The Anti-Derbyshire

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John Podhoretz steps in to show that the NRO’s Corner is not the moral wasteland John Derbyshire would have you believe:

The notion that a human being or group of human beings holding no weapon whatever should somehow “fight back” against someone calmly executing other people right in front of their eyes is ludicrous beyond belief, irrational beyond bounds, and tasteless beyond the limits of reason.

“Why didn’t anyone rush the guy?” Derb asks. Gee, I don’t know. Because he was executing people? Because if you rush a guy with a gun, he shoots you in the head the way he executed the teachers in each classroom?

Derb claims proudly to be touching a “third rail” by raising something no one wants to talk about. The third rail is a metaphor for electrocution. What happened in those classrooms was no metaphor. It was a psychotic with a gun and a lot of people with no weaponry at their disposal. A few were astonishingly brave, and deserve to be considered heroes. Everybody else was just a person either in danger of being murdered, being mortally wounded, or being murdered.

In the name of old-fashioned and time-honored forms of human behavior, Derb has trampled on one of the oldest: Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Podhoretz suggests that those who feel like the students should have “jumped” the gunman read David Maraniss’s piece from the Washington Post. It’s a heartbreaking document, devoid of literary flourish or self-important intellectualization: just the words and remembrances of people who faced death and lived. Its plainness is eloquent beyond any policy plea or gun law lament. To echo Karen’s thoughts from yesterday, it accomplished the most important thing any memory of tragedy can do: It makes one appreciate being able to tell those you love that you love them.

If there was a jokey, self-deprecating way to end this post, it would go here.