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What radicalized gunman in Virginia shooting?

An SUV sits in the parking lot at the scene of a multiple shooting in Alexandria on Wednesday. (AP Photo)

We now know that the gunman who apparently intended to take out as many Republican members of Congress as he could was a Bernie Sanders supporter. It has prompted people to ask, was he radicalized by left-wing rhetoric?

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The stuff he wrote about trickle down economics and Republicans giving tax breaks to the “1 percent” is straight out of the Democratic platform. But it’s hardly radical.

His Facebook post that reads, “Trump is a traitor… It’s time to destroy Trump & Co” – could imply violence. That rhetoric could easily have come from left-wing sites or from the comment section of just about any website.

So then we would also have to ask what radicalized him to the point that he would buy a military-style rifle and use it against members of Congress? Where would he get this extreme idea to use a gun to eliminate elected officials?

Well, actually, from a lot of respectable websites, which explains that it’s not at all an extreme idea. It’s actually embedded in our Constitution; that the purpose of a weapon is for self-defense, yes, but also to protect the nation from a tyrannical government.

Alexander Hamilton, now our best-known Founding Father, talked about the right to bear arms “against the usurpations of the national rulers.” And I found that on the website of the National Review!

So on the question of what radicalized him, I suppose it could have been left-wing rhetoric, but it could just as easily have been his interpretation of American history.

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