On June 5, 1968, a deranged 25-year-old Jordanian named Sirhan Sirhan slithered through a crowd toward Sen. Robert Kennedy as the Democratic presidential candidate basked in the glow of his California presidential primary triumph. Sirhan shot and killed Kennedy, wounding several others. The ensuing investigation showed that Sirhan was a raging anti-Semite who’d become fixated on Senator Kennedy because of the latter’s support for Israel.
Two people profoundly impressed by the assassination were the terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. In 1974, they dedicated their own communist manifesto, Prairie Fire, to Sirhan, hailing him — among a cast of violent radicals — as a courageous political prisoner. In the book itself, they and the rest of the Weathermen went on to identify themselves proudly as “communist women and communist men underground in the United States” who were determined to lead a violent leftist revolution — a “fight [to] seize power and build the new society.” Their rhetoric, their heedless dehumanization of those they maligned as ideological “enemies,” was coupled with acts of horrific violence, including a plot to mass-murder U.S. soldiers in Fort Dix, a plot that went awry when the nail bomb accidentally exploded during construction, killing some of the terrorists.
This history is one the modern Left, in which Ayers and Dohrn remain icons, would rather you’d forget today. Today, instead, is for politicizing the wanton savagery of another deranged radical, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, who stunned the nation by slithering through a Tucson crowd and unleashing a 31-shot fusillade, gravely wounding his primary target, Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. In the spree, Loughner also killed six people: nine-year-old Christina Green; three elderly Arizonans, Dorothy Morris, Dorwin Stoddard, and Phyllis Schneck; John M. Roll, Arizona’s chief federal district judge; and Gabriel Zimmerman, an aide to Representative Giffords. Two other legislative aides, Pamela Simon and Ron Barber, were wounded.
Already, we have learned a great deal about the assassin. He is a deeply disturbed pot-head. In order to give meaning to the addling emptiness of his life, he turned to the anti-Semitic rants of Adolph Hitler, Marx’s Communist Manifesto, the occult, and what appears to have been an obsession with Representative Giffords, a Jewish congresswoman and supporter of Israel. Some acquaintances and schoolmates who’d endured his tirades over the years predicted he’d come to an end just like this.
Nevertheless, the instantaneous reaction of the hard Left, President Obama’s base, was to politicize the Tucson atrocity as a natural, an inevitable, result of conservative ideology, enthusiasm for immigration-law enforcement and gun ownership by law-abiding Americans, and dissent from Obama’s policies — Giffords, a centrist Democrat (indeed, a former Republican) having supported Obamacare and amnesty for illegal aliens.