Politics already injected into Las Vegas shooting
This is not a day for hot takes, or political grandstanding. What police officials believe was a lone gunman, named Stephen Paddock, killed more than 50 people, and wounded at least 500 more at a music festival in Las Vegas overnight. The urge to pin this crime on a specific political agenda is very strong. It should be resisted until we have far more information than we do at the present time.
Regrettably, some politicians have shown they are utterly incapable of such restraint:
Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy sent out a 12-word press release Monday morning:
"It's time for Congress to get off its ass and do something," said Murphy, who has been the most vociferous advocate for gun control in Congress since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut.
Let investigators do their jobs, so we can get some answers. Let the families mourn their dead, or care for their injured. Let those who survived come to grips with what happened.
Yes, such crimes are horrifying. Yes, they make us ask difficult questions about society. But the ghoulish tendency to immediately inject politics into an event such as this ought to be beyond the pale.
And it took almost no time at all for some commentators, including this one at the Washington Post, to pick up this tragedy and immediately run with it -- straight toward their favorite destination, gun control:
Or is the access to guns designed for war getting easier?
Paddock would not have been able to kill 50 people with a knife.
Gun rights advocates will argue that a third of the gunmen in mass shootings shouldn’t have had weapons under existing regulations. And that’s true. But what about the other two-thirds? Shouldn’t we make it harder for them to destroy lives? To turn a country music concert into a shooting range?
At this point, Americans should have had enough. It’s time for our lawmakers and our president stop listening to the NRA and start listening to us. It’s time for common sense — not manufactured fear — to make a difference.
This line of argument is all too familiar. The law abiding are to be punished, and their advocates demonized, for the actions of a madman. This won't be the last such piece calling for more gun laws. There will, very likely, be an avalanche of such articles and appeals. None of what they advocate will prevent future attacks. But they aren't the kind of folks to let an unspeakable tragedy go to waste in the pursuit of their political agendas.