Not all radicals are the same

So when it comes to the bombing suspect, it is absolutely appropriate to explore this Trump-troll community, and it is absolutely appropriate to ask what role Trump’s rhetoric plays in terrible and often terrifying actions against Trump critics.

But not all radicals are the same. Based on the available evidence, it’s beyond a stretch to apply this same analysis to the Pittsburgh shooter. He wasn’t radicalized into the Trump-troll community but into the older, even darker world of anti-Semitism that predates Trump and will sadly endure long after Trump is gone. The Pittsburgh shooter believed the Jews controlled Trump. On Gab, his online platform of choice, he mocked Trump, said he didn’t vote for Trump, and claimed he’d never “owned, worn, or even touched a MAGA hat.”

You can read his archived Gab posts, if you dare, and you’ll see they’re full of both vile anti-Semitic images and posts from Jewish websites. He was obsessed with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, or HIAS. This man was so radicalized in his hatred for Jews that he could be whipped into a murderous rage by posts from HIAS itself — or by pictures of smiling American Jews welcoming refugees at airports.

Against that backdrop, it’s simply a reach to claim that Trump’s rhetoric or Fox News provoked this man to kill. This was a man so evil and vile that he could look straight at the face of Jewish compassion and burn with a desire to kill.