A quick assessment of the James T. Hodgkinson attack

James T. Hodgkinson failed in his self assigned mission to assassinate Republican lawmakers. And while he is currently deceased, some forensic reconstruction of his mission planning can be gleaned from the open source reporting.

He possessed a valid Illinois state Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) permit, but due to all charges being dropped for domestic violence in 2006. The Lautenberg amendment would have removed his ability to possess or purchase firearms, but it is pretty clear that such an impediment wouldn’t stop him. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/14/virginia-shooting-suspect-james-t-hodgkinson-leftwing-activist 

It is clear that he did research to look up the annual Congressional Baseball Game, and knew that the Republicans would hold a practice session prior to that game. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/06/14/what-congressional-baseball-game/102842214/

He used an Alexandria, Virginia YMCA in order to maintain observation of his intended target area.  http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-for-weeks-alexandria-shooter-hung-out-1497476334-htmlstory.html

He spent six to eight weeks casing the target area from that YMCA: http://wtop.com/virginia/2017/06/was-gunman-ready-to-head-home-before-congressmans-shooting/

He had traditional recon products, including names of targets and photographs of the “engagement area.” http://www.bnd.com/news/local/article156645524.html

Now, for what we don’t know. We don’t know how he was financing himself. Credit cards, debit cards, cash? My guess is cash right now as we haven’t seen much in the way of forensic reconstruction of his travel from Belleville to Alexandria.

We don’t know if the shooting incident with a hunting rifle in March outside Belleville was practice, or his attempt at blowing off steam. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/law-enforcement-officials-identify-shooter-at-congressional-ballgame-as-illinois-man/2017/06/14/ba6439f4-510f-11e7-91eb-9611861a988f_story.html

We don’t know why he chose to not use the “hunting rifle” and instead chose an SKS variant. The hunting rifle would probably have been a better choice unless the “hunting rifle” in question was the SKS (although reports of police attempting to trace the SKS make it sound like a recent purchase).

My assessment…

Hodgkinson had an idea of what he wanted to do, but didn’t have a very clear picture of how to go about doing it but possessed enough intelligence to figure out a time and place where the people he hated were going to assemble. Then he spent months watching, and waiting, for his chance to kill them. He intentionally did not practice marksmanship as his run in with police in March back in Illinois made him cognizant of the fact that such activity would arouse police intervention. He probably also didn’t practice because he spent his days watching the baseball field for his chance.

Despite being handy enough with tools to make a living in the construction industry for decades he didn’t build a suppressor for the SKS he acquired, which might have given him several more seconds before he encountered resistance.

Despite having some familiarity with firearms, he chose to use the worst aiming systems ever devised, stock communist iron sights not attached to a Mosin Nagant.

Lastly, the area he chose for his attack was very “open” from a rifle point of view, some structures and some trees, but not a lot of real cover for his intended victims.

streetview

Google Street View of Eugene Simpson Stadium Park from YMCA parking lot

Had Hodgkinson worked a better angle for a final firing point he might have avoided being killed so rapidly by armed response.

YMCA_Baseball_Field.PNG

Google Maps Satellite view of YMCA and Baseball Park

So there you have it, my assessment of what a poorly planned and poorly executed lone wolf assassination attempt looks like from using only open source information.

Remember that first reports are almost always wrong (he was initially reported as using an AK) and as details come available it is important to revise the assessment to fit the facts, rather than twist the facts to support an assessment.

However there is one personal assessment that won’t change for me, James T. Hodgkinson was a deranged vile sack of puss who made the world a better place by dying. And those leftist “revolutionaries” who are tweeting that the Republicans brought this on themselves by not bowing to the uncompromising radical Ctrl-Left are idiotic morons incapable of being taught the historical dangers of political violence.

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