The latest episode of gun violence that erupted in New York City on Friday has been attributed to a disgruntled former employee who had been laid off as the result of downsizing a year ago.
Jeffrey Johnson killed his former boss with a single shot to the head, then was killed himself in a volley of police gunfire that also wounded nine bystanders.
The Christian Science Monitor notes that “Although incidents of workplace violence crop up periodically, there is no evidence that they have escalated during the recent economic downturn and continuing doldrums, when millions of American workers lost their jobs. There were 432 homicides in the workplace in 2010, down from 462 in 2009, and the number has been pretty flat over a seven-year period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Right-wing radio host, Rush Limbaugh, however, appears to have no use for statistics, for the facts of this particular case, or for what kind of trouble he might stir up by making reckless accusations, even in jest.
Limbaugh ranted on his program Friday, “New York Daily News reporting the Empire State Building shooter did indeed kill his boss. Well, he was fired yesterday. He went out there and he killed his boss. I wonder if Obama’s constant warfare on bosses and so forth might have led this guy to pull the trigger.”
“Oh, you ought to see the faces of the people on the other side of the glass,” Limbaugh continued, apparently referring to his producers. “Oh, no. Rush, you didn’t really said that. … Yes, I said it. And we’re not going to bleep it out.”
Limbaugh went on to imply that he was being deliberately absurd to demonstrate that blaming this incident on President Obama was as ridiculous as certain accusations that have followed other shootings. Although he did not say so, he was apparently reacting to suggestions that he himself was responsible for the Aurora, Colorada shootings because he had claimed that “Bane” — the name of the villain of The Dark Knight Rises — was deliberately intended as a smear of Mitt Romney.
Following that shooting, ABC News correspondent Brian Ross embarrassed his network when he prematurely announced that the name Jim Holmes had been found on a Colorado Tea Party website, and New York City Mayor Bloomberg used the incident to challenge both President Obama and Mitt Romney to press for stricter gun control.
“I’ll guarantee you, the last time there was a shooting in New York, who’d the mayor blame it on?” Limbaugh asked. “Tea Party people that didn’t like health care, right? Gabby Giffords, you name it. The shooting out in Colorado, Brian Ross, Tea Party did it. … So, why not give them a dose of their own medicine here? You think Obama, you think the Democrats have any blood on their hands with this shooting today?”
This audio is from Media Matters, via The New Civil Rights Movement.
Photo from Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office via Wikimedia Commons