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Yvonne Abraham

Why would we ever talk about gun control after another mass shooting?

A balloon and card was tied to the office door of Representative Steve Scalise, who was shot in Alexandria on Wednesday.
A balloon and card was tied to the office door of Representative Steve Scalise, who was shot in Alexandria on Wednesday.(Gerald Herbert/AP)

Let’s not politicize this.

Let’s not use the occasion of a shooter targeting congressmen on an Alexandria ball field — one of two mass shootings before lunch on Wednesday — to talk about guns, and whether this country’s blind absolutism on the Second Amendment merits reconsideration.

Speaking of such things now would be opportunistic. It would disrespect the victims, not to mention millions of law-abiding gun owners. It would be un-American.

Democrats and others on the left are always trying to talk about guns at times like these. As if a gun had killed the UPS employees in San Francisco on Wednesday morning, rather than the co-worker who shot it. As if anything could be done to stop an unhinged man from Illinois from getting his hands on enough weaponry to bring mayhem and bloodshed to a ball field where Republicans prepared for a rare moment of comity with Democrats.

Let’s not talk about Wednesday’s tragedies, two of the 1,399 mass shootings since 20 small children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook less than five years ago, as if slowing the flood of guns might have prevented them.

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Let’s not talk about the correlation between the millions the National Rifle Association gives to the very Congress targeted on that ball field, and the waves of weapons washing over the country.

Let’s not talk about the $30 million the NRA poured into making Donald Trump president, support he has vowed to justify. This would not be the time to bring up the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would render moot strict gun laws in states like Massachusetts by guaranteeing that people with a concealed-carry permit in one state could take their guns into any other.

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Let’s not talk about the hearing canceled Wednesday in the wake of the shooting in Alexandria, the one on legislation that would make it easier to buy silencers. Advocates say they just want to protect hunters’ hearing.

Let’s not talk about how we prevent a person like James Hodgkinson, who attacked the GOP baseball practice, from getting a gun. Hodgkinson had been arrested for punching his daughter’s friend in the face, firing warning shots at her boyfriend and hitting him with the butt of a gun, and battering his daughter, according to The Daily Beast.

We can talk about toxic rhetoric, though. Depending on whose it is.

Leaders who have been conspicuously silent on such rhetoric when white supremacists commit mass murder, or when victims are Muslims, pounced upon Hodgkinson’s unhinged hatred of Trump, tarring all Democrats with his detestable act.

“Violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left,” said Iowa Representative Steve King, a Republican who has himself expressed white nationalist views. “People that can’t accept the results of the election . . . are determined to take this country down.”

His sentiments were echoed by the unspeakable former speaker Newt Gingrich, who linked the shooting to “an increasing intensity of hostility on the left.”

They said these things as if Bernie Sanders or any credible leader on the left had ever called for violence. Where were they when the president urged supporters to rough up protesters, mused that “Second Amendment folks” could do something about a president Hillary Clinton, and welcomed Ted Nugent — who has advocated violence against both Clinton and Barack Obama — to dinner at the White House?

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But let’s not talk about that. Or about guns.

Today is not the time for that. Neither is tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the one after that.


Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham can be reached at yvonne.abraham@globe.com.