DANIEL VAUGHAN: Assassination attempts are a red flag

Thursday evening was supposed to be the grand finale of the January 6th Committee hearings. Except, of course, the committee announced that their hearings will continue in September. I don’t blame Democrats for pushing the sole button they’ve got at their disposal heading into the midterms. Still, at this point, the smell of desperation is getting rank. Beating dead horses may be entertaining for MSNBC viewers, but you don’t get far.

Attack on Lee Zeldin.

What’s disconcerting is watching the Washington DC political world, or swamp, focus on that while ignoring other events. Thursday evening, while journalists focused on Congress, Jewish Congressman Lee Zeldin was attacked at a rally for his gubernatorial bid in New York.

Fox News reported that “Zeldin was at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post event giving a speech about bail reform when a man allegedly got on stage and ‘wrestled with him a bit, and pulled a blade out,’ according to a witness who spoke with Rochester First.”

In a statement, Zeldin’s campaign said: “that a man climbed on the stage and attempted to stab Zeldin, but was taken down by several others who were in attendance at the event.”

Fortunately, Zeldin is alright, he was able to continue his speech, and no one appears to be hurt. But it’s hard to ignore these events as they stack up, one after another.

Kavanaugh spared.

Last month, we had another would-be assassination attempt against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. A man showed up in the early hours of the morning “armed with a knife, pistol, ammunition, zip ties, pepper spray, duct tape, and other items that he allegedly told police that he was intending to use in order to kill the Supreme Court justice.”

In a confession, he said “that he had become upset by the leaked draft opinion that could spell out the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Roske also allegedly said that he believed the justice would decide to loosen gun laws following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.” Those words and intentions showed a clear political intent behind his actions.

We were fortunate there, too, because that man “was apprehended after he called 911 and told the operator that he was having suicidal thoughts and was planning to kill Kavanaugh. During the 15-minute 911 call, Roske said that he was ‘having thoughts,’ and traveled from California to ‘act on them.'”

We don’t yet know the motivations of the man at the Zeldin campaign. But showing up at a political rally while attempting to harm a candidate running for higher political office has some implied intent. Internationally, this is all occurring fast on the heels of the tragic assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Growing unrest and assassination attempts.

In sum, several assassination attempts are taking place. The two on American soil have been unsuccessful, while the one in Japan found unfortunate success. One attempt in isolation can suggest a single ill-actor. Several in succession means far more political unrest under the surface.

Confronting this head-on should be a top issue for any government or culture. But we’re going to get treated to more retrospectives of the events on January 6, 2021. That’s not to downplay the events of January 6 — but we are 18 months down the road, and America is dealing with deep, systemic problems, and assassination attempts are popping up. These should be red flags worthy of notice.

Instead, the Washington Post filed the Kavanaugh assassination attempt in its local crime and police reports. American media had an abysmal coverage of Abe Shinzo’s assassination. It remains to be seen how the press will cover the Zeldin event, but I’m not expecting much.

The mass shooting of Congressional Republicans on a baseball field earlier in the Trump administration got mostly forgotten by the press. These are actual events getting perpetrated by real people.

Heed the warning signs.

Amidst all the braying about the end of democracy and threats to republicanism, attempted assassinations seem like a worthy addition to the overall discourse. Attacks on public figures are not something that should get toleration at any level – we have voting, freedom of speech and association, and more as good outlets for political displeasure.

And for one side of the political spectrum, for whom the moniker “silence is violence” is meant to spur action, they are strangely silent about this spate of assassination attempts. The health and integrity of a democratic republic depends on healthy discourse, legislation, and debate being the primary channels for political energy. Violence is an attempt to override that system by force.

We should condemn it in all forms. We’re getting these early red flags with these attempts. It’s time to heed those warning signals before worse happens down the road.