A domestic terrorist from the same Seattle “Antifa” crew that recently beat up journalist Andy Ngo was shot dead by police while trying to attack an ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington with explosives and a semi-automatic rifle.
Somehow, this isn’t the biggest news story in the country. Not only is the story being largely ignored, when the media and prominent Democrats have weighed in, they’ve mostly sympathized with the Antifa terrorist.
Can anyone imagine such widespread apathy on cable news if someone with even the vaguest links to the far-right had tried to attack a federal law enforcement facility?
In this case, the attacker’s partisan motives are not the least bit vague. Willem Van Spronsen, the would-be Antifa murderer, left us a rambling, poorly-formatted manifesto that states, “i am antifa [sic],” and makes continual reference to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “concentration camp” rhetoric. He encourages other Antifa militants to stockpile weapons, ignore the law, and attack the “predatory state.” He gives a special shoutout to “my trans comrades” and namedrops leftist academics such as Howard Zinn to explain how he was “radicalized.”
Van Spronsen was equally clear that this was a suicide mission, writing, “i regret that i will miss the rest of the revolution [sic].” (RELATED: Antifa Has Shown Why It Should Be Designated A Domestic Terror Group)
The 69-year-old Van Spronsen was clearly a deeply troubled man. In a normal, healthy society, this wouldn’t have been allowed to happen. There were plenty of warning signs. Time and again, journalists such as Andy Ngo photographed Van Spronsen on the streets of Seattle with members of one of the largest and most violent Antifa gangs, Seattle Antifacist Action.
Under stand-down orders from liberal politicians, most notoriously Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, police officers have been forced to stand by and watch as communist thugs harassed motorists and brutally assaulted citizens across the Pacific Northwest. Eventually, even Ngo himself would be badly beaten in broad daylight by the same gang, as police did nothing.
For some Antifa members, however, smashing people over the head with bike locks and other impromptu weapons wasn’t enough. They had to start carrying guns.
Van Spronsen was one of these ultra-radicals, and everyone knew it. He was an open member of the “Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club,” an Antifa militia that regularly marches down Seattle streets with body armor and loaded rifles. He even had a previous arrest for assaulting a police officer at the same ICE facility he tried to attack.
Surely, someone must have alerted authorities to the danger Van Spronsen posed before he launched his attack — or at least gone to the press. Right?
Therein lies the problem. Instead of taking Antifa members at their own word — that they are armed, violent groups hellbent on dismantling the American state (which is what they really mean when they say “fascism” and “white supremacy”) — our free press has expended considerable effort portraying them as plucky freedom fighters battling “Nazis.”
Some liberal “journalists,” mostly those on the “far-right extremism” beat, are working closely with Antifa groups themselves to coordinate an effective public relations strategy. But even a supposedly mainstream liberal publication, The New Republic, wrote a glowing profile of the very militia group that Van Spronsen practiced marksmanship with.
Antifa is not sorry, or even embarrassed that one of its members went off the deep end and tried to murder ICE agents. They are, in fact, proud of his disgusting actions. They want people to follow Van Spronsen’s example. I’m not going to link to them, but the leading Antifa blog and the social media accounts of both Seattle AFA and the Puget Sound JBGC posted lengthy eulogies celebrating their terrorist comrade’s life and deeds.
Outside the ICE facility that Van Spronsen tried to attack, around 100 Antifa supporters gathered to celebrate him. They even demanded that the government now do precisely what Van Spronsen had hoped to do by killing people: shut down the facility.
Here’s how the local ABC affiliate reported on that: “Protesters gathered outside a Washington State Detention Center to demand the shutdown of the facility after a man was killed by police after he apparently lit a car on fire and attempted to ignite a propane tank.”
It’s possible that the media are simply trying to downplay the attack because they’re embarrassed by the reams of positive press they’ve given Antifa in recent years. It gets even worse, though.
The same far-left Democrats responsible for spreading the outrageous “concentration camp” smear that Van Spronsen quoted multiple times in his manifesto are also refusing to condemn the attack. AOC and her socialist sidekicks, Reps. Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley, couldn’t bring themselves to fault Antifa’s terrorist tactics in any way.
Under these circumstances, you have to reevaluate the hysteria over right-wing political violence that Democrats and the media have drummed up. As their indifference to the attack in Tacoma proves, it’s not political violence that bothers them, per se. When the people perpetrating such violence are on “their side” — anti-American, open-borders, communist, or anarchist fanatics — liberal activists, journalists, and even elected Democrats are willing to look the other way or even offer encouragement.
Keep that in mind the next time they complain about President Trump, who has never hesitated to condemn political violence no matter what side it comes from.
Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, a nonprofit conservative advocacy group that seeks to encourage student civic engagement.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.