As with any violent crime, the blame for the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and others rests squarely on the shoulders of the man who pulled the trigger. He made the decision to pick up a gun and shoot people because he didn’t like their politics. Those who are seeking to place blame wholly on one side of the political debate should be prepared to get beaten with that stick themselves because one of the crazies on the right might be the next one to get triggered.
When Gabbie Giffords and others were shot in Tucson, Arizona six years ago, the left tried to pin the blame on the tea party for creating a climate of hate. Remember the sick, saccharin #NewTone hashtag? Remember Democrats inviting Republicans to sit with them on the other side of the aisle during the State of the Union as a display of imaginary unity? The GOP fell for it and by taking part helped sell the Democrats’ story that a paranoid schizophrenic murderer might have been volunteering at a soup kitchen that day if only Republicans weren’t so opposed to Obamacare. A few of us pointed out at the time how it was reminiscent of that movie Dinner for Schmucks in the way that Republicans got played.
Rhetoric didn’t cause the shooting in Tucson. “Crosshair” graphics on Sarah Palin’s web site didn’t cause it either. Loughner did.
To say otherwise was blind partisan hackery then and to say otherwise now is equally blind and partisan, but thats where we are now. Blind partisanship is a great way to build a social media following, attract radio listeners, or get blog traffic. Anything of which the left is guilty has become acceptable practice for many on the right. Give them a taste of their own medicine is the rally cry. Deflect and rationalize when a Republican beats up a reporter because purveyors of fake news deserve violence. Greg Gianforte’s assault on Ben Jacobs was obviously mild compared to a mass shooting, but then again, he was a congressional candidate, not some random red-capped meathead with a belly full of Sean Hannity. It still reveals a drastic lowering of standards.
What-aboutism and you-tooism have largely replaced debating issues from first principles. It’s all about scoring points, not fixing problems. In my opinion that’s part of the reason some are peeved that Trump isn’t universally loved on the right. It takes some of the excitement out of their social media “slam dunks.” They don’t get as many cheers as they used to.
Look, I get that the left’s nonsense is often beyond the pale. Heck, it almost always is. But once you start taking it as a given that the idiotic ramblings of miscreant politicians are directly linked to the actions of lunatics with guns, you had better be prepared to rein in the crazies on your own side, because they do exist and many of them have big microphones.
The language on the left today is far more prone to to induce violence than anything that ever came from the Tea Party. That’s true, but right now there is the same level of crazy on the right. There’s just not as much of it. Yet.
The quantity is sure to increase after today. I’ve already written several times about pundits on the right claiming that we are literally fighting a civil war against an existential threat to America. If people say that irresponsible rhetoric is the root cause of violence now, what are people going to do when some nut on the right decides he wants to be “war” hero and take down some enemies domestic?
I expect they’ll give the left a taste of their own medicine and apply a double standard. That’ll fix everything.