The most dispiriting trend to come out of Washington in recent years is the rush to blame high-profile violent crimes on pretty much anyone but the person or persons who committed them. Saturday’s tragedy in Pittsburgh, sadly, quickly sent Washington into one of its more predictable paroxysms of shifting blame to anyone but the accused.
It doesn’t matter, for instance, that alleged shooter Robert Bowers was an incorrigible self-radicalized anti-Semite. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t on the police radar or that the shooting would have been a horrifying tragedy no matter what firearms he used.
No, instead, the fault lies with Congress for failing to chip away at the Second Amendment. Indeed, Sen. Richard Blumenthal believes its “complicit” in the attack due to the fact it wouldn’t pass gun control.
“Our hearts break & stomachs turn after these shameful anti-Semitic murders,” the Connecticut Democrat wrote.
Our hearts break & stomachs turn after these shameful anti-Semitic murders. My thoughts are with the families & brave law enforcement. Congress is complicit—by its inaction—in this loathsome epidemic of gun violence.
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) October 27, 2018
“My thoughts are with the families & brave law enforcement. Congress is complicit — by its inaction — in this loathsome epidemic of gun violence.”
Blumenthal isn’t the only object lesson proving that there’s nobody who can convince prominent Democrats there’s any such thing as “too soon” when a tragedy hits, at least when it comes to gun control.
Sadly, Blumenthal’s tweet evinced another common theme on Saturday: No one on the left was willing to say what nostrums they would adopt to stop “this loathsome epidemic of gun violence,” merely that it ought to be solved.
Let me remind you this is the same side that has some kind of issue with Republicans saying “thoughts and prayers” after a tragedy because they don’t provide solutions. Let me remind you, too, that phrases like “Congress is complicit — by its inaction” or “common-sense gun safety” don’t actually mean anything.
The latter phrase was bandied about in a tweet from Sen. Bill Nelson; the Florida Democrat once again proved that it’s never too soon for a straw man:
Every time this happens, we’re shocked – and say it mustn’t happen again. When will opponents of common-sense gun safety work with us? We need to get assault weapons off the streets and out of the hands of those who would do us harm.
— Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) October 27, 2018
Well, “common-sense gun safety” to whom, one wonders? “(A)ssault weapons” — another meaningless construct Democrats like to tote out in situations like this — also makes an appearance, because of course it did..
Lest you think the upper chamber’s premier gun-grabber didn’t get in on this, I present Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s thoughts on the matter:
I’m heartbroken by the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. This is an act of hate, plain & simple. Hatred & easy access to assault weapons has left at least 11 dead & four police officers wounded. Only we let civilians so easily access weapons of war.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) October 27, 2018
Feinstein at least deserves some credit for explicitly stating what the root cause of Saturday’s tragedy was, which was only mentioned in passing in Blumenthal’s tweet and completely absent from Nelson’s Twitter feed as of Sunday morning.
Beyond that, we see the usual tropes, phrases like “weapons of war” and “easy access to assault weapons,” assumptions that this heinous crime would have been ameliorated if only there were different firearms involved, unfounded theorizing about whether gun control would have stopped this before an investigation has even begun.
Oh, and on the “thoughts and prayers” front, we have Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware:
Heartbroken by yet another mass shooting -this time at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. We need more than thoughts and prayers-we need action to stop these senseless deaths from gun violence.
— Senator Chris Coons (@ChrisCoons) October 27, 2018
If there is a deity — and I believe there is — one thing can be said for “thoughts and prayers:” It’s more effective than merely tweeting vague language about gun control legislation that doesn’t actually exist.
And, in fact, it would arguably be more effective to follow the president’s suggestion:
“If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him,” Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One, according to CNN.
I’m not particularly a fan of any pronouncement like that this early in the investigative process. However, that’s at least as substantive — and I would say considerably more so — than anything we saw out of the Democrats in these tweets.
Trump’s remarks will likely receive heaps of opprobrium over the next few days. Meanwhile, the media will happily run damage control for these Democrats and portray them as bold problem-solvers for robotically parroting the party line on guns.
This is the putrified state of our public discourse, and it’s not OK.
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