By Rod Thomson
One of the bulwarks of conservatism is personal responsibility, and it is not to be set aside for political convenience. So let’s place the blame for today’s shooting squarely where it belongs: on the man who pulled the trigger 50 times.
A liberal Democrat from Illinois who volunteered for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders and was a super fan of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, opened fire on Republican Congressmen who were practicing for the annual charity baseball game between Republicans and Democrats. The man apparently asked to make sure it was Republicans on the field, then pulled the triggered about 50 times on a long rifle before Capitol Police killed him. The shooter wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and injured four others. Scalise is in critical condition.
Too much talk radio was quick to blame the “toxic political environment” created by the extreme and irrational liberal response to the Trump presidential election — despite talk radio wrongly being the butt of blame in previous violent events.
Yes, we have a toxic political environment right now. It’s not the worst ever in our nation, but really bad.
Yes, people like Kathy Griffin holding President Trump’s bloody head feeds the toxicity. Actions like Shakespeare in the Park assassinating Trump; politicians like Democrat Vice President candidate Tim Kaine tweeting about “fighting them in the streets;” Maxine Waters’ general insufferable extremism; groups like Antifa with overt violence against Trump supporters; and the general state of overheated, too often dishonest journalism all feed the toxicity. But truthfully, so do some of Trump’s tweets and some talk show hosts who support Trump, like the loathsome Alex Jones. I hope some of these folks will re-think their level of vitriol.
But as is the case in every situation such as this — from the massacres at Columbine and Sandy Hook, to the riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, even to Kathy Griffin’s repulsive act — personal responsibility takes center stage. The “culture” or “environment” is not to blame for an individual’s actions. That’s a cheap escape card. Griffin tried to blame Trump. No. Griffin did it, and that’s on her.
Every man and woman stands on their own decisions. We make thousands and thousands of personal decisions in our lives and accept the consequences. Some children grow up in inner city poverty to a struggling single mom and rise to become brain surgeons and presidential candidates. Dr. Ben Carson. Some come out of the exact same situation and wind up in prison for life. Because it was not their environment, it was their personal choices.
I remember well when Democrat Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords was shot in 2011 in Tuscon, Arizona, and the immediate blame went to the “environment of hate” supposedly caused by conservative talk radio and Sarah Palin’s map targeting congressional districts with crosshairs. But of course, it turned out that the shooter was a drug abusing whackjob who had a personal fixation on Giffords. He also made personal choices.
Neither is it right to clump this evil man with “leftists” in general, as I heard too much today. I know many liberals and Democrats who I constantly disagree with and occasionally get irritated with (both parts mutual) — whose ideas are noxious to me and I believe to the nation — but they should not be tainted for the murderous actions of this man. Conservative ideas can defeat liberal ideas every time. That is where the battle is joined.
So while Bernie Sanders and other heroes of today’s shooter certainly add political toxicity — and each should reflect on their responsibility for doing so —they are not responsible for a shooters actions. Neither is the gun he used, which was immediately jumped on by the left.
The shooter alone is responsible. And he has apparently received his just reward.
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