David Simon: “Whatever resentments were in the shooter’s head, the US President stood ready to bolster and validate it.”

This afternoon, a white male gunman outfitted with a shotgun and several smoke grenades, walked into the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, and began firing. By the time he was taken into custody by the police, five people were dead, and many more were seriously injured. The man arrested by police has since been identified as Jarrod W. Ramos. From what little information is publicly available, it appears as though Ramos had filed an unsuccessful defamation case against the paper in 2012, after a story ran about his having been arrested for harassing a woman that he’d attended high school with several years previously.

While it’s unclear at this point whether or not the shooter may have been influenced by recent statements made by prominent Republicans about the press, it would appear from his twitter account that Ramos, at least on one occasion, sided with Donald Trump against the press. It would also appear that Ramos has a long history of projecting violence, referring to himself, among other things, as someone who is “making corpses of corrupt careers and corporate entities.” [As an aside, one wonders how a man with a history of stalking, and a harassment conviction, was able to obtain a firearm. I guess we have the NRA to thank for that.]

While I suspect it’s unlikely that a definitive link can be proven, I think it’s worth noting that today’s murders happened just two days after white nationalist provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was quoted in the Observer as saying, “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.” And, of course, all of this is happening against the backdrop of the Trump administration, where it’s not uncommon to see the President of the United States tweeting out messages to his rabid base referring to journalists as “the enemy of the American people.”

Whether or not the shooter was influenced by the heightened, violent rhetoric of the Trumpist right, I think would be impossible to argue that what we’re seeing from the administration it’s helpful. As journalist David Simon, who lost two friends in today’s shooting, just said, “Whatever resentments were in the shooter’s head, the US President stood ready to bolster and validate it.”

And maybe this is why, when asked about the today’s murders by members of the press, Donald Trump chose to ignore them and just keep walking. [Believe me, if it had been a Muslim terrorist, he would have offered an opinion.]

Oh, for what it’s worth, some seem to think today’s murders might be tied not to the rhetoric of the anti-free press right, but the “incivility” of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who, a few days ago, called for her fellow Americans to continue the nonviolent public harassment of Trump officials in public. Here’s a quote from Fox News propagandist Sean Hannity.

So, just to sum up… Two days ago, Trump supporter Milo Yiannopoulos was quoted in the Observer as saying, “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.” And, today, with five journalists having been murdered outside of DC, Sean Hannity had the audacity to blame not Yiannopoulos, or Donald Trump, who has referred to journalists as “enemies of the people,” but the incivility of Maxine Waters, who said that American citizens were within their rights to publicly challenge the Republicans responsible for separating infant immigrants from their families along the southern border. If you’re looking for an example to sum up the insanity of our times, this is it.

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54 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    For the good of all humanity, we deserve to be wiped off the face of the earth.

  2. iRobert
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see if Trunp tones down the threatening comments toward the press.

  3. Kim
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    At the very least, I’d say the president emboldens those who, in earlier times, would have felt social pressure to confirm and keep quiet about their anti-social beliefs.

  4. iRobert
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    The suspect has been threatening people for many years. He bought the shotgun within the past 18 months.

  5. Sad
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Remember how things started in Rwanda?

    Our we moving towards genncide or civil war?

    What if someone attacked Trump and the found out he read MM?

  6. Iron Lung
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I am sure that American right wingers are unfazed by the event. It will be interesting to see if violent attacks on press outlets increase.

    Even if that happens, it is doubtful that American right wingers will care, after all “they asked for it.”

  7. M
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    You forgot to include this link.

    http://markmaynard.com/2017/05/on-the-eve-of-montanas-special-election-the-republican-candidate-tech-millionaire-greg-gianforte-assaults-a-journalist-on-tape-throwing-him-to-the-ground-and-breaking-his-glasses/

  8. Lynne
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    That whole thing with Maxine Waters really pisses me off. It is sooo clear that what people are upset about is that she is calling for them to be treated in the same way they have treated others for a long time. There is absolutely NO WAY one can be critical of her comments without also being even more critical of Trump without being a hypocrite. Not that that stops these a-holes.

  9. Sad
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I guess we’re giving up on the whole when they go low we go high thing?

  10. Eel
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Circumstances have forced the President to say that journalists shouldn’t be murdered.

    President Trump: “Journalists —like all Americans — should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job.”

  11. Anonymous
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Honest Abe to David Simon: Hey asshole in case you didn’t notice and can’t count this guy started stalking this newspaper when Obama was in office.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    David Simon to Honest Abe: Hello to the 67th meme-sucking whore to bring this weak shit to the plate: No, fuckmuzzle, he bickered with the newspaper for 7 years, stalked no one, then picked up a gun after US president declared reporters enemies of America. Context just fucked you in the ass, Abraham.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Hard (and unwise) to be civilized aka take the high road when civilization itself is at risk.

    This turn the other cheek deal has its limits. I’m not crazy with ad hominem attacks but when confronting racism, so long as it’s backed up, if the shoe fits, throw it.

    We have entered a world where critique is seen as abuse. Disagreement is impolite. I think we need to redefine what being civil means for the Trump era.

    I remember when a woman was regularly criticizing me in front of my kid. I put up with it for the sake of civility. Also I knew my kid could discern truth from resentment. When I finally fought back, and told my daughter apologetically, worried that I had increased tensions, she expressed relief. ‘It’s about time!’ It’s really hard to know when to stand up to bullies. It’s inevitable that one will be called one.

    To each his own on that.

    PS remember when Occupy was called uncivilized too?

  14. Shannon Watts by proxy
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    .@NRA’s Dana Loesch in 2016: Reporters are the “rat-bastards of the Earth” who should be “curb-stomped.”

    https://twitter.com/shannonrwatts/status/1012710340713328642?s=21

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    For those interested in civilized protest a bit closer to home tomorrow, below are the details of tomorrow’s Families Belong Together— and Free protest on the diag in Ann Arbor.

    Full Schedule of Rally Events and Speakers:

    10AM-12PM ACTION TABLES
    Representatives from WICIR, WICIR Teen Group, Michigan Student Power Network, the League of Women Voters, and St. Mary Student Parish will be on hand to help people with the following actions:
    1) Learn more about the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and the work to represent children and adults in removal proceedings that your donations will help support
    2) Write postcards to Rebecca Adducci protesting ICE abuses in SE Michigan
    3) Learn how to get your Washtenaw County ID and how and where to use it
    4) Register to vote and make a plan to vote in upcoming elections

    10:30AM MUSIC
    -Joan Belgrave, Grammy Nominated Jazz Vocalist, and Member of the Motown Legends Gospel Choir and widow of Detroit Jazz Master and Motown Funk Brother, Marcus Belgrave
    -Thunder Chicken (Randy Tessier, Kim French, and Patrick Little)

    11AM: FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER–AND FREE! RALLY
    Conan Smith, Washtenaw County Commissioner, MC

    Speakers:
    -Rebeca Ontiveros-Chavez and Sarah Schoettle, Attorneys at Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC)
    -Irene Butter, Holocaust survivor and public speaker
    -Debbie Dingell, Congresswoman
    -Javier Contreras-Uribe, led the fight to get driver licenses for DACA recipients
    -Dr. Maricela Castillo-Mackenzie (tentative), family medicine doctor providing primary care for underserved patients and the Hispanic community
    -Linh Song, led an anti-trafficking into adoption organization, daughter of refugees
    -Debra Ehrmann, Vice President for Community Development at Centro Multicultural La Familia, Inc, in Pontiac, MI
    -Dr. Ahmad Zubairi, Muslim community leader and psychiatrist
    -Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware, Pastor, The Church of the Good Shepherd, United Church of Christ
    -Dr. Rebekah Diamond, pediatrician at Michigan Medicine
    -Melanie, WICIR co-founder, and Daphne, WICIR teen group member

    Sign-making Resources:
    Posters to download and print from MoveOn: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/18srQ1bvJ4biedZDzyutLEgjQABaK5FxQ
    Posters to download and print from Kelly White:
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1bnvhGFZ5q6Nq7tZyFIgQ8CQKy-IAybPe

    Chants:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OkrRW4kKZnSanAITy8wQwu9KjgsgIed4_ExuMIg5F_0/edit

    Snapchat users should keep an eye out for a snap filter, which we’ll make available soon.

    Reminders for Saturday:
    -Wear White
    -Bring Water (for yourself and others)
    -Bring Sun Protection (sunscreen, wide-brim hats, tightly-woven but loose-fitting clothes)
    -Don’t Try to Sell Anything or Collect Donations On-Site

    Accessibility Update
    -See the previous update for notes about accessing the site if you have limited mobility.
    -We have been trying to enlist the services of a certified ASL interpreter, and may have more options if there is an actual request for this service from people who plan to attend. If you require ASL interpretation, please let us know, and we’ll be more likely to be able to provide it.

    See you tomorrow!

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    For SAD re civility– https://www.facebook.com/theRoot/videos/186400518682412/

  17. Sad
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    So members of the administration can be heckled and treated poorly but supporters of Trump are good people we should be friendly with? It’s all vert complicated.

    I’m rereading about Rwanda and before the genocide we need the civil war to start. So there’s still time. Although we don’t seem to be going in the right direction.

  18. Iron Lung 2
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    “So members of the administration can be heckled and treated poorly but supporters of Trump are good people we should be friendly with?”

    No. People who voted for Trump voted for white supremacy. Being friendly with them will not change that essential fact. To me, they are the enemy. I could give fuck all if they help me out of a ditch.

    Confront them and heckle them wherever they are found just like you would before 1964.

  19. Iron Lung 2
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Civility is pointless when talking of issues of simple human rights. The racists and the xenophobic will hijack the good intentions of the middle of the roaders.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    No it’s not at all complicated. The people in power should be held accountable to their actions, no matter what party. The people who supported them, assuming they aren’t outright assholes, deserve our honesty but not our derision.

    That’s so basic as to be unbelievable to me.

    Refusing to serve someone because they were born gay or in a different country or have a different skin color is bigotry based on things beyond their control. Refusing to serve someone who chooses to be an asshole, either in the establishment, or by means of exerting their power, is a whole other ball game.

    People in power (any kind of power) should expect blowback.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    SAD– the USA is not fucking Rwanda. The USA has committed systematic genocide before and maintained all appearances of civility away from their evil actions.

    That may be the dumbest comparison I’ve ever heard.

    IL and I disagree about Trump voters. I think white liberals and white radicals are equally stupid and vulnerable to bullshit. It’s just the Trump voter’s guy is in power now.

    I will admit that the stakes are growing every higher, but I still reserve my harshest judgment for those who hold power, whether political, or economic, or cultural.

  22. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I do believe in the confrontation of outright racists, especially when engaging in political action or being aggressive with anyone. But very few Trump supporters qualify as outright racists, and I think, for the sake of preventing their slide over to that camp (is for the sake of treating them humanely, so they may remain humane), it’s worth treating them with basic human dignity.

    But I’m one of those odd people who think that being honest but kind with people (rather than diplomatic ie just politely tolerant) is the only way to treat them with true dignity and respect.

  23. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Harassing individuals is counterproductive.

  24. Iron Lung 2
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    “Harassing individuals is counterproductive.”

    Non-productive, maybe, but what Trump supporters are advocating for (whether they know it or not) is ethnic cleansing. Given that, I disagree that it is counter-productive. Simply being nice and listening to their reprehensible views will not make what they are supporting any less vile.

    Note that in previous contexts where ethnic cleansing occurred, most people merely followed along, voting where their anxieties lied, creating the Holocaust, Rwanda, Yugoslavias of the world. People should have called them out earlier. People are going to say “it can’t happen here” but history has shown that it can and that it is your nice uncle worried about paying the rent who let it happen.

    So no, fuck Trump voters. History tells us that they need to be harrassed wherever they are.

  25. Iron Lung 2
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    “I think white liberals and white radicals are equally stupid and vulnerable to bullshit. ”

    I do not disagree with this.

  26. Iron Lung 2
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    “the USA is not fucking Rwanda. ”

    Kind of an appropriate comparison, Jean. It can happen here.

  27. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    What percentage of Trump supporters do you think are advocating for ethnic cleansing?

  28. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    People can only receive information when they are ready.

    Re Rwanda, my point was not that our democracy could never devolve into a state of civil war and sectarian violence and atrocity. My point was that genocide can happen without anarchy. It can happen within the bounds of civilization and even with maintaining civilization as its excuse.

    SAD was saying that gencisde cant happen until civil war begins. And that’s patently untrue.

  29. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Genocide, as defined by the UN convention, is happening right now in America because families are being separated and children are being imprisoned and deprived of adequate medical care and legal representation and housing..

    Mass incarceration of POC may also qualify. I have to think about that.

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    FF– the Muslim travel ban, the Brown family separations, the rhetoric of abuse towards brown black and Muslim people, the doubling down on executive authority– how is that not all steps towards ethnic cleansing.

    You can justify it all you want, but it is disproportionately being applied to people based on race and ethnic and religious identity. And that’s the tell my friend, plus the construction of many many permanent detention centers.

    You are too smart too ignore all this.

    Very few people intend to commit genocide. And yet it happens. And people go along with it.

  31. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Without proving an intent to damage/ destroy an ethnic group you do not have genocide. Otherwise, according to your re-definition, any separation of any child from parent, from any ethnic group, would be a clear-cut case of genocide.

    80% of the population hears you guys say Trump supporters advocate genocide and/or ethnic cleansing and they think you are a couple of weirdos. This is where more of the counter-productivity comes in…

  32. Sad
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    It’s really an inconvenient time for genocide. We’re going up north camping and we’ve got a family get together in August.

    Could we get back to all this in September?

    PS – I was referring to a more brutal genocide ie Rwanda – house to house killings etc. it seems that would be more easily accomplished in the midst of an armed conflict such as a civil war. I suppose every genocide is unique – Maybe our first step will be the separation of families etc. I just wondered if the accosting of political leaders might lead to the accosting of supporters and that might escalate things. I’ve never experienced authoritarian government or genocide so it’s hard to judge.

  33. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Oops. Sorry Jean. I just realized it was not fair to say that you are attributing intent to genocide to Trump supporters but to Trump himself and his policies. Although not as counter-productive, I still see this stance as weirdly extreme.

  34. John Brown
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Trump, NRA and the media hate mongers are domestic terrorist. A civil war is looking like a least worse option. Get some appropriate skills, network with people who already have skills, while working hard on the election.

  35. Sad
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    What skills are genocide and civil war appropriate?

  36. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    FF– I dont believe Trump has intent to commit genocide. I don’t think he knows more than the average citizen, maybe even less, about the lessons of history, democratic values, the law, any of it. I think he’s a natural autocrat. I think he’s racist and is following that thinking to its logical conclusions. The only difference between his level of understanding and that of his supporters is that he has power. And that’s enough.

    Also please don’t forget the attacks on the Free Press as a very basic part of asserting authoritarian rule and enabling genocide.

    Sad– please dont conflate John Brown’s calls to arms (or readiness to arms) with anyone else’s position. That would be intellectually far too convenient for you.

    SAD–Your defense of civility requires a definition of civility. Please provide.

    When confronted with outright racism or acts that enable and perpetuate structural racism, what is the appropriate civil way to address that?

    And please distinguish between how those directly threatened should respond and how bystanders should respond, if you see any difference.

    And then please explain why you see any difference in how they should respond– with whatever constitutes civility in your mind.

  37. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I remember talking to my son about Democracy and why it’s fragile. He asked who were the first totalitarians, the first absolute rulers. I had to explain that autocracy and absolute rule are the norm for human governance, and Democracy, in all its forms, is new. It is easy, without great vigilance, to slip from democracy into autocracy. We seemed to have forgotten these lessons and now take our democracy for granted.

    And explaining this very basic concept (that a 12 year old can understand) requires one to talk about history which makes everyone yawn and then sigh and say, ugh, I don’t want to learn, much less think, about the lessons of hustory. I just want to be mad AT someone who I hold responsible instead of about something that is also my responsibility to protect..

  38. Sad
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I never defended civility.

    It was someone she’s who expected or wanted Trump to behave in a civil manner ie stop separating families, insulting people and the press, lying etc.

    Like the video showed it was Michelle Obama who wanted civility. Maybe that’s what her book will be about. You can probably preorder it on Amazon.

    I’m just trying to gauge how fast things are spinning out of control.

  39. Sad
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Someone else

  40. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Sad– From now on I am going to take your rhetorical questions and turn them back on you. I’m asking you to take a position here, not just snark at various positions from the sidelines.

    I get and can even appreciate that position at less intensely dangerous times. But right now, I think it’s worth asking people to take a clear and well supported position.

    To judge others without having the balls to take a stance is really very lame.

  41. Sad
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I wish I had a position.

    It’s all too confusing. That’s why I’m Sad.

    I do appreciate your appeal to patriarchy though, only someone with balls could have a valid opinion?

  42. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I consider ovaries balls too.
    Basically the same deal; just inside. Variation on a theme; not as much fun when the eggs release.

    I know this may confuse you further but I don’t confuse gendered words with gender bias, much less gender based violence.

    I was a comparative literature major. I can perform that analysis if you’d like, but I don’t confuse that with activism or advocacy.

    Crazy right?

  43. Jean Henry
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    It may come as some surprise that a loud and proud feminist has actually thought these issues through and isn’t just reacting to things that upset her.

    I mean what if feminism was logical?

    Crazy bitches might actually be onto something and not just out busting balls because they’re ugly and angry at men.

  44. Jcp2
    Posted June 30, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    L’etat, est moi kind of sucks when the moi behaves like an absentee authoritarian abusive father.

  45. Lynne
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    I thought this video was a good response to the “what about democrats claiming to go high?” question.

    https://thegrapevine.theroot.com/judge-of-characters-we-gotta-be-civil-for-what-to-thes-1827250185

  46. Sad
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    HW gets all his info from wherever and the rest of You get your information from the Roots? That’s the second time that has been shared. Is that really that profound?

    If we see the old lady who lives down the street with her Trump sign in the window at the Dairy Wueen can we go up to her and berate her? Gather around her and shout shame? Knock the Blizzard from her hands?

    Is it time for us to have some ovaries in regards to confronting our fellow citizens who support this madman?

  47. Jean Henry
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Sad— please note I have never supported derision of trump voters unless Racist, but I certainly support the right of people, who perceive his presidency as a direct threat to their safety and security and hard one civil rights, to exercise their right to free speech in anyway they see fit. The Root is a black American run journalism website with great credibility. Why don’t you write to them and tell them how you believe people of color should properly respond to the Trump presidency?

  48. Sad
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I don’t know how they should respond.

    I thought Kanye had that covered?

    That man is a genius. White liberals can’t handle his deep insight.

  49. Sad
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Alright – the War has started. In Portland of all places.

    https://youtu.be/qBst3N9tF6g

  50. Lynne
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Sad, You may want to note that Maxine Waters never suggested that anyone berate Trump *voters* but rather was talking about those who work in his administration and even then she is talking about high level appointees like cabinet members. She wants people to call them out.

    And yes, that video is that profound.

  51. Salon
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    “Accused Annapolis shooter Jarrod Ramos had dark links to the alt-right”

    https://www.salon.com/2018/06/30/exclusive-accused-annapolis-shooter-had-deep-dark-links-to-the-alt-right/

  52. Ann Coulter just blamed Face Book
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    @AnnCoulter

    Capital Gazette shooting is MUCH more closely related to Facebook dedicating all its resources to purging all conservative thought from its platform, instead of reporting dangerous psychotics.

  53. M
    Posted July 3, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    It get’s better. The hypnosis tapes are fascinating, as is the interview with Geneva White. While I’d heard of these things, I’d never heard the tapes.

  54. iRobert
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    M

    I don’t like the folks who produce this stuff. They’re real yahoos who don’t know where to go for the story. It makes far more sense to talk to cops in other jurisdictions who have experience dealing with organized crime syndicates and contract hits.

    These podcasters are running out of episodes to get down to the nitty gritty. I hope they get to it, and stop playing with their audience, like this thing was ever really much of a mystery.

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