Two days ago, twenty-two year old Jared Lee Lougher reportedly walked up to Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, pulled out a pistol and fired into her head point-blank before opening fire on bystanders attending a public political event outside a grocery store in Tuscon, Arizona. As of press time, six people including a federal judge, one of Gifford’s aides and a nine-year-old girl are reported dead, while Gifford miraculously survived the attack.
At a time like this, we should not be thinking about ideology or political strategy, but about Gabrielle Gifford and the health of the other victims.
But this unwarranted attack grates against the very essence of a free, safe society, so naturally, people search for larger evils to blame for the massacre.
Media outlets across the nation started throwing out theories and allegations — ‘surely there’s a bigger issue at hand,’ they said — ‘it’s all Sarah Palin’s fault.’
This type of hyped-up, panicked response is wrong and unproductive.
While questioning events for the sake of understanding and closure is a wise and often inescapable human tendency, Americans tend to overreact in the wrong ways during times of intense political, social and/or cultural tension.
It’s possible that this tragedy was simply a senseless act committed by a deranged individual acting outside of rationality or reason.
Then again, it’s also true that the wicked shooting of a trusted delegate of the United States House of Representatives and her constituents does beg the question: Have the ideologies of our political parties, in wielding increasingly heated rhetoric, created a political environment of fear and violence?
It’s fair to question the extent to which our individual, daily political discussions have negatively affected the culture in which we live.
You may claim that political firebrands like Sarah Palin, in drawing up maps of representatives to “target” in the midterm elections, subtly encouraged Gifford’s attacker.
On a broader level, the common theme being broadcast by news outlets across the nation seems an effort to absolve ourselves from Lougher’s horrific actions. Their questions stab at the nation with accusatory fingers — can any of us take some responsibility for this atrocity?
Unlike most of us, Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford took an oath and decided to serve our nation, the people of her district. For her selfless efforts, she and her constituents unnecessarily suffered. And so we all suffer as a people, by declining into a state where this tragedy turns into bickering and blame-casting.
The first step to mending our nation is to ask questions of ourselves and about the system we live in. The opinion pages of the Nexus are open for all to do that — just keep a level head as you do so, for all of our sakes.
Our hearts and hopes go out to the victims of this national tragedy.
The response is a panicked one for a reason….and it deserves to be. Things have gotten out of hand in the country’s political debate and this is just one of many deadly symptoms if it doesn’t stop. Don’t make excuses for the inexcusable.
I’m not really sure what point you’re trying to make here. You make a point of placing blame on the dichotomous nature of the political parties for a one-time, disastrous tragedy like this, but then you turn around and say not to make excuses. That’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re excusing the actions of a single man by turning around and accusing political parties that have encouraged nothing of the sort. This was an awful event and it shouldn’t have happened to someone just trying to serve the public, but if we start ignoring personal blame (which is what this… Read more »
Individuals do not exist within a vacuum, they are influenced by the things around them. The use of violent rhetoric and implied violence is problematic. Also, the complete a total saturation of the gun market that has allowed many other mentally unstable people to commit acts of mass violence and armed the drug cartels probably does not help either. Both of these, the defense of violent rhetoric in politics and gun control, are agenda’s are avidly fought for by talk radio. As of right now the radio moguls are having there pawns shill your message Derick. Say that blaming the… Read more »
Too early to point the blame at the Talk Radio hate merchants? Possibly. Can’t help but notice the violent tact that the rhetoric has taken recently – “Don’t retreat, reload” & “Second amendment solution”