News & Politics

Cesar Sayoc Not a Democrat and Not 'Crazy'

With the speed of light, certain memes have been flying around the internet, including the fantastical notion that the accused bomber, Cesar Sayoc, is a Democrat.

In fact, there is a massive amount of evidence on social media that he is pro-Trump, pro-Republican, and virulently anti-Democrat.

On social media, Sayoc was an active Trump and Republican supporter. Sayoc had a Twitter page where he constantly posted comments and memes against Democrats and in favor of the GOP. On Facebook, he posted photos from Trump rallies and wearing a Make America Great Again hat.

On Twitter, he wrote this of Trump, “Happy Birthday greatest Commander Chief disruptor shake Washington upside down.we Unconquered Seminole Tribe current serving, Seminole Vets, Son Seminole Code Talkers. Thank you for all you do against everyone and not be stopped ever.Straight ahead get it done awesome build Wall.” CNN reported that Sayoc lived in the white van.

In a similar rambling post, he changed the wording slightly, writing, “Happy Birthday the. Greatest results disruptor n Chief President ever Trump Trump Trump.We Unconquered Seminole,Miccouskee Tribes,Seminole Hard Rock Worldwide millions of our customers,Seminole American Top Team,Warrior Boxing, say thank you and appreciation.”

There is also the meme coming from the right that describes Sayoc as “crazy” or a “lunatic”:

National Review’s David French urges caution in describing Sayoc’s mental state:

Let’s use caution with that claim. It’s a word that can allow us to wrongly minimize the significance of the attack. There is a huge difference between obsessed, violent, unstable, and truly insane. And that difference matters both legally and practically. When a person who’s afflicted with severe mental illness assaults another person (think of the terrible attack on Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz.), the reasons are often so completely disconnected from reality that preventing such attacks is mainly a question of medication or other forms of mental-health intervention.

But there are other kinds of violent people, including angry obsessives. They’re not normal. They act strangely. But they’re also legally and morally responsible for their actions. If you spend any time in politics or the public eye, you encounter them with some frequency. Usually they’re harmlessly annoying, but sometimes they launch harassment campaigns online, sometimes they make violent threats, and sometimes they’ll show up at, say, a pizza place with an AR-15.

The angry obsessive is absolutely vulnerable to being stoked, inflamed, and inspired by angry rhetoric. Speech can inspire violence. It can. It’s one reason why civility and a sense of proportion in your speech aren’t just abstract, sanctimonious, or elitist concepts. They’re moral responsibilities for people with any kind of meaningful platform. Not all listening ears are sober-minded or entirely rational. And when they hear a public figure they admire thunder against his political opponents with extreme language, sometimes they’ll take extreme action in response.

The correlation between violent rhetoric and violent acts is weak, but that doesn’t mean that a guy like Sayoc can’t be triggered by it. The point being, if there was a strong link between rhetoric and actions, Democrats — and Republicans — would be targeted every day.

I fail to see the usefulness of trying to deny Sayoc’s politics or shrug off his actions as those of a crazy man. He may be obsessed with Trump, but obsessive people are not legally or diagnostically insane. Sayoc knew what he was doing and knew it was wrong. That will be enough to convict him and send him to prison for a very long time.

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