With the full court press by the left condemning figures on the right for offering “thoughts and prayers” for the victims of the Florida mass shooting, it is worth noting that at other times the left feels the only appropriate response to mass murder is thoughts and prayers.
Just hours after ISIS terrorist Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel killed 86 and injured another 434 in Nice on Bastille Day, the Guardian ran an opinion piece titled Sympathy should be our only response to the Nice terror attack:
We should not pretend that any state can stop one madman in a truck. Most official responses are likely only to make things worse
Eighty-four people died late on Thursday night as a lorry drove for more than a mile through the Bastille Day crowds in the southern French city of Nice. The driver eventually died in a hail of police bullets. The incident, on a day when the French celebrate equality, liberty and fraternity, could hardly be more horrific.
The victims are beyond help, but the French people should have whatever sympathy the world can usefully offer. The danger is that ritualised global responses to these incidents become their megaphone. They raise the multiplier impact of the terror – and also raise public expectation that “something can be done”.
The Guardian preemptively warned that there was no such thing as sensible terrorist control:
The French president, François Hollande, has extended for three months the state of emergency resulting from the Charlie Hebdo killings and the events in Paris last November. He has announced, yet again, that France is “at war” with the threat of Islamist terrorism.
Such responses may comfort the citizens of Nice in their state of shock. But there is no defence force on Earth that can defend a crowd from a madman in a truck.
Since their invention at the end of the 19th century, motor vehicles have been agencies of terror and death. The first car bomb was “Buda’s wagon”, which blasted Wall Street in 1920. Cars and trucks are not going to be banned, any more than America is going to ban guns. The only sensible response is to accept the degree of risk that they will always pose, and not pretend it can be made to disappear.
Note that the Guardian implicitly coopted the argument of second amendment supporters when responding to the Nice attack.
The same day, the Independent ran a positive story about President Obama’s response to the terror attack:
On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded.
Likewise, after the terrorist attack in Manhattan in November of last year, the NY Times ran an opinion piece titled After the Terror decrying the “tiresome” calls for sensible border control:
But the hard fact is that it is not possible, and never will be, to anticipate every attack, to make cities teeming with life immune to the desperate acts of men seething with resentments, especially when final preparations are as banal as renting a truck.
And as for the tiresome calls for draconian border controls, could immigration authorities really have foreseen in 2010 that a 22-year-old arrival from Uzbekistan — which is not on the list of countries on the Trump administration’s travel ban — would be radicalized and evolve into a killer? Mr. Saipov’s cries of “Allahu akbar” and other evidence speak to an affinity for the Islamic State, but it does not require a long apprenticeship in a terrorist network to rent a Home Depot truck and drive onto a bicycle path.
Compare the above with the obviously coordinated effort on the left to condemn leaders on the right for expressing thoughts and prayers for the victims of mass shootings. After the Florida shooting the Guardian ran an opinion piece titled Heartbreak isn’t enough. Shootings will continue until laws are changed:
We deserve to have lawmakers who understand that prioritizing public safety is not a political issue – it is a matter of common sense
But being heartbroken over these tragedies isn’t enough. We must act. We must demand that our lawmakers do more to end the crisis of gun violence in our schools, in our homes and in public places. Gun violence will continue to happen in every American community, until we finally change our gun laws. What happened in Florida was preventable – gun violence is preventable.
After the Vegas shooting the Guardian went so far as to imply that after Muslim terror attacks everyone agrees that we should demand action, not offer thoughts and prayers. From Mourn the Las Vegas shooting, we’re told. But don’t ask why it happened
We don’t stop talking about terrorism after another Isis attack. But many want the gun control debate to be a taboo after a mass shooting.
After the Las Vegas massacre, we’re told we cannot talk about politics. At times of public mourning, we must maintain some dignity that is otherwise entirely absent from our politics: we must pray, reflect on the nature of evil, but never debate what to do next.
Because what we’ll do next is mourn the next mass murder in the United States.
There is a strange exclusion zone around white gun violence by second amendment fanatics. Mass murder by Muslims (or foreigners who may have come from majority Muslim countries) is not subject to the same kind of hushed grieving. Gang warfare in Chicago receives no such respect.