Political Violence Is Rising

Police block the entrance to the Trump National Doral Miami resort on May 18 in Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Political Violence Is Rising

During his bizarre shooting rampage, Jonathan Oddi denounced President Donald Trump.

A lone gunman was arrested last Friday after storming into the lobby of the Trump National Doral Golf Club near Miami, Florida. Jonathan Oddi allegedly pulled a fire alarm to lure police officers to the scene. As law enforcement rushed into the building, he began shouting “anti-Trump rhetoric” and shooting at the ceiling. One officer had his wrist broken during the confrontation, but no resort employees or guests were injured. After police shot him several times in the legs, the gunman was taken into custody.

“We don’t know what his intentions were in the long term, but we know what he was doing at the time—he was trying to engage our police officers in some kind of ambush-type attack,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez. “He was yelling and spewing some information about President Trump, and that’s what we know so far.”

After Oddi’s arrest, police raided his apartment to recover evidence that might reveal his motive. His social media postings provided mixed information about the political leanings of the man, who is a South African native of Italian heritage who became an American last year. He fawned over first lady Melania Trump, but criticized America’s alliance with Israel and complained that the United States doesn’t provide free health care.

Oddi, who reportedly worked as a fitness instructor, male stripper and real estate investor, denounced Donald Trump, Barack Obama and rap mogul P. Diddy during his rampage. The actions of this mentally disturbed individual are the latest incident in a trend of politically motivated violence.

The 1960s was perhaps the most politically violent decade in America since the end of World War ii. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Radical black activist Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965. American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell was assassinated in 1967. Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Radical Marxist groups like the Weather Underground committed dozens of bombings as well as robberies and murders of police officers. The Black Panthers actively encouraged violence against police officers. Street protests and riots were common. In the decades since the 1960s, however, politically motivated violence had declined. But it has recently made headlines once again.

“If there’s one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it’s that the nation’s politicians are in more danger of political violence these days,” reported Rasmussen last year. The report estimates that 76 percent of possible U.S. voters believe political violence is growing worse.

Violent crime across the nation rose in 2016 for the second consecutive year, according to the latest figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While it is hard to measure how much of this crime was politically motivated, at least 30 Republican Party congressmen were attacked or threatened last year. On June 14, 2017, a Bernie Sanders supporter took a rifle and a pistol to an early morning baseball practice and began shooting people on the field. Four were wounded, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, before police fatally shot the perpetrator.

No one was seriously injured in Oddi’s rampage on Friday, but the spirit behind his outburst was the same one that motivated James Hodgkinson to shoot Scalise. Republicans and Democrats are divided as never before. And this bitter division is leading to a time of violence much worse than the one that plagued the nation in the 1960s.

In the Old Testament, the Prophet Hosea foretold that the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel (the peoples of America and Britain) would suffer serious problems if they rebelled against God’s law.

“Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away” (Hosea 4:1-3).

This passage describes cause and effect. Because there is “no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land,” people swear, lie, kill, steal and commit adultery. The end result is that that “blood toucheth blood.” The violence becomes so bad that there is hardly a reprieve between stabbings, shootings and political assassinations.

In addition to the politically motivated attack in Florida, there have been 22 school shootings where someone was injured or killed this year. Blood is touching blood, and the only solution is national repentance. If people seek unity with God, they will also achieve unity with each other.