By now, you’ve heard the news: an anti-Muslim racist lunatic in gun control haven New Zealand got his hands on a firearm and proceeded with a premeditated plot that culminated in the livestream of a mass murder of at least 49 Muslims at Friday prayer. More individuals died in this single attack in Christchurch than are typically murdered in an entire year in the entire country. Before the facts were even in, the political dice were already being cast by pundits…playing right into the radicalization rhetoric.
For example, CNN this morning made sure to jump from a segment on this to one about President Trump’s “violent rhetoric” (a rehash in part of last night’s episode of Anderson Cooper highlighting Joe Lockhart’s sad op-ed of Trump the dictator). It came complete with a handful of his salty campaign rally speeches assembled in a video montage. This was, of course, after emphasizing the “right-wing extremist” components of the terrorist’s manifesto in order to try and make some sort of argument that President Trump is radicalizing not only the U.S. but this sociopath in New Zealand as well. Way to try and help viewers “connect the dots.”
The underlying premise of this was a tweeted link to the manifesto by the self-proclaimed white supremacist who said he supports President Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” and that he used firearms to exploit Americans’ ideological divide to spread “further the social, cultural, political and racial divide within the United States.” (It’s not yet clear how he thought this would help “white supremacy.”)
For one, critical thinker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) fell for it, immediately seizing the opportunity to go after the National Rifle Association (NRA), particularly for their offering of thoughts and prayers:
At 1st I thought of saying, “Imagine being told your house of faith isn’t safe anymore.”
But I couldn’t say “imagine.”
Because of Charleston.
What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?pic.twitter.com/2mSw0azDN8
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 15, 2019
“What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?” she queried, also criticizing the phrase for being “used to deflect conversation away from policy change during tragedies.”
Now, the Associated Press is chiming in from Denmark with more facts on the ground that have little to do with President Trump or the U.S. political right beyond a sick interpretation of the “rightwing” (fueled by the Left’s own media, perhaps?). According to that report, while the New Zealand shooter’s manifesto may be shorter and “more sloppy,” it hints at online radicalization—not from Donald Trump but from Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik who by car bomb killed 77 people in 2011 and then opened fire on a youth summer camp operated by his country’s left-wing Labor Party. According to Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish National Defense College, the New Zealand shooter claims to “have been in contact with Breivik’s sympathizers.” More information reveals that the terrorist (there was a political objective tied to his country’s immigration policies) was an enthusiastic participant on social media and discussion boards such as 8chan, known for anything goes and being a hot spot for “white genocide” conspiracy related to minority immigration into “white” countries.
While we wait for AOC to tweet more enlightened specifics about just what exactly gun control exemplar New Zealand can do to stop radicalized individuals from obtaining firearms (or using those defused bombs before authorities arrive!), perhaps CNN et al. can quit its own opportunist tendencies to try and score cheap political points while expediently ignoring their own divisive political ugliness. This would be especially worthwhile, whether or not the terrorist was deliberately trying to exploit political division in the U.S. and genuinely —if ironically— glommed onto the Left’s false narrative of President Trump as an anti-Muslim racist.