Hillary Clinton urged America not to politicize the Las Vegas shooting. Then Hillary Clinton immediately turned around and politicized the Las Vegas shooting. With 50 dead and more than 400 wounded, the failed Democrat presidential nominee took a cheap shot at the NRA.
The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots. Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 2, 2017
Maybe America should have another discussion about the role the NRA plays in our public life. But it shouldn't happen in the immediate 24-hour aftermath and Clinton, a presidential candidate twice rejected, certainly isn't the one to lead it.
Obviously, it's difficult to know what to say and when to say it after an attack such as the one in Las Vegas. Often inaccurate, early reports are magnified on social media, sparking erroneous tweets and inspiring half-baked statements. In the wake of tragedy though, there are a couple of ironclad rules. First, condemn evil unequivocally. Second, wait to grandstand at least until after a body count is determined. Anything else is unhelpful.
Clinton provides a perfect negative example of this. Her tweets don't offer any new arguments, conclusions, or revelations. Her opportunism doesn't help law-enforcement, inform lawmakers, or comfort victims. It's just naked and shameful opportunism that inserts Clinton into the news cycle for no other reason than self-promotion.
And in her rush to tweet, Clinton made a stupid and avoidable mistake, one that will inevitably be unthinkingly parroted by the Left. She argued that the massacre would've been deadlier had the shooter had a silencer. That speculation is unhelpful, though, because no one really knows what would have happened if the killer had a suppressed firearm.
What we can say with confidence though, and Clinton would've known if she Googled before she tweeted, is that so-called silencers, more accurately called suppressors, are not quiet. Republicans are currently pushing legislation dubbed the Hearing Protection Act to make it easier to buy suppressors which dampen the sound of a gunshot. They do not, however, silence it altogether.
Guns are loud and guns with an attached suppressor are only slightly less loud. A "silenced" AR-15 is still louder than a jackhammer, a jet engine, and a freight train. That's not an NRA talking point. It's the official position of Washington Post fact-checker. Back in March, Glen Kessler knocked the likes of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., for peddling the untruth that silencers are quiet and make it more difficult for police to "track down the shooter."
What's more, while Hollywood hitman always use silenced guns, there's little evidence of a connection between the devices and crime. A Western Criminology Review from 2007 detailed 80,000 federal criminal prosecutions over a decade, including thousands of murders and shootings. Only 30 involved a silencer.
But those facts would have gotten in the way of Clinton's narrative, and she wanted her moment. That's a shame.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.