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Knee Jerks: There's Nothing the Left Won't Exploit

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

After he booby-trapped his apartment with explosives, James Holmes walked into a theater Friday night and opened fire on a crowd waiting to see the first showing of the new Batman movie. He shot scores and murdered a dozen. Holmes acted for reasons unknown, but his actions were pure evil.


His actions also were his alone.

It doesn’t matter if he was bullied as a kid, recently dumped or whatever else anyone comes up with as a possible motive. Nothing “caused” him to do this other than whatever evil lives inside him.

But that hasn’t stopped many progressive liberals in and out of the media from speculating wildly, and seemingly hopefully, as to his motives and his political affiliation. It hasn’t stopped them from using this event as a platform to score political points on the issue of gun control. It’s sickening … and typical.

George Stephanopoulos and Brian Ross of ABC News started the speculation with the following exchange on Good Morning America:

GS to BR: “You found something that might be significant.” (Emphasis added)

BR: “There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, ah, page, ah, on the Colorado Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes, but this is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.”

The Jim Holmes Brian Ross “found” is a Hispanic man in his mid-50s, but he was associated with the Tea Party, so the story was simply too good to bother checking the facts. He’s a Tea Partier, therefore …

Ross later corrected his foolishness with a tweet saying “Earlier I reported incorrectly that the shooting suspect might be tied to the Tea Party. I apologize for the mistake.” But we still don’t know why Stephanopoulos thought this information “might be significant.”


What if he were? Does that make every Tea Party member a co-conspirator? Of course not, but that wouldn’t have stopped a lot of media members from reporting it as if it did. They’ve done it before. Who can forget that it was cross-hairs on a map on Sarah Palin’s website that caused psychopathic shooter Jerald Lee Loughner to go on his rampage in Tucson? And who can forget the media reaction when it was discovered he never saw Palin’s website and was, in fact, a Bush-hating anti-war zealot? That’s right … crickets.

On Friday, leftists immediately took to Twitter to blame Rush Limbaugh, the Tea Party, Mitt Romney and conservatives in general. Blame was being flung everywhere except where it belonged – James Holmes.

What is it about leftists that causes them to immediately assume the worst of those with whom they disagree? What does it say about them that after the dust settles, much of the time, those who commit heinous acts actually share their political philosophy?

The former exposes the desperation and lack of character that surrounds a political philosophy that seeks to make you responsible for everyone but yourself. The latter says nothing about them as a whole because individuals are responsible for their own actions.

It’s our curse that we stay true to our philosophy while they will abandon any principle at any time to score points.

Not to be outdone, film critic Roger Ebert wrote in the New York Times:


That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.

The theater in Aurora, of course, has a ban on guns, which law-abiding citizens observe. This is why no one shot back. Had someone been carrying a legal gun, who knows what would’ve happened?

But do we really need to make a case for gun control before any of the victims are buried? Salman Rushdie thinks so, tweeting that morning, “The ‘right to bear arms’ is the real Bane of America.” Mr. Rushdie, who spent years in hiding from a “fatwa” placed on him by the Ayatollah Khomeini and enjoyed the protection of armed guards during much of that time, saw no irony or lack of tact in his tweet. He simply replied, “No, thank you” when journalists emailed him for further comment.

Mr. Ebert, on the other hand, lives in Chicago, a city that’s seen 27 gun-related murders this month alone while having some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country. You’d think he’d be aware of this, but pointing it out doesn’t advance his leftist agenda.

He’d rather all America become as “safe” as Chicago.

Ebert’s knee-jerk response not only expresses a complete disregard for our Constitution (nothing new for Democrats), it shows a lack of common sense and decency. Rushdie never has been known for his love of much beyond himself. The exchange between Ross and Stephanopoulos shows us just what mainstream media types think of those with whom they disagree.


But none of this left-wing exploitation of tragedy changes the fact that James Holmes acted alone, for reasons we’ll most likely never know nor understand. Even if he’d been a Tea Party member, the Tea Party would’ve been no more to blame than, say, President Obama for giving us an economy in which Holmes was unable to find work or succeed.

No government action ever will outlaw crazy or evil, and no ceding of liberty to government ever will stop an individual from perpetrating their sickness on innocent victims.

It just happens. And the person who does it is responsible.

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