Will there be a National Conversation after environmentalist shoots energy worker?

Get ready for a week of introspection from the press, particularly the left-leaning media, as a wave of tortured self-criticism characterizes coverage of what is sure to dominate the news cycle for the foreseeable future… LOL. Just kidding!

A disturbing story out of West Virginia flagged by The Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay indicates that a man, enraged by the drilling taking place in his state, shot an employee of an energy exploitation company on Monday.

A man dressed in camouflage with his face painted black approached Mark Miller, an employee with HG Energy LLC, on Joe’s Creek near Sod, Napier said.

“At that time he played Mr. Miller a recording that said ‘Stop the drilling’ and then stuck a gun through the window of the passenger side of the truck,” [Lincoln County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy J.J.] Napier said.

A reporter with The Charleston Gazette called a member of the West Virginia Sierra Club for comment and received unequivocal condemnation of this violent incident, but the episode has received little attention in the national press.

For a media culture that is quick to blame conservatives for every episode of violence with a potential political motive, the commentary community’s silence on this incident is deafening.

The Washington Examiner’s T. Becket Adams, formerly of The Blaze, has a solid set of examples of the media’s lamentable impulse to link conservative rhetoric to episodes of violence.

It was this impulse that led ABC News reporter Brian Ross to link a 52-year-old tea party member to the mass murder of Colorado theater-goers in 2012. It was this impulse that led some to ponder whether “racism” and “the tea party movement” led University of Alabama in Huntsville professor Dr. Amy Bishop to shoot 12 of her colleagues in 2010. It was this impulse that prompted some accuse Andrew Joseph Stack of being an ardent conservative when he flew a small plane into an IRS building in Austin. It was this impulse that inspired editorialists like Paul Krugman, Matthew Yglesias, and Dana Milbank to blame Sarah Palin for Jared Lee Loughner’s attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her staff.

Nor would this episode in West Virginia constitute the only example of violence committed in the name of ecological consciousness in recent memory. In 2010, James Lee took two starter pistols and an explosive device into the Maryland headquarters of Discovery Communication where he took three people hostage for several hours. “Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what’s left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture,” Lee wrote in his manifesto. Police shot and killed Lee, but not before he terrorized Discovery employees because he was allegedly enraged by Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

This incident didn’t seem to inspire many on the environmental left to lead a “national conversation” about the “culture of hate” their zealotry had wrought.

But for all the left’s efforts to impugn the tea party movement as replete with violent sociopaths, they often find it impossible to fathom the notion that their rhetoric could be prompting the violent to behave violently.

When Floyd Lee Corkins attacked the Family Research Council and shot a security guard because, as he told investigators, the group was listed as an anti-gay organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the left did not blame the SPLC for Corkins actions. When two police officers were assassinated in Brooklyn following weeks of anti-law enforcement hysteria on the left, liberals did not castigate their own for demanding posthumous justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown. And the left will not raise much of a peep over this episode of terroristic violence in West Virginia.

As the right has been pointing out for the better part of half a decade, the only people responsible for acts of violence are those who commit violent acts. If conservatives think the Sierra Club is responsible for this attack in some way, they will find a rather onerous burden of proof on their shoulders. But it isn’t a trait native to the right to blame others for the actions of one criminal individual. Too often, it is the left that is consumed with identifying societal explanations for the behavior of a deranged few. Maybe identifying those societal causes, however dubious, provides progressives with a sense of control over what are fundamentally chaotic developments that can neither be predicted nor prevented. Maybe they merely want to tar their political opponents. Who knows? But it is clear now that the root causes for violence don’t seem to bother the left so long as those roots are embedded in liberal soil.

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