In My Orbit…

11 01 2011

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

What’s in my Orbit is what is rocking a lot of people’s worlds: the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and nineteen others in Arizona.  The current count is six dead, and others critically injured. Rep. Giffords, who was shot point-blank in the head, is in critical condition.

But the craziness of the act is compounded by the insanity of liberals and progressives who quickly lined up to blame “right-wing” hate speech, and their laundry list of conservatives they despise: Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Sharron Angle, Rush Limbaugh, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

What I don’t understand is why every crazy act in the past year that has resulted in people being held hostage or killed (save the Fort Hood Massacre) has its causation in supposed “right-wing” speech?  From James J. Lee, the Discovery Channel nut job, to Joseph Stack, who crashed his plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, to this terrible tragedy; the knee-jerk reaction is to blame conservatives and the right for people’s psychological distresses. In each of these cases it was shown that political ideology had little to do with their twisted decision-making. These were simply deeply disturbed people in need of psychiatric care.

Mother Jones pulls the covers off of the knee-jerk meme with an interview with a long-time friend of the alleged killer, Jared Lee Loughner:  Exclusive: Loughner Friend Explains Alleged Gunman’s Grudge Against Gifford.  The friend’s description of Loughner and his behavior sounds more paranoid schizophrenic, than right-wing zealot.‘s Nicholas Gillespie says it well in The Giffords Shooting, The Instant Politicization of Everything & Why Americans Increasing Hate Dems & Reps, skewering both sides of the aisle for using an appalling tragedy for political gamesmanship.

“Readers of this site know I’m no Sarah Palin fan, but to accuse her of complicity in the murderous spree of a clearly insane person is one of the main reasons that partisan political parties are losing market share. I had myself tweeted that blaming Palin for Jared Loughner’s mass killing would be like blaming J.D. Salinger for Mark David Chapman shooting John Lennon (and as Jesse Walker pointed out, in Chapman’s case, at least we could be sure Chapman had read Salinger). Given Loughner’s fixation on grammar and the supposed lack of literacy evinced by most Americans, maybe William Safire and S.I. Hayakawa should be held responsible.”

He continues:

“The problem isn’t with the current moment’s rhetoric, it’s with the goddamn politicization of every goddamn thing not even for a higher purpose or broader fight but for the cheapest moment-by-moment partisan advantage. Whether on the left or on the right, there’s a totalist mentality that everything can and should be explained first and foremost as to whether it helps or hurt the party of choice.”

I do give credit where credit is due, and leftist Salon writer Steve Kornacki also shows some reasoned perspective in Let’s Not Make this Something it Isn’t.

“At best, the connection between Palin’s behavior and Saturday’s tragedy is abstract. If anything, the shooting reinforces a point that James Fallows has made: The motives of political assassins rarely have anything to do with mainstream political debate and rhetoric.”

That is the tale that appears to be unfolding; all the other crap is inherently baseless, and only serves to stir up more mess, when what is most needed is an atmosphere where people can grieve and pray for the Rep. Giffords, the victim’s and their families.



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