The El Paso Blame Game
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
The Democrats are making a mistake, in our view, in trying to blame the crimes at El Paso on President Trump. It’s not that we don’t see the temptation. “El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language,” is the headline on the New York Times’ Website this morning about the screed being laid to the killer. No doubt about it, there is much at which supporters of Mr. Trump will cringe.
Then again, too, Mr. Trump’s is not the only language echoed in that demented document. Start with the title — “The Inconvenient Truth About Me.” Whose language is echoed there? We do not, even for a second, blame Al Gore or advocates of the Green New Deal. Yet the manifesto veers from complaining about a “Hispanic invasion” to railing about how our modern lifestyle is destroying the environment.
And about “corporations.” No sooner does the manifesto start complaining about the destruction of the environment, than its author turns to blaming “corporations.” He writes like a regular Elizabeth Warren. We don’t blame the senator from Massachusetts, any more than we blame Mr. Gore — or the late Dr. Seuss, whose children’s book on the environment, “The Lorax,” is extolled in the manifesto.
What we are suggesting is that there are a lot of voices rattling around in the head of whoever wrote that manifesto. None of it is rational. It’s enough to invite introspection across the entire spectrum of our national debate. It suggests that the kind of blame game that is erupting in the wake of El Paso and Dayton is a fool’s errand. The blame for these crimes attaches entirely to the killers.
The policy questions that move to the fore after crimes like the ones from which America is reeling have yet to be solved because they are difficult. Where some see a need for gun control, others argue for arming our population. Good men with guns managed to halt the slaughter in Dayton in under a minute. They were heroic police officers. They could just as well, though, have been ordinary members of our unorganized militia.
Where some see a need to regulate content on the Internet, others see an ever greater logic in keeping it free. There is no doubt that killers — racists and anti-Semites — prowl the so-called dark Web. The Web, though, is also an opportunity to surveil and to gain an early warning of the dangers that lurk. We wouldn’t argue for ignoring the Internet but neither do we want to be blinded to danger.
As for immigration itself, our own written record puts us squarely in favor of immigration. We have long been in the camp that sees a logic — at least in principle — to open borders. We may favor, as we do, President Trump’s effort to take care that our immigration laws are faithfully executed. We understand there is a current crisis on the border. More broadly, though, we favor more immigration.
We’ve always liked the way it was put to the House by the congressman from the Lower East Side of New York, Meyer London, when, in 1921, he argued that “the extraordinary and unprecedented growth of the United States is as much a cause as the effect of immigration.” As for the immigrants that the killer in El Paso so fears, we see them as a gift to America, a treasure of human capital that will inevitably enrich our country — and culture.
Is that point of view the opposite of Mr. Trump’s? We don’t see it that way. His central campaign promise was for policies that favor growth and jobs. The way we put it in 2016, when we endorsed Mr. Trump for president, is that his tax cuts and deregulation would be “more likely to produce, on a net basis, the economic growth and jobs that are the only humane answer to our immigration ‘problem.’”