It goes without saying that politics played a very immediate role in the coverage and reaction to the shooting, and it will no doubt continue as the story unfolds.
For example, we already have the mayor of DC seemingly blaming the sequester for the potential role it may have played in the shooting.
Then there's the “blame the NRA crowd” like Chris Matthews. While Matthews admits that average NRA members aren't criminals (gee, thanks), he says that their opposition to gun control laws allows “bad people” like this Washington Navy Yard shooter to obtain guns.
That leads to the proponents of gun control. The revitalized cries for gun control could already be heard, even as the investigation remained open and 12 victims remained on the crime scene. From Piers Morgan to Dianne Feinstein to Jay Carney, talk of gun control has kick-started once again. We had this debate just months ago, and the reason why gun control measures failed to pass is because liberals cannot produce evidence that their ideas to limit guns would actually result in less crime or fewer mass shootings. More importantly, the right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in our Bill of Rights.
And then there is our tone deaf president. While government workers had been killed, many wounded, and there was an active search for (at the time) more shooters, just miles away Barack Obama chose to give a deeply partisan speech attacking Republicans. While he did acknowledge the events unfolding at the top of his speech, that didn't stop him from going as far as to say that Republicans “are willing to hurt people” in order to win political points. Here's an excerpt from Obama's speech, which was scheduled prior to the shooting:
“But the larger point is, after all that we’ve been through these past five years, after all the work Americans like those standing behind me have done to come back from the depths of a crisis, are some of these folks really so beholden to one extreme wing of their party that they’re willing to tank the entire economy just because they can’t get their way on this issue? Are they really willing to hurt people just to score political points? I hope not.”
Either the president himself is completely tone deaf or he has surrounded himself with some pretty lousy advisors. Giving a highly partisan speech of this nature just miles from an active mass shooting scene was poor judgement. The optics could not have been worse. Even Joe Scarborough points out that the lapdog Obama-mania media would have been all over George W. Bush had he decided to proceed with such a speech. When asked about this speech by Fox News' Ed Henry, Jay Carney described it as "entirely appropriate." I think the American people and those affected by yesterday's tragedy beg to differ.