Fellow Republicans: Don't blame Bernie

Dear Trump Supporters:

Stop blaming Bernie.

Stop right now.

Bernie Sanders had absolutely nothing to do with the unhinged lunatic who specifically targeted Republicans in Wednesday’s shooting at a charity baseball game Alexandria, Virginia.

The dead gunman – whose name will not be mentioned in this column – had a laundry list of vitriolic anti-GOP attacks posted to his social media pages. In hindsight, he was undoubtedly mentally unstable and ready to snap at any moment.

Unfortunately, many of us on Facebook or Twitter know someone like this on both extremes of the political spectrum, as we’re experiencing the sharpest divide and the bitterest rhetoric in modern American history. Thankfully, the worst sins these extremists usually commit are to rant and troll.

Not in this gunman’s case.

He set out on a homicidal spree fueled by his anger and hatred.

Yes, the gunman did volunteer for the Sanders campaign. He’s not representative of Sanders supporters.

Plenty of people volunteered for Donald Trump’s campaign – a campaign which Trump supporters are quick to defend. And they rightfully claim that the overwhelming majority of those volunteers have been law abiding. That’s true, but plenty of violence has been done by Trump supporters.

And, unlike Sanders, Trump has actually encouraged violence. In the past, when Trump’s followers have executed hate crimes, the president has remained silent.

Deafening silent.

The senator from Vermont said on the Senate floor that “violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society,” and Sanders condemned Wednesday’s incident “in the strongest possible terms.”

If you are a real Trump supporter, it’s critical that you not blame Sanders. If you do, then guess what? Your president becomes fair game for the same kind of blame.

John Featherman, a former Republican candidate for mayor, writes often about libertarian issues. He lives in Philadelphia.