Domestic Terrorism Ignored

“Today is 6/14, a day that should live in infamy,” wrote Rabbi Jonathan Gross last Tuesday. June 14 marked five years since the attempt at “the largest-scale political assassination in our nation’s history,” when “a Democrat tried to murder dozens of Republican Congressmen as they innocently gathered to play baseball at a field just outside the nation’s capital.” 

The Democrat was James Hodgkinson, 66, a follower of Bernie Sanders. Hodgkinson “succeeded in seriously injuring Rep. Steve Scalise and three others, including two police officers before brave law enforcement officials stopped him and saved the rule of law.” 

According to Gross, who is also a civil rights attorney, this was “an actual domestic terror attack carried out by a Democrat.” That is not the only reason the establishment media and the federal government kept rather quiet on the five-year anniversary. 

Hodgkinson’s social media record bristled with hatred of President Trump and Republicans. He planned the attack for months, casing the Alexandria, Virginia baseball field where the representatives practiced. 

Hodgkinson deployed a Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol and an SKS automatic rifle, a precursor to the Soviet AK-47 that uses the same 7.62 cartridge. The SKS rifle had been legally purchased, but altered to accept a detachable magazine and folding stock. Before opening fire, Hodgkinson asked if the players on the field were Democrats or Republicans. 

Hodgkinson fired at least 70 rounds, seriously wounding then-House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and three others. Capitol Police officers David Bailey and Crystal Griner returned fire, and Griner took a bullet in the ankle. Alexandria police officers wounded Hodgkinson, who later died in the hospital. The FBI ruled Hodgkinson’s attack a case of “suicide by cop,” a surprise to Scalise, who nearly died. 

“I was shot by a deranged Leftist who came to the baseball field with a list of Congressional Republicans to kill,” Scalise tweeted. “This was NOT ‘suicide by cop.’ End of story.” For Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), present at the scene on June 14, 2017, the official designation defied the facts of the case. Hodgkinson had murderous intent, was heavily armed, and sought cover during the shooting. 

Representatives Jackie Speier (D-Calif.)—shot five times at Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978—and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), agreed with Wentstrup’s concerns over the “suicide by cop” designation. As Wenstrup noted, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence both classified the shooting as “domestic violent extremism.” 

The establishment media, normally attentive to key anniversaries, declined to recall what was clearly an act of domestic terrorism. Politicians did not cite the attack as an example of “gun violence” or call for hearings on “assault weapons.” The White House issued no statement, which recalls Joe Biden’s response to one of the worst mass shootings in recent times. 

On November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, Texas, U.S. Army major Nidal Hasan gunned down 13 unarmed American soldiers and wounded more than 30 others. President Barack Obama called it “workplace violence,” not even “gun violence.” For Vice President Joe Biden, the soldiers only “fell” in what was a “senseless tragedy.” As vice president, Biden would have instant access to the best information but he mentioned not a single murder victim, including Pvt. Francheska Velez. 

She was pregnant and pleaded, “my baby, my baby!” before Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, shot her dead. There is no record of Joe Biden or President Obama ever speaking her name, attending her funeral, or meeting with family members of the murder victim. Hasan shot African American Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford seven times, but nothing from Biden on any possible racist motivation of Major Hasan. 

In 2015, Vice President Biden showed little if any sympathy for victims of a mass murder in San Bernardino, California, when Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and wounded more than 20. The dead included immigrants, Hispanics, and African Americans, but the vice president issued no statement on the shooters’ possible motive.  

Under the Biden Administration, parents who object to the racist indoctrination of their children are branded as “domestic terrorists.” Anyone less than worshipful of the Delaware Democrat, or who dares question the 2020 election, is a violent extremist. 

As Roger Kimball notes, the FBI has become the administration’s geheim Staatspolizei, arresting Trump advisor Peter Navarro. FBI agents slapped the 72-year-old man in handcuffs and leg irons and threw him into a cell once occupied by John Hinkley, who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981. On June 15, one day after the Hodgkinson attack anniversary, Hinckley walked free.

Now 67, Hinckley was ruled not guilty of the assassination attempt by reason of insanity and confined to a mental hospital. Hinckley also shot White House press secretary James Brady, who suffered long-term damage from the shooting. Brady’s death in 2014 was ruled a homicide, but federal officials brought no additional charges against Hinckley. He was released to his mother’s home in 2016 and is now free to go. 

“A big thank you to everyone who helped me get my unconditional release,” Hinckley wrote on June 1. Nothing about any regrets for shooting President Reagan, James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a Washington police officer.  “Now it’s time to rock and roll,” writes the allegedly insane shooter, looking forward to a July concert in Brooklyn. 

In these conditions, when criminals become celebrities, it’s no surprise that media and government failed to recall James Hodgkinson’s attempt at mass assassination. Both Hinckley and Hodgkinson escaped notice of the FBI, which became involved only after the fact. In similar style, the FBI failed to prevent the domestic terrorist attacks at Fort Hood, San Bernardino, and Orlando. 

Before that, the FBI, CIA and the entire intelligence community failed to prevent the massive terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. In 2022 and moving forward, it’s all about memory against forgetting. 

About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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