Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuscon Rorschach Test

Verbal reactions should be almost as spent now as the bullets on the Safeway parking lot, but the fusillade of shooting mouths is heavier than ever.

As families go about burying victims, their deaths are translated from horrendous personal loss to political posturing that denies them the humanity they deserve.

Reading from Left to Right, start with mouthy Sheriff Clarence Dupnik who only hours afterward, instead of relaying facts, insisted on turning his grief into a screed against the "anger, hate and bigotry" that allegedly motivated the shooter.

Add the journalists who encouraged his venting but failed to ask the obvious question: Why wasn't there at least one police officer monitoring a small crowd in this charged atmosphere who might have brought down the shooter before so many lives were lost? (Wasn't the Sheriff aware of phone threats he had been making?)

Moving away from the crime scene, reactions are more a Rorschach Test for pundits than the perpetrator. In Slate, Jacob Weisberg cites "anti-government, pro-gun, xenophobic populism that flourishes in the dry and angry climate of Arizona. Extremist shouters didn't program Loughner...But the Tea Party movement did make it appreciably more likely that a disturbed person...would react, would be able to react, and would not be prevented from reacting, in the crazy way he did."

They used to call that guilt by association but, to balance such speculation, there is always Rush Limbaugh et al to blast liberals for blaming his ilk in this way, and the Tea Party is out fund-raising over liberal "deception and dishonesty to try and smear all of us and our beliefs."

A voice of Sanity in all this is Jon Stewart, once again passing on comedy to pour out feelings of sadness and frustration over the senseless violence without blaming anyone for it as political pundits on all sides are doing.

He is reduced to the suggestion that politicians tone down their rhetoric so that we can recognize "the crazies" when we hear them.

Amen to that, but so far there is no sign such a miracle will happen.

Isn't it time for all of us, including me, to shut up and grieve for our country in silence?

1 comment:

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Another beautiful post, Mr. Stein, and I wholeheartedly agree.