In the early hours of Wednesday morning, two Iowa police officers were murdered in “ambush-style” shooting attacks in Des Moines. The 46 year-old suspect, Michael Greene, approached each officer separately as they were seated in their vehicles, fatally shooting them.
Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek told reporters that “there was absolutely nothing either one of these officers could have done to prevent this or save themselves once this had started.”
While there is no official statement on Greene’s motives, the caucasian suspect was reportedly well-known to local police departments. Just weeks prior to today’s tragic shooting, Greene was ejected from a local high school’s football game for trespassing. In a video uploaded to Youtube under the name “Scott Greene,” iPhone footage depicts police officers escorting the individual filming the video off the high school’s property for allegedly harassing black attendees with a confederate flag.
Violence-tinged white nationalism has been a mainstay this election season. Politicians have turned to violent rhetoric – such as former Congressman Joe Walsh’s allusion to armed revolt in the event of a Clinton victory.
On November 8th, I'm voting for Trump.
On November 9th, if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 26, 2016
At political events – and in particular at Trump rallies – there have been frequent eruptions of violence. Right-wing militias, emboldened after the acquittal of Ammon Bundy and his co-conspirators who led an armed take-over of a federal wildlife reserve, have announced their intention to act as armed vigilante observers on election day.
While the details concerning the Iowa police shootings are still emerging, it appears as if it may relate to this spate of white nationalist rage. Hopefully this trend will prove short-lived.