Inside the Beltway: Instantly politicizing tragedy

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

“In wake of this most recent mass-casualty shooting, it is important that we all respect the feelings of America’s gun enthusiasts,” Daily Beast columnist David Frum tweeted within two hours of the mass shooting at the Navy Yard on Monday. He followed it with six more tweets that suggested rules of etiquette, and included comments like “Gun ownership is essential to freedom, as in Serbia and Guatemala. Gun restrictions lead to tyranny, as in Australia and Canada.”

The proverbial Twitterverse erupted in nanoseconds. Along with several hundred critics, RedState.com founder Erick Erickson chastised Mr. Frum. But he also noted that some conservatives had joined the fray, complaining about national media coverage and drawing some parallels to press treatment of the Trayvon Martin case.

“Some decided it was, in the heat of the moment, already time to drag race, politics, and policy arguments into the fray,” Mr. Erickson says in immediate reaction. “I’ve been there. I’ve done that. Even I’ve learned how inappropriate it is.”

Organizations were also poised.

“It’s too soon to say anything meaningful about the whys and wherefores of the Navy Yard atrocity. It’s a good moment, though, to note the self-defeating confusion engendered by proponents of gun control,” says Paul Barrett, a policy analyst for BusinessWeek, who received an email from the Violence Policy Center, an advocacy group, in the immediate aftermath of the shootings.

Mr. Barrett says that such groups attempt to “respond to horrific violence by excoriating American gun culture.” He says the email included “Blood Money: How Gun Industry Dollars Fund the NRA,” the organization’s recent research report.

“Attacking the NRA in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting at a naval installation, where many people are presumably allowed to carry firearms, seems at best like an exercise in irrelevance,” Mr. Barrett observes. “At worst, it’s ill-timed sensationalism. As an alternative, let’s sort out what exactly happened at the Navy Yard, then calmly discuss what policies, if any, can deter such slaughter.”

A GROWING INTEREST

Hemp enthusiasts will hoist an American flag made from hemp over the Vermont State House on Tuesday to mark Constitution Day. But wait. This particular flag is being delivered to Vermont by Mike Bowman of the Colorado Hemp Commission, who managed to have the very same flag flown over the U.S. Capitol on July Fourth with the help of Rep. Jared Polis, Colorado Democrat. The flag also flew over the Colorado State House.

“Vermont farmers are ready to lead the nation,” says Robb Kidd, an organizer with Rural Vermont, a grass-roots group. “Considering the U.S. Justice Department’s recent marijuana ruling, many legal experts believe that the states have been given the green light in allowing hemp cultivation as their laws allow.” The organization plans to work with Vote Hemp, a national advocacy group, to “get confirmation about what the recent ruling means for hemp cultivation,” which became legal in Vermont in July. Farmers simply file paperwork with the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets and a pay a registration fee of $25.

“Given that hemp is now legal in Vermont — and given that they can now proceed (with caution) thanks to the Obama administration’s recent announcement — the placing of a hemp flag at the state’s Capitol Building will surely be a triumphant feeling for the advocates that made it happen,” points out The Joint Blog, a site that follows “cannabis news and issues.”

GLOBAL WHAT?

Prepare for the big whooshing sound: Here comes a climate force that Al Gore will not approve of. On Tuesday, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change releases a major report produced by an international team of 40 scientists.

The title: “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science” challenges what its many authors say are “overly alarmist,” distorted or exaggerated reports from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“Its authors have no agenda except to find the truth. It anticipates and soundly refutes the U.N. panel’s hypothesis that global warming is man-made and will be harmful,” says Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, a nonprofit research group.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

A graduate of Syracuse University, Jennifer Harper writes the daily Inside the Beltway column and provides additional coverage of breaking national news, plus long-term trends in politics, media issues, public opinion, popular culture, Hollywood foibles and “eureka” moments in health and science.

She has been a frequent broadcast commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Voice of America, Citadel Broadcasting, ...

Latest Stories

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks