When I went to sleep Thursday night, my post about the shooting at the offices of the Annapolis Capital had been updated six times, and the media had (incorrectly, as it turned out) reported that the gunman was “a white male in his 20s.” On Twitter, leftists were going crazy with speculation that somehow this atrocity was inspired by President Trump’s frequent criticism of the media’s “fake news.”The left immediately rushed to blame Donald Trump, for allegedly fostering an atmosphere of incivility, although there's no evidence that politics played any role in the shootings. Ramos was not registered in either major party.
Having been through similar situations so many times — a bombing or shooting, watching people on the Internet engaging in baseless guesswork about the motive and perpetrators — I urged caution:
It is important to avoid speculation in the immediate aftermath of incidents like this. What was the gunman’s motive? We don’t know, because we don’t even know who the gunman is yet. Of course, it’s possible that the shooter had some sort of political motive, but so far we have no evidence to indicate what that motive might be.Was it political terrorism and, if so, what kind of politics? Is the killer a radical Muslim? Or some kind of “right-winger”? That’s what such speculation is about — people trying to score political points from mass murder — and it’s distasteful, not to mention foolish.
Just wait, I always say when these things happen, and let’s get the facts first. Overnight, the facts finally emerged:
A Laurel man with a long-standing grudge against The Capital is being held as the suspect in the deadly shooting Thursday at the Annapolis newspaper, according to law enforcement sources.This guy was a cliché, a stereotype of a deranged loner, and he should have been locked up in a lunatic asylum or a prison. Because I’ve had to deal with this kind of psycho — in 2013, I was one of the defendants in a baseless defamation suit, and in 2016, a guy who targeted my family for SWATting was sentenced to federal prison — I have repeatedly warned readers: Crazy People Are Dangerous. . . .
Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder, according to online court records. . . .
In 2012, Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper and a columnist over a July 2011 article that covered a criminal harassment charge against him.
He brought the suit against then-columnist Eric Hartley, naming Capital Gazette Communications and Thomas Marquardt, the paper’s former editor and publisher, as defendants. . . .
Marquardt said he wasn’t surprised to hear Ramos identified as the alleged gunman, saying he started harassing the paper and its staff shortly after the 2011 article. The harassment escalated for years with online threats, Marquardt said.
“I was seriously concerned he would threaten us with physical violence,” Marquardt said from his retirement home in Florida. “I even told my wife, ‘We have to be concerned. This guy could really hurt us.’ ”
Marquardt said he called the Anne Arundel County police about Ramos in 2013, but nothing came of it. He consulted the paper’s lawyers about filing a restraining order, but decided against it.
“I remember telling our attorneys, ‘This is a guy who is going to come in and shoot us,’ ” he said.
Ramos’ aunt Vielka Ramos, 59, said she couldn’t believe he was the suspected gunman. She said her nephew had a good childhood, growing up in Severn, and attended Arundel High School.
“He was very intelligent. He would try to communicate with people but he was a loner,” she said.
After his grandmother died several years ago, she said, he stopped attending family gatherings. She had not talked to him in several years, the aunt said.
“He was distant from the family. He just wasn’t close to anybody,” she said.
In the 2011 column about the harassment charge, Hartley identified Jarrod Ramos as a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employee with no previous criminal record and a degree in computer engineering.
The harassment case centered on an online relationship Ramos tried to kindle with a former high school classmate. Hartley’s column said Ramos sent a friend request on Facebook to the woman, and the experience turned into a “yearlong nightmare.” Ramos allegedly wrote the woman and said she was the only person who ever said hello to him or was nice to him in school.
Ramos then allegedly called her vulgar names and told her to kill herself, Hartley wrote. He allegedly emailed the bank where she worked to get her fired. Ramos pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge, receiving probation from a judge who called his behavior “rather bizarre,” the column said.
Ramos’ subsequent defamation suit against The Capital worked its way through the Maryland courts until 2015, when the state’s second-highest court upheld a ruling in favor of the newspaper.
The fact that weapon used was reportedly a pump action shotgun, which puts it pretty far down on the list of guns likely to be subject to gun control, being a quintessential hunters weapon, obtained legally, and that Ramos is a "white Hispanic" are both bad for the narrative, so, aside from shooting a "protected" group, journalists, this shooting is likely to slide into forgetfulness rather quickly.