The response to mass killings has become a sick joke.
After yesterday’s mass shooting in Texas, leftists took to the internet to attack gun laws, the NRA and the Republican Party before the bodies were even cold. As an added measure, anti-religious zealots attacked Christianity and the effectiveness of prayer since the mass murder took place at a Baptist church. Never mind that the killer was apparently an atheist who got his gun illegally.
Few stopped to ponder that the left had attacked Donald Trump only a few days earlier for tying immigration policy to the New York City truck attack. Trump’s claim ignored that his immigration policy would not have affected the terrorist who immigrated from Uzbekistan to the US years before becoming radicalized.
To its credit, Congress had attempted to eliminate the diversity visa program that allowed the New York terrorist to immigrate as part of an immigration reform compromise in 2013. At the time, the bill was opposed by many conservatives who considered it “amnesty.”
The sick joke is the reflexive jockeying after terrorist attacks and mass killings to determine who can benefit politically from the tragedy. The left infamously hopes that killers are white men while the right crosses its collective fingers for a Muslim terrorist or Antifa activist. Neither side wants to let the crisis go to waste.
Social media is scoured for signs of the perpetrator’s political leanings. Was he a Democrat or a Republican? A liberal or a conservative?
For many conspiracy theorists, the facts don’t matter. According to them, the Texas and Las Vegas shooters were secret Muslim converts or they had histories of attending far-left rallies. Maybe both. Lack of evidence just means that their posts were scrubbed by the Deep State. Regardless of the killer’s politics, if any, Alex Jones can be depended on to trot out a false flag conspiracy.
But it isn’t just conspiracy nuts. Both sides are filled with hypocrites. The roles change according to what is found on the muderer’s Facebook profile and Twitter history, but partisans on both sides shamefully leverage the deaths of innocents for their own political gain. One side attacks and the other side attacks the first side for its insensitivity.
The cynical gamesmanship is transparent to most Americans and doubtless contributes to the disapproval and lack of confidence that the country feels toward both political parties. The majority of Americans are repulsed by the bickering, insults and accusations.
A national tragedy is not the time to push a pet political agenda or try to drive a wedge between voters and your opponent. Politicians and activists should act with at least a modicum of class, dignity and self-restraint in the wake of mass murders.
Let us get past the shock of scores of people being murdered while peacefully attending a worship service, a concert or just walking down the street. As a nation, we need time to mourn. We need to come together in our grief and sadness rather than rushing into an emotional policy debate that, in all likelihood, won’t stop the next psychopath or jihadist anyway.
Coming together in mourning may help the nation heal politically as well. We may realize that the other side isn’t made up of bloodthirsty radicals who want to destroy the country, but are, in reality, our friends, neighbors and relatives who are just as shocked and saddened as we are.