Following the lead of right-wing conspiracy theorists, such as Alex Jones, who label Parkland, Fla., shooting survivors as paid “crisis actors,” Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) said “people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats.”
About 33 minutes into the Talk1300 radio broadcast on Wednesday, Tenney lamented that legal gun owners would be affected by public demands for stricter gun laws following the massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14.
“A lot of these legal gun owners are going to be targeted now,” Tenney said. “In their demographic they have the least amount of crimes than virtually any demographic.”
Host Fred Dicker replied:
“But they tend to vote Republican, they tend to be white.”
Dicker continued, “Most gun crimes are occurring in what is euphemistically called the ‘inner cities’ involving minorities and they’re the ones that Democrats are generally going to bend over backwards to protect. So you don’t hear about mandatory sentences for people involved in gun crimes in Albany, N.Y., or downtown Utica.”
Tenney responded, “Obviously there’s a lot of politics involved in it.”
She then made her claim:
“It’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats,” she said. “But the media doesn’t talk about that either.”
Dicker said that responsible, legal gun owners tend to be white. However, mass shooters in the U.S. tend to be white men.
In regard to Tenney’s claim, Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old suspected Florida shooter, who had legal guns, had a profile photo on his Instagram account of him wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, which is synonymous with Republican President Donald Trump.
Though his ties to a white supremacist group are questionable, Cruz repeatedly stated racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic views in private group chats, according to CNN.
Tenney’s claim is similar to a meme that’s floating around social media, which the fact-checking site Snopes has discredited.
“One largely debunked (yet persistently shared) meme contains a list of murderers along with the claim that they are all registered Democrats,” according to Snopes.
“This list is largely based on faulty information that was, in several instances, culled from rushed and poorly vetted reports from disreputable web sites that were published in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting.”
Tenney was first elected in 2016, and her district in Central New York includes Utica, Rome and Binghamton.
The lawmaker was asked by several news outlets to provide a list of the mass shooters who were Democrats; Tenney has not.
Instead, she issued a statement Wednesday night saying that the “perpetrators of these atrocities have a wide variety of political views.”
“I am fed up with the media and liberals attempting to politicize tragedies and demonize law-abiding gun owners and conservative Americans every time there is a horrible tragedy,” Tenney said.
“While we know the perpetrators of these atrocities have a wide variety of political views, my comments are in response to a question about the failure to prosecute illegal gun crime. I will continue to stand up for law-abiding citizens who are smeared by anti-gun liberal elitists.”
Alex Jones, who has been a right-wing conspiracy theorist for years, claimed the Parkland shooting might have been orchestrated by Democrats.
“The Democrats have been caught in false flags before,” Jones said. “I’m not saying this is a false flag but they’ve been talking about massacres and things if people don’t leave them alone, and release the memo. So, if there are massacres and they keep threatening massacres, that makes them suspects when they’ve been threatening massacres.”
Parkland survivor David Hogg has been labeled on right-wing websites and social media accounts as a “crisis actor.”
“I’m not a crisis actor,” Hogg said in an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN. “I’m someone who had to witness this and live through this and I continue to be having to do that.”
Hogg and other students demanding legislation that could prevent future tragedies have been “depicted as mouthpieces of the FBI, pawns of left-wing activist billionaire George Soros, stooges of the Democratic Party — or all of the above,” according to NBC News.
“In the conspiracist mindset, everything is potentially a deception,” David Carroll, an associate professor of media design at The New School, told the news network.
“And a supposed secret cabal that orchestrates the liberal conspiracy against the American right-wing would have to involve paid actors, who allegedly appear at staged school massacres, as an elaborate hoax performance to justify gun confiscation.”