Monday, January 10, 2011

Cold Blooded Murder

Here in the United States we are into the third day of a national tragedy surrounding the shooting of a Democratic Arizona Congresswoman who identified herself as Jewish - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords - and the murder of six others, among them a nine year old girl (born on September 11, 2001), by a mentally disturbed individual. Some on the left have been quick to point the finger at what they say is hate speech on the part of the right wing media, punditry and the Tea Party movement, claiming that it radicalized the 22-year old shooter.

However, certain inconvenient facts make this a dubious analysis, not least among them that the left has engaged in quite ugly rhetoric itself. Have we already forgotten the hatred directed against former President Bush, including a movie made fictionalizing his assassination? Indeed, the progressive left's flagship community blog, DailyKos, itself posted Rep. Giffords, now fighting for her life, on a "target list", slapping a primary challenge "bulls eye" on her district (she appears to be a very centrist Democrat) - precisely the language the right is now being accused of using. Demagoguery is back in American life with a vengeance, if it ever left, and as ugly as ever.

It is unfortunate that in a time of personal and national tragedy, our country's political class is tearing one another apart instead of uniting in a common front against cold blooded murder. What seems clear is that the shooter appears to have had no connection to the Tea Party, has been described by former friends as a "left wing pothead", who apparently dabbled in the occult, enjoyed both Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto a bit more than most and railed against the Zionist Occupied Government (ZOG) - activities reflecting no consistent ideology that I'm aware of, except one of extremism drawn from the political right and left.

Nevertheless, the recriminations continue. Already various pieces of legislation are being drawn up, leveraging the crisis to restrict certain types of speech being directed at public officials, empowering the government to impose "balance" in media coverage, and push through anti-gun measures. Should you choose to do so, I recommend you follow developments on Drudge, a (center-right) news aggregator who is usually a good barometer of American media in a crisis. It will be of some interest if the investigation into the shooter's past uncovers a singular purpose behind the attack.

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