A man for Cambridge, Massachusetts was arrested Thursday morning in New York City for soliciting murder-for-hire against ICE agents. Brandon J. Ziobrowski, who went by @vin_II on tweeted this message in early July: “I am broke but will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills an ice agent. @me seriously who else can pledge get in on this let’s make this work.”
— Shaun Chaiyabhat (@ShaunWCVB) August 9, 2018
I suspect someone on the left will shortly be claiming this was a joke and just part of the way progressives on Twitter talk about federal agents (I’m counting on you, Vox, don’t let me down). But a Department of Justice press release notes this wasn’t the first time Ziobrowski had said something violent and unhinged on Twitter:
According to court documents, in 2009 Ziobrowski created a Twitter account registered under the username @Vine_II. Over time, Ziobrowski’s tweets became more violent and threatening. For instance, it is alleged that he repeatedly tweeted his desire to “slit” Senator John McCain’s throat. Then, beginning around February 2018, Ziobrowski allegedly began posting tweets that promoted violence against law enforcement. For example, a Feb. 24, 2018, tweet read: “Guns should only be legal for shooting the police like the second amendment intended.”
In March 2018 Ziobrowski allegedly started tweeting threatening messages against federal law enforcement agents that work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On March 1, 2018, in response to a tweet from the ICE Field Office stating that ICE officers put their “lives on the line to arrest criminal aliens,” Ziobrowski posted a message that read: “Thank you ICE for putting your lives on the line and hopefully dying I guess so there’s less of you?”
Rep. Steve Scalise was quick to ask whether Democrats felt any responsibility for Ziobrowski’s behavior:
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) August 9, 2018
Bottom line: America's law enforcement agents keep our communities safe. They deserve our support and thanks, not threats against their lives. Republicans #StandWithICE. Meanwhile, 167 House Democrats refused to vote 'YES' on a resolution supporting #ICE.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) August 9, 2018
Scalise obviously has a unique position to worry about threats like this. James Hodkinson went from popping off on Facebook to popping off shots at Republican officials at a baseball field in Alexandria. He nearly killed Rep. Scalise and another man (and wounded several others). Ziobrowski’s escalating, violent language is cause for concern.
Scalise’s tweet also raises a point about how Democrats frequently play the “climate of hate” blame game, which may be his intent in asking the question he does. Every time there is a burst of political violence, the left rushes to blame the right. Often, as happened after the Tucson shooting, the left doesn’t even wait for evidence to support their claims, they just start assigning blame to the usual suspects. In some cases, they report false connections that don’t exist and in others, they ignore evidence that doesn’t fit their narrative (Remember the “Tea Party terrorist” who concluded his manifesto by quoting the Communist Manifesto?).
The left is always eager to have a national conversation about the climate of hate if they think the right will take the blame. But after the shooting of police officers in Dallas, Baton Rouge, or New York City, or the assassination attempt against Rep. Scalise and other Republicans they quickly forget how the climate of hate works and change the subject. So now is a good time to ask if they want to keep playing that game. My guess is they will decline, at least in this instance.
Ultimately, people are responsible for their own behavior. Ziobrowski sounds deranged and was obviously worked up over the news about ICE. But turning that into a suggestion of murdering agents is on him. It would be nice if Democrats could say the same the next time some ostensibly right-wing nut makes a threat, but I won’t hold my breath.
Finally, it bothers me that Ziobrowski faces up to five years in prison if convicted, which means he could see more jail time than Antifa goon Eric Clanton who was caught on video hitting people over the head with a bike lock. We’ll have to wait and see what justice looks like in this case.
Update: Ziobrowski was in court today and has been released on bond:
UPDATE: Brandon Ziobrowski has been released on $50,000 bond. He's been ordered to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet until he turns in his passport. He's due in federal court in Boston August 15. #wbz
— Beth Germano (@BethWBZ) August 9, 2018
— Daniel Gadbois (@DanNBC10Boston) August 9, 2018