Former GOP congressman: Kyle Kashuv's racist online posts remind me of something ... a school shooter would write

He’s an MSNBC contributor now, so. Yeah.

Via the Free Beacon, comparing the victim of a horrendous trauma to the person who perpetrated it is next-level even for cable news. When the victim happens to be all of 18 years old, it’s almost career-defining. The thing about this is that David Jolly isn’t making a rhetorical point about how obnoxious Kashuv’s postings were by comparing them to a shooter’s manifesto. He seems to be questioning earnestly whether Kashuv is a danger to society, wondering at one point if he should be allowed to purchase weapons under U.S. Ironically, the reason actual shooters who post racist screeds usually aren’t detected before they strike is that there is, regrettably, a lot of this garbage online. Police can’t find the homicidal needle in the haystack of trolls, cranks, racist ideologues, and other Internet detritus who, however obnoxious they might be, aren’t killers. If Jolly wants Kashuv to suffer social consequences for his racism, starting with rescission of his acceptance by Harvard, that’s fair. Stigmatizing him as the sort of person who might have murdered his now dead friends before someone else beat him to it is … less than fair.

“Self-righteousness untempered by humility makes a country cruel,” wrote David French yesterday about Harvard’s decision:

[C]an’t an educational institution understand that children are different from adults and that a truly enormous amount of growth can occur in a short amount of time — especially when that growth is spurred in part by enduring horrific trauma? Harvard has had the ability to watch Kyle more than virtually any other student in its freshman class. It’s seen him operate in the white-hot glare of public debate over one of the most contentious issues in American life. To the extent that any freshman is a known quantity, Kyle is known — and he’s known to presently conduct himself with unusual patience and dignity…

Let’s not pretend that Kyle is anything other than a victim of the culture wars. Had he not stepped forward after Parkland as a conservative spokesperson, he would be in no one’s crosshairs. He would have been allowed to make a mistake. At its heart, the attack on Kyle isn’t about making Harvard safe from racists. It’s not about protecting anyone. It’s about politics.

Numerous people noted yesterday that Kashuv isn’t the first student to have his acceptance revoked because of offensive Internet postings. I noted it myself in my own post about this; 10 students got the boot in 2017 when their own outre Facebook messages came to light. Kashuv wasn’t singled out for rescission because of his politics. But certainly French is right that he was singled out for scrutiny of his Internet postings by critics because of his politics. Try to imagine someone spelunking in the online archives of a random Parkland student who hadn’t taken an activist role after the shooting, hoping to find something to discredit him.

But whatever. Political hit or not, Kashuv wrote what he wrote, by his own admission. The reason to forgive him isn’t because he’s a conservative martyr whose scalp was taken by liberals, it’s because he appears to be sincerely remorseful. Jolly might have considered that if he wasn’t so eager to brand Kashuv the other would-be killer who attended Stoneman Douglas High. Watching him here, he seems to be straining to tailor his take on this to his “niche” in political media: He’s not just an MSNBC contributor, after all, he’s a relentless critic of the Trump-era GOP, having formally left the party last October. That is, I don’t think Jolly came to this incident with Kashuv “cold” and formulated his opinion from there. I think he came to it knowing that Kashuv had been embraced by the populist right for his gun-rights advocacy after the Parkland massacre and that, therefore, Kashuv was a low person to be given no quarter — or certainly not the amount that most contrite 18-year-olds might expect from an adult. That’s how we get from “Harvard was right to boot Kashuv” to “Kashuv might shoot up a school somewhere.”

Here’s Jolly followed by a new apology video Kashuv cut for the Daily Caller.