Making a political point against the National Rifle Association as you kill your wife and pets and then shoot yourself isn’t going to be particularly popular. It’s also not going to be particularly cogent.
Yet, this is the way that 56-year-old Kevin Heimsoth, a suspected murderer who also apparently wanted to check out himself, allegedly decided he wanted to leave this world.
The details are as gruesome as they are dispiriting. On Thursday morning, Heimsoth allegedly shot his wife, Lynn, at their home in Bellingham, Washington. Lynn Heimsoth, an elementary school principal, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to The Bellingham Herald. The wife’s therapy dog and the couple’s cat were also found shot to death.
Heimsoth was in critical condition in a local hospital, where he was under guard by police, the Herald reported.
On Friday, the Herald reported that Heimsoth may have admitted the crimes in tweets to the NRA, President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
He made the tweets in response to this tweet from the gun rights group wishing its members a merry Christmas.
We are incredibly grateful for all NRA members and supporters who fight every day to protect our right to self-defense, and we will never back down. pic.twitter.com/ujc35pTKBz
— NRA (@NRA) December 25, 2019
“Guns don’t kill people, people do. Guns just make it a lot easier. AR-15 makes it super easy,” a tweet from user @kevinheimsoth_h at 3 a.m. on Thursday morning read.
“I jsit [sic] killed my whole family, and i couldnt have done it without a gun! I’m too much of a coward, a knife would have been waaay too hard. So, thanks to everyone at the NRA,” the tweet continued.
It’s worth noting that Heimsoth allegedly used a handgun, not an AR-15.
A minute later, according to the U.K. Daily Mail, the user tweeted out, “Moscow Mitch and everyone else for making this possible. Some should call for a wellfare check at [address] in Bellimgham Wa. Lots of blood…thoe [sic] dog was the hardest.”
The address was Heimsoth’s residence.
The user would later reply to messages sent out by Trump and McConnell. It’s alleged he then turned the gun on himself.
It wasn’t clear whether Heimsoth had anything on his record that would have precluded him from owning a gun. Law enforcement officials would only say there was no prior indication of domestic violence.
‘I jsit killed my whole family, and i couldnt have done it without a gun! …. a knife would have been waaay too hard… thanks to … the NRA!’ Kevin Heimsoth from Washington admits to the murder of his wife, dog and cat on Boxing Day,… https://t.co/4yEfcdE0xx pic.twitter.com/akRwNPnogf
— konniemoments1 (@KonnieMoments1) December 28, 2019
“This horrendous crime impacted many in our community,” Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said.
“While our investigation has not yet revealed any facts that would indicate a propensity for domestic violence prior to the murder, anyone with information that might be helpful to our investigation and review of this incident is requested to contact the Sheriff’s Office. As this case illustrates, the dynamics of domestic violence can escalate and lead to extreme violence.”
There are several thoughts that go through your mind after a horrific crime like this, first and foremost the senselessness of the tragedy.
It’s also pointless to wonder whether it’s worth debating over the infirm political thoughts of a man who allegedly just killed his family. It clearly isn’t. It’s a curious note that someone who’s apparently so against guns was in possession of one, assumedly legally, but that can be unpacked 30 different ways.
Instead, this is where we are as a country. Shortly after a man allegedly shoots his wife and pets dead, he supposedly tweets the NRA, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell to announce that he’s done it. If these weren’t three of the most hated entities in American politics, we’d be talking about the kind of mind that would be doing this.
In fact, the majority of the Twitter account’s posts, according to The Bellingham Herald, consisted of barbs replying to the president’s tweets.
In any other case, we’d be talking about the “rhetoric” of those on his side and how it might have created a “toxic” environment. Think of the overheated coverage if this were someone who responded to Democrats and gun control groups after this sort of crime.
Whether or not we should have that kind of coverage is another question entirely. The fact remains this: A man allegedly killed his wife and pets and then allegedly took to his Twitter account to pin some of the blame on the NRA and Republicans.
That’s a moral contagion that should cause all of us to pause and think. And yet, the silence is deafening.
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