Yesterday, in the wake of the tragic attack at the Washington Navy Yard, Russia’s parliamentary foreign affairs chief, Alexey Pushkov, gloated about the shooting. Showing that his respect for common decency is as minimal as his government’s respect for democracy and human rights, he tweeted that the shootings prove that the United States is not an exceptional country.
We probably shouldn’t expect more from a leader in a government that hates America. But consider this question: What did that America-hating government have in common yesterday with liberal Hollywood, liberal magazine editors, and liberal pundits? The answer is that they saw nothing wrong with making a cheap political talking point out of the tragic murder of twelve American patriots.
Before we knew even the most basic facts about the shootings at the Navy Yard, American liberals were seizing on the tragedy to score political points about gun control. Washed-up Hollywood actor – and I’m using the term “actor” generously; he was hardly Lawrence Olivier – Henry Winkler tweeted, “PLEASE America do nothing to promote gun control .because thats how we roll until we have all shot each other.” Only slightly more intelligible – not to be confused with intelligent – was a tweet by an editor of The Nation: “Shooter(s) in Naval Yard reported to have AR-15s. In DMV, there’ve been constant radio ads for people to buy AR-15s NOW b4 new regs come in.” And then there was David Frum, the part-time conservative and full-time talking head, who mocked the notion that a day of mourning is the wrong time to bloviate about gun control.
Allow me to point out what should be obvious even to opponents of the Second Amendment: It is grotesque to exploit murder victims for political purposes.
At this point, we do not even know the names of those who went to work at the Navy Yard yesterday morning and did not return home. We know only that they were Americans who loved their country enough to serve its Navy. They were public servants who died working for an institution older than our republic – a Navy whose guns defied King George III, whose sailors saved Europe from Hitler and the Pacific from Japan, and whose special forces put an end to the life of Osama Bin Laden.
From today’s reporting, it appears that the gunmen stole at least two of his guns from a safe on the base. No assault weapons ban, no call for universal background checks, no ban on high capacity magazines would have changed that fact – nor would they have meant that twelve more people would be alive today because of gun violence in our nation’s capital.
Now is not the time to dwell on the fact that a semi-automatic rifle – the kind liberals want to ban – is actually less dangerous than a standard handgun, which is also semi-automatic, which is easier to conceal, and which is used far more often in crime. Now is also not the time to note, except in passing, that yesterday’s shootings happened in a gun-free zone, which might indicate that a lack of gun control was not the problem.
Instead, let’s observe that evil is as old as Eden, and murder is as old as Cain. To be sure, yesterday was a good day for evil, and soon, we can have another debate about whether to take away the freedoms of the innocent in order to target the guns of the guilty. But when we do, let’s do it with facts and figures and constitutional principles – not with hackneyed talking points from intellectually lazy liberals who can’t resist hijacking, for political purposes, the deaths of patriotic public servants.