During a recent trip to Salt Lake City, I got to thinking about the recent Arizona shooting and how the Left has used it to justify some of their pet ideas being brought back to the forefront. Here is a list of the ones I could think of off the top of my head.
- gun control
- revamping health care, especially mental health care
- reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine
- "hate speech" on talk radio
- painting the TEA Party as violent extremists
If I were more conspiratorial, I'd say this was more than just a coincidence. However, I don't think it's an orchestrated effort so much as it is the Left trying to take advantage of the Arizona shooting to bring back some ideas they've tried and failed to make the case for previously.
The problem the Left faces in this case is trying to hook too many initiatives to the Arizona shooting when the connections aren't clear or are tenuous at best. For example, gun control advocates say the access to guns by the Arizona shooter proves there's a need for stricter gun control laws. The problem with this argument is it ignores a salient fact: the Arizona shooter was legally allowed to get the gun he used under current federal gun laws.
Put another way, he beat the system.
So, adding more gun control laws will prevent another Arizona shooting? Not so much, and it's not because of the "gun culture" in Arizona, either. It's because their laws are of no consequence to those who aren't going to follow the laws in the first place. You can pass any number of laws you want, but it won't change the fact there are people who won't follow them.
Would reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine have stopped the Arizona shooter? Nope. Turns out he didn't pay attention to talk radio or the news. What good would reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine do in that case? It wouldn't.
Improving mental health care? It was suggested the shooter seek professional help on a number of occasions, but it wasn't acted upon. Spending more money on mental health won't help those who refuse help or those who ignore the warning signs that someone may need help.
The TEA Party is violent? To date, there have been zero arrests at TEA Party events due to violent crimes. You can point to the video at a Rand Paul rally of a woman being "stomped" as proof to the contrary, but only if it's taken out of its larger context. And while we're here, violence is a staple at Leftist protests (see any G8 protests) or in response to TEA Party and conservative rallies (a Leftist actually bit an old man who responded to his taunts). If the TEA Party is violent, they suck at it.
"Hate speech" on talk radio? A favorite target of the Left in this regard is Glenn Beck, a man who has advocated non-violent protest with regards to Obama's initiatives. Has he said things that could be construed as hateful? Yes, but only if you distort the context, as Media Matters loves to do. Even so, given the fact the shooter didn't listen to talk radio, taking on "hate speech" in talk radio wouldn't have stopped him.
So, to review, the Left is advancing ideas that wouldn't help anything related to the Arizona shooting, but would help them politically. And when the next tragedy occurs, something tells me they'll do the same thing.