Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a Democrat walks into a park and tries to murder every Republican he sees, and The New York Times declares that Republicans started it, and also it’s probably their own fault.
Much has been written about how The New York Times used its first editorial after a horrific mass assassination attempt on Republican lawmakers to absolve the shooter of agency over his own actions, and then to blame Republicans and “the gun lobby” for empowering the “deranged” progressive activist to murder them in the first place. Not content with peddling just one Big Lie, the esteemed NYT editorial board loaded its rhetorical shotgun with Big Lie buckshot and spread as many lies over as large an area as possible. Taking a cue from “Hamilton,” the paper of record didn’t want to throw away its shot.
It wasn’t enough for NYT to just recycle the lie — famously spread by the NYT six years ago, natch — that the shooter who tried to kill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in 2011, Jared Lee Loughner, was driven to act by Sarah Palin. It wasn’t enough for the editorial board to claim without evidence that the shooter in Alexandria was “deranged” in order to relieve him of responsibility for his own actions and avoid examining why he chose to walk into a public park and open fire on his declared enemies.
Deliberate evil must be grappled with, its causes and motivations explored; insanity, on the other hand, can be conveniently waved away. A crazy person doing crazy things requires no soul-searching, but an ideological ally making war on a shared political enemy after consuming and internalizing conspiracy theories peddled by your media comrades in arms? That would require some introspection and honest self-reflection, and ain’t nobody got time for that at The New York Times. It wasn’t enough for the Gray Lady to lie about a shooting in 2011 or to pretend yesterday’s shooter was just a garden-variety kook with no motive beyond insanity.
No, the NYT felt compelled to follow up on those lies with some lies about gun laws. A deranged man, the logic goes, can’t be responsible for his own actions, which means we must find the real culprit responsible for the atrocity. Having excused the shooter, NYT moved on to identifying the real villain: loose gun laws demanded by the evil gun lobby:
Was this attack evidence of how readily available guns and ammunition are in the United States? Indisputably. Mr. Hodgkinson, by definition, should not have had a gun, but he was licensed in his home state, Illinois. And in any event it would have been easy for him to acquire a weapon in Virginia, which requires no background checks in private sales, requires no registration for most weapons and has few restrictions on open carry.
These are lies, and vicious ones at that. As The New York Times surely knows, federal firearms laws trump any and all state and local laws, and under federal law, all gun purchases across state lines must be processed by a federal firearms licensee (FFL) and accompanied by a federal background check. There are no exceptions. Private individual-to-private individual sales across state lines are banned by federal law, which requires the transaction to be processed by an FFL, which is also required by federal law to run a background check on all transactions. There are no exceptions. The shooter was a resident of Illinois who was visiting Virginia. NYT’s implication that he could have legally purchased any type of firearm in the state of Virginia without a background check is a lie.
But the NYT didn’t stop there. The editorial then decided it needed to build on its Loughner lie and its Hodgkinson lie and its background check lie with a lie about open-carry laws. For those who may be unaware, brandishing and carrying are not synonyms. Walking around with a pistol or rifle in your hands is brandishing, not open carrying, and brandishing in public is only legal if you are in the process of defending yourself or someone else from imminent mortal harm. For pistols, the term “open carry” refers to the carrying of a gun in a visible holster. For rifles, it means the weapon is secured to your body by a sling. It does not mean walking to your van, grabbing your guns, holding them in your hands, and then aiming them at people you plan to kill.
These are not my opinions. They are facts, and they are facts that the New York Times deliberately ignores in order to peddle a false narrative that yesterday’s victims really have only themselves to blame.
When a certifiably insane man who believed that grammar was a government mind control conspiracy opened fire on a congresswoman in Arizona, The New York Times declared that the twin evils of Republican rhetoric and the gun lobby were to blame. A Nobel laureate employed by the New York Times indicted not the actual shooter, but a “climate of hate” created by — you guessed it — Republicans.
When a progressive Democrat activist who gorged himself on crackpot conspiracy theories peddled by left-wing luminaries like Rachel Maddow and participated in anti-GOP hate groups on Facebook with names like “Terminate the Republican Party” deliberately planned the mass assassination of a bunch of Republican lawmakers playing baseball, The New York Times blamed…Republican rhetoric and the gun lobby. When an insane man attempts to kill a Democrat, it’s the Republicans’ fault. When a Bernie Bro tries, after spending weeks watching Democrats like Kathy Griffin peddle assassination porn to their merry followers, to assassinate a park full of Republicans, violent rhetoric from unhinged partisans is suddenly no longer relevant.
The New York Times could’ve used Wednesday’s attempted massacre against Republicans to urge, without caveats, an end to violent and hateful rhetoric about one’s political opponents and a return to civility and basic decency. It instead chose to double down on debunked lies, to craft entirely new lies to justify its old lies, to vilify its political opponents, and even to blame them for the very acts of violence perpetrated against them. The New York Times had a chance to restore some modicum of civil discourse to the public square, and it refused.
The paper of record’s editorial board had an opportunity to lay down their arms, but they refused to throw away their shot.