A lot of terms were used to describe the man that opened fire on Republicans members of Congress at their baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday. “Bernie Sanders supporter”, “left wing extremist”, “disturbed”, and “troubled” were the most common used by those investigating the matter, those who were among the targets and those who know the man. But I bet that if you asked that guy before he opened fire on that baseball field–and before he was killed by heroic Capitol Police at the scene–he would have told you that he was “a victim”.
I’m sure that the shooter was absolutely convinced that his lot in life–unemployed, living out of his van–was the fault of a “system rigged against him”. He had likely heard for years that everything that he didn’t have was “stolen from him” by corporations and the rich. His life would be so much better if the “1% were paying their fair share” and if “corporate loopholes were closed”. It was just a matter of time really, that this man would get fed up with this “oppression” and strike back at those whom had been blamed for creating and maintaining this “unjust system”.
But the Congressional baseball shooter is not alone in his victimhood. I’m sure the UPS driver that opened fire on his co-workers in San Francisco not long after the Virginia incident was a “victim” of some corporate structure that was making him work too hard, for too little pay and to “never get ahead”. And the guy that stabbed the two people to death on the Portland commuter train last month was a “victim” of some “government effort to flood the country with Muslim refugees to establish Sharia Law on white people”. Heck, we can even go back all the way to Columbine, where the school shooters were “victims of bullying and ostracization”.
You can’t create a culture of “victimhood” and then be shocked when people take up arms “against their oppressor”. In the wake of yesterday’s shootings, everybody on Capitol Hill was saying that “it was time to tone down the political rhetoric”. But honestly, how long do you think it will be before both they and the rest of us begin to point fingers again toward “the rich”, “those foreigners”, “that corporation”, “male privilege”, “the other kids” and “the Government” for our problems?