In the aftermath of a tragedy like this, both sides of the political aisle tend to rush to see whose team the shooter played for, which sometimes blinds us to the fact that the shooter is almost always a white male, oftentimes with a history of domestic violence, particularly violence against women. This time, it seems as though the shooter was a Bernie Sanders fan and anti-Trump posts were found on his social media feeds.
Another thing that happens after an event like this is the media's short-term attention span is fully on display. Suddenly, we're no longer talking about the recent spate of murders and assaults by white supremacists i.e. domestic terrorists. Rep. Chris Collins commented on the shooting: "I can only hope that Democrats tone down the rhetoric," which is rich coming from a member of a political party that repeatedly called for the incarceration of Hillary Clinton—a party that won (stole, if you like) the presidency by extending a hand to white nationalists and tolerating their genocidal rhetoric.
Let's remember Lt. Richard Colins III, who was murdered while waiting for a car with his friends. His suspected killer, Sean Urbanski, is a member of a racist Facebook group called Alt-Reich Nation.
Let's remember Ricky Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, both killed, and Micah Fletcher, nearly killed, when the three men stood up for two teenage girls as a white supremacist hurled racist and Islamophobic threats at them.
Let's remember Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian American in Kansas, killed in February by an attacker who had mistaken him as Iranian. The attacker yelled: “get out of my country” before firing.
Let's remember James Jackson, an elderly black man in NYC, who was killed by a white supremacist who traveled to the city with the mission of hunting black men.
Let's remember the other acts of hate too: the threats and vandalism against mosques, the Islamophobic marches, the humiliation of Muslim students by educators, the open calls for civil war against the Muslim community, and the official policies too: the Muslim ban and the forced deportations and detainment of undocumented immigrants.
Ezra Klein deservedly has received much mocking for his extremely-white-man tweet in the aftermath of the Congressional ballgame shooting that: "It's easy to forget what a blessing it is to live in a country where politics rarely leads to violence, and how fragile that blessing is."
Erm, since when does politics "rarely" lead to violence? The official policy of the government is usually violence against someone—normally a marginalized community atop which the foundation of the country is laid. See: Native Americans, black people, immigrants, etc. Right now, the Senate is debating stripping healthcare from 25 million people. Is that not an act of political violence? Right now, there are more black men in jail than there were enslaved in 1850. Isn't that violence? Our government routinely votes to strip resources from the poor to reallocate them to the wealthy. Surely, that is a form of violence too.
And then there's the government's utter ineptitude to do anything in the wake of a horrific tragedy. After Sandy Hook, many people thought that the brutal slaying of 20 children (babies, really) would finally, finally motivate the government to do something about gun violence. Granted, this was based on an assumption that the government doesn't care about black people systematically dying due to gun violence, but surely they would care about predominately white children from a well-to-do community dying in such a horrible fashion. But...crickets. Nothing. No change. Negligence is a form of violence too.
I would encourage everyone to keep in mind, as details continue to come out about Hodgkinson, that we know three things: white men with histories of domestic violence are bad for our society, angry men having easy access to guns is extremely dangerous, and political violence is very real, but it usually looks like the state and powerful people hurting the vulnerable: people of color, the poor, women, LGBT people, and immigrants.