British MP Jo Cox Murdered in Presumed Brexit-Related Attack

Labor MP Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen, was shot and has died. Cox worked with Syrian refugees and the attack is assumed to be the result of her efforts. The 52 year assailant is in custody. The question is whether he was acting alone or on behalf of an extreme far-right group. The last murder of an MPs took place in 1990 at the hands of Northern Ireland radicals.

Both the Leave and Remain campaigns have been suspended.

Details from the BBC (hat tip Richard Smith):

An MP has died after she was shot and stabbed in an attack in her constituency, West Yorkshire Police have said.

Jo Cox, 41, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, had been left bleeding on the ground by her attacker. A 52-year-old man was arrested nearby…

Labour leader Mr Corbyn said the country would be “in shock at the horrific murder”, describing the MP as a “much loved colleague”….

Cafe owner Clarke Rothwell, who witnessed the attack, said he heard a “loud popping noise that sounded like a balloon burst – a loud balloon”.

“When I looked round there’s a man stood there in his 50s with a white baseball cap on and a jacket with a gun, an old fashioned looking gun in his hand,” he said.

“He shot this lady once and then he shot her again, he fell to the floor, leant over shot her once more in the face area.

“Somebody tried to grab him, wrestling with him and then he wielded a knife, like a hunting knife, just started lunging at her with a knife half a dozen times. People were screaming and running from the area”.

Eyewitness Hithem Ben Abdallah, said the mother of two was left lying and bleeding on the pavement after the incident.
Mr Abdallah, 56, was in a cafe next door to the library shortly after 13:00 BST when he heard screaming and went outside.

“There was a guy who was being very brave and another guy with a white baseball cap who he was trying to control and the man in the baseball cap suddenly pulled a gun from his bag”.

After a brief scuffle, he said the man stepped back and the MP became involved.

Mr Abdallah said the weapon had “looked handmade” and a man who had been wrestling with the gunman continued even after seeing the gun.

He said: “The man stepped back with the gun and fired it and then he fired a second shot, as he was firing he was looking down at the ground.”

“He was kicking her as she was lying on the floor”, he said.

The Telegraph has set up a live blog. It reports that the suspected assailant is Tommy Mair and provides a link to information about him. Some witnesses say that he shouted, “Britain First,” which is the name of a far right group in the UK. The leader of Britain First said before Cox was declared dead:

After several witness claimed that Jo Cox’s attacker repeatedly shouted “Britain First”, Paul Golding – the leader of the far-right Britain First party – reiterated the claims are currently “unsubstantiated”.

He said: “At the moment that claim hasn’t been confirmed – it’s all hearsay.

“Jo Cox is obviously an MP campaigning to keep Britain in the EU so if it was shouted by the attacker it could have been a slogan rather than a reference to our party – we just don’t know.

“Obviously an attack on an MP is an attack on British diplomacy – MPs are sacrosanct.

“We’re just as shocked as everyone else. Britain First obviously is NOT involved and would never encourage behaviour of this sort.

“As an MP and a mother, we pray that Jo Cox makes a full recovery.”

This is the statement from Jo Cox’s husband:

Jo cox statement

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    I think its way to premature to say its anything to do with Brexit. From the information about the alleged assailant it sounds more like the act of a local oddball with an obscure grudge against his MP.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Several news outlets report that multiple witnesses heard Mair yell, “Britain first”. A lone crazy could still have spun out of control based on media hysteria and access to a target he deemed relevant. I agree we won’t know until we get better information, but the headline says, “presumed” based on media reports. So the post is accurate in reporting on the state of media accounts.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I appreciate that, and of course it can’t be ruled out that the campaign pushed someone clinging on to rationality over the edge into some sort of delusional anger. But I would have thought we’d have heard by now if he had any political links or connections, it seems most likely that he doesn’t. Although he could of course be a case of a deluded lone wolf who was radicalised (or even deliberately manipulated by others) online.

        I must admit that my first thought when I heard about it was that it is the sort of thing that can happen when a clueless politician unintentionally winds up a local nutcase – this is particularly common in the UK where many politicians are parachuted in to safe constituencies and really have little to know idea what goes on locally. Its a common source of despair to Labour activists as to how disconnected many of their MP’s are from their regular constituents. Jo Cox was a local (although I suspect her time down south meant that she wasn’t considered particularly so by many of her constituents), but she was, although very much on the right wing of the party, very outspoken in favour of immigration, so that might have been a trigger for her attacker.

        Anyway, presumably we’ll find out over the next few days. I suspect though that it might be seen (quietly) as good news for the Remain campaign.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Gee, I heard he yelled he was pledging fealty to ISIS…. That’s what the internet says, anyway…/s

        1. larry

          The link to ISIS is likely false. No report of anything like this is being alleged, by anyone.

      3. larry

        Other witnesses said that they didn’t hear the man say anything. Neighbors said that he was a friendly, unassuming chap who did neighbors’ gardens, but had apparently had mental health issues relating to long periods of unemployment and had had these issues for some years.

          1. backwardsevolution

            “They said he was quiet and polite, volunteering to do their gardens and offering horticultural tips as he passed down Lowood Lane on his regular strolls into Birstall to use the computers at the library.

            It is believed he had mental health problems and was quoted as praising a particular passage of care he had undertaken in the past.

            In 2011, he was photographed by the local paper volunteering in nearby Oakwell Hall country park. The previous year he was quoted in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, saying he had begun volunteering after attending Pathways Day Centre for adults with mental health problems.

            “I can honestly say it has done me more good than all the psychotherapy and medication in the world,” he said. “Many people who suffer from mental illness are socially isolated and disconnected from society, feelings of worthlessness are also common, mainly caused by long-term unemployment.

            “All these problems are alleviated by doing voluntary work. Getting out of the house and meeting new people is a good thing, but more important in my view is doing physically demanding and useful labour.

            “When you have finished there is a feeling of achievement which is emotionally rewarding and psychologically fulfilling. For people for whom full-time, paid employment is not possible for a variety of reasons, voluntary work offers a socially positive and therapeutic alternative.”


    1. hemeantwell

      *If* we are going to look at her politics, then we need to consider that her Wiki page indicates she was one of the PLP who nominated Corbyn to spice things up in the Labor party and then regretted that he actually won. She was in favor of intervention in Syria but did not back attacking ISIL because that was somehow not dealing with Assad directly enough. Yeah. That said, I acknowledge and respect the importance of distinguishing her humanity from her politics.

      Cox was one of 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015.[11] However, in the election she voted for Liz Kendall,[12] and announced on 6 May 2016 after the local elections that she and fellow MP Neil Coyle regretted nominating Corbyn.[13]

      The Syrian Civil War was one of Cox’s main campaigning issues.[8] In October 2015 she co-authored, with Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell, an article in The Observer arguing that British military forces could help achieve an ethical solution to the conflict in Syria.[14] During that month Cox launched the All Party Parliamentary Friends of Syria group, becoming its chair.[15][16] In the subsequent vote to approve UK military intervention against ISIL in Syria, Cox abstained (one of five Labour MPs to do so),[4] as she did not consider the intervention to be part of an effective comprehensive strategy to tackle the Syrian conflict including dealing with President Bashar al-Assad.[8][17]

      1. Barmitt O'Bamney

        It would be equally appalling if she were a MP for the National Front, or if she were an MP for some hypothetical radical Islamist party in Britain. It’s just appalling.

  2. Javagold

    Who cares if some murderer yelled out Britain First or not…..The BREXIT Vote should not be postponed and anyone taking advantage of this tragedy is disgusting

    1. William C

      Well, as a Briton, I care if we have moved to a situation where we have politically motivated murders of our politicians. The Irish angle aside, we have, to the best of my recollection, been mercifully free of political assassinations for many a long year.

      I do not in fact know when we last had what appears to be an ‘English on English’ murder of a politician in this country for political reasons. It is the sort of event which we Britons have traditionally associated with other. ‘less civilised’ countries. Perhaps the C19? More erudite readers may be able to assist me.

      1. Martin from Canada

        Spencer Perceval (1 November 1762 – 11 May 1812) was assassinated by lone gunman in the Halls of Parliament. He’s the only PM to have been successfully assassinated.

        1. larry

          No, he isn’t. Airey Neave was assassinaed by the IRA many years ago by means of a car bomb in the Westminster garage. But as William C says, there have been mercifully few.

          1. clinical wasteman

            PM and MP are not quite the same thing.
            Nor, although I’m sad to see the point temporarily lost on on some people right now, are mental health service user/’loon’/’nut’/psychopathic killer.
            Psychiatric patients under compulsory ‘care in the community’ in the UK get a lot worse than SSRIs: generally a combination of crippling narcopleptics and aggressive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with material threats attached (loss of meagre income/housing; re-incarceration in hospital). Still turns out that proportionately speaking they kill or maim neither more nor fewer people than members of the Sane Community do. (Sorry no link for that, I’d have to re-read all of Peter Sedgwick’s Psycho Politics and Robert Dellar’s equally important Splitting In Two, but even the pro-incarceration lobby group SANE had to admit it under pressure a few years back. But way of amends I highly recommend this:

            Meanwhile, the ‘Brexiters drove him to it’ and ‘elite false flag’ arguments are equally grotesque in this case. Not because those phenomena doesn’t exist, but because the elites on both ‘sides’ do their killing and social maiming more quietly and regularly, not least through the mental health/welfare policing nexus mentioned above. Yes that means you Cameron/Blair/CBI of ‘Remain’ AND you, Duncan Smith, Gove, Frank Field of ‘Rivers Of Blood’, sorry, ‘Leave’.
            (Groups like Free Psychotherapy Network, Boycott Workfare and have documented lists (longones) of suicides directly triggered by welfare punishment. Or take a look inside any of the G4S/Serco-run immigration detention centres so beloved of those who can stomach calling borders “ours”.)

          2. Paul Greenwood

            Victor Grayson was “disappeared” in 1920 after crossing Lloyd George over selling peerages
            During the summer of 1919 Grayson became aware that Gregory was spying on him. He told a friend: “Just as he spied on me, so now I’m spying on him. One day I shall have enough evidence to nail him, but it’s not going to be easy.” It is not known how he obtained the information but at a public meeting in Liverpool he accused David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, of corruption. Grayson claimed that Lloyd George was selling political honours for between £10,000 and £40,000. Grayson declared: “This sale of honours is a national scandal. It can be traced right down to 10 Downing Street, and to a monocled dandy with offices in Whitehall. I know this man, and one day I will name him.” The monocled dandy was Arthur Maundy Gregory, who had indeed been selling honours on behalf of Lloyd George.

            At the beginning of September 1920, Victor Grayson was beaten up in the Strand. This was probably an attempt to frighten Grayson but he continued to make speeches about the selling of honours and threatening to name the man behind this corrupt system. On the 28th September Grayson was drinking with friends when he received a telephone message. Grayson told his friends that the had to go to Queen’s Hotel in Leicester Square and would be back shortly.

            Later that night, George Jackson Flemwell was painting a picture of the Thames, when he saw Grayson entering a house on the river bank. Flemwell knew Grayson as he had painted his portrait before the war. Flemwell did not realize the significance of this as the time because Grayson was not reported missing until several months later. An investigation carried out in the 1960s revealed that the house that Grayson entered was owned by Arthur Maundy Gregory.

        2. Paul Greenwood

          His assassin, John Bellingham, was a businessman in his forties, who in 1804 had been falsely imprisoned for debt in Russia. The British embassy would not help him and when he was released in 1809 he returned to England seeking compensation from the British government, which kept turning him down. His sense of grievance mounted to the point where he decided to kill the prime minister. He was tried at the Old Bailey, his lawyer’s plea of insanity was not accepted and he was found guilty. He was hanged at Newgate on May 18th, two days after his victim’s funeral. –

          See more at:

      2. Paul Greenwood

        I think you will find this guy was mentally ill and could not get treatment from his GP. There is a major shortage of Psychiatrists in the NHS and waiting times are huge……he probably had turned to his MP to try get help and someone to kick the Dept of Health and she probably failed to deliver… he went back to kill her.

        I am just interested to know how he got a sawn-off shotgun because shotguns must have a 24 inch barrel by law – so did he saw it off himself ? he would not get a shogun licence as mentally ill and long term unemployed on a council estate.

        This has nothing to do with poetics and everything to do with medical care which he will now get in prison

        1. fajensen

          Anyone with the desire and some cash can get hold of a shotgun illegally. Especially if it’s someone who lives on a run-down council estate with “the local lads”, who just happen to regularly burgle houses as their side business. Handguns are *much* harder to get; “they” would not take the risk selling a handgun to someone outside of the criminal community, especially a known “flake”.

          Maybe the most time consuming part of the operation was to buy the hacksaw – public transport to some edge-of-town shopping center where the DYI shops are usually sketchy.

    2. m-ga

      No-one’s suggested postponing the referendum.

      All parties involved in the referendum suspended campaigning today. Labour has suspended campaigning tomorrow as well (IIRC, Corbyn said “until the weekend). Farage has also cancelled a campaign poster photo opportunity for tomorrow morning. And Cameron cancelled a trip to Gibraltar. There might be more as well, but that’s all I’ve seen.

  3. JW

    This was a murder by a mentally ill man. Period, nothing whatsoever to do with Brexit, politics, etc. Very very sad for her family. Don’t make of it something it is not.

    1. William C

      On what basis do you make those assertions? If you have hard information to support such claims, then share it with us. Otherwise, wait until we get more authoritative information.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The head of Brexit First immediately denounced the attack. Terrorists are generally eager to take claim. Are you too young to remember the IRA bombings? I lived in London for a bit when they were on.

        Having said that, the attacker himself may have been a nutter who thought attacking a prominent pro-immigrant figure would advance an anti-immigrant goal.

        1. Synoia

          Are you too young to remember the IRA bombings?

          No. I also remember what happened when we hid a 155mm Howitzer (Student Prank, Military University).

          I lived in London for a bit when they were on.

          So did I. I also remember sleeping in Zim with a rifle by my bed. And that dates us

        2. Art Vanderlay

          The organisation is “Britain First”, not “Brexit First”. Britain First are a far-right group formed by a splinter from the imploding British National Party. They are not key members of any of the varied Brexit campaigns.

          We call that period ‘The Troubles’ and of course I remember it. The IRA was by no means the only group using terror as a strategy back then.

          1. Paul Greenwood

            BNP was an MI5 front organisation – it was the most incompetent right-wing party in Europe – far less effective than Mosley’s BUF

        3. larry

          I remember those days, too. I have mentioned that he had a mental health history. I haven’t yet seen an account that indicated that he would do anything like this.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        That article seems pretty tenuous, lots of people have their names on all sorts of political mailing lists for various reasons.

      2. larry

        No, but they are independent of one another to a significant extent. More relevant according to research is his history of unemployment and loneliness.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I don’t see a contradiction between mental illness, hard right politics, unemployment, and loneliness at the individual (i.e., the narrative) level, even granting they are independent variables in the aggregate.

          1. Paul Greenwood

            He had no politics. Batley is hardly a hotbed of anything as a dead textile town. Maybe you have never been there Lambert ? I recommend you visit and catch a train to Wakefield before going to Batley, you might enjoy Dewsbury too.

  4. majormajor

    Yves, we’ve met in the past (I am ‘ in the (ex-)monastery in London; you car round to Charterhouse for coffee c. 2010). I am very disappointed to see the headline ‘Presumed brexit-related murder’. None of the facts support this and none of the coverage in the UK alleges this. It appears to be mental illness and possibly far right views, both of which are also popular among EU remainers….

    1. m-ga

      You might not be aware of how low political discourse has sunk in the UK over the last few weeks. Openly racist propaganda is now used by mainstream politicians. This is from earlier today (just a few hours before the shooting):

      It’s very difficult to see the murder as unrelated to the Brexit campaign. I wish this wasn’t the case.

      1. Paul Greenwood

        Maybe it is connected with SAS troops in Libya and Syria ? It could be connected with the slump in sales of iPhones ? It was probably more to do with the England football team being mediocre than BreXit even though it thrills politically-obsessed individuals to think EVERYONE shares their fetish

    2. bystander

      Eh? You might want to cast your eyes further afield. Plenty out there linking Cox’s murder to the Brexit debate. Not just the Europress either: WSJ, USA Today, the New Yorker, Bloomberg.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Here are two that support your view — had you considered doing a little research yourself? — but by the same token, there’s a debate, ergo there are two sides, ergo there are UK sources (which I just cited).

  5. Jim Haygood

    Presumably a blood sample will be taken from Mair to determine what medications he was on.

    SSRIs again?

    1. Paul Greenwood

      I think you will find the GP knows EXACTLY what medications he is on but they do not work forever. Medication is not Treatment but some mental illnesses are not treatable which is why people kill themselves or else do things like this to get attention.

  6. sid_finster

    Regardless of the real motive underlying the murder, it seems that the body didn’t have a chance to get cold before the Remain camp seized on this opportunity.

    1. m-ga

      You might like read more widely, and also to take a more nuanced view. This is from the right-wing, Brexit-backing Spectator:

      So, no, Nigel Farage isn’t responsible for Jo Cox’s murder. And nor is the Leave campaign. But they are responsible for the manner in which they have pressed their argument. They weren’t to know something like this was going to happen, of course, and they will be just as shocked and horrified by it as anyone else.

      But, still. Look. When you encourage rage you cannot then feign surprise when people become enraged. You cannot turn around and say, ‘Mate, you weren’t supposed to take it so seriously. It’s just a game, just a ploy, a strategy for winning votes.’

      When you shout BREAKING POINT over and over again, you don’t get to be surprised when someone breaks. When you present politics as a matter of life and death, as a question of national survival, don’t be surprised if someone takes you at your word. You didn’t make them do it, no, but you didn’t do much to stop it either.

      1. larry

        You are right about noting via your quote from this right-wing mag that the campaign has been hysterical at times. On both sides.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Hmm. Would you please cite to a pro-leave source making the same argument in the same terms?

          Otherwise, this is a false-equivalance drive-by one-liner.

          And no, I’m not going to do more research for you; I already did.

  7. Aaron

    I suppose the title “Presumed brexit related attack” is technically true in the sense that the media are making that presumption.
    A lot of the mainstream media are asserting that this is somehow related to the brexit campaign, which is obviously batshit crazy.

    1. m-ga

      The police enquiry will consider motive, means and opportunity. The killer must have had means and opportunity for a while – he will have made or adapted the gun in advance, and he knew where the MP held her surgeries.

      The motive question is more difficult. Why kill Jo Cox now?

      I feel that consideration of the environment created by the Brexit campaign must be considered as a possible contributor to the motive. This would be in combination with whatever mental instability the killer likely suffers from.

      However, in your opinion, following such a line would be “obviously batshit crazy”. Whatever.

      1. timbers

        “I feel that consideration of the environment created by the Brexit campaign must be considered as a possible contributor to the motive.” Oh. So then would you consider the environment (not to mention actual POLICIES of its Neo-liberal supporters) created by the Bremain campaign in causing an ACTUAL breaking point as a possible motive for contributing the alleged environment created by the Brexit campaign? Or would you consider that “obviously batshit crazy”? Whatever.

        1. m-ga

          Actually, I think your suggestion about neoliberal policies contributing is correct. The most obvious way would be in the cutbacks in mental health provision. But the wider deterioration in the social fabric is also a factor.

          For example, there are reports that the accused worked as a volunteer. Since 2010 (e.g. Cameron’s “Big Society” initiative) the voluntary sector has faced an increase in demand without a commensurate increase in funding. The UK now has food banks, which were unheard of prior to the 2010 Conservative-led government. The UK is becoming a less pleasant place, and it is due to neoliberal austerity policies. Perhaps this deterioration contributed to the state of mind of a person who presumably also had mental health issues.

          But there are a couple of problems with citing neoliberal policies as a trigger for the killing:

          1. Neoliberal policy dates back to 1980 in the UK. It continues uninterrupted to this day – most notably in that the Blair government picked up where Thatcher left off. The accused is in his early 50s, so lived through all of this. Why did he act now?

          2. The Leave campaign is more starkly neoliberal than the Remain campaign. Two of the three senior conservatives backing Leave (Michael Gove and Ian Duncan-Smith) have voting and policy records showing unbridled, unparalleled enthusiasm for neoliberalism. (Whilst the third, former London Mayor Johnson, tends to back whatever political position is expedient for his career).

          The problem with your statement is in the phrase “the environment (not to mention actual POLICIES of its Neo-liberal supporters) created by the Bremain campaign”. In fact, the Brexit/Leave campaign is at least equally culpable for those policies.

          This is not to say that there aren’t excellent reasons for the UK leaving the EU. The treatment of Greece by the EU is perhaps the most notable. But this is explicitly not the grounds on which the Brexit/Leave campaign is being promoted. Instead, the Brexit/Leave campaign – as it’s been played out in the UK over the last few weeks – is a one note anti-immigration campaign.

          1. larry

            The treatment meted out to Greece cannot be carried out on the UK, as it is not in the Eurozone. Having said that, Schaeuble has threatened the UK.

            1. Paul Greenwood

              Schauble is an old man in a hurry……he is irrelevant. If he actually spent some money repairing bridges in Germany – the latest one to collapse is on the A7 in Bavaria – everyone would be happy. Where German taxes are going is hard to fathom – but collapsing infrastructure is becoming very dangerous

  8. Take the Fork

    Whether it had anything to do with Brexit or not, I think we here in the States could (but probably won’t) learn something from the British political establishment’s response.

    I say again:

    One person is tragically murdered in England, and political campaigning is suspended.

    Forty-Nine people are tragically murdered in America, and the political campaigning goes to 11.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Even worse than campaigning going forward when 50 people are tragically killed, how about hundreds of Americans killing themselves because of foreclosure, job losses, and economic tragedy and the entire country remaining moot.

      I asked for a statement from our WA State Attorney General and a Representative when yet another foreclosure victim shot himself. I heard nothing.

    2. fajensen

      Different cultures deal with similar problems in different ways, and sometimes in ways which others find extremely disagreeable. That is how it is.

      It is a very small step from a multicultural society and onto a tribal one – which is a society where *everything* is about clan, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation – where all the tribes fight each other for position (and for nothing) rather than uniting against exploitation.

      Creating these favorable conditions for “business” comes right out of the “East India Company Population Management Handbook – vol 1”.

      Tribalism is so effective a tool that nobody cares about big things like mass lead poisoning of children as long as it happens to poor folk without lawyers. The effects of childhood lead poisoning is lowered intelligence, brain damage, poor impulse control, et cetera. Effectively breeding a new generation of losers and fuck-wits to keep jails, as well as social- and emergency-services busy.

  9. Gill

    Each time the scenario repeats, the same elimination question comes to the fore: Which SSRI, SNRI, NaSSa, or similar antidepressant prescription drug(s) was the individual either taking, in withdrawal from, or had serious side effects resulting in misdiagnosis and higher doses/more drugs? Over, and over again, the same answers to this curiously modern phenomenon of irrational violence/self-violence: whether it be a plane calmly crashed into a mountainside, multiple mass shootings, single murders, office killings, driving cars off roads, endless suicides, and other dreadful variants… the answer tends to involve one or more of the usual suspects. As another poster wrote, we await the blood tests.

  10. Anonymous

    Well I may be batshit crazy, but what passed through my mind is that:

    * The Remain camp may gain from this event, due to sympathy for the murdered MP, and aversion to the camp supposedly behind the act.

    * The Leave camp cannot gain from such an act, and thus would not have the motivation, although some crazy individuals could be talked into doing it.

    * It is only a week before the vote, the Leave side is up in the polls, and there are some well-connected individuals that benefit from the status quo and thus stand to lose billions in case of a “Leave” vote.

    You draw the conclusion.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We have crazy people in the US killing people on a regular basis. This is tragic but not unusual by our standards.

      Even though the initial stories included the eyewitness details, in particular Mair supposedly saying, “Britain first,” the later reports, when the press had found people who knew him, indicate he was unstable. So this looks like someone who was a walking time bomb who may have exploded now regardless, or could have been triggered by the intense media attention on the immigrant issue as a result of the Brexit debate. So it seems extremely unlikely that he was put up to do it (particularly given that people who are unstable are not reliable actors….).

      1. fajensen

        In my opinion, these people are often put up to to it. Not in the sense that someone actively persuades them, but, in the sense that, in a desire to become “normal”, they will seek out other sadistic, hateful and destructive people like themselves, groups where their urges and radical opinions “fit in”.

        The availability of the Internet makes it very easy to live isolated for years inside a bubble of hate and deviant thinking, with similar creatures providing support and advice on even the most lunatic ideas.

        The “mind-to-mind” interface on the Internet strips away the normal protocols for human interaction.

        I think this “brakes removed” have the effect of making the nuts even more nutty online, this then gets reinforced by the other nuts slamming hard into the rails over the same issue; “Ohh, *everybody* thinks the same, the nut will think” – forgetting that they are in a self-selected a forum where everyone is like them.

        Being a loon was much harder in “the old days”, one would have to talk to people in order to do basic things like paying bills or buying groceries. Human contact, I speculate, will moderate most of the nuts and keep them grounded in some acceptable version of reality.

        ISIS is very much a mutated child of toxic “Social Media”.

      2. backwardsevolution

        His brother spoke up:

        “Scott Mair said he had not known his brother to be violent. Duane St Louis said he suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder, and was so anxious about cleanliness that he had been known to scrub himself with pan scourers. But he added that he had never heard him express any racist sentiments, or even any political views. “We don’t even know who he votes for.”

        He was devoted to their mother, he added, and would visit her regularly and do her shopping. Neighbours added that he was a man who mowed elderly people’s gardens, and had volunteered at a school for children with learning disabilities.”

        His brother didn’t even know who he voted for. He would scrub himself with pan scourers? Doesn’t sound there to me, does he to you?

      3. Fiver

        Greenwald among numerous others has pointed out that ‘mentally disturbed’ or ‘low function’ or notably ‘slow’ individuals who manage to find themselves the target for FBI ‘counter-terror’ units who insert ‘informants’ into the target’s life with the aim of enticing the target to ‘plan’ then commit an attack – as in go so far he/she/they can be charged and (usually, so far) quickly convicted. There’s a famous case in BC Canada now involving a pair of marginal oddballs who many, many people believe were simply set up – on their own, the couple could have never conceived the plot let alone advanced it from A to anywhere. It is presumed intervention always occurs before harm can be done.

        This is stuff known to be happening. But we also know other things. We also know, for instance, that the military and sister agencies now have drugs available to them that can break minds, shape minds, destroy minds or deliver a heart-pounding high-octane jolt of full-bodied aggression unlike anything most middle aged men today have ever experienced in their lives for even seconds, let alone an extended period.

        The first thing I thought of when I heard of this shooting was the referendum. It comes so close on the heels of Orlando (itself a controversy) in the midst of another massive reactionary maelstrom of fear-mongering, anger, hate and calls for action directed by US and Western media at the populace that it amplifies both in a shared context of the ‘global war on terror’ – and it just so happens that we also know that a reactive public, an uneasy public, a worried public has so far been a tame public unlikely to challenge the status quo.

        Note as well how much money trades hands around things like ‘Brexit’. There are a large number of wealthy, powerful people, corporations, etc. with a major stake – there are also major speculators willing to make obscene bets. Is that crisis or opportunity knocking under the hood?

        1. backwardsevolution

          Fiver – good post. “… FBI ‘counter-terror’ units who insert ‘informants’ into the target’s life with the aim of enticing the target to ‘plan’ then commit an attack.” Yes, this very well could be what happened. I’ve read about this before. People with no knowledge of bomb-making suddenly make a bomb. Yeah, right, with a lot of help from their “friends”.

          1. fajensen

            Given the resources of a TLA one could probably fairly easily leverage social media to goad and direct a known crackpot to action.

            First, one can use Machine Learning to find these “outliers”, then one can use bots to drown out the few real or on-line friends that the person have and isolate him/her. Then an actual skilled in persuasion gets to work on moving him/her towards the desired state of mind and against the target – probably using the bot-friends as backup and moral support.

            Create an information bubble, then move the bubble along some extremist axis while keeping the person inside.

            Can this be done? I bet it can! Someone made real money on a similar scheme:

            “The most tragic thing about the Ashley Madison hack? It was really 1% actual women”

            “This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.”

        2. Paul Greenwood

          The famous False Flag was Gliwice or Gleiwitz radio station ostensibly attacked by Polish troops in August 1939 as a casus belli. The “Poles” being prisoners from German camps dressed in Polish uniforms and shot dead.

          It is fairly easy to set up someone on SSRIs to “do the deed” MI% has a branch office in Leeds nearby, West Yorkshire Police is headquartered in Wakefield and has Special Branch liaison there – and Special Branch is the police branch that carries out MI5 activities where MI5 is mainly Counter Intelligence

          It would be so easy to have outpatient medication changed or “befriend” such a type and give his life “meaning”

  11. PlutoniumKun

    A friend of mine who is a stock trader said casually this morning that the murder ‘improved sentiment’ in the European markets. Hmm

    1. Fiver

      No kidding. Everything dripping with the sanctimonious sweat and induced tears of a righteous and steadfast status quo in the face of the ‘challenges of the times’ – not for them the blood which flows below but rather the money that blood forces to the top.

  12. jabawocky

    I think its easy to overreact the political side of this, but i think for the American audience the closest parallel was the tragic shooting of senator Gabriele Gifford. However, the brexit side has been exploiting hatred for political purposes and they will now be reflecting on whether this played a role in motivating the perpetrator, however mad he may have been.

  13. cassandra

    An article by the Southern Poverty Law asserts right-wing extremist connections by Mair:
    “According to records obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center Mair was a dedicated supporter of the National Alliance (NA), the once premier neo-Nazi organization in the United States, for decades.”

    Two mild curiosities: Why is an American org breaking this info? Why is this activity by Mair so dated?
    Perhaps time will bring clarification and/or elaboration.

  14. Jesper

    Election campaign compared to policies implemented? The Iraq war and its consequences vs possibly maybe this murder?

    What happened was and is horrible. Leave it at that.

  15. Noonan

    I was under the impression that the UK had strict gun control laws. How did this mentally unstable person obtain a firearm?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The UK does have strict gun laws. From whats been said, it would seem that the gun was either home made or some sort of antique.

  16. Aaron

    The more info coming out on this, the more it stinks.

    Louise Mensch has just written an article.

    Apparently the “witness” who heard “Britain First” was himself a member of the BNP – a far-right political party. These people are racist thugs and cannot be trusted. Not that the media is putting any of this straight. I thought it was weird how the guy kills an MP and conveniently shouts “Britain First” days before the referendum. Just enough time to corral enough weak minded voters into voting remain “out of sympathy”.

  17. allan

    Accused Killer of UK Lawmaker Makes Defiant Court Statement

    The accused killer of British lawmaker Jo Cox gave his name as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain” in his first court appearance Saturday.

    Thomas Mair, 52, made his defiant statement in Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London after being charged overnight with the murder of the popular Labour Party lawmaker.

    As to the link in the comment above: just Google `Louise Mensch Glenn Greenwald’.
    Mensch is no mensch.

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