No Decency in Tragedy Users
To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?Good question.
I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America's political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.
Where is the decency in that?
UPDATE: Now, it is being suggested that it was the suspect's interest in the occult that may have driven him to this murder spree. As the search for Jared Loughner's motivations continues, the families of the dead will bury their loved ones and the wounded will struggle to recover, maybe for the rest of their lives.
My own sense is that Loughner was so debilitated by mental illness that his victims were almost random. Not that he didn't plan the shooting. Unstable for months, he appparently fixated at some point on Gabby Giffords. But he could just as easily have fixated his attentions on some other high profile or famous person. Giffords accessibility at just the right time made her and the people around her targets for destruction.
A little like the Travis Bickle character in Taxi Driver. Although that movie dealt far too unrealistically with mental illness, the target of his rage went from being a presidential candidate to a low-life pimp. Instead of being villified, he was deemed a hero, at least that was the silly conceit of Martin Scorcese's film.
The attempts to pigeon hole Loughner into being driven to murder by overheated political rhetoric range from ignorant to despicable. The most famous and influential person leading that charge was, and is, the New York Times' Paul Krugman.
Within hours of the tragedy Krugman blamed the attack on the climate of hate created by right-wing activists. In typical fashion he doubles down on that theory here.
The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.This is nonsense. There are plenty of examples of the same sort of martial talk coming from the left, as Glen Reynolds points out above. During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama said right here in Philadelphia "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”
And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.
Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.
No reasonable person managed to confuse Obama's theft of a quote from "The Untouchables" with a call for his supporters to get guns and actually shoot Republicans. The hypocrisy of leftists like Krugman on this issue would be jaw-dropping if it wasn't so common.
Was it right-wing "eliminationist" rhetoric that led to the assassinations of RFK and John Lennon? Did it lead to the attempts against Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, George Wallace, et al.? The ignorance of history and/or cynicism being displayed by the left is simply appalling.
There is not a scintilla of evidence that Loughner was driven to murder because he was a Sarah Palin fan.
What Krugman and his ilk are up to here is beyond slimy. They are being called on it. And they should be.
U)DATE II: As I said, they're being called on it.