Thomas Mair Killed MP Jo Cox, But Why? Supporter of Diversity Killed By Extremist [Video]

Sheri Oz

"Our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration, be it Irish Catholics across the constituency or Muslims from Indian Gujarat or Pakistan, principally from Kashmir. And whilst we celebrate our diversity, the thing that surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common that that which divides us."

The shock, then, that an extremist appears to have killed Cox, is great. Thomas Mair, 52, was arrested in connection with the assassination of Cox.

As Mair shot and stabbed Cox, he was reportedly heard by witnesses to shout out "Britain First." Britain First is the name of an organization that, according to its own website, stands for protecting British culture and values against Islamic jihad. It is generally regarded as a right-wing extremist group. However, the facts have not yet been clarified, and on its website, Britain First states that it is aghast at the murder of an MP and this attack on democracy. Whether or not Mair actually shouted out "Britain First" is still in dispute.

New reports are coming out that link him to neo-Nazism. The online website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, that monitors a hate-watch, claims that Mair has been a member of the extremist American National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group, for over 10 years.

Since 1999, Mair has been purchasing materials online that would allow him to carry out his extremist views. He bought a manual giving pistol making instructions and another explaining the chemistry of explosives. The publisher of the manual is National Vanguard Books, an agency of the extremist National Alliance.

Cox was a respected parliamentarian. The Guardian notes that grief and condolences have been quick to come in from all sides of the political map.

She is praised for her impassioned speech in April, in which Cox declared the need for Britain to be part of the move to pressure all sides to the conflict in Syria to "stop all attacks on civilian targets." She asked for cooperation with European allies to drop food into stricken areas. Cox also championed the idea of immigration of Syrian refugees into Britain.

"Given the escalation in Aleppo [Syria] and the lack of medical care available there now, what further can the UK do to get the most vulnerable people out of harm's way? And surely, given what we know about the horror that we know about what the refugee children in Europe have fled, isn't it time to end the government's shameful refusal to give 3000 unaccompanied children sanctuary here in the UK?"

Can a mentally ill person be tipped into acting out extremist views? Apparently. Can neighbors and family think they know someone when important aspects of that person's life remain secret? Apparently. Does mental illness excuse extremism?

Cox offered her goals for her service to her votes at the end of her first speech in the House of Commons. She promised to be true to herself and to a "spirit of non-conformity."

"The spirit of non-conformity is as prevalent now in my part of West Yorkshire as it was in the time of my two immediate predecessors, Mike Wood and Elizabeth Peacock. They were both known for offering their own brand of independent, non-conformist service, albeit in very different ways. And I intend to maintain that established tradition in my own unique style."

[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

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