Weed, women and video games: Right-wing media blame just about everything except guns for Highland Park shootings

In the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting, right-wing media heavyweights have broken into their well-rehearsed song and dance numbers that blame such recurring tragedies on weed, antifa, antidepressantsvideo games and even women’s “lectures”—that is, anything but America’s staggeringly lax gun laws.

On Monday, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, a 21-year-old white man armed with a rifle similar to an AR-15 reportedly killed seven people during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, injuring more than two dozen people in attendance. (Crimo has been charged with seven first-degree murders, with more charges expected.) Tucker Carlson‘s coverage of the rampage, the Fox News star revived Reefer Madness–like arguments linking cannabis use to violence. “Like Crimo, [a lot of young men in America] inhabit a lonely fantasy world of social media, porn and video games,” the host said. “They’re high on government-approved weed. ‘Smoke some more! It’s good for you.’ They are sedated by the endless psychotropic drugs being handed out at every school in the country by crackpots posing as counselors.” Carlson went on to blame women for the violent anger that young men like Crimo displayed: “Of course they are angry….The authorities in their lives – mostly women – never stop lecturing them about their so-called privilege,” he continued. “Try to imagine an unhealthier, more unhappy life than that. So many young men in America are going crazy. Are you surprised?”

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About two hours later, Laura Ingraham pushed the same topics of discussion — or as she put it, “gathering scientific evidence” linking violent behavior among young people to “persistent cannabis use” — to explain away the shooting without mentioning weapons. “What, in particular, might trigger regular weed use in young men? Psychosis and other violent personality changes,” the host said. As the faces of other mass shooters flashed on the screen, Ingraham, who made the same argument after the Uvalde shooting, suggested, Texas, that stoned eyes are a clear warning sign displayed by mass shooters: “These are the eyes of some of the mass murderers who are said to have been regular cannabis users. Look at them.”

Others have tried to take an easier path to portray Crimo as a leftist, essentially arguing, Well, he has his face tattooed, dyed his hair in strange colors and dressed as a woman to evade the police, so he must be antifa! “If you look at antifa, this is what they look like!” said Fox News host Greg Gutfeld. newsmax’s Greg Kelly similar claims on Tuesday. “Look at him…and frankly to me, I’ve seen” [his] type earlier,” Kelly noted. “He looks a bit antifa-esque, doesn’t he? … You know he was caught wearing women’s clothes.” Kelly added that “maybe, like leftists everywhere, [Crimo] liked wearing women’s clothes, even if he is a he.” (Similar false claims were made in May about Robb Elementary School gunman Salvador Ramos. In what appeared to be an attempt to haphazardly pin Ramos’s violent actions onto their political enemies, conservative figures including Representative Paul Gossar in a since-deleted tweet, falsely claiming the shooter was trans or wearing women’s clothes.)

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