This is a question that has now spread from Twitter to blogs and online news sites, based on observations from his neighbors and a Trump/Pence sign that is in his yard. Is that even a fair question for people to be asking right now?
Scott Michael Green has been identified as the suspect in the killings and is in police custody. He was arrested today and, one assumes, currently being questioned. Police have confirmed they were aware of him previously. On October 14th, he interacted with police after waving a confederate flag at high school basketball game and said his civil rights were violated when, he claims, someone stole the flag from him. He uploaded several videos to YouTube about the incident.
Now the white male is a suspect in the ambush and murder of two police officers, and social media is pondering whether he was a Trump supporter, based on an eyewitness neighbor stating they saw him put the Trump/Pence sign in his yard.
The outrage from Trump supporters over the question even being asked is very much an about face. This fairly typical interaction is a good example of why:
It would make more sense, because Hillary and BLM are anti-cops, Trump is pro-cops
— Piluso (@Piluso75) November 2, 2016
Classic case of two people being correct AND incorrect at the same time.
Yes, being a supporter of someone doesn’t make you a murderer, and a murderer supporting you doesn’t make you one either. This requires no explanation, yet it keeps coming up. It takes something in you, not something from without, to make you murder. The killers are responsible for their acts. They decided. They acted. They killed. They are responsible.
Also yes, if it were a BLM sign, the outraged Trump supporters would be the first to point to that fact. We know because it has already happened with every other cop killing during Trump’s campaign. They don’t even need a yard sign. If the person has even used the hashtag for Black Lives Matter, then BLM is named an accessory to the murder. Usually with the word “thugs” somewhere in the tweet.
Donald Trump himself has raised the question of whether cop killings aren’t somewhat the fault of both BLM and President Obama. So yes, absolutely they would consider the yard sign not only 100% relevant, but an absolute cause of the killing.
Also, the rejoineder above that “it would make sense” in the case of Black Lives Matter is just a rewritten version of the timeless liberal canard “well it’s different when we do it because it’s true.” It’s just a standard case of don’t do unto me as I do unto you.
Both are wrong that, in the case of the opposition, you can simply draw a line from who someone supports to why they kill. Both are right when they say such a line cannot be drawn in the case of their own particular ox.
As with Black Lives Matter or Islam or right wing beliefs or, yes, even Trump support, what hyper-partisans fail to acknowledge is that while you cannot blame murder on those influences, those influence do matter. They are influences. They are not irrelevant. Islam is not blameless in creating terrorists, even though it takes a certain type of evil person to commit terror. Calling for the deaths of police for the sake of vengeance or even justice is not immaterial when a person murders a police officer for vengeance or justice, even though it takes a certain kind of person to become a cop killer.
And a Trump sign is not irrelevant when a Trump supporter kills a representative of the corrupt and “rigged” government about which Trump endlessly rants. Rants that have non-trivial numbers of people talking seriously about revolution should he lose the election. Rants that have not insignificant numbers of people threatening violence even ahead of the Republican convention.
It’s not irrelevant, even though it takes a certain sick individual to gun down two police officers in cold blood. Also his background will be relevant, any history of mental illness, any prior criminal acts, any extreme religious views. It’s not irrelevant, even though it could have waited. Even though we know why the media was asking. Even though we know they won’t ask if someone was a Hillary supporter. Even though.
And of course, it will matter only if he was, in fact, any of things. If he was even a Trump supporter, which is something we do not actually know for a fact, no matter the ongoing tweet litigation taking over timelines. There could be many explanations. It could be nothing.
It’s a fair question, and a relevant one, but it’s not the main one. The main question is the one that, ultimately, we’ve never had an answer for. The one that no inquiry or investigation can ever satisfy, that no court room interaction or plea entered or time served can ever answer for anyone, least of all the family and friends who just lost their loved one.
Why did this happen? Why them? Why him? Why my son? Why my partner? Why my mother? Why my wife?
Just … why?
We don’t get an answer to that one. We get answers. But we don’t get An Answer. Not in this life.
Rest in peace, officers. You were loved. You will be missed.