In Scalise Shooting, Did Rhetoric Cause Radicalization?
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WIBC Host Tony Katz addressed the aftermath of the shooting of Congressional Republicans at a baseball practice yesterday. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) is still in critical condition after being shot in the hip. The shooter, James Hodgkinson, who has a long history of anti-Republican activity, died after a shoot out with Capitol Police.
Tony explained that most of the after-the-fact arguments have been focused on the rhetoric of the political Left, or that the responsibility of the shooting falls on Hodgkinson alone. Both, says Tony, are correct assumptions. But they only tell part of the story.
Tony ties them together to best expose how this shooting happened. "Rhetoric does lead to Radicalization, but it does not excuse away personal Responsibility:"
James Hodgkinson is responsible for going to that baseball field with a rifle, and opening fire on members of Congress, their staffs and police. He is responsible.
But look at the groups he was a part of on Facebook. Look at the letters to the editor he wrote in his local paper. The interview with him about the 99% vs. the 1%. Of course he was radicalized, and that had a predictable result: He Acted Out.
Does rhetoric cause radicalization? Absolutely. In the weak minded? Absolutely.
Are there many across the political, cultural and media landscape who are responsible for the rhetoric? Absolutely.
Do they intend to radicalize? Well, if your slogan is #Resist, the odds are pretty good. When I used to talk about the Tea Party, was my intent to radicalize? I never thought of it that way; rather, my intention was to sway people to the view that smaller government is better for all us, based on the facts and history.
Is that radicalization? I don't think so. Do we need to separate violent versus non-violent radicalization? I don't think that is necessary. Small government is not radical. Personal freedom is not radical. Trying to murder a congressman because of repealing Obamacare? That is radical.
Bloody heads. Shooting the president dressed as a clown. Stabbing the president to death (at the New York Public Theater.) #Resist. Violent protests of free speech. Destruction of private property. And a culture and media and political landscape that excuses it all - vocally, and with silence. All radical.
It's not either or. It's not Rhetoric vs. Responsibility. That's the misnomer. That's only thinking through one half of the puzzle.
Watch Tony break it down on Facebook Live:
Or listen to the audio here: