Looking all over the Internet, from blog sites to the major news media, they are all aflutter with speculation about whether the shooting of Giffords, which also resulted in the death of a 9 year old, a federal judge, and four others, was politically motivated. He’s being called a political terrorist, we hear that “words have consequences,” and “violence and politics merge.” The “rampage casts grim light on U.S. political discord” and “did shooting stem from the state of politics?” The there is “bloodshed puts new focus on vitriol in politics.” Paul Krugman attempts to link Sarah Palin to the shooting. HillBuzz wonders if the Daily Kos, DU, and other left leaning sites are responsible. Raw Story says Conservatives should not have mocked the DHS right wing extremist report. And it goes on and on and on.
And, every once in a while, as an afterthought, these sources mention “hey, I hope she is going to be alright, and, darn, it’s a shame about the others who died.”
I suppose it’s part of the 24 hour news cycle and hyper-active Internet community, as it seems that whenever something like this happens, too many people, right and left, immediately jump to wonder which political doctrine the person or persons subscribe to. Which is a damned shame. Sometimes, yes, you can say “he’s a Democrat/liberal/progressive” and sometimes a “Republican/Conservative.” He’s anti-government or big-government. She’s for/against abortion on demand. She’s a semite/anti-semite. But, when it comes down to the real world, none of that matters, because the person is responsible for their own actions, regardless of political affiliation, and, regardless of vitriol in politics, which has always happened, only the extreme ends of each political affiliation pushes for violence.
There is no “coarsening of political rhetoric.” It’s always been bad. Heck, in some other countries, it’s worse. It’s just more available nowadays.
Who is the Jared Lee Loughner, 22, of Tucson?
The man identified by authorities as the gunman in Saturday’s shooting rampage, which killed six and critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), appears to have left a trail of bizarre and anti-government messages on the Internet.
Of course, that means he’s a conservative, right? Except, only the super fringe right, who aren’t true American conservatives, are anti-government. American conservatives are for limited and small government, not anti-government.
On YouTube, Loughner’s profile listed Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s “The Communist Manifesto” and Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” among his favorite books. He also included high school English class classics such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Old Man and the Sea,” plus children’s works such as Aesop’s fables and “The Phantom Tollbooth.”
Obviously, that means he must be on the Left. Yet, he belief in those authoritarian/fascist books doesn’t mean the Left should be blamed.
In one video, titled “America: Your last memory in a terrorist country!,” a figure in dark clothing and a smiley-face mask burns an American flag in the desert. The soundtrack is a 2001 song by the band Drowning Pool, in which the singer repeatedly shrieks “Let the bodies hit the floor!”
That sounds more like an anarchist, putting him on the far fringe of Democrat voters.
Another, posted Dec. 15, begins with a line of text reading “My Final Thoughts: Jared Lee Loughner!” What follows on the screen are seemingly unconnected thoughts about currency and dreams, and the words “I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.”
Again, with the mind control stuff, that sounds like someone on the far left. Or, super far right. And you keep reading through the Washington Post article, and see someone who is continuously disruptive and is having trouble in life. Apparently, he was also anti-Semitic and anti-illegal immigration. He was apparently a member of American Renaissance or influenced by them, and they are a group that is white supremacist, anti-Jewish, and anti-government.
On Oct. 4, during a meeting with Loughner, his parents and college administrators, he agreed to withdraw, the college said. School officials told him he could return only if he obtained a clearance certifying that “in the opinion of a mental health professional, his presence at the College does not present a danger to himself or others.”
What you have here is a man who holds a very wide smattering of political leanings, and, is obviously disturbed. He does not represent either side of mainstream American politics, and people need to just stop the conspiracy theories and blamestorming. Paul Krugman wisely deleted all the comments to his blamey story, unlike Ben Smith’s blog, which is a cesspool. Right wing radio is being blamed, left wing leanings are being blamed. Even the comments at the Washington Post story I excerpted from are a cesspool.
Perhaps we just need to understand that there are always going to be wackos out there who will take action. Even if politics was civil (which it’s not, and never will be), there would still always be wackos out there, and they do not represent the vast majority of those on the Left or Right. We don’t want them. We can sit back and reflect all we want, but, there will always be crazies out in the world.
Perhaps the concern should be for the victims, rather than assigning blame.