Military Recruiting Shootings
One soldier was killed and another seriously injured in a shooting at an Army-Navy Recruiting Center in west Little Rock, Arkansas. Thankfully, the second’s injuries are not considered life-threatening. Contrary to earlier reports, both victims were “just out of basic training,” participating in the “Hometown Recruiting Assistance” program, and not Army Recruiters. An arrest has been made but no names are released. An “assault rifle” of some sort was reportedly used in the shootings.
Thus far, blogospheric commentary seems to be relegated to the right. Not surprisingly, comparisons are being drawn to the murder of abortionist George Tiller despite the fact that “Police are trying to determine a motive” and the police spokesman “did not know whether the recruiting office was specifically targeted or was randomly chosen.”
Michelle Malkin ruefully quips, “I wonder if the Justice Department will send marshals to beef up protection at recruiting centers — especially given the past targeting of military centers on campuses and elsewhere across the country.” She rounds up some of her own reports from over the years to demonstrate that violence aimed at military recruiters happens with some frequency, even if it gets less attention than abortion clinic violence.
Charles Johnson wisely refrains from speculation, merely passing on a noteworthy story. Similarly, Ed Morrissey cautions, “This could have any of several different motives: political, personal, insanity. I’d caution against reading too much into it until we hear more from the police. We’ll be keeping an eye on it.”
AJ Strata wonders, “Is this country ready to finally deal with the fringe nut cases in the fevered swamps on the left and right?”
Rob Port observes,
Now, not to use this tragedy for politics or anything, but we could jump to the conclusion that this man was motivated by a hatred for the military (or something along those lines) and then blame groups like Code Pink and Media Matters and MoveOn.org for fanning anti-military, anti-Iraq war passions for years. We could, much as the left has with people like Bill O’Reilly in the George Tiller murder claim that those groups have blood on their hands.
But we won’t. Because that’s stupid. This murder, whatever the motivation (it’s not clear at this point), was committed by a murderous thug who acted of his own volition. Not because he was compelled to by liberal dissent.
Until we know whether the shooter was some yahoo with a beef against military recruiters, a garden variety lunatic, or part of some organized conspiracy, it’s not much worth speculating on the politics. But Strata and Port are right: There are fringe elements out there on various points of the political spectrum and some handful of them are willing to kill.
Most murders, though, are apolitical. They’re human tragedies with horrific consequences for friends and loved ones with little public policy meaning. Sadly, that doesn’t stop people from trying to make political hay out of them.
I fully expect, by the way, some commenters on the left to start exploiting this case to argue for a strengthened assault rifle ban in 5, 4, 3 . . .