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In the second of two open White House meetings with law enforcement and victims of school shootings, President Donald Trump talked Thursday of "hardened" school security - arming teachers or staff, more armed guards, setting up security perimeters, other things Americans have become accustomed to since 9/11.

Some gun-debate actors are already far down the road of hardening their own political targets.

That includes the National Rifle Association, whose leadership recoils any time someone tries to blame the gun, but is among the first to blame the messenger in these awful aftermaths.

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in a suburb across the Potomac River from the Capitol, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch proclaimed that "many in legacy media love mass shootings" because of ratings, and that "crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media."

"And I said 'crying white mothers' because there are thousands of grieving black mothers in Chicago every weekend, and you don't see town halls for them, do you?" Loesch said. "Where's the CNN town hall for Chicago? Where's the CNN town hall for sanctuary cities?"

Loesch, a Missouri native and graduate of Fox High School in Arnold, also blamed the FBI for not following up on tips about the Parkland, Fla., shooter who killed 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.

The FBI and local law enforcement's actions leading up to the Parkland shooting, and the day-to-day gun violence on American streets are legitimate discussion points post-Parkland. So are reports that the school had an armed security guard on campus who never entered the building to confront the shooter.

Civic action by high school students - rallies, marches - and their allies in the wake of the shooting are demanding that we not look away.

Loesch, a former writer and editor for the conservative site, had received rough treatment the night before at a CNN town hall whose audience appeared to be heavily anti-NRA.

Her boss, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, said that "the elites" don't want to protect children and use shootings as an excuse to get rid of the Second Amendment and to install a socialist state.

Schools, he said, "must be the most hardened target" of all.

The charge that anyone other than the killer would revel in a mass shooting is serious even in the predictable annals of messenger-blaming.

No journalist who has ever had to initiate soul-searing interviews of survivor-victims of violence would entertain commoditizing mass shootings.

Journalists cover these stories because it has to be done, because not doing it in a free and open society would be dereliction of First Amendment responsibilities in the everlasting debate over the Second.

Trying to turn mass shootings into a dollars and cents accusation, which Loesch did before the favorable CPAC crowd but did not do the night before when she was sitting on a CNN set, was a political target-hardening exercise.

It's the "look-over-there" defense.

What is exploitative are political actors who will use this shooting to actually raise money. Sure as tomorrow, fundraisers pertaining to the gun violence debate are already in the making, including from the NRA itself under its perpetual "your rights are under attack" appeal.

Cynicism and diversion alone do not explain Loesch's tactic.

She debased the basest of human acts - the wanton killing of another - into political calculation and cultural warfare.

Where's the humanity?

It's hiding behind hardening political defenses.

The ultimate cost of the NRA's defiance may be how it further inflames a search for solutions, which Loesch said the NRA wants. Her inflammatory accusations came as Trump was leading a conversation on how to respond to school shootings.

The president, in two emotional sessions before live cameras, appeared to be moving toward some steps - banning "bump stocks" and other devices intended to intensify killing power of some weapons, strengthening background checks, denial of guns to those expressing violent thoughts - that could get some traction without impeding the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

"We're going to take action," Trump said.

Trump even said that he believed he could bring the NRA along on some of it. By such inflammatory blame-gaming, Loesch raised doubts about whether the NRA's leadership is interested in joining in the conversation.

Will its millions of its law-abiding members agree?

Chuck Raasch writes for the St. Louis Dispatch.