The confessionals would be full this weekend if there was repentance for the sin of equivalence. Because America is undergoing an orgy of false equivalence over the shooting of Republican congressmen playing baseball.
Wednesday morning’s tragedy (Baseball practice before 7 a.m.!) is being compared to the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords in Phoenix six years ago. My hero Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist AND an attorney, made this point on Fox last evening: Jared Loughner was, indeed, batshit crazy. Diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic.
James Hodgkinson was, by all accounts, normal, even boring. A run of the mill Bernie Sanders Democrat except for the fact that he is blue collar, not a tenured government employee.
Which one looks crazy, which does not?
“Perhaps as a coping mechanism,” James Freeman writes in Best of the Web, the New York Times now opinionates that the Alexandria baseball shooter “was surely deranged, and his derangement had found its fuel in politics.” Freeman observes:
One can argue that anyone who seeks to assassinate politicians is by definition deranged. Some people might even argue that Hodgkinson’s proposal to lift marginal tax rates to “70% or more” was insane.
But neighbors, former customers, and family members say the guy seemed normal. His record, unlike Loughner’s, argued the same.
The politics of crazy men
Immediately after the Giffords shooting (we forget that six people, including a federal judge and a 6-year-old girl, died in the fusillade), the Left was quick to indict talk radio in general and Sarah Palin in particular, the latter for drawing a bulls eye around Gifford’s House seat and declaring it targeted. Of course, that is a standard term used by both parties before and since.
Search as they might, Loughner was found to be entirely disconnected from politics — as well as reality. That didn’t stop the New York Times today from repeating that long-discredited meme. Its correction today:
An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.
Whereas, Hodgkinson could have passed for a UW Havens Center graduate. He was a Bernie volunteer, identified with Bernie on his Facebook page. Signed all the right petitions.
The man could be dismissed as a one-off except that his sentiments — in just about the same words — are echoed on university campuses and in the Left’s journals. When you describe your opponents as fascists, political assassination is patriotism.
“The Resistance,” it’s being called, putting to mind beret-wearing freedom fighters booby trapping the outdoor café and assassinating the local gauleiter.
Trust us, bad guys will give up their guns
Hodgkinson does not represent the Bernie Left, the Bernie Left insists. But he does represent all gun owners, apparently. For, starting with Virginia’s governor and Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe, gun control is the answer.
Which is why the N.Y. Times mocks Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama.
“It’s not easy to take when you see people around you being shot and you don’t have a weapon yourself,” the Times allows. “That’s an entirely reasonable reflex. All people in that situation, unarmed and under fire, would long to be able to protect themselves and their friends.”
That small concession out of the way, the Times gets back on message:
Yet consider the society Americans would have to live in — the choices they would all have to make — to enable that kind of defense. Every member of Congress, and every other American of whatever age, would have to go to baseball practice, or to school, or to work, or to the post office, or to the health clinic — or to any of the other places mass shootings now take place — with a gun on their hip. And then, when an attack came and they returned fire, they would probably kill or wound not the assailant but another innocent bystander, as studies have repeatedly shown.
Except for some of what Al Gore would call inconvenient facts. Hodgkinson sought out Republicans, not Democrats. He even asked one of them to make certain he didn’t kill the good guys. And where did he choose to unleash his righteous anger? At a baseball field far from police patrols, where the players would have had trouble concealing weapons or openly carrying.
What’s more, the two officers assigned to the majority whip were in plain clothes. It is fair to conclude that had they been uniformed, Hodgkinson would have devised a Plan B. In other words, the bad guy (pray for Rep. Scalise, he is not out of the woods yet) chose a gun-free zone, de facto if not de jure.
Gun-free zones are a fraud unless secured by airport-level screening and/or armed police protection on premises. If not, so-called gun-free zones only disarm the good guys and invite predators. Which is why schools are frequent targets. And why we need armed police officers IN them.
UPDATE: The situational ethics of Bernie Sanders (and his supporters)
After the Gabbie Giffords shooting six years ago, Bernie Sanders called on Republican Sen. John McCain “to stand up and denounce the increasingly violent rhetoric coming from the right wing and exert his influence to create a civil political environment in his state.”
… Yet, when he took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to condemn the attack, Sanders made no such connections to the virulent anti-Trump rhetoric many of his supporters have used. And, as the vessel of Hodgkinson’s political adoration, he said nothing to denounce the actual violence at far-left protests in places like Berkeley, California, and Portland, Oregon.
… Others on the left were likewise quick to blame Trump for inciting violence and are just as quick to denounce any connections between Hodgkinson and left-wing rhetoric. — SE Cupp at CNN.