Liberals are exploiting the Aurora massacre to advance a political agenda. The tragic mass murder of 12 people is being used as fodder against the right. Within hours of the killing spree, the media establishment was hoping to link the suspected shooter, James Holmes, with the Tea Party, conservatives and -- ultimately -- the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.
On ABC's "Good Morning America," investigative reporter Brian Ross urgently told host George Stephanopoulos that a "Jim Holmes" was a member of the Colorado Tea Party. In fact, it was a different person. It never occurred to Mr. Ross and Mr. Stephanopoulos that there could be numerous people with a common name like James Holmes. Even by ABC News' standards, that was pathetic.
Yet the desperate rush to identify Mr. Holmes with the Tea Party reveals the mainstream media's real aim: to smear conservatives as kooks. For years, the left has been unable to defend President Obama's obvious economic failures. Hence, liberals have resorted to demonizing his critics.
From its inception, Democrats and their media allies have branded the Tea Party movement as extremist. Rather than debate the real issues, they prefer to engage in slanderous attacks. The problem, however, is that the Tea Party represents the broad swath of Middle America. It does not promote white supremacy or bellicose nationalism but restoring fiscal sanity. Yet, for progressives, Tea Partyers are really closet right-wing terrorists. This is why Mr. Ross ridiculously reached (and overreached) for the Tea Party narrative.
It also explains why the media rushed to blame the Tea Party and conservative talk radio for last year's Tucson, Ariz., shooting. The left's ideological template is clear: Conservatives are deranged -- and by extension, they must be responsible for every deranged act. The very opposite is true. The Tucson and Aurora, Colo., massacres share similarities. One of the most obvious is that both were nonpolitical acts -- politics had nothing to do with these crimes. Moreover, both were presumably committed by psychotic sociopaths and social outcasts. Jared Loughner should have been institutionalized long before he could wreak havoc. Instead, Americans died. Massacres -- whether at college campuses, public rallies or movie theaters -- are becoming a recurring tragedy. This is the real issue few are willing to confront.
I am always shocked at the left's depth of contempt for this country and its historical heritage. Every year, Americans wake up to some gruesome shooting, and every year liberals lecture us on how uniquely depraved America is. The Aurora attack, of course, was no exception. Bill Moyers, the liberal doyen of the Public Broadcasting Service, prattled on NBC that violence in America stems from our bloodstained history of slavery and genocide against American Indians.
"We are, after all, a country which began with the forced subjugation into slavery of millions of Africans and the reliance on arms against Native Americans for its westward expansion," Mr. Moyers said. "In truth, more settlers traveling the Oregon Trail died from accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wounds than from Indian attacks. We were not only bloodthirsty, we were also inept."
Echoing the liberal clamor for tighter gun control, Mr. Moyers used the massacre to rail against the Second Amendment.
"We're fooling ourselves that the law could allow even an inflamed lunatic to easily acquire murderous weapons and not expect murderous consequences," he said. "That's a license for murder and mayhem."
Inevitably, Mr. Obama also has jumped on the anti-gun-rights bandwagon. On Wednesday, he told the National Urban League convention that stricter background checks are needed, demanding that the ban on assault weapons be restored.
"A lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals," Mr. Obama said. "They belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities."
He is wrong. Mr. Holmes, the Aurora suspect, had a wide variety of weapons, not just an assault rifle (an AR-15, not an AK-47). He booby-trapped his apartment with more than 30 explosives and bombs. It is illegal to purchase materials in order to produce a bomb -- never mind amass a stockpile. Yet that didn't stop Mr. Holmes from doing so. If he couldn't have gotten his hands on guns, he would have used some other weapon -- an improvised explosive device, a makeshift bomb or a stick of dynamite. There are more than 200 million guns in America. Millions of citizens regularly use shotguns for sporting and hunting. By the liberals' twisted logic, there should be an Aurora-style massacre every day. There isn't.
I believe justice will find Mr. Holmes not only deranged, but evil. Like the superhero villain he emulated, the Joker, Mr. Holmes has the appearance of a coldblooded monster who relishes destroying others. He is similar to the Norwegian butcher, Anders Behring Breivik, who has admitted responsibility for killing 77 people. Norway has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. That didn't stop a madman from acquiring the guns and bombs necessary to unleash a reign of terror. Mass violence happens in every society. It is not a uniquely American phenomenon. Rather, it lies in the evil capacity of human nature. A free society is especially vulnerable to the depredations of a lone psychopath.
This is why the Second Amendment is essential. It enables law-abiding citizens to defend themselves from barbaric acts. The problem is not an abundance of guns, but the lack of them. If moviegoers had exercised their Second Amendment rights and been armed, many still would be alive. The shooter would be dead or lying in intensive care. Instead, the good people of Aurora mourn, and the left's political jackals continue to use the victims for their own advantage.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.
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