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New Jersey Shootings: Rashida Tlaib’s Confusion, and Ours

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib listens to a constituent in Pinkster, Mich., August 15, 2019 (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

In response to Tuesday’s shooting spree at a kosher market in New Jersey, Rashida Tlaib took to Twitter to offer her since-deleted lament: “White supremacy kills.”

Let’s insist, for a moment, upon the Occam’s razor explanation for the New Jersey massacre, undertaken by two now-deceased African-American suspects, one of whom had alleged ties to the Black Hebrew Israelites and a history of anti-Semitic and anti-police activity online. Simplicity stipulated, the explanation should be clear enough: Two African-American assailants harbored some amalgam of anti-Semitism and anti-police fervor, which culminated in their slaying a police officer and several Jewish citizens. It’s possible that such an explanation is not true. It’s possible that the pair were suffering a heretofore unreported psychotic break. It’s possible that the two woke up on Tuesday and decided to kill four random people, three of whom, by stochastic accident, just so happened to be either Jewish or a police officer. It’s possible that the two were operating under some false conciousness foisted upon them by the clandestine forces of “white supremacy,” and that — if you really think about it — their actions were enabled by a broader “climate of hate” enabled by Donald Trump, the Republican party, Jeff Sessions, Brett Kavanaugh, and the 2017 tax reform.

It’s probably the anti-Semitism and anti-police stuff, though.

Tlaib has, of this writing, yet to post anything on her personal Twitter account offering her condolences to the four people killed in New Jersey since she deleted her tweet. Apparently — Occam’s razor again — the condolences were never the point.

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