- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2013

CNN’s Carol Costello asked her panel a question Wednesday morning that might have a few people scratching their heads. The “CNN Newsroom” host asked nonprofits founder Van Jones, Politic365’s Jason Johnson and The New York Times’ Ross Douthat if the Christopher Dorner case teaches us anything about guns.

“Should his words even be part of our conversation on guns, or do they shed light on an issue that continues to divide and confuse many Americans?” Miss Costello asked.

“He says a lot about more than just guns,” Mr. Johnson responded. “He tells us a lot about how our urban police departments are working. He tells us a lot about corruption. He tells us a lot about institutionalized racism. His story is the kind of testimony that we need to take a look at how America operates in general.”

Mr. Douthat dismissed the argument, bringing up the politically unmotivated shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and how the media attempted to blame the tea party, Rush Limbaugh and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for uncivil discourse that led to the shooting.

“Now you have a psychotic killer who has published a manifesto that expresses basically left-wing ideas, and the takeaway is supposed to be that we should enact left-wing policy proposals?” he posed. “It seems like there’s a slight double standard in how the media reacts to those kind of rampages.”

Mr. Jones seemed to agree with Mr. Douthat, saying Mr. Dorner isn’t the “Rosa Parks of gun violence.” He said a much better conversation to have is about mental health.

“I don’t want to validate his political thinking while people are literally planning funerals,” Mr. Jones added.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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