Beliefnet
At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

As of this writing, it has been a little more than a week since Stephen Paddock opened fired on some 22,000 attendees at a country music concert in Las Vegas, murdering 58 and hospitalizing over 500 more.

Shortly before Paddock began spraying the crowd with bullets, those in attendance were waving American flags while singing “God Bless America.”

Had an impartial spectator not known better, he could be forgiven for confusing this event with a Trump rally.

And this is the point:

While the public has not yet been made privy to any information regarding Paddock’s subjective intentions on the evening that his name became synonymous with evil, there is one basic fact on which partisans from across the political spectrum seem to be in total agreement.  Whether Paddock—like Democrat mass shooter and Bernie Sanders supporter, James Hodgkinson, who deliberately and methodically attempted to assassinate Republican Congress members on a Virginia baseball field a few months back—meant to slaughter Republican voters, he did in point of fact slaughter people who, undoubtedly, were predominantly Republican voters.

They were Red Staters, Deplorables, who came under attack in Vegas.

That the Democratic left understood this was gotten readily enough from the remarks made by any number of commentators, from CNN to CBS.  On social media, leftists tweeted expressions of joy over the fact that likely Trump supporters were targeted, and a CBS legal executive wrote on Facebook that she had no sympathy with the victims because of their political affiliation.

To be sure, the predominantly (though not exclusively) white men and women who sported American attire, paid homage to veterans, and sang “God Bless America;” those young men who saw their girlfriends to safety, refused to leave the sides of the wounded, dove in front of young ladies, total strangers, to shield them from the gunfire that Paddock was raining down upon them, and who ran back into the thick of battle to help others—those who one writer recently described as “the people who make America great”—never attended a Black Lives Matter event.

They never tried to shut down speakers with whom they disagree, never shouted, “F**k the Police!” or covered their faces in masks while assaulting those who they accused of being “racists” and “fascists.”

The men and women at that country music concert in Vegas would be neither interested in attending nor welcomed at the Democratic National Convention.

They don’t read The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Slate, or The Huffington Post.

They don’t watch CNN or MSNBC.

And you can take it to the bank that they wouldn’t remotely think of burning the American flag, much less do it.

They would never “take a knee” during the playing of the national anthem.

Much less would they take to the streets and march under the banner of the Hammer and Sickle, the symbol of one of history’s deadliest ideologies.

These are the people who scumbag extraordinaire Stephen Paddock decided he was going to massacre.

Telling indeed has been the readiness of left-leaning commentators to steer the narrative over “the largest mass shooting in American history” away from this bedrock fact.  Leftists, rather, don’t want for their ideology and party to in any way be linked to a despicable excuse-for-a-man that is responsible for conducting a historically unprecedented mass shooting.

However, Paddock’s subjective intentions notwithstanding—whether he was an ISIS terrorist, a madman in search of notoriety, a victim suffering from a brain tumor or “mental illness,” a Russian agent deployed by the Kremlin, or a radicalized recruit to the anti-Trump “Resistance”—the left in D.C., the national media, academia, and Hollywood cannot sever their toxic rhetoric from the Las Vegas mass massacre.

Those on the left (and even a number of people who are not doctrinaire leftists) are forever insisting that if contemporary human acts and events are to be understood, it is intellectually and morally shallow to treat them independently of the larger historical-cultural contexts in which they transpire.  We hear this refrain most commonly when it comes to race-related events.  So, astronomical rates of black criminality, say, or equally scandalous rates of illegitimacy among black Americans are routinely explained in terms of events—like slavery—that occurred centuries ago.

Sometimes, events like riots in Baltimore or Ferguson are depicted as a response to the “oppression” to which the rioters are said to be subjected, and this contemporary oppression is fitted into a narrative of oppression that extends back centuries.

However, in this case, the politically inconvenient nature of the demographic that was targeted renders consideration of context unnecessary for the usual suspects.  Yet the context here is indeed explanatory, and the narrative within which this shooting occurred is eminently more plausible than such narratives as “the legacy of slavery,” “the patriarchy,” and other left-wing tales.

The narrative within which Stephen Paddock must be located is that of a culture of sheer, poisonous hatred of all things Trump—including and especially his supporters. Democratic politicians, their apologists in the Fake News media, their donors among Hollywood entertainers, the academics that develop the intellectual scaffolding for their policies, the late-night buffoons that mock their opponents, and the leftist street thugs that are the strong-arm wing of their “Resistance” movement—all have spent nearly the last two years subjecting Trump and his supporters to a campaign of demonization, of dehumanization.

Trump supporters—men; women; young teens; the elderly; and veterans—have been ridiculed, harassed, written off as “deplorables”; and beaten with a wide range of weaponry.  Antifa (“Antifascist”) groups have obtained guns.  In June, this environment of hatred and violence boiled over onto a baseball field in Virginia when fanatical leftist and avid MSNBC consumer Hodgkinson went hunting for Republican members of Congress.

Again, Stephen Paddock may not have gunned down likely Trump supporters because they were Trump supporters. Or maybe this is exactly why he selected the target that he did. In any event, it is intellectually dishonest to assess this mass shooting in isolation from the anti-Trump violence and incendiary rhetoric that the Democrats and their “Resistance” have been purveying for the last two years.

 

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