Opinion Column

The Duel

Mass shooters tend to be domestic abusers first

By Garth Mullins, The Duel

This handout booking photo obtained June 14, 2017 courtesy of the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department shows James T. Hodgkinson. (HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images)

This handout booking photo obtained June 14, 2017 courtesy of the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department shows James T. Hodgkinson. (HANDOUT/AFP/Getty Images)

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This week's question: Is the left-wing complicit in the shooting of members of the U.S. Congress?

I don’t know why James T. Hodgkinson opened fire last week at a Republican congressional baseball practice. In his McCarthyist missive, Brent Stafford blames leftist propaganda. He says the Left is “a clear and present danger to the stability of capitalist democracies.”

But, in America, there’s almost one mass shooting every day. It’s a violent society, drowning in militarism, personal firepower and toxic masculinity.

Hodgkinson had a long police record, with arrests for domestic battery and firearms offences. Violence against women is what unites most mass shooters, not religion or ideology. Before wreaking violence on the world, many perpetrators do it first in their own homes, to their families — as Hodgkinson did.

Nonetheless, Hodgkinson was able to legally acquire an SKS 7.62 semi-automatic rifle and 9 mm pistol recovered at the scene. Republicans oppose gun control — even for guys like this. The gun lobby works hard to make sure there’s a handgun under every pillow and a fearful finger on every trigger.

Read Brent Stafford's column here. 

But Brent’s explanation for the shooting is: the TV told him to do it. Including, for some reason, the sports network. Yet, conservatives have actually been urging supporters to take matters into their own hands for years. 

Trump intimated that “second amendment people” could use violence against Hillary Clinton. Throughout the Obama administration, gun owners were encouraged to take up arms and images of Obama in a noose became common. In 2013, Fox News’ Andrew P. Napolitano wrote the right to bear arms is not about “the right to shoot deer. It protects the right to shoot tyrants.” 

The real violence comes from the re-emergence of fascism. The FBI has identified the far right — anti-abortion extremists, the KKK, skinheads, Christian Identity groups, militias, etc. — as the biggest threat. Most domestic terrorism is perpetrated by white supremacists.

Little conservative outrage was visible last month, after a Portland white supremacist allegedly killed two men trying to stop his racist harassment of teens on a train. 

Brent is partly correct. The Left aren’t always pacifists.

In the 1930s, Vancouver workers joined the Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion to fight the fascist Franco regime in Spain. My grandparents' generation went to war against Nazis. On the streets of Canadian cities, I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with other anti-racists, ready to to prevent neo-Nazis from marching and committing organized violence in the community.

That’s the biggest threat today, and the Left will keep confronting it.

Garth Mullins is a broadcaster, activist, writer, musician and trade unionist. He’s at www.garthmullins.com or @garthmullins.