Right now, we know a few things about the San Bernardino terrorist attack for certain (and yes, it’s a terrorist attack — whether the perpetrators turn out to be radicalized Muslims or not, a full on assault in tactical gear, with bombs and assault weapons, is a terrorist attack, not a “gun violence incident).
We know that two people, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife-or-fiancée Tashfeen Malik, stormed into a California health department Christmas party with weapons and homemade explosive devices, taking 14 peoples lives and wounding around 20 others before fleeing. They eluded police for several hours before being captured and killed. The media dithers between calling this “workplace violence” and a “shooting incident,” but it’s pretty clear that both Farook and Malik had the intention of massive mayhem, and that they had heavily prepared for the situation — something that generally doesn’t happen after a disagreement over who makes the office coffee. Farouk was an American citizen and devout Muslim, and his wife-or-fiancée was a woman from Saudi Arabia that he’d met online two years ago. They had a six month old that they left at grandma’s before they undertook their murderous rampage. Both attackers were, it seems from media reports, wearing small GoPro cameras that recorded the attack. Neighbors, apparently, considered the couple suspicious, but failed to report anything because they were afraid to be called racist.
As I noted before, this is no mere incident of a lone wolf shooter grabbing a gun from his arsenal and barging into a post office, shooting whomever was unfortunate enough to wend into his crosshairs. But, given the nature of social media, it was only seconds after the news broke that the left began attempting to ghoulishly co-opt a serious incident to shame people into supporting gun control. Regardless of how immaterial extra regulations would have been — California has some of the harshest gun laws in the country, which both terrorists seem to navigate with ease as the guns were purchased legally within the state, and the pair had a supply of homemade pipe bombs to complement their handheld arsenal — “compassionate” pleas to “do something” were de rigueur.
When that didn’t manage to break anyone out of their shell, the left turned to personally shaming them.
Oddly enough, everyone from Barack Obama to Bernie Sanders offered their “thoughts and prayers” in the wake of the incident, the President even doing so in his morning presser. Hillary Clinton chose to exploit the tragedy for political gain early on and then went radio silent, but for the most part, prayerful and kind sentiments were among the first responses from nearly every talking head and elected leader with a social media account.
But that’s really not the point. For Yglesias was merely parroting a talking point that quickly flooded social media from the left: if you really cared about people’s well-being, you should support a curb on their right to own a weapon, even if regulations on that right wouldn’t have prevented this situation. Apparently, if you want to pray, you also have to ascribe to a left-leaning ideology that requires you to believe banning guns is central to the morality of a nation.
Somehow, I don’t think the strategy will be effective, and it openly demonstrates how far some of these people have gone from even the American “mushy middle.”
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