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Investigators work at a festival grounds across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, in Las Vegas. Authorities said Stephen Craig Paddock broke windows on the casino and began firing with a cache of weapons, killing dozens and injuring hundreds at the music festival on Sunday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Exploiting murder at Mandalay Bay

Exploiting a tragedy doesn't take long. It never does. Before the blood was cleaned from the pavement at Mandalay Bay Hotel predictable demands for more gun control lit up the media. Shooters who take the lives of the innocent are clearly deranged, and pols and pundits who immediately seize upon shootings to polish their attacks on the Second Amendment reveal their own cold inclinations. The rest of us are twice victimized.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand with vice president Mike Pence and his wife Karen during a moment of silence to remember the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A nation grieves again

We live in a monstrous time, with evil lying in wait to pounce upon the innocent and the unwary. The size and scope of the expressions of such evil, as at the massacre of dozens of men and women at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on Sunday night, overwhelms the ability of the language to describe it.

Bills are going before the Senate to effectively block President Trump from dismissing special counsel Robert Mueller from his investigations into election meddling. (Associated Press)

The clock pursues Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller is nothing if not relentless. Impatient with a fishing expedition that relies on slippery prey to swim into his net, the special counsel now dreams of besieging anyone at the White House who has so much as watched an episode of a television drama about Soviet spies in Washington. Scalps have to be taken because that's what special counsels, i.e., special prosecutors, do.

The freshman vanishes

Good news is beginning to seep from the campus, not much but some, a heartening prospect for those with the patience to look for it. Shame may be coming back from exile.

Gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam is part of the new trend for Virginia Democrats, who have found that their path to victory runs through the growing suburbs of Washington and Richmond, and the Tidewater area. (Associated Press/File)

Ralph Northam meets Willie Horton

The ghost of Willie Horton, who is not even dead, continues to haunt Democratic dreams. Many Democrats continue to contest the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election, and others, like Ralph Northam, the lieutenant governor of Virginia, are stuck in 1988, when Horton became a central figure in the campaign that put George H.W. Bush in the White House.

President Donald Trump points as he boards Air Force One, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Playing the Trump card

Promise them anything, but give them a tax cut. Republicans have a fleeting chance to clear the air of the odor of defeat by making good on a pledge that voters from towns big and small who have heard enough big talk won't easily forget. If Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can't deliver this time, these voters are likely to say, "forget you." Who needs someone who can screw up a slam dunk?

President Donald Trump pauses as he talks to the media after arriving on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, as he returns from Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Sovereignty at the United Nations

The abiding theme in the criticism of Donald Trump by his thoughtful critics is that the president has no gift for the subtle. That's fair criticism. This president does not do subtle. They cite his speech earlier this month to the United Nations General Assembly, where he told the world's freeloaders and troublemakers where to get off. The speech was vintage Trump of the kind that the world has to get used to.

President Donald Trump pauses while speaking about tax reform at the Farm Bureau Building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

At last, tax relief

It only took nine months, but at last we have a Republican tax plan. Cutting and reforming taxes was a central promise of Donald Trump and of nearly every Republican who sits in Congress. The party has an imperative to get this signed, sealed and delivered. This year.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., flanked by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, speaks to reporters as they faced assured defeat on the Graham-Cassidy bill, the GOP's latest attempt to repeal the Obama health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. The decision marked the latest defeat on the issue for President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Republican-controlled Congress. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Another funeral for repeal and replace

The Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare was dead and buried. The eulogies, such as they were, were over and the Health Care Freedom Act of 2017 was dispatched to a forgettable corner of the graveyard. But when a couple of senators noticed a twitch and heard a groan they pulled it out of its coffin and called the medics.

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Chinese checkers

President Trump still wants to call Xi Jinping a friend, but relations between Washington and Beijing have slipped in slow motion from tension to crisis. Mr. Xi got a brief holiday at Mar a Lago with several rounds of golf out of his summit with Mr. Trump, giving not much in return.

Once more, to protect America

Sometimes, the third time's the charm. At other times, it's three strikes and you're out. President Trump is testing those bits of ancient wisdom by implementing restrictions on travel to the United States from violence-prone nations. Though the nation has been free from recent terror attacks, for which we all give thanks, common sense dictates sober efforts to screen out evildoers before they reach these shores.

Dave Matthews delivers a speech at the start of the show after performing a solo song Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va. Thousands of people have packed a stadium for a concert intended to raise money for charity and promote unity in the aftermath of this summer's white nationalist rallies. Matthews, whose band got its start in the Virginia college town, hosted the Sunday show. (Zack Wajsgras/The Daily Progress/The Daily Progress via AP)

The threat to free speech

Readin', writin' and 'rithmetic have been the traditional elements of a fundamental education. Recently, if the front pages of the newspapers are an accurate reflection of the menu on many campuses, rant and rage have been added to the three r's to make five. It's clear that elemental civics should be added as well.

A vintage coal-fired steam engine pushes a passenger car up the Cog Railway on a 3.8-mile journey to the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Tourists visiting the northeast's highest peak were rewarded with summer-like weather on the first weekend of autumn. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Warmed again by coal

Gentlemen, start your thermostats. Ladies, too. The Obama war on coal, which cost Hillary Clinton the vote in once-reliably Democratic West Virginia, is over. Maybe the war on nuclear energy, too. Americans might soon heat their homes without choosing between the warmth and food and medicine.

Al Gore speaks to people before a meeting on climate change during the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Dueling disaster thrillers

Ill winds are supposed to bring somebody good, so Al Gore, the circuit-riding global-warming preacher with manuscripts of novels and sequels in his saddle bags, is entitled to his snit. He can blame literary misfortune on Harvey, Irma and Jose.

U.S. First lady Melania Trump greets First lady Brigitte Macron, left, wife of President Emmanuel Macron of France, after she addressed a luncheon at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The right stuff from a first lady

First ladies are usually, but not always, eager to establish themselves as separate but equal personalities. Some of them are content to be the "wife of," but nearly all of them leave their mark on a presidency, even if only their husbands know the details of how and when the mark was applied.

In this Jan. 26, 2016, file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of metro Phoenix, at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Showtime in the Senate

Now is the time for all good Republicans to put up or shut up. There's no more time for big talk about repealing and replacing Obamacare. The hot air sent spiraling into the cosmos over the eight years of the Obama administration, by big talkers safe in the expectation that whatever they did would get only a veto, was enough to raise the temperature of this planet and maybe Saturn and Pluto as well.

President Donald Trump walks to his seat after speaking during a luncheon with African leaders at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Premature applause for the Trump trio

The point of political affiliation, like fan loyalty, is to join a team to win. Donald Trump promised voters weary of being beaten like a drum that if he were elected they would soon "get sick of winning." That hasn't happened. Yet. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that most Americans are cheering the president for linking up with the Democrats to post some victories. They might restrain the high-fives, though. Those triumphs come with a hefty price tag.

More pain and suffering on campus

History is complicated, and rarely is anything settled about the facts of what happened, and why, in wars, revolutions and crusades past. Historians are the first to say that those who think they know it all usually don't. But it's usually the ignorant who yell the loudest.

Screwy Wedding Cake Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Cakewalk to the Constitution

The U.S. Supreme Court takes up a free-speech case in the October term, and making the right decision should be a piece of cake. The justices will be asked to decide whether the government can require someone to say something he doesn't want to say.

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