Tucson

While I have a lot of things I want to preen about from Twelfth Night, I have to comment on the shooting in Tucson. More specifically on the response to the shooting in Tucson.

I have to say I am incredibly, and I mean incredibly, pissed about the response. I am angered by how quickly the left side of the political spectrum jumped so immediately on the bandwagon that this is all Sarah Palin’s fault and this was a right-wing conservative nutjob.

There are three points to this, and all of them piss me off.

First, I don’t know if his actions were politically motivated or not, but the idea that the issue of possible political motivation would be brought up by the investigating sheriff before any real investigation had occurred is ridiculous. And yet, it happened. I hope Sheriff Dupnik loses his job because of this. The political blame firestorm that has occurred would probably have happened if he hadn’t said anything, but he made sure that the conditions were perfect for a massive conflagration.

Also, if you are going to claim that his actions were politically motivated, at least have the decency to truly understand his politics before automatically blaming your political opponents. The evidence that I have seen suggests that if he was politically motivated, he was at least as likely to be a left-wing liberal nutjob as right-wing. Certainly, there is one person who has publicly claimed to know him and that person says that when she did in 2007, he was very left-wing liberal. In the end, I am disgusted, absolutely disgusted, by the political partisanship resulting from the shooting, especially from the left side of the aisle.

I reserve a special disgust for Linda Lopez, the Arizona politician who Saturday said she believed the shooter to be an Afghan vet. The truth, as was easily discovered when they looked at the records is that the Army turned him down. They can’t reveal why, but I’m guessing it was either because of drug use or instability. For Lopez to virtually immediately say on TV that she thought he was an Afghan vet, thereby hinting that this was something like PTSD and thereby leading to a bunch of other politically motivated assumptions is dishonorable, dishonest, and just total bullshit. As yet, I have not heard of any sort of retraction or apology from her, and so there will be people who heard her who will forever believe this shooting to be the fault of the US Army. You’re welcome, by the way, Ms. Lopez, for all the sacrifices the American military has made to allow you the opportunity to legally and safely throw them under the bus.

Second, the contrast between the response to this shooting and the Fort Hood shooting is disgraceful. There was a great deal of credible evidence that the killer in the Fort Hood shooting was likely motivated by Islamic extremism in his actions. He visited extremist sites, he wrote publicly justifying Islamic bombings, and so on. The media response to this was constantly: “Let’s not rush to judgment and say he was an Islamic extremist,” or “Let’s not jump to conclusions and say he was an Islamic terrorist.” I have no problem with that. I am always in favor of gathering the facts.

But this time, the mainstream media jumped on the idea that Loughner was a conservative extremist/terrorist without any shred of evidence that I have seen. None. There was a website you may not like put up a year ago. Yep, sure was. Is there a connection? Um, not that anyone knows of. Not only do we not have much credible evidence that this was politically motivated, we have no real clue of his political motivations in part because what evidence we have found is incoherent, inconsistent, and often nonsensical. So, until and unless someone provides evidence that this is a politically motivated shooting, and until and unless we have actual evidence to really understand his politics, we should “not rush to judgment” and we should “not jump to conclusions.” In the Fort Hood case, we had both credible evidence that it was politically motivated and that he was motivated by Islamic extremism. This time there’s no credible evidence either way. Mainstream media, and all those who followed your lead on both instances, you don’t get to ignore evidence when you want and blame your opponents without evidence when it’s convenient.

Third, he was definitely a nutjob. We know this. Heck, people have known this for a while and he got kicked out of college because of that fact. I am disgusted that we then *have* to specify a reason behind his actions besides, “he’s a nutjob.” It’s entirely possible that his politics drove him to shoot people. However, I know a bunch of people who have strong political convictions. Not one of them that I know has shot another because they disagreed politically, whether Democrat or Republican.

There’s not always a preventable cause. There’s not always a cure. There’s not always a law or a political choice that could help. In a country of 310 million people, there are going to be some that are crazy, or poor, or whatever, or any combination of bad things. Not all of them can be helped. There’s not always a politically correct solution to every problem. We should always care enough search for one, but we have to sometimes accept the one real truth of the universe: “Shit Happens.”

And in the end, worrying that there is a political cause, and all of this crappy blame game and hypocrisy obscures the sad truth. A mentally disturbed individual shot a bunch of people for a reason we’ll likely never be able to understand and we’ve spent more time trying to make political points instead of doing what we should.

So let’s give the victims our condolences. Let’s send them prayers, or karmic energy, or whatever you want to send. Let’s also join with our political opponents, shake hands, and wish the victims and each other well.

7 thoughts on “Tucson”

  1. I hav eto say, while I agree with many of your points, there is one point left out.

    Any time someone in the political field is attacked, the First thought has always been that their politics are involved.

    Then they look to other potential reasons.

  2. Rhodri, thank you so much for saying all of the thoughts that I couldn’t get to congeal in my head over the past two days. I have been so sick to my stomach over all of this, you wouldn’t believe it.
    Unfortunately, in the case of the Ft. Hood shooter, the blame is still being laid at the feet of right-wing politics, because, after all, he was in the military and forced to serve in a war against Iraq, so in some people’s minds, it’s still the right-wing’s fault.
    As I posted… people who want to commit evil acts will warp any reason or justification in order to make sure those acts are justified. Religion, politics, it doesn’t matter to them.
    Elasait commented, being politically motivated and being a whack-job aren’t mutually exclusive, and I agree with her on that. But that goes for ALL political motivation, and ALL religious motivation. As incoherent as this man was in his stream of thought, it’s also just as likely that Gifford was targeted because she was a MODERATE democrat as she was because she was on that idiot Palin’s hit-list. (Dear God, I wish that woman would go AWAY.) Or even, like Reagan, because she was a political figure, and it wouldn’t have mattered what political side she came down on.

  3. I will say this: Pretty much all the pundits I respect have been since yesterday calling others to lay off the rush to judgement. The more we find out about this guy, the more it’s clear, that while some conspiracy theories might have motivated him (and it seems to be a grab bag of ’em not tied to one political side or another), it’s more likely that he has some serious mental issues that are the more immediate cause.

    That aside, I’m personally sick of all the vitriol. I think it’s pushing the vast, moderate middle out of the political forum and ceding things more and more to whomever can scream the loudest. Even moderates are finding they’re becoming polarized themselves because the voice of civility and reason is getting drowned out, and if they want to be heard they have to scream.

    1. “That aside, I’m personally sick of all the vitriol. I think it’s pushing the vast, moderate middle out of the political forum and ceding things more and more to whomever can scream the loudest. Even moderates are finding they’re becoming polarized themselves because the voice of civility and reason is getting drowned out, and if they want to be heard they have to scream.”

      Which causes me to stop my habit of watching US Cable news when traveling in America. I now put on the webcast of the ‘Mother Corporation’ and listen to journalists (Even if they sometimes let their bias show too).

      One of the things I do not like about the media is the rush to conclusions on why things happened. When there is an engineering type disaster (e.g. airplane crash) the news media wants an immediate answer to all 5 W questions. Well that is all good for selling ads but facts are often not available to do a proper analysis in many cases for days or weeks. The 24 hour news cycle makes this worst IMHO. In this crime and political story the media is taking the same approach. It is unfortunate that some public servants are prematurely drawing conclusions.

      Thanks for your post. I found it informative.

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