Make no mistake: The far-right always politicizes mass shootings

If there’s one refrain ardent supporters of gun control laws are tired of hearing after a mass shooting, it’s that it’s too soon to talk about legislation.

“You’re politicizing the tragedy,” has become the commonplace response from conservative politicians and their supporters who don’t want any gun control action to address America’s mass shooting epidemic. Here’s Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) today after 17 of his constituents were killed.

It’s an issue the right gets extremely defensive about. You can’t talk about gun control after a mass shooting. The Daily Caller, a far-right website, was furious at Democrats for even bringing it up.

But there’s always a swarm of far-right supporters—voters and online trolls alike—who are quick to politicizing a tragedy, tying it to whatever current issue can whip up a frenzy.

After the name of the Parkland shooter was revealed to be Nikolaz Cruz, he was accused by the far-right of being a Dreamer—one of the children of undocumented immigrants whose future in this country Congress is currently debating, as necessitated by the president.

https://twitter.com/SenatorBrittain/status/963903494875852800

When President Trump tweeted this morning about kids reporting their classmates to solve mass shootings, he threaded it to a tweet about DACA.

Mistake or not, it was there.

In the past six months, those on the far-right have attempted, immediately, to tie every mass shooting to the left-wing group antifa, which they believe to be a terrorist organization. Wednesday was no different.

parkland bapartofmylife/Twitter

 

parkland ConservativeMomUSA/Twitter

It was the third time that online communities jumped on a mass shooting and painted the killer as antifa. After the Vegas shooting, the far-right attempted to brand that shooter as a member of the organization before his name was even revealed. When a man shot up a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a similar movement cropped up online.

These hoaxes have persisted, often pushed repeatedly before a name of the shooter is ever released. And it ignores the overarching narrative that most mass shootings don’t have political motives—except the ones falsely assigned to them on the right.

That doesn’t stop the immediate and inaccurate smears.

When it was revealed the FBI had investigated a comment Cruz made on YouTube, somehow it got looped into an anti-Trump conspiracy.

And while Democrats do lobby for gun control after shootings, the right is there pulling for the polar opposite: less gun-free zones.

https://twitter.com/SenatorBrittain/status/963875493110956032

https://twitter.com/SparkleSoup45/status/963905099197186049

The truth is that it’s never too early to politicize a tragedy. Both sides do it. It’s just that there are some things that those on the right are unwilling to hear.

David Covucci

David Covucci

David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]