This morning, someone who specifically wanted to kill Republicans sprayed more than 50 shots at a GOP Congressional baseball practice, wounding at least five – including Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.). Within minutes, the sadly inevitable Tweets began:
- Scalise took over $7000 from the @NRA last election cycle. I hope he’s ok and that this event changes his mind on gun control.
- Sending Steve Scalise the same empty ‘thoughts and prayers’ he offers gun victims while taking tens of thousands of dollars from the #nra.
- Thoughts and prayers to Steve Scalise who accepted $18,500 from the NRA and wants more guns on the streets.
- Is it too soon to point out that Scalise has an A+ rating from the @NRA?
Yes, it is too soon.
I have never been a “gun guy,” and I’ll leave it to others to argue gun control vs. gun rights and how they relate to issues of safety, security, and freedom.
But the rush to blame Scalise’s own political stances for his misfortune should shock the conscience of Americans, and I reject the idea that “both sides do it.” While Republicans sometimes point out the way Democrat policies (generous welfare, the minimum wage) hurt the people they are supposed to help, virtually none of us gloat and seek political advantage when Democrats face death or grievous bodily injury.
Yet during the health-care debate, I heard some liberals openly wish Republicans who supported Trumpcare would themselves suffer painful illnesses, or witness them among family members.
We’re seeing the same vengeful point-scoring today.
As the saying goes, conservatives think liberals are wrong; liberals think conservatives are evil. Democrats often seem certain that Republicans choose economic policies from malice toward the poor; health-care proposals out of indifference to sick people; and attitudes toward affirmative action due to racism.
And when Republicans take NRA money (for their campaigns, not themselves) in exchange for supporting policies that “objectively” lead to the deaths of children, it’s simple greed.
The smug idea that conservatives would abandon their positions if they affected them personally is a bedrock of the liberal cultural stance. Countless TV shows have portrayed traditionalist characters who don’t support gay marriage until a family member comes out. A Republican Senator in a recent off-Broadway, Church and State, “sees the light” about gun control after a shooting at the elementary school his children attend. Liberal newspapers trumpet confessionals by women who were pro-life until they got pregnant.
Today’s tweets are particularly obnoxious when they offer “thoughts and prayers.” That’s a manifestation of what is known on the internet as “concern trolling” – pretending sympathy for the other side to undermine its case. Anyone who really seeks prayers for Representative Scalise calls for prayers for him, and joins in. They don’t attack Scalise’s policies and his campaign donor list while they do so.
And it needs to be said: the shooter was not a conservative. He stopped to check the political affiliation of the practicing legislator-athletes before opening fire. Seriously? Democrats have gone back to defending “gun control” today as a means to control their own people from murdering Republicans? Words cannot
We’re already seeing conservative responses online to the blame-guns crowd, pointing out that if the shooter had not been himself shot by armed guards the event would have been a massacre. Those debates will likely continue for weeks. But it’s not too early to upbraid those who waited but minutes to exploit a legislative opponent’s tragedy to score political points. Shame on you.