Sometimes, people are just crazy nutjobs, and no amount of gentle language, hearts, flowers and rainbows will bring them back from the land of Loony Tunes.
Such is the case with Jared Loughner – a 22 year old from Tucson, Ariz., charged with opening fire during a townhall meeting last weekend. Several are dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., is in serious condition after being struck in the head by a bullet.
The event and the deaths he caused are tragic, devastating even.
He certainly wasn’t spurned to his violent acts by a map Sarah Palin once posted that included gun sights targeting districts of the 20 House Democrats she hoped would be defeated in last year’s mid-term elections.
Similarly, a post by “BoyBlue” on the lefty blog, the DailyKos, isn’t to blame for Loughner’s actions either.
BoyBlue’s post appeared on the site one week before the shooting in Arizona. In it, the poster suggests that because Giffords voted against Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, Giffords was “dead” to him.
The author has since issued a backhanded apology for the post, although thinking people understand there’s no need to apologize.
“Most of you know by now of my diary bemoaning Rep. Gifford’s voting against Nancy Pelosi has been taken by the far right to preemptively protect themselves,” BoyBlue wrote. “I made a VERY poor choice of words when I partially titled the diary, ‘now dead to me.’ Of course I wished no hard to Gabby.”
He should’ve stopped there. Instead, he used the remainder of his post to bash the right and suggest that the shooter was instead a disgruntled supporter of Gifford’s Republican opponent in the 2010 election.
“I would bet my house that it will come out that some disgruntled former Jesse Kelly right-wing supporter did this,” he concludes.
Too bad I was unable to take that bet, because it appears BoyBlue is wrong, wrong, wrong.
It doesn’t matter. We shouldn’t be using the tragedy for political gain.
However, if we’re going to play this finger-pointing political game, if Congress is going to consider bans on certain language because of what one nut job did in Arizona, we need to know the truth about the shooter.
So here it is:
That guy was a crazy who selected a political target. Classmates at his school, from which he was asked not to return, say they were frightened of him. He had a twisted ritualistic skull shrine at his house. Several have reported noticing the guy was a few loaves short of a baker’s dozen. I have yet to see a single interview in which anyone who knew him expressed shock or surprise when they learned Loughner was involved.
Sarah Palin and conservative talk radio hosts didn’t pull the trigger. By all accounts, Jared Lee Loughner, a registered independent who didn’t bother to vote last November, did.
There may be things we should learn from the shooting about warning signs of mental instability and how to best address those signs when we see them.
Instead of re-writing the rules of political discourse and attempting to limit free speech, let’s say a prayer for the victims and their families and move on down the road.
Loughner was clown shoes. He committed an evil act with tragic results. Pundits can play the blame game all day long, but the facts remain the same: Loughner alone is responsible. That should be the end of story.