Shame On Everyone – Stop The Finger Pointing!

I haven’t weighed in on the tragedy in Tucson very much, as you can see. The main reason is that in a way, I’ve been in shock. But I also wanted to let the dust settle and the facts to come out. My first instinct in any of these types of tragedies is to blame the person responsible, the mentally deranged person who actually did the shooting. Even if he was influenced by someone saying something hateful or putting crosshairs on congressional districts, he still chose to make that leap into violence. I heard someone say that 309 million people chose not to shoot anyone on Saturday. We can’t lose sight of the person responsible for this, a sick person who went over the edge.

When politicians and commentators immediately take to the microphone and start in with their hyperbole, whether on the left or the right, it cheapens the real tragedy. People say things that prompt defensive reactions and it escalates and becomes just another circus act that the media perpetuates. Personally, I think we should be talking about mental health issues, how to help people who have paranoia, anger problems, depression and hopelessness. We should be comforting the families affected by the tragedy. And we should be investigating how it got to that point.

The last thing I’ll say for now, because what else can really be said, is I want to hear what Gabby Giffords has to say about it. She will bring clarity to the situation, I’m sure.


Don’t get me wrong, I think we need to have a discussion about the vitriol that pervades our political discourse and the demonization of opponents that certainly doesn’t help when a deranged person hears it, but there will be plenty of time for that in the future. My problem is with people going off “half-cocked” to use a very bad metaphor and saying things based on speculation which often results in people trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.

And I’m not making the false equivalency thing or the both sides argument about this vitriol, there is no one on the left, other than commenters on blogs, who spew the rhetoric that the right does. There is no equivalency between the two. My point above is that both sides jumped on this tragedy and in the process, cheapened it.


15 thoughts on “Shame On Everyone – Stop The Finger Pointing!

  1. Thank you for your calm piece. I have been watching the MSM and reading some of the blogs, it’s nuts out there. I pray for the families of the ones that lost loved ones and the ones that are still in the Hospital. The final story hasn’t been written yet, the PTSD for the survivors. I watch the news conferences from the Doctors on Gabby’s condition. I have a son who had a major stroke. He was in a coma for 6 months before his brain healed enough for him to come out of it. He is has some major disabilities. I went to a lot parent support groups on TBI and it really helped. Our brain is really a very unique piece of our body, fragile but also resilient. I pray that Gabby will come out of this almost completely whole. It’s going to be a long struggle for her and her family, but I think she has it in her and I pray her family does too, in the long run. I’ve had to turn the TV off several times because of the stupid questions asked and the speculations going on. I wonder if these broadcaster talk like this at home to their families or is it just to the American people they put out all this BS.
    Done with my Rant. Have you read Al@Narco news yet? good piece.
    Have a wonderful and safe day for everybody on the internet tubes :)

  2. Yahoo is the worse! The people commenting on the stories made me so angry that I’ve decided I am no longer going to comment on anything on that site. One said that he wished Obama was at the event. Another said that this was all the democrats fault and the guy was a liberal. You get the picture.

    I am horrified that people think that painting him a tea bagger or a liberal to demonize the opposing party. I personally believe that we must come to understand that this guy was mentally ill. Most political assassins are usually not mentally ill at least in the classical sense like this guy was despite what people think and are led to believe.

  3. I understand your point but man, since the Democrats won in 2006 the right wing media has been stroking the flames of the anti-government movement and when Senator Obama became President Obama the right pour gasoline on that fire. This guy swam in the same anti-government pool with the tea party and Glenn Beck. The debate should be taken up what the hell is going on in right wing radio?

    Because I know they wouldn’t put up this type of talk if Bush or someone they like was in office. Hell the right wing after the Dixie Chicks because one of them said they were ashamed being from the same state as Bush. But now Glenn Beck can have some douchebag staffer with a Nancy Pelosi mask on and Glenn Beck joking about putting poison in her drink and these scumbags Jeff talked about making comments about wishing Obama was there.

    I can bet you everything I own, if this was 4 years ago and I made comments about Bush and wishing something violent happen to him those posters who wanted President Obama to trade places with Gifford will be threaten to report me to homeland security or flood me with enough terms of violation(that’s what right wingers did on AOL message boards when they disagree with people)I wouldn’t dare make any types of comments again.

    I can ensure you if they get the outcome they want in 2012, those right wingers with the anti-government bumper stickers will trade them in with “America love it or leave it” Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Rush will be saying how dare you be critical of the president?

  4. Long ago my first commenting online was at AOL. After the school shootings in Paducah, KY and soon afterward in Jonesboro, AK, I commented about strengthening gun laws and parents doing a better job of keeping guns away from children. At that time, you couldn’t be anonymous and your AOL address was shown. I started getting death threats as a result and dropped AOL and went to Compuserve.

    At the time, I owned guns which had belonged to my grandfather and father (I have since given them to my nephew). My partner still has his 9mm Navy sidearm in the house. I don’t like to hunt and never used my inherited guns, anyway. My dad was a deputy sheriff for 20 years in Indiana and never put his guns away, his .38 and .45 in holster, and a 12 gauge behind the back door. None were loaded (that I know of) but that was back in the day when kids respected their parents’ commands.

  5. I don’t think the finger pointing from the left is as irrational as the denials, and finger-pointing from the right. Limbaugh is even rambling about the Democrats hoping for such an event in order to come down for more gun control, etc.

    Columnist George Will is protesting hanging this massacre on the right. He says:

    This McCarthyism of the left — devoid of intellectual content, unsupported by data — is a mental tic, not an idea but a tactic for avoiding engagement with ideas. It expresses limitless contempt for the American people, who have reciprocated by reducing liberalism to its current characteristics of electoral weakness and bad sociology.

    I guess trying to provide healthcare for everyone, provide jobs and good education is “contempt” for the American people.

  6. Even though my gaydar had already flipped, just read that the hero, the nursing student who probably saved Rep. Giffords’ life, is gay.

    Daniel Hernandez is an “out” gay man who has been a supporter of Giffords because of her support for the gay community (IMO, probably one reason she left the Republican Party and became a Democrat).

    One of the heroes on the ill-fated flight 93 on 9/11 was a gay man, Mark Kendall Bingham. However, Todd Beamer, who supposedly said, “Let’s roll”, got most of the media attention at the time. We in the gay community noted that and are responsible for helping to keep Bingham remembered as ALSO a hero.

  7. Watched Speaker Boehner speaking to Congress this morning followed by a speech by Nancy Pelosi. The “weeper” sobbed his way through his speech while Pelosi did not. If the tables were turned you would hear the rabble out there about a “weak” sobbing women!

    I often switch back and forth between CNN, MSNBC, and Fox. Today, often true to form Fox wasn’t playing Pelosi’s address but instead was playing Sarah Palin’s “What me, worry?” speech where she played the “VICTIM” to the hilt. So shame on us! Interesting she was silent until just hours before President Obama delivers his speech in Tucson.

    BTW, notice often that when our President is giving a short speech, maybe from the Rose Garden, that both CNN and MSNBC will go live to it yet when I flip to Fox, they are giving us “news” about the likes of Lindsey Lohan.

    Interesting letter in today’s Houston Chronicle:

    Blame game

    It did not take long for the finger-pointing and blame game to start. Less than four hours after the attack in Tucson, many members of the mainstream media have cast the fault to talk radio commentators, Fox News and Sarah Palin as being the catalyst for an obviously mentally imbalanced young man to perpetrate the crime we saw Saturday. We don’t even know what was bouncing around in Jared Loughner’s brain.

    In addition to Limbaugh, Hannity and Beck, anyone who has a common thought with the tea party is being blamed. There have been statements from Democratic congresspersons that new gun-control laws are going to be introduced. Also, one member of Congress said he is planning to introduce legislation that would outlaw any statement that could be interpreted as a threat against any employee of government.

    Now, I am sure the current Congress, with Republicans in the majority in the House, won’t pass such legislation, but just the idea that there are Democrats who are interested in diminishing two rights listed in the Bill of Rights — free political speech and the right to bear arms — is very telling.

    La Porte, TX

  8. Like most folks I hope the congresswoman comes out OK, still I have no idea what our distinguished host means when he suggests that she could “clear up” what happened and presumably why.
    Let me throw a notion in the mix. Few observers, students or scholars of the southern civil rights period would dispute that the utterances of Wallace, Barnett, Thurmond, to say nothing or local and state officials contributed to the climate that led to the murders and mayhem visited among hundreds of blacks in the south. While no one established a “direct” link to the racist political figures, no one advanced the strained “individual dysfunction” for the murderers that the right (Particularly Will, Krauthammer,Gerson are putting out there. I welcome the thinking of fellow commenters about this disconnect.

  9. From all that I’ve seen of Gabrielle Giffords speeches since the tragedy, I think she is an amazing woman. She is very insightful and from all accounts, a very friendly person. I hope that she can bring clarity to the situation having been the target of this madman and also being well aware of the rhetoric that people want to make the connection too. I’m not saying I know what she will say, but I am anxious to hear her thoughts once she is able to let us know what they are. I think she has a unique perspective on the situation and will probably listen to her thoughts a little more carefully than say Michelle Malkin or Keith Olbermann.

  10. I agree with and appreciate your feeling that jumping on this tragedy was another reflection of our current climate. I, personally, appreciated your restraint — because I also know how committed you are to progressive change — knowing the context DOES help. This has been an exhausting week, and I appreciate you.

  11. William Rivers Pitt does finger point in Truthout. It appears that many right-wingers read this left leaning website reading the many letters, some full of hate, too. The “Comments” following most articles online sadly reveal that we are still a nation that is most partisan and full of hate. I was a man in my 20’s in the 1960’s, a decade of hate and assassination and I have never seen the level of vitriol I see in today’s society.

  12. Interesting that ABC has a story up about poor Sarah now getting death threats (which is not surprising in our crazy culture). And now some other major media organizations have parroted the ABC story “sans evidence or analysis”. However, CBS (of the lamestream Dan Rather media! /snark) ALSO reported that the Palin aide who is the source for the story “did not provide details concerning the volume of threats, how much have they increased or whether they are being referred to the authorities.”

    This is what passes for “journalism” in today’s media market. Elected editor of my high school newspaper, I got the opportunity to attend a one week summer workshop for school papers at the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism at Indiana University. I learned more in ONE WEEK than I fear many of our so-called journalists nowadays have ever learned.

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