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Palin obviously pulled trigger, Laughner framed (?)

Submitted by Commandrea on January 11, 2011 – 4:44 pmNo Comment

By Jack Daniel Betz

The coverage surrounding the tragic shooting that occurred Saturday afternoon in Tuscon Arizona has blossomed into a full-blown shitstorm, obscuring truth and objectivity. Both conservatives and liberals (and even the irrelevant gossip-monger, Perez Hilton) have attempted to assign blame to particular people and movements that just do not fit.

The tea party has been taking the brunt of the beating in the form of Sarah Palin, who  many out-of-touch baby-boomer anchors fancy is the movement’s spokesperson. The proof of Palin’s treachery: a diagram containing cross-hairs over the state of AZ. This evidence would be dubious if the perp was anyone but Palin but given her status as persona non grata, it is more than enough to condemn. What good is a tragedy with no scapegoat? What good is a villain who is a registered independent and didn’t vote in 2010? That doesn’t help ratings. A new villain must be fashioned in order to sate the bloodlust of the 24-hour-news-cycle-zombies. For that Palin works wonderfully.

Palin fits well as the shooting’s perp because she is a giant hunk of bloody red meat for readers/viewers of MSNBC, HuffPo, The Nation, and The Daily Kos to name a few. Just a sole mention of Palin and the ratings jump, readers flock. However, ratings aside, the content of this infamous diagram wouldn’t likely have offended anyone if its creator were not Palin’s political action committee. The gun imagery is certainly crass and over-the-top but to draw any sort of meaningful relationship between it and the shooting is wishful thinking at best, especially given the fact that the shooter had no traceable ties to the tea party or conservatism for that matter.

The same sort of determinist attitude dominated the debate around the Columbine shootings. Social conservatives said that Marilyn Manson and violent video games were to blame even though there was no evidence that these were credible causes. Could it be that the kids were nuts? ‘No. There needs to be a reason! We need a pound of flesh!’ That same mania is gripping the country now as talking heads scramble to find a patsy.

Another popular argument among people trying to politicize the event is that the country’s ‘toxic environment’ is to blame. This is a lazy way of saying that anyone with a strong opinion, considered loathsome by the administration, played a role in the shooting and again this is bullshit. Officials have discovered, according to notes found in a safe in Loughner’s home, that he had been obsessed with Gifford since 2007, well before the tea party movement or Palin’s infamous diagram. Is this enough? Can we just agree this kid is nuts and call it a day? No. That won’t happen. Not when there’s a buck to be made and ratings to be had.

Asking the tea party or dissident Democrats upset about losses in 2010, or any passionate political group for that matter, to ‘tone down the rhetoric’ is a silly non-solution. Time bombs like the depraved Jared Laughner do not think or act rationally when committing acts of meaningless violence and any factor, however small, could be a trigger. We cannot live in fear and all people, liberal or conservative, should continue to be as honest as possible however much the truth may hurt. A national dialogue cannot take place if we as a people worry about stepping on toes or upsetting volatile people. Tragedies like this are sadly inexorable.

Sarah Palin can be incredibly annoying. She is preachy, loud, and sometimes downright embarrassing. However, to pin this event on her is laughably irresponsible. The ridiculous rhetoric being hurled at Palin, equating her with a murderer that is, is the exact same type of venom that allegedly emboldened the shooter, if you ask someone like Paul Krugmann. Nevertheless, the media (Paul Krugmann included) continues to use this ruthless slaughter as a cudgel against political enemies.

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