In the wake of another gruesome mass shooting, right-wing media heavyweights burst into their well-rehearsed song-and-dance numbers that blame these recurring tragedies on weed, antifa, antidepressantsvideo games and even women’s “conferences”, that is, everything but the incredibly lax US gun laws.
On Monday, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, a 21-year-old white man armed with a rifle similar to an AR-15, reportedly killed seven people during a July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois, injuring more than two dozen additional participants. (Crimo has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, with more charges pending.) Tucker-Carlsonthe cover of the rampage, the Fox News star revived Chill Madness–esque arguments linking cannabis use to violence. “Like Crimo, [a lot of young men in America] inhabit a lonely fantasy world of social media, porn and video games,” the host said. “They use government-approved weed. “Smoke again! It’s good for you.’ They’re numbed by the endless mind-altering drugs that are dispensed to every school in the country by crackpots posing as counselors. Carlson then blamed women for the violent rage exhibited by young men like Crimo. “Of course they are angry…. The authorities in their lives – mostly women – keep lecturing them about their so-called privilege,” he continued. “Try to imagine a life more unhealthy and unhappy than that. So a lot of young men in America are going crazy. Are you surprised?”
About two hours later, Laura Ingraham pushed the same talking points – or, as she put it, “the accumulating scientific evidence” linking violent behavior among young people to “sustained cannabis use” – to explain the shooting without mentioning the firearms. “What can regular pot drinking trigger in young men in particular? Psychosis and other violent personality changes,” the host said. As the faces of other mass shooters appeared on the screen, Ingraham, who made the same argument after the Uvalde, Texas shooting, suggested that stoned eyes were a clear warning sign exhibited by mass shooters: “These are the eyes of some of the killers of mass who would have been regular pot users. Look at them.”
Others have attempted to take a simpler route to portray Crimo as a leftist, essentially arguing, Well, he tattooed his face, dyed his hair weird colors, and dressed as a woman to evade the police, so he must be antifa! “If you look at antifa, that’s what they look like!” said Fox News host Greg Gutfield. Newsmax’s Greg Kelly made similar statements on Tuesday. “Look at it…and frankly for me, I saw [his] tap forward,” Kelly remarked. “He looks a bit antifa-ish, doesn’t he?…You know he was caught wearing women’s clothes. Kelly added that “perhaps, like leftists everywhere, [Crimo] liked to wear women’s clothes, even if he is a he. (In May, similar false claims were made about Salvador Ramos, Robb’s elementary school shooter. In what appeared to be an attempt to randomly blame Ramos’ acts of violence on their political enemies, conservative personalities, including the representative Paul Gosar in a since-deleted tweet, falsely claimed the shooter was trans or was wearing women’s clothing.)