Never before has such an unspeakable American tragedy been so quickly and shamelessly politicized for petty partisan gain.
The dead were not even buried from the Florida school shooting before the partisan hacks and jackals in the press showed up. With glowing eyes and snarling in the darkness, they were on the scent of a fresh kill they could exploit to advance their own political agenda. And, of course, to goose TV ratings.
It was a gnarly NASCAR crash — without a race. Pure political porn.
Of course, the victims and survivors and heroes and families are not to blame for any of this. In fact, they are victimized all over again when their voices got hijacked by political opportunists seeking to push their own twisted and unpopular agenda. And, of course, to goose TV ratings.
Even that child with the shaved head who accused Dana Loesch of not caring for her own children because she — like most of us — supports the Second Amendment.
“Dana Loesch, I want you to know that we will support your two children in the way that you will not,” she read from script.
Nasty and threatening, the child dragged Mrs. Loesch’s perfectly innocent children into the debate — live on national television — in a way that only a child who knows nothing of a mother’s love for her children could.
Mrs. Loesch is a brave American, willing to stand in the breech at a moment when most people who agree with her would rather just grieve and pray and quietly seek ways to prevent such hateful carnage from being carried out again by another deranged monster.
Good thing she is always armed.
Again, that child is not to blame. She is understandably lost and grieving, thrust into a broken world in which hate thrives and wins wherever laws have been trampled, threats ignored, and sick, lonely people are left to fester.
Mrs. Loesch, of course, treated the child with the gentle kindness only a loving mother knows.
The only villains present were the team of rolling cameras from CNN, which hosted the so-called “town hall.” It was more like hecklers at a funeral.
Desperate for viewers, CNN was offering up-close rubber-necking of a mass crime where 17 people — mostly children — were killed by a very sick person. CNN was there to capture all the agony from innocent people at their most vulnerable.
Reality TV carnage. Even better than the network’s usual jubilant search for crashed airliners.
Meanwhile, President Trump once again shelved all partisanship and opened the White House to anyone sincerely determined to stop anything like this from happening again.
He proposed a ban on so-called “bump stocks,” at least one of which was used in the Las Vegas shooting. He proposed raising the age for purchasing long guns. He proposed toughening background checks for gun buyers and including information about mental illness. And he proposed tightening security at all schools.
Some good ideas. Some less good ideas. But all serious and not one shred of partisanship.
Amid all the noise, Mr. Trump also turned to a wise voice. Darrell Scott lost his daughter, Rachel, in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School.
To honor her memory, the grieving father started a group called Rachel’s Challenge, a program aimed at reaching children before they become unhinged murderous monsters.
“One of the things we have learned — and we train young people and we train teachers — that the focus must not be just on unity or diversity,” he told the president.
“If you focus too much on diversity, you create division. If you focus too much on unity, you’ll create compromise. But if you focus on relatedness and how we can relate with one another, then you can celebrate the diversity and you can see the unity take place.
“I am all for diversity. I am all for unity,” Mr. Scott said. “But the focus really needs to be on how can we connect.”
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @charleshurt.
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