have uttered a single hypocritical sound of sorrow if anyone other than a member of his own IMMORAL group had b een shot.
+11 # Wise woman 2017-06-15 10:40
It is really pitiful how Americans respond to these tragedies and then do absolutely nothing to prevent them. We are hypocritical and stupid to condone such behavior because so many of us refuse to stand up to the NRA and change these gun laws. No wonder this country is so polarized. We have a president that encourages violence and an administration that backs him. When will we ever learn?
+2 # tm7devils39 2017-06-15 15:49
NEVER! We haven't learned in over 500 years...which means we probably won't in the next 500 years. If we last that long.
IMO, the combined intelligence of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, along with its general inability to think critically, is not high enough to ensure the survival of the human race. The average human's propensity for self-imposed ignorance makes it almost a certainty.
Einstein stated: 'Question everything'...w e don't, and are not taught to from birth. Case in point, if we were, there would be no such thing as religion.
Just saying...
+1 # giraffee23 2017-06-15 14:11
The right wing mantra of blame with NO proof is getting old. Is the new normal to blame when one is to blame? Trump is a master at this twist of facts (or whatever) and to have a leader set this example is another reason to find Trump's "obstruction of justice" -- i.e. LIES by the president is TREASON. (
0 # ericlipps 2017-06-15 18:20
Blaming Bernie or progressives may be unfair, but we need to admit that any "movement" campaign--any, of any ideological sort--attracts at least some cuckoos. Look at the "Tea Party." Look at the Vietnam War-era peace movement. Look at the presidential campaigns of Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, Bush II, Trump--yes, and even George McGovern, for whom I'd have voted if only I'd been old enough then. And in America, any homicidal maniac with the money to buy a gun can always find a seller.
+6 # lfeuille 2017-06-15 19:39
It is a part of a the progressive movement that wants to take the guns out of the hands of unstable violence prone people. It is the it to conservatives, drenched in NRA money who block every effort to control weapons. It has hit them personally for a change. They can't accept their own part in allowing it to happen.
+2 # Questioner 2017-06-15 23:28
Does gun control equate to keeping all us commoners from having those evil tools of violence? Only the elite of society and their servants should have these powerful tools? What elite group of people decides who is unstable and violence prone? What group of armed elite people gets to confiscate the arms of the unworthy, and arrest or kill them if they resist?

Arms are not going away. They are powerful tools for those that have them. They can be used for evil purposes and to resist against those evils. Is arms control really about the tools, or is about people control?
+1 # librarian1984 2017-06-17 08:21
Interesting point. Right now there are more guns than people in the US. Just imagine how that number would grow if lefties joined the fray. That would be a sure sign we were headed for a new civil war -- just the ticket for wiping out the great unwashed masses, taking up too much of the oligarchs' air.

There were a few gun owners on rsn but they seem to have gone. There were also a few who advocated violence but they left a while ago.

I am actually surprised there aren't more shootings. It's mighty inconvenient for TPTB that blacks have been so patient with ignorant whites and natives don't seem, in large, to have a culture of revenge. We live in the safe cushion of two oceans, a friendly neighbor and a weak one. How lucky we are!

But we act as if we have nothing, are helpless and alone, preyed upon by everyone around us, paranoid and aggrieved, as prickly as hornets and as dangerous as toddlers with guns.

I don't believe that is an accident. I think there are a powerful few who decided long ago how they wanted to run things. They are cruel and conscienceless. They watch our children die without batting an eye.

But. Occam's razor. One doesn't need oligarchs to see the US is fubar.

We need leaders. So far the political class is not producing many. N of 1. The media has a few but they are drowned out. Academia? Pftfftt. We have internet but they're working on that.

I enjoy target shooting but I would not shoot my neighbor.
0 # babaregi 2017-06-17 00:05
Some of you violent lefty anarchists (you're out there, aren't you?) might do well to carefully consider what the most likely results of your actions would be.

... And ponder whether you're willing to accept the personal cost and consequences when they arrive at your doorstep.

They say: "What goes around, comes around."
+2 # librarian1984 2017-06-17 07:39
Here's a good article about the NYT's 'latest lurch right' where they blame Sanders and progressives for the shooting:

I urge progressives to reexamine their media. A lot of us (used to) watch MSDNC, revered the NYT, admired WaPo, depend on CNN etc. But those organizations have changed or gotten worse and they CANNOT BE TRUSTED.

We're lucky we have access to many alternative news sources on tv, radio, in books -- and brave truth tellers like Naomi Klein and Robert Parry. I trusted Maddow for years. She's intelligent and likable; but she, like many others, has used the trauma of a Trump presidency to justify abandoning journalistic principles.

Even if Russia is a story, it is not the ONLY story. Why don't Rachel or the NYT cover CrossCheck or blackbox voting? The NYT helped get US into the Iraq War. Wouldn't it be great if they were trying to get US single payer instead?

Maybe we're addicted to the NYT or love getting our news from MSDNC -- but please read or listen critically. 'Listening' does not have to mean 'believing'. If nothing else we can learn what the establishment wants US to believe .. or doesn't want US to know.

I encourage everyone to expand their news base. Try CSPAN. It's a bit of a revelation not to hear pundits. We don't need to shun mainstream news .. but we do need to stop trusting them.
+2 # Tippitc 2017-06-18 19:00
I rely on Democracy Now, TomDispatch and TruthDig - I don't pay much attention to mainstream media - they are owned by the 1% after all. With any 'news source' you must engage the critical thinking faculties.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.