Notes on a political shooting


Police what you say for lies, for slander, for stupidity, for simple vileness. Don’t be Sean Hannity; don’t be Kathy Griffin.

The first thing to say about the attempted massacre of congressional Republicans on a baseball field in suburban Virginia is that the motivations of the shooter were unusual. By which I mean that, based on what we know, James Hodgkinson had surprisingly normal political beliefs. He hated Donald Trump, he liked Bernie Sanders, he wanted higher taxes on the wealthy. He was not a Communist or a paranoid knight on a shadowy crusade, but an ordinary Midwestern Democrat with far more rage but the same frustrations as many decent liberals.

Where modern assassinations are concerned, such normal partisan motivations are more unusual than you might think. John F. Kennedy was hated passionately by many Republicans in Dallas, but Lee Harvey Oswald’s beliefs…



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