In the wake of the horrific and unjustifiable shooting of two NYPD officers who were sitting in a patrol car in Brooklyn, the mad rush is now on to indict a wide range of co-conspirators and "real killers."
This is a tired and worn-out gambit and its high point (that is, low point) has already probably been reached in the Twitter feed of deluxe troll Charles C. Johnson:
Expect slightly more sophisticated versions of this argument to emanate throughout the blogosphere and cable-news-a-verse like the Blob over the next couple of weeks.
Just as Sarah Palin's defense of gun rights has zero culpability in the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords and Dallas's right-wing "climate of hate" had nothing to do with Marxist-Leninist Lee Harvey Oswald's assassinaton of JFK, it's worth underscoring at every moment of what is already shaping up as a very ugly debate that the actual killer is the culprit here.
As the New York Daily News and other outlets are reporting, the apparent shooter was not only violent and unhinged but had bragged via Instagram that he was "putting wings on pigs" and "putting pigs in a blanket."
The distance between such rantings and, even worse, the act of shooting policemen sitting in a patrol car is so vast that they simply have no relation to legitimate and even impassioned criticism of the militarization of police and the protesting of specific acts of apparent injustice.
To suggest otherwise is not simply disgraceful and cheapening to serious public discourse. It's all too often the first refuge of people on the right and the left who are afraid to actually engage in any sort of meaningful debate.
(Disclosure: Charles C. Johnson actually wrote two not-bad pieces for Reason.com back in 2012. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.)
Related: What We Saw at the pro-cop "I CAN Breathe" rally in NYC