Was Trump's Would-Be Assassin Inspired by a 'Climate of Hate'?
Did the left-wing "climate of hate," which has been plaguing Donald Trump and his supporters for many months, incite an autistic British man to take extreme measures to "stop" him? If Sarah Palin and the tea party could be blamed for the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, then it's fair to question if Donald Trump's critics can be blamed for the attempt on his life.
A few days ago, 20-year-old Michael Steven Sandford attempted to kill the Republican presumptive nominee at a rally at the Treasure Island Casino. Sandford tried to take a gun from a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer in order to assassinate Trump but failed in his attempt, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada.
The British national, who was living in the United States illegally on an expired visa, now faces up to ten years in prison after apparently making a confession to a Secret Service agent. Media coverage of what should be a major story has been somewhat less than wall-to-wall. Would the media be this curiously disinterested if the assassination attempt had been on Hillary Clinton?
The same could be said if it had happened with Barack Obama in the summer of 2008. Questions would be debated on air for weeks on end about the evil lurking in the hearts of men and why someone would be so desperate to prevent the election of the first black or female president. But when someone plots for more than a year to kill Trump, travels across the country to find an opportunity and then launches his attempt, it creates barely a ripple in the media pond.
Protests at Trump rallies have become increasingly violent in recent weeks, with the media often blaming the GOP candidate himself for inciting the violence. Of course, the only ones to blame for violence at a Trump rally are the people behaving violently. The same could be said for young Mr. Sandford, but since "right-wing rhetoric" and a "climate of hate" were blamed for a lunatic's misdeeds five and a half years ago, perhaps it is worth examining the possibility that left-wing rhetoric and an anti-Trump "climate of hate" are to blame for the assassination attempt on Trump.
As you may remember, in January of 2011 Jared Loughner opened fire outside of a Safeway in Tucson where U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was speaking. He shot his target Giffords in the head, and killed 6 other people, including a chief U.S. District Court judge and a 9-year-old girl. Throughout the media -- not just left-wing blogs -- a narrative was aggressively pushed that the right was somehow to blame for the horrific massacre. It's hard to remember -- because the the left's "two minutes of hate" these days is devoted to the NRA and "lax gun laws" -- but in 2011, the left's "Emmanuel Goldstein" du jour was tea party golden girl Sarah Palin. Thus, a right-wing "climate of hate" as personified by Palin and the tea party was blamed for inciting Loughner. It didn't take long for the truth to come out: Loughner was no Sarah Palin fan and his political leanings were decidedly to the left (to the degree they were in fact anything). But that didn't matter. The initial narrative took root, and Sarah Palin and the tea party were diminished in stature.
While the tea party protesters were genuinely peaceful during their heyday from 2009 to 2012, they were insulted and impugned by media elites who often called them "right-wing mobs." Yet it is protesters on the left, whether they are Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, pro-union, or pro-amnesty, who tend toward violence.
All across America, left-wing agitators have been protesting Donald Trump's rallies, and their protests have become increasingly violent. After a recent rally in San Jose, a mob of protesters assailed and assaulted Trump supporters as they were leaving the venue.
Trump supporters were assaulted and even pelted with eggs when they left a San Jose rally for the presumptive Republican nominee.
The crowd also stole Trump merchandise and set it on fire, and they yelled accusations of racism at Trump’s backers.
One Trump supporter told a news report that he had his Trump sign stolen and was then sucker-punched.
A teenage boy was photographed running for his life, with an angry left-wing mob in close pursuit.
As Fox News recently reported, the anti-Trump climate of hate isn't always violent -- but it is potent. Two young women appeared on "Fox and Friends" to describe how they were ridiculed at a restaurant in Colonial Heights, Virginia, after attending a Trump rally.
Riggs said that when they first approached the takeout window, the cashier said, "Oh, hell no. I'm not serving them."
She said that a different employee eventually took their order, but they saw others inside laughing and taking pictures.
Riggs said that an order came up that appeared to be theirs, but when Wolfrey went to retrieve it, an employee told her, "Oh no, not for you," before laughing and giving her a dirty look.
Perhaps the troubled British youth Michael Steven Sandford found himself in a toxic environment in which people believe Trump doesn't have the right to speak and his supporters don't deserve to be served.
His father told a British paper that Michael had recently become "upset" but they didn't know why because his Asperger's Syndrome made communication difficult.
“He’s never been very good at communicating, he’s never been interested in politics and never really been interested in much… Because of his condition, he never talks about his private life and it’s always had quite an impact on how he behaves. He left school when he was 15 because he couldn’t cope with it all so he’s got no qualifications or job experience.”
Davey said his son was never a loner, he did have friends at school, although he was often shy when meeting new people.
“I don’t want to use the term radicalized but we don’t know who he has been speaking with—this just isn’t him,” he said. “It’s an absolute shock, he’s never been violent in the slightest, he’s always been a polite and peaceful boy.”
So if Sandford fell in with a toxic anti-Trump crowd, does that mean a left-wing "climate of hate" is to blame for his actions?
No, of course not. Conservatives believe in personal responsibility -- not collective guilt. Michael Steven Sandford is of course responsible for his own actions.
Fox News media analyst Ellen Ratner recognized the double standard and said it would be nice if for once the MSM reported on stories like this fairly.