The Washington Post editorial board parts company with the general run of liberal commentary about the Tucson shooting spree by eschewing attempts to blame a madman’s actions on “a vitriolic political culture laced with violent metaphors. . . .” The Post notes:
Politicians should choose their words with care and keep debate civil, but it seems an unsupported leap to blame either the political climate or any particular individual or group for inciting the gunman. The suspect appears to be a disturbed young man with no coherent political philosophy.
The Post does try to draw liberal political conclusions from the shooting spree, arguing for tighter control of semiautomatic weapons and ammunition. But this is a legitimate, though in my opinion probably misguided, argument.
Once the dust settles from a tragedy like this, it is quite proper to advocate specific policies that might make such an event less likely to occur, or less bloody, in the future. If an Islamic terrorist had gone on a rampage on an airplane this weekend, I might already be arguing for, say, more use of profiling.
The ensuing debate would be similar in form to a debate over new gun control measures – how likely would the measures be to stop incidents like this; what would be the costs and disadvantages; what are the constitutional implications.
There is nothing wrong, in sum, with making conservative or liberal type policy arguments in the aftermath of a tragedy like the one in Tucson. Unfortunately, the left as a whole preferred to attack conservatives (mindlessly, as the Post suggests) rather than policies supported by conservatives.
This is not surprising. The left invariably prefers reckless personal attacks intended to discredit those with whom they disagree to sober discussion of areas of substantive disagreement.