You knew it was coming. No sooner had the news broken of the Arizona shooting of a congresswoman and several others than the political opportunism by Democrats and the media began. Never mind that the shooter was, by all indications, a nut job with serious mental difficulties. And let's not dare to point out that the shooter's political leanings, if any, tend toward the left.
Because in the world of the mainstream press, any act of violence must be the fault of "the right" - in spite of the fact that violence, especially political violence, has become a hallmark of the American Left, not the Right. From the bottle and rock throwing WTO "protesters" to the Unabomber, those who actually act out their violent fantasies are far more likely to be Marxists, socialists, or, like Timothy McVeigh, outright anarchists.
And I'm getting particularly tired of the bogus claim that "both sides are equally guilty" - oh, sure, you can probably root around and find some example of less-than-appropriate language being used by some obscure conservative, but when it comes to violent rhetoric, including openly calling for actual violence, no one can hold a candle to the American Left. If you'd like to see some of the latest in an almost endless list of violent images and statements made by members of the Left, go to Michelle Malkin's site at:
But no matter, the talking heads of the left-leaning media (CNN and NBC being the worst) immediately jumped on every conservative group or individual they could think of - the Tea Party, Talk Radio, you name it. CNN was the worst, interviewing mostly left-wing commentators, while showing endlessly in the "crawl" at the bottom of the screen the phrase "Some politicians blame Sarah Palin" - talk about subliminal propaganda.
Whether CNN, NBC, or any of the other "old media," the mantra seems to be that so-called "inflammatory rhetoric" is somehow responsible for the actions of an obviously deranged killer. And the discussion is always that such language is somehow exclusively the province of conservatives. They seem to forget that it was the Left who for eight years compared George Bush to Hitler, hung him in effigy, and even produced a movie titled "The Assassination of George Bush."
Then of course there are the predictable calls for more gun control, as if heaping yet more ridiculous regulations on the rest of us will somehow prevent a psychotic killer from finding a way to commit murder - Timothy McVeigh used nothing more sophisticated than fertilizer and diesel fuel to kill more people in 3 seconds than anyone with a gun, any gun, could kill in 3 hours.
But perhaps the most disturbing reaction was a call from a Congressman, a Democrat of course, who wants to make certain words and phrases a Federal crime. If that does not cause a chill to run up your spine, you need to step back and think carefully. The entire purpose of the free speech section of the 1st Amendment is to specifically protect political speech. And yes, that includes even the most "over-the-top" speech. Short of an actual exhortation to violence, political speech is, and must be, protected.
The guilty party in the Arizona shooting is Jared Lee Loughner. Whether he turns out to be as mentally disturbed as he appears to be does not change the fact that the responsibility for his acts rests with him. Guns are not responsible. Talk Radio hosts, whether conservatives like Sean Hannity or liberals like Keith Olbermann, are not responsible. The Tea Party is not responsible. "Inflammatory" rhetoric, whether from the Left or the Right, is not responsible.
Sadly, almost lost in all of the political maneuverings is the fact that one of the victims was a 9-year old girl, who ironically was born on September 11, 2001. I doubt that her "political viewpoint" mattered to the shooter. That such an innocent victim should be virtually ignored in the debate is more than a tragedy - it is a disgrace.
Why did Jerod Lee Loughner decide to go to a food store and randomly shoot at a crowd of people? We may never know. But the reality is that he is the only person responsible for these killings. And the sooner we face that fact the better it will be, for all of us.