What’s behind the attempted assassination of Louisville, Kentucky mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg earlier this week? Authorities in the city haven’t announced a potential motive, but the editors of the Las Vegas Sun newspaper think they’ve cracked the case: far-left activist Quintez Brown shot at Greenberg because of the “the talk coming from the right about civil war and political violence.”
No, seriously. Despite the fact that the political preferences of the alleged shooter were already well-known by the time the Sun published its editorial on Tuesday morning, the Sun really decided to pin the blame for the shooting on “right-wing rhetoric“.
The alleged shooter, a 21-year-old political activist, was arrested near the scene and later charged with attempted murder along with four counts of wanton endangerment.
While there’s been no indication yet that the activist had ties to any right-wing organizations, the shooting comes amid a rise in threats against politicians fueled by increasingly violent rhetoric coming from extremist Republicans.
The New York Times documented this trend in a story last week based on a review of more than 75 indictments related to threats against lawmakers since 2016.
“In recent years, and particularly since the beginning of (Donald) Trump’s presidency, a growing number of Americans have taken ideological grievance and political outrage to a new level, lodging concrete threats of violence against members of Congress,” the newspaper wrote, adding that the threats “surged during Trump’s time in office and in its aftermath, as the former president’s own violent language fueled a mainstreaming of menacing political speech, and lawmakers used charged words and imagery to describe the stakes of the political moment.”
What breathtaking dishonesty on the part of the Sun’s editors here. If they knew that the suspect was a “political activist,” then they damn sure knew the politics of his activism, yet they apparently chose to completely ignore the facts in order to insinuate to their readers that this was a case of some angry right-wing nut job taking a shot at a Democrat.
A few paragraphs later, the editors tried to play the “both sides” card, but even then they made it clear who they really blame when a socialist tries to murder a Democrat.
Not all of these threats are coming from the right, but the Times found that most were. That can’t come as a surprise given that so many members of the Republican Party are trying to normalize violent speech by routinely including it in their public discourse.
This has to stop. Everyone — Republicans and Democrats — needs to quit talking about civil war and killing politicians, or else what happened in Louisville will go on and on.
Nothing good comes from suggesting that political violence is acceptable in America, even in the most veiled terms or in the right’s barely disguised language about “Second Amendment solutions.”
Given that the GOP has largely fueled this problem, it holds the lion’s share of the responsibility for addressing it. Republicans must condemn, in the strongest terms, any member of their party who promotes or suggests political violence. That includes sitting members of the House and Senate, ex-presidents and other top leaders.
Meanwhile, if a far-left activist tries to gun down a Democratic politician, what exactly does the Las Vegas Sun think the response from the Left should be? What about when left-wing groups post bond in order to get the shooting suspect out of jail? Should that receive any condemnation from any Democrats, including ex-presidents and other top leaders?
I wish I could say that the Sun’s editorial demonstrates the dangers of opining about a situation before all the facts were known, but the writers of this editorial had access to plenty of information that they completely ignored in favor of a fantasy where Quintez Brown tried to kill Craig Greenberg because the Republicans made him do it.
You want to talk about disgusting, immoral, extremist rhetoric that helps fuel violence? Look no further than the Sun’s editorial itself. The individuals responsible for this garbage should be ashamed of themselves, and frankly, they should be looking for new employment. The fact that the editorial is still posted without correction (or better yet, a complete retraction) on the Las Vegas Sun website speaks volumes about the contempt the paper’s publisher has not just for conservatives, but its readers as well.