The Underwear Attacker

I often read the mainstream news sites. You can learn a lot about them from what they say. And you can learn as much from what they don’t say. I find it intriguing, for example, that the top (as of this writing) CNN, NBC, and ABC stories on the Paul Pelosi attack never mention one of the first things that anyone on the scene would have noticed: The assailant was dressed only in his underwear. Which is funny, because that particular oddity certainly stands out to me. Underwear attacker? You don’t see that every day.

For one thing, an assailant who has forgotten even to get dressed doesn’t exactly scream “premeditated political violence.” It doesn’t point to much forethought or indeed much thought at all. And while all the news stories dutifully repeat the claim that Underwear Man (real name, David DePape) was shouting “Where is Nancy?” as he struck his victim with a hammer, none of them report what Michael Schellenberger found out with a basic journalistic visit to DePape’s house: That DePape lives in Berkeley with a nudist girlfriend, a Black Lives Matter sign in the window, and an LGBT rainbow flag with a marijuana symbol hanging from a tree. Not quite your typical far-right extremist.

But San Francisco Police Chief William Scott says, “This was not a random act. This was intentional,” and all the news sites repeat it. David Frum, the idiot in the far-left Atlantic, went so far as to say “Paul Pelosi is the latest to play a blood price” for the GOP’s “cult of violence.” Really.

Though I obviously don’t believe this was a far-right attack, I’m also not one of those conspiracy guys who thinks DePape was sent by the FBI in a false-flag op. To me, the evidence is pretty obvious: If the FBI had recruited DePape, they would have bought him an expensive AR-15.

It sounds to me as though DePape is simply a deranged psychotic—one of those poor miscreants whom the mayor of San Francisco is so excited to have walking his streets. It’s not even clear whether DePape brought his own hammer: The police arrived on the scene so quickly that the attack was still in progress (which I’m sure is their totally average response time and in no way connected to the Pelosis’ political influence). They reported that Paul Pelosi and his assailant each had a hand on the hammer, and that DePape wrested the hammer from Pelosi after the police arrived. The police say they tackled the assailant immediately, but apparently not immediately enough to prevent DePape’s hitting Pelosi at least once.

If I were being cynical, I would demand the D.A. release DePape right away and without bail, as leftist prosecutors are fond of doing for violent offenders who attack unimportant, workaday Americans like you and me. But I am realistic enough to know that DePape won’t be going anywhere: If the media find they can credibly pretend he was a tool of the MAGA movement, he’ll get a showy trial. Otherwise, he’ll quietly spend the rest of his life in prison. Either way, you don’t just attack Nancy Pelosi’s chief stock-picker and get away with it.

Journalists and politicians would like you to believe that this is political violence so the story can be all about them: About how important they are and the special dangers they face. But we know that this isn’t political violence; it’s just violence. It is a story not about politicians but about Americans. Everyday danger, which has increased in all major cities Democrats control, has, ironically, come home to roost in a small way. 

Yet the lesson learned will deliberately be the wrong one, and won’t help ordinary citizens. I bet victims of violent crime who aren’t lucky enough to be married to a major political figure would also like the assurance of knowing their attackers are locked up and won’t be bothering them again. But it’s much easier to pretend Underwear Man was a right-wing hate-infused wannabe assassin: It’s just politics.

About Dan Gelernter

Dan Gelernter is a columnist for American Greatness living in Florida.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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