It's a simple question.
And yet in every mass shooting in the US, some will jump on the victim-blaming bandwagon.
Former Senator Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) publicly said on CNN that the El Paso shooting victims were "soft targets because they were unarmed."
Santorum and others who blame victims want this country to turn into a nation of vigilantes (if everyone carried a gun, that’s exactly what we’d have) and not do a damn thing about the relatively unrestricted access to semi-automatic weapons. His preference is an example of victim-blaming, and it's not the first time nor will it be the last.
Today I traded remarks on Twitter with another victim-blamer to said Eric Garner, whose death at the hands of the NYPD five years ago, was his fault. Really?
Mr. Garner wasn't shot but held in a "prohibited" choke-hold by Officer Pantaleo of the NYPD that resulted in his suffocation. No charges were brought against him, though a police administrative judge recommended his firing.
In this person’s words, he was responsible for his own death because he resisted arrest. #victimblaming
Victim-Blaming is the Low-Hanging Fruit
Most Second Amendment advocates I know use this approach as a knee-jerk response to the issues involving the relatively unregulated access to firearms. One such remark in the recent past led to a hiatus in a 40+ year friendship with someone I generally respect. His complete lack of compassion finally made me realize that engaging with him on this issue is like arguing with a drunk. He can't elevate compassion to a level above his defense of the 2nd Amendment. It causes me pain to say this, but I can see now that we really don’t have much in common any longer.
I support the position that all people have the right to gather in public places without the fear that they will be gunned down and the regulation that gets us there. Sadly, he and others who espouse the same conservative ideology do not.
I will never understand the choice to blame victims. Those who do can quote SCOTUS decisions, the Constitution, or otherwise defend their compassionless position until they turn blue.
The fact remains that the 20 first grade students at Sandy Hook didn't do a god-damned thing to deserve what their murderer chose to do in 2012. Neither did any of the victims in El Paso, Dayton, Fort Hood, Las Vegas or any of the cities listed below.