After the Las Vegas massacre, the cries from the Left for increased gun control were loud and plentiful. Now, after the recent terrorist attack in New York, President Trump and Republicans of his ilk calling for renewed immigrant control.
Democrats politicize the Las Vegas massacre
For example, after the October 1 attack in Las Vegas, Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, said:
How many more dead bodies will it take to wake up this Congress? This must stop, and it must stop now. We were elected to lead.
Dozens of other elected officials, celebrities, and other progressive voices echoed Rep. Lewis’s sentiments. Similar strong words can be found after every mass shooting in recent memory, and the cries of “do something!” filter down into social media newsfeeds that are largely ignored by those who disagree. It’s become a tedious form of kabuki theater in response to mass tragedy. What is the likelihood that any supporter of the Second Amendment will hear Rep. Lewis’s angry words and actually change their mind? The ossified arguments are little more than exercises in virtue signaling that are matched by an equal and opposite intransigence from the Republicans. There are also repeated complaints from the Right about the Left’s attempts to politicize tragedy, which deepens the distrust.
Trump Republicans politicize the New York terror attack
The recent terrorist attack in New York, which gun rights advocates are quick to point out didn’t involve firearms, illustrates the hypocrisy on the right. The 29-year-old man who drove a truck into a crowd in Manhattan was both a foreigner and a Muslim, which spurred the Trumpians into outrage over the supposedly lax immigration laws that are ostensibly responsible for the resulting death of eight people. Like clockwork, President Trump sprung into action to take political advantage by attacking the law in question, which he called a “Chuck Schumer beauty.” Said Trump:
This man that came in, or whatever you want to call him, brought in with him other people, and he was the primary point of contact for – and this is preliminarily – 23 people that came in or potentially came in with him. That’s not acceptable.
Why not? Are any of these other 23 people dangerous? “They certainly could [be],” the president responded when asked about the threat posed by the suspect’s family. “They certainly could represent a threat.” Well, yes, they could. As could anyone. But the fact that they’re immigrants doesn’t automatically make them suspect any more than the fact that someone owns a gun makes them a potential mass killer. But the automatic level of spite and anger in the face of tragedy diminishes rational thought.
Playing politics with tragedy is a bipartisan cause
As for the “Chuck Schumer beauty,” Senator Schumer himself was quick to condemn the president for playing politics:
All President Trump does is take advantage – horrible advantage – of a tragedy and try to politicize and divide. This is a tragedy. It’s less than a day after it occurred and he can’t refrain from his nasty, divisive habits.
Shameful, right? Just as shameful as Schumer immediately seizing on the Las Vegas massacre to call for a ban on silencers, which would have done nothing to prevent Las Vegas and was every bit as divisive as Trump’s words after New York. The reality is that gun violence and terrorism defy easy solutions, and an appropriate response requires responsible and thoughtful dialogue between both sides.
(People place flowers at a memorial at the scene of Tuesday’s terrorist attack along a bike path in lower Manhattan on November 2, 2017, in New York City. Eight people were killed and 12 were injured on October 31 when suspect 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov intentionally drove a truck onto a bike path in lower Manhattan. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.)