As Slate’s Josh Voorhees wrote today, Donald Trump responded to Thursday’s mass shooting in Oregon by implying that such tragedies simply could not be prevented because crazy people will always be crazy. Trump’s 2016 Republican nomination rival Jeb Bush has now gotten on board with a similar line of argument, the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza reports from a campaign event in South Carolina:
Coming from Bush, the line is reminiscent of Donald Rumsfeld’s dismissive take on chaos in Iraq in 2003, a breakdown of law and order that, in retrospect, portended years of bloodshed in the country. From a CNN article at the time about looting in Baghdad:
“Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things,” Rumsfeld said. “They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that’s what’s going to happen here.”
Looting, he added, was not uncommon for countries that experience significant social upheaval. “Stuff happens,” Rumsfeld said.
Bush later told Lizza he did not regret his choice of phrase:
President Obama was asked about Bush’s remarks at a press conference. “I don’t even think I have to react to that one,” he said.