Are These Shooters All Democrats?


Are these shooters really all Democrats?

Courtesy of Thought Crime Resistance, where it received over 300 likes and 4,000 shares.  Similar memes have been sporadically spread by some (though not many) voices on the right, including one by Ted Nugent that got over 100,000 likes and 75,000 shares.  Are these shooters all Democrats?  To find out, we’ll briefly go through each of them, and look at the evidence (if any) that they were.

First, a fair definition of “Democrat” is needed.  For that, we’ll use;

a person who is either a registered voter with, a member of, or a known supporter of the Democratic Party.

If the claim meets this criteria, the statement will be considered true or mostly true, depending on the strength of evidence.  If they can be proven wrong, it will be considered false or mostly false, and if there is no evidence either way, it will be unsubstantiated (which is a nice way of saying this meme is b.s., since the label would be uncalled for)

1. In 1865 a Democrat killed Abraham Lincoln

Mostly False. This refers to the infamous John Wilkes Booth.  Booth was a fairly successful actor, who was also very pro-slavery and anti-Lincoln.  A couple different sources, here and here, give accounts of his life and motivations.  While Booth became active in politics, his only known association with a political party was in the 1850s with the American Party, aka the Know-Nothing Party.  This party was known primarily as an anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic party, but ironically didn’t take a stand on slavery.  The party disbanded in 1860.  During the Civil War, Booth was a spy for the Confederacy, as his job as an actor let him smuggle goods throughout the country.

There is no evidence of Booth’s involvement with the Democratic Party, but he was anti-Lincoln and pro-Confederacy, which meant at the time, anti-Republican.  Therefore, he would most likely support and vote for whatever party opposed Lincoln, which some would consider the Democrats.  However, during the Civil War, even Democrats were split on slavery and the war.  Many in the north ended up supporting Lincoln and became Republicans.  In the south, the Democratic Party halted all operations from 1861-1865.  Booth shot Lincoln in 1865.  He would probably have fit into the racist Southern Democrat mold if given a chance, but labeling him a Democrat would be wrong.

2. In 1881 a Democrat killed James Garfield

Charles Guiteau

False. This refers to Charles Guiteau.  He was quite a character, seeming to annoy and creep out every group he became associated with.  He became involved with a small religious sect in upstate New York called the Oneida Community, lead by John Noyes, who labeled the practice “Bible Communism”.  The biased observer might take that to mean Guiteau was a leftist, but he was never really accepted by the group.  He ended up filing a frivolous lawsuit against them, and eventually wrote threatening letters to the group when that failed.  Noyes described Guiteau as moody, self-conceited, unmanageable” and addicted to masturbation.  Later, he called him “insane”, and remarked, “I prayed for him last night as sincerely as I ever prayed for my own son, that is now in a Lunatic Asylum.”  Eventually, Guiteau took up politics, where he promoted the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party.

He wrote a speech titled “Garfield vs. Hancock”, which was filled with over-the-top arguments supporting the Republican nominee, Garfield.  After Garfield narrowly won the election, Guiteau deliriously concluded it was his speech that was responsible for the victory, and began incessantly bugging the administration about being appointed Ambassador to Paris.  The Secretary of State, James Blaine, finally told him, “Never bother me again about the Paris consulship so long as you live.”

Guiteau eventually became depressed, and decided Garfield needed to be removed from office because he was on a course to “wreck the once grand old Republican Party“.  He purchased a .45 revolver and shot President Garfield at a train station, who later died from his wounds due to the medical incompetence of the time.

3. In 1963 a socialist killed John F. Kennedy

True.  Putting aside all the conspiracy theories and assuming we’re talking about Lee Harvey Oswald, he was a self-described Marxist.  After being discharged from the Marines, he even traveled to the Soviet Union, and attempted to renounce his citizenship and become Russian.  After a short time in the Soviet Union, he seem underwhelmed with the system, and eventually moved back to the US.  He seemed to identify more with revolutionary Marxism after that, and started admiring Cuba.  Before Kennedy, he attempted to kill General Walker, an outspoken critic of Fidel Castro.

It’s interesting to note that this is the only person on this meme’s list not called a Democrat, but a socialist instead.

4. In 1975 a Democrat shot at Gerald Ford

Mostly False.  Two woman shot at Gerald Ford in 1975, both unsuccessfully.  The first was Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who was a member of the Manson Family.  The other was Sarah Jane Moore.  While Moore was certainly affiliated with leftist groups, and would likely support a Democrat over a Republican, it would be a stretch to call her a Democrat, as she had no affiliation with the party.  It would be more accurate to describe her as a radical leftist, or Marxist.

5. In 1983 a Democrat shot Ronald Reagan

False.  There is no evidence that John Hinckley, Jr. was a Democrat.  He was clearly mentally ill, and fixated on the movie, Taxi Driver, where Robert DeNiro was a psychotic taxi driver, who contemplated political assassination, as well as rescued a young prostitute played by Jodi Foster.  He became obsessed with Foster, even enrolling in Yale to stalk her.  Initially, he began following President Carter (a Democrat) around, but never went through with an assassination attempt.  His mental health deteriorated at the same time Reagan became president, and Hinckley finally went through with his plan.  Before the attempt, he wrote a letter to Foster explaining how he was doing it for her.  Also, the shooting happened in 1981, not 1983.

6. In 1984 a Democrat killed 22 people in a McDonald’s

Unsubstantiated. There’s no evidence James Huberty, who perpetrated the San Ysidro massacre, was a Democrat.  As a kid, he contracted polio, grew up in Amish country, was abandoned by his mother, and reportedly blamed God for his mom’s absence.  Later in life he held several jobs, including a funeral home undertaker.  Eventually, he adopted conspiracy-type beliefs including a fear of Soviet Aggression, foreign control of the Federal Reserve and the imminent economic collapse of the economy.  He became a self-described survivalist, bought several weapons, and reported believing himself mentally ill shortly before the shooting, even calling a psychologist’s office.  However, due to a clerical error he was never called back, and one day left his family at home to carry out the McDonald’s attack.

7. In 1986 a Democrat killed 15 people in an Oklahoma post office

Unsubstantiated. There’s no evidence Patrick Henry Sherrill, the postal worker for whom “going postal” is known for, was a Democrat.  Sherrill served in the Marine Corps, was a member of the National Guard pistol team, and considered an expert marksman.  His motive for committing the Edmond Post Office shooting was likely his supervisor who had reprimanded him (along with mental illness).

8. In 1990 a Democrat killed 10 people at a GMAC office

Unsubstantiated.  There’s no evidence James Edward Pough was a Democrat.  He was an unskilled construction worker, who earlier in life had murdered his best friend in an argument.  Despite being banned from buying firearms, the authorities dropped the ball and he ended up buying several.  His motivation for attacking the GMAC office was likely because they repossessed his Pontiac Grand Am.

9. In 1991 a Democrat killed 23 people in a Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, TX

Unsubstantiated. There is no evidence George Hennard was a Democrat.  There is evidence that he had an irrational hatred of women, calling them “female vipers”, but that doesn’t seem to be a political platform of either party.

10. In 1995 a Democrat killed 5 coworkers in a Texas Laboratory

Unsubstantiated. There is no evidence James Simpson was a Democrat.

11. In 1999 a Democrat killed 8 people at a church service

UnsubstantiatedThere is no evidence Larry Ashbrook was a Democrat.  He was an emotionally disturbed, likely schizophrenic man, who before the shootings thought the police was drugging him and the CIA was targeting him.  He had some issue with Christianity, as evidenced during the shooting, but no known link to the Democratic Party.

12. In 2001 a Democrat shot at the White House, aiming for George Bush

False.  No evidence could be found that Robert Pickett was a Democrat.  Furthermore, he didn’t “aim for George Bush”, he fired a shot at the White House, while behind the gates.  According to the Secret Service, Bush was never in danger.  As far as Mr. Pickett, he was a former employee of the IRS, and had lost lawsuits against them for grievances.

13. In 2003 a Democrat killed 7 people at a Lockheed Martin plant

Unsubstantiated.  No evidence could be found that Doug Williams was a Democrat.  Some attributed the workplace shooting to racism, as Williams had apparently made racist remarks at work, but the police stated it was likely random, as most of the injured were white.  The incident appeared to be caused by Williams becoming enraged at a work meeting.  Then, he went to his car for a shotgun and proceeded to shoot up the plant.

14. In 2007 a Democrat killed 32 people in Virginia Tech

False.  Seung-Hui Cho, the 23-year-old Korean student turned shooter at Virginia Tech was an immigrant, not a US citizen.  In Virginia, only citizens are allowed to vote, meaning Cho couldn’t have been a Democratic (or any) voter.  There is no evidence he was involved with any sort of political activity, instead being described as a loner.  In his ramblings prior to the shootings, he did rail against “rich brats” and against Christianity, but no coherent political ideology.

15. In 2010 a Democrat shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed 6 others

False.  Jared Loughner was a registered independent, who didn’t even vote in the 2010 elections.  While he didn’t discuss his political motives, his friend was quoted as saying, “It wasn’t like he was in a certain party or went to rallies.  It’s not like he’d go on political rants.”

16. In 2011 a Democrat killed 12 people in a movie theater

Unsubstantiated.  There is no evidence James Holmes, the Aurora, CO movie shooter, was a Democrat.  There was a Breitbart story claiming he was a registered Democrat, but that was later proven to be wrong, and retracted. Holmes considered attacking an airport initially, but decided against it as it might be confused with terrorism.  He wrote, “Terrorism isn’t the message.  The message is, there is no message.”

17. In 2012 a Democrat killed 7 people in Minneapolis

Unsubstantiated.  This refers to the shooting at Accent Signage Systems, where 5 people (not 7) were killed, including the gunman Andrew Endeldinger.  There is no evidence to support Endeldinger being a Democrat, only a disgruntled employee who was a loner, mentally ill, that recently lost his job there.

18. In 2013 a Democrat killed 26 people in Newtown, CT

Unsubstantiated.  There is no evidence that Adam Lanza was a Democrat.  He was often described as a troubled and fidgety loner that likely suffered from Asperger’s, among other issues.

19. In 2013 a Democrat shot 12 at a Navy Shipyard

Unsubstantiated, but possibly true.  On CNN, one of Aaron Alexis’s friends said the following:

“Aaron wasn’t conservative like I am.  He was more of a liberal type; he wasn’t happy with the former [Bush} administration.  He was more happy with this [Obama] administration- as far as presidential administrations.”

This is the only evidence supporting the claim, and it’s certainly not rock solid, so it couldn’t be reliably claimed.


Looking at the profiles of all these shooters brings up many common characteristics.  Loner, mental illness, violent outbursts and general creepiness.  Political ideology is generally non-existent or incoherent, particularly among the mass shooters.  Regardless of one’s view on politics or gun control, associating these killers with the Democratic Party (or conversely, with Republicans or Tea Party ideology) is a low blow that’s not backed up by facts, and the argument should be removed from any rational discourse.

21 Comments on "Are These Shooters All Democrats?"

  1. Ronald W. White | February 17, 2016 at 9:11 am |

    I didn’t read that any of the shooters proven Republicans. I rest my case.

  2. I can tell you that with Minnesota being mostly raving Marxist Democrats the guy was a Democrat. Secondly, anyone shown to be a Leftist can reasonably be assumed to be a Democrat or be aligned with Democrat Party ideology. Funny how some of them were shown as false when they could reasonably be assumed so when comparing their political leanings and Democrat policies. And the guy who shot Giffords WAS a Democrat. Several news agencies reported this.

  3. So I can conclude by reading this that the researcher is on the left. In stead of mostly false it should be said to be partly true. Opposition to the Republican party is mainly Democrats. I know by this slanted post not to trust the meme Police for an unbiased look at political memes.

    • Read some of the other busted memes on the site and then tell me if this is a left wing site. The fact is this is just a bad meme not supported by the evidence. Fortunately, if you want some left wing memes busted, you’ve also come to the right place!

  4. Jrobert Field | February 18, 2016 at 5:59 am |

    So in all of these names, you were only able to find one was registered to vote and had party affiliation listed? Seems to me that you failed at secondary research.

  5. Katherine Montana | March 22, 2016 at 1:41 am |

    I enjoyed this very much. It was interesting and informative.
    I was amused by the commenters who SO BADLY wanted to hear liberals are the bad guys, all the time. Apparently, it’s not enough that most of the shooters were mentally disturbed rather than politically motivated; or that conservatives weren’t being blamed.
    No, it’s got to be liberals toting those guns and shooting people up, by God! Its just got to be! ?

  6. I’m so glad I found you guys!! Here I thought it was my mission to debunk false memes all by myself!!! Shot down 3 today. 1) Nick Bradshaw. Actor who played him in Top Gun is being circulated that he is a war hero and people don’t care about him. 2) We’ve taken in 500,000 Syrian refugees and one of them killed and/or raped a woman 3) Marines got killed and nobody cares. Story from 6 years ago and they had the facts wrong. Yesterday I saw one where they posted a shot of 6 or 7 army guys telling us to THANK them for their service. It was photo of Jack Black, Ben Stiller and others..LOL

  7. Also shot down a meme saying CA was giving the to vote to 3000 illegals too

  8. I found your list informative too. I agree with Katherine. A lot of criminals shooting people are just deranged or mentally ill. Most of them probably don’t vote or even care what’s going on politically. ALTHOUGH, I see way to many people posting about “guns being taken away” (hasn’t happened YET, although to listen to these people you would think the Feds are knocking on their door this very minute), “we are trying to abolish the 2nd Amendment” (a lengthy process that will NEVER happen), and assorted rants ad nauseam about those 2 events “about to happen.” Bar none, the only “friends” on my Facebook page making these outlandish accusations against the Liberals are Republicans. It is also made known via news reports (real ones) that these radical right-wingers are constantly accidentally shooting themselves or others, allowing children access to their guns (lots of stories regularly about toddlers getting their hands on guns and either shooting themselves or their parent(s), siblings, etc.), and let’s not forget the assorted militia groups and plain old murderers who proudly proclaim to be Republican. The subject here, my original search, was to look for shooters that are Democrats because I wanted to see if it was comparable to the number of shooters that are self-proclaimed or registered Republicans. I wanted to see what it looked like on BOTH sides so I could judge fairly. I bet (because I haven’t done the search yet) there are WAY more “shooters” that are Republicans, rather than Democrats. Given what we know, that’s just common sense. I really don’t even need to do a search because the news is inundated with stories every single day about right-wingers and how irresponsible they are with their guns, or how they use them intentionally to intimidate or kill.

  9. I would like to state on thing Lee Harvard Oswald did not shoot Kennedy there is no possible way for him to shoot Kennedy 3 times reload and run down 12 flights of stairs in 12 seconds and not be out of breath or sweating Oswald had an alibi the person when asked by the police officer where everyone was in the room at the time of the shooting when he was questioned about where Oswald was the man answered he was here the whole time the history channel even proved that Oswald did not do it as the experts that were physically fit could not run down 12 flights of stairs without being out of breath or sweating in fact they couldn’t make it down in 12 they actually made it down the stairs later than 12.

  10. This is almost too funny if it wasnt too sad..Unsubstantiated is code for they were regular Democratic supporters and voters

  11. Decades later of course you cannot substantiate the claim, voter registrations are not available that far back, but at the time they were.

  12. There are a lot of people who you asked for sources and citations and they seemed to disappear into the nether of their echo chamber. They’re quite laughable but it sucks that you put this work in to have it rejected by the majority of commenters so far.

    You seem to deal in objectivity and that’s a problen to a lot of people, regardless of political affiliation.

  13. There are numerous problems with the claims attempting “substantiate” or refute the claims. Firstly, the mid 19th century and early 20th-century Democrats were not the Democrats of today. See Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Further, gun laws were very different as was medical science. In the 1860s, germ theory wasn’t yet known accounting for many deaths due to disease, infection, and post-op infections. In fact, by 1865, the most advanced medical school in the U.S. — Harvard Medical School did not even have a lab. Paris, France, at that time, was the global epicenter of medical advancement. And leeches and bleedings were still in common use. Today, many gun shot wound victims (GSW victims) are routinely saved thanks to advances in emergency room medicine, accounting for a lower death rate nationally among GSW victims despite horrible lax gun laws which send them to the ER in the first place. Also, just being a Democrat or a Republican has never been considered an MO by modern criminologists to satisfactorily answer why X person engaged in gun violence. While it’s always good to dispel idiotic rumors and bogus claims, those who study gun violence prevention do not consider a person’s political affiliation — if that data is even part of the public record, (which typically is not amongst 19th century records,) a key criteria in determining his act of gun violence. Generally speaking, it’s more complicated and the actor is usually, for numerous reasons and influences acting upon him, a very troubled soul with an ax to grind and who resorts to gun violence to settle some imaginary score.

  14. There’s one more interesting thing to note, the list is quite short by comparison to how many homicides committed with a gun and mass shootings occur in the US. It’d be interesting to see a statistics based on political affiliation, it’d be striking to see how many of them have some political motivation behind them (it’s also true that they’d be qualified as terrorism, but the police often ignore or under-represent the political/religious motivation).

  15. there is a mind set of the left that is against guns but they do most of the killing. Chicago is a good example. the crime rate there is staggering. the cities with the most crime have the most severe gun laws. so the innocent have no guns and the crooks will always find a way to get them. south Africa’s crime rate went through the roof when they took the guns and Australia not as bad but it did escalate dramatically.notice now who are breaking into buildings burning cars & rioting…the left. if you feel uncomfortable calling them democrats…so be it.

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