Not all the details are known yet about what happened in Virginia, but a sickeningly familiar pattern is emerging in the assault: The sniper, James Hodgkinson, who was killed by Capitol Police officers, was surely deranged, and his derangement had found its fuel in politics. Mr. Hodgkinson was a Bernie Sanders supporter and campaign volunteer virulently opposed to President Trump. He posted many anti-Trump messages on social media, including one in March that said “Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, Jared Lee Loughner…
Having corrected their errors, the line about this being a “sickeningly familiar pattern” no longer makes any sense. There were only two data points in this pattern, Alexandria and Tucson. Now that Tucson does not fit the pattern (it never did but now the Times admits it) we’re left with is a “pattern” with only one data point: James Hodgkinson.
I believe the reason the Times editorial board introduced the subject of Tucson (as they misunderstood it) was to soften the blow for their progressive readers. If the Times was going to admit that a left-wing nut shot a congressman after mainlining Rachel Maddow, they wanted to at least spread the blame a bit. So in their published draft, the connection of Tucson to the right was a sure thing while the connection of Alexandria to the left was still a bit vague. Maybe, the editorial seemed to be saying, the left is now as bad as the right was six years ago.
Only, as the Times now admits, that’s not at all how it happened. There is no familiar pattern here and thus no way to spread the blame to more familiar political targets.