Please, AOC: The New Zealand mass shooting is not an invitation to score points against the NRA – Washington Examiner

In times of darkness, be a light.

Using the murder of innocent people as an opportunity to score political points illuminates nothing and advances anguish. Don’t be like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who saw reports of mass shootings in New Zealand as an excuse to attack the National Rifle Association.

“At 1st I thought of saying, ‘Imagine being told your house of faith isn’t safe anymore.’ But I couldn’t say ‘imagine,’” her account tweeted early Friday morning. “Because of Charleston. Pittsburgh. Sutherland Springs. What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?”

Two mosques were attacked in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday prayer. The terrorist (or terrorists) who carried out the attacks is believed to have murdered an estimated 49 people as they were gathered for worship, according to New Zealand officials.

“This is a time of great vulnerability for our communities. We must come together, fight for each other, & stand up for neighbors. Isolation, dehumanizing stereotypes, hysterical conspiracy theories, & hatred ultimately lead to the anarchy of violence. We cannot stand for it,” Ocasio-Cortez continued on Twitter.

She added: “(‘Thoughts and prayers’ is reference to the NRA’s phrase used to deflect conversation away from policy change during tragedies. Not directed to PM Ardern, who I greatly admire.)”

[Related: Trump: ‘The US stands by New Zealand’]

There are a great many problems with the congresswoman’s online tirade.

First, though mocking “thoughts and prayers” post-mass shooting is in vogue with both the news and entertainment industries, it’s a particularly odious response following targeted attacks on places of worship. Do you know who would probably appreciate some prayers right now? The victims of attacks on places of worship. The congresswoman’s tweets are the equivalent of responding to a church firebombing with, “Where is your God now?” Which is to say, it’s little more than a cruel exercise in self-righteousness.

Second, the NRA didn’t create or even popularize the phrase “thoughts and prayers.” So, I’m not sure what she’s on about with that.

Third, by engaging in the cliche of mocking “thoughts and prayers,” the congresswoman is perpetuating the straw man argument that suggests Second Amendment proponents believe an expression of solidarity and sympathy is a solution rather than what it is: An expression of solidarity and sympathy.

Fourth, her anger is aimed entirely at an advocacy group, not the actual shooter who murdered people. This is not a serious reaction. It’s partisan hackery.

Lastly, attacking a pro-Second Amendment organization doesn’t even make sense in the context of the Christchurch shootings. The NRA has nothing to do with New Zealand’s gun laws. Also, what “policy change” for New Zealand does Ocasio-Cortez think that we, Americans, should be discussing? The congresswoman’s obvious eagerness to score partisan points against the NRA is especially nonsensical considering New Zealand has some the strictest and most comprehensive gun control laws in the world.

To recap: The congresswoman dismissed the efficacy of prayer following the massacre of Muslim worshippers so that she could attack an American organization that has no bearing whatsoever on laws in New Zealand, which actually has some of the strictest gun regulations in the world. Who, exactly, did Ocasio-Cortez hope to serve with her tweets? It wasn’t the Christchurch victims, I can tell you that.

I want to make clear here that I’ve no great love for the NRA. I’m not a member, and I’m still angry about its lackluster response to the shooting death of lawful gun owner Philando Castile. The purpose of this article isn’t to defend any group or even recommend the New York congresswoman be voted out of office. The point here is to say only: Don’t be like Ocasio-Cortez.

Just because you can tweet doesn’t mean you should.

I wish to God someone on the congresswoman’s staff would tell her that.


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