When Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords collapsed outside the Safeway in Tucson Saturday morning, felled by a hail of bullets that killed six and wounded another 13 innocent people who had come to see her, some were quick to claim that the carnage was the product not merely of the tortured mind and trigger-happy fingers of the alleged shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner.

Rather, many on the American Left said the horror could be traced to the malign influence of American conservatives; members of the Tea Party; right-wing pundits Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck; former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin; and Fox News.

That was the narrative of culpability spun in the immediate aftermath of the shootings by some leading liberal commentators and Democratic politicians — despite warnings from religious leaders, lawyers, academics, ethicists, reporters and historians that such a rush to judgment only further deepens the partisan divide in America, and further poisons its discourse. LINK

As we reflect on this week’s mass-shooting in Arizona, all we can do is say a prayer for those injured and the families of those killed in the senseless violence that is becoming all too common in our country. My prayers go out for the speedy recovery of the injured and swift punishment of the psycho responsible.

Unfortunately, there are some who couldn’t help but to take a tragedy like this and use it for political gain. Ironically, some of those same people will now call for a return to “civility” in public, political dialogue. Well, that’s nice. Let’s face facts, folks: American politics is about as polarized as it has ever been. That’s never going to change because unfortunately there are two sides to every issue for a reason – we see things differently. It’s not unlike baseball: one league has the DH and the other doesn’t. Period. Does anyone think some “moderate” baseball person can come along and persuade the American league to give up the DH? Seriously? Of course not.

Think about that for a second. I’m afraid that’s only a BASEBALL analogy! Now imagine applying that premise to real life, important issues, many that have their origins in deeply-seated religious or personal beliefs. Does anyone think people are just going to give up on their long-held ideals? Does anyone (except President Obama) think radical Muslims will stop cutting people’s heads off because we “tone down” our rhetoric?   In plain English – fat chance. The only way people give up those beliefs is if they are proven to be incorrect or impracticable, or are replaced with more powerful ideals. Freedom over slavery, for instance.

While similar events have received special politically-correct treatment, like the Ft. Hood massacre, it is becoming more apparent that there are those who will stoop to the lowest level to score cheap political points. CASE IN POINT: Remember after the Ft. Hood shooting we were told from the highest levels of government and punditry that we shouldn’t rush to judgement even as it became more and more obvious what motivated Maj. Hassan. This time, however, all bets are off. Everyone on the right from Sarah Palin to Sean Hannity to the Tea Party are being branded as culpable for the actions of this disturbed young man. Pretty sick stuff, but par for the course.

Blaming anyone except the shooter for this crime is heinous. The “Tea Party” or Rush Limbaugh had no more to do with this shooting than did Nancy Pelosi or Keith Olbermann. But that has not stopped many in the left-wing media from having a field day with this tragic affair. A sad, sick young man committed this crime and that’s where it begins and ends – unless evidence proves otherwise.

The shooting of Representative Giffords and the others will not change anyone’s deeply held political beliefs. LINK Those who believe in the right to keep and bear arms will not be swayed by the actions of a madman. In fact, they will be reinforced as an example of why we need to be able to protect ourselves from nut cases. (Many in Congress are now taking another look at their own personal security.  Ironic, don’t you think?). Those who don’t believe that will (as usual) clamour for yet more gun control or outright confiscation. In addition, liberals are already blaming “hate speech” or “heated rhetoric” for motivating the shooter, yet there is simply no evidence of that. In fact, the opposite appears to be the case. Loughner so far looks to be from a dysfunctional family and left of center in his political beliefs. Imagine that.

But the sad aspect of this story that will be missed in the debate over gun control and hate speech is the issue of mental health. Like John Lennon’s killer and many other stalker psychos, this kid is most likely insane to some degree. There are literally millions of people in this country who suffer from serious mental health issues and are in need of extensive care. Untreated mental health problems – as well as substance abuse – are the cause of many social ills taking their toll on society today. I see it every day in my work.

People with serious mental health problems walk among us day after day and there is little that can be done as long as they don’t pose a threat to themselves or others. But as is often the case by the time they do become a threat it’s too late. They have already shot up a college, or shopping mall parking lot. Yet because mental health is a medical issue, the insane are free to exist in their parallel universe like this kid Loughner did while everyone around them looks on powerless to intervene. It is only when they slide back into our world in a violent way that we can take action.

The one common thread we often find in these mass shooting sprees is mental illness. The other that is emerging is religious fanaticism. They aren’t too far apart in my book. It’s not heated rhetoric or hate speech to point that out, it’s the truth. But both have warning signs. It’s time we heed them in advance.


  1. Lisa M says:

    I read earlier that a noted psychologist said there was a 99% probability that Loughner is schizophrenic.

    But as far as your observation that: “Unfortunately there are some who couldn’t help but to take a tragedy like this and use it for political gain. Ironically some of those same people will now call for a return to “civility” in public, political dialogue.” Well: it seems that Philly talker Michael Smerconish is using his latest desperate grasp at political relevance to capitalize on this tragedy himself. From his blog at the Huffington Post:

    “While I still think we are at a point where there is more unknown than known about yesterday’s tragedy, it is already obvious that there is about to unfold a long overdue conversation about the level of discourse in this country. While I hope this senseless crime does not become yet more fodder for some faux left vs. right debate (anyone who would do what happened yesterday is stone cold crazy, period), I welcome the opportunity to participate in serious reflection on our current political climate.

    I cannot wait for tomorrow’s radio program so that I can offer my thoughts. Please tune in or get the Podcast.

    Regular listeners and readers know that in December, I participated in the launch of a new group called No Labels. Part of my motivation in attending the event was the group’s Declaration, which reads in part: “We believe hyper-partisanship is destroying our politics and paralyzing our ability to govern.” I could not agree more.”

    Yes, Michael. Why don’t you use this tragedy to promote your lame-ass “No Labels” agenda so that you will be relevant again.

    As if the “No Labels” movement could have cured Jared Loughner of mental illness. Pathetic and disgusting. A new low for Smerconish.

    Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-smerconish/post_1537_b_806383.html

    • Wyatt Earp says:

      Smerconish is a piece of garbage. What he wanted to say was it’s the Tea Party’s fault, but he wants his idiotic audience to keep thinking he’s a conservative.

      Sure you are, Michael. I gladly await WPHT’s descent into obscurity.

  2. Bob G. says:

    Looks like we’re on that SAME page today.
    (couldn’t agree more, and the Clockwork reference was brilliant – and so true in this case)
    Can’t believe how far down the crapper Smerconish has slipped…oh, well.

    Stay safe out there.

  3. Randal Graves says:

    I agree that a “sad, sick young man committed this crime”. Yet you didn’t take the same stance with Nidal Malik Hasan; interesting.

    • Wyatt Earp says:

      Hasan was quoted as yelling, “Allahu Akbar!” during the massacre. He was sick and disturbed, but I think his underlying motivation was Islamic extremism.

      I think Loughner’s underlying motivation was that he is a schizo.

      • Yeah I agree Wyatt. It was established fairly quickly what Hassan’s motivation was – Islamic extremism. And just as quickly brushed aside by the MSM and this administration.

  4. Old NFO says:

    I’m waiting to see if the Left Wing and MSM back off their pontificating and rhetoric when the truth comes out… Thoughts and prayers are being said for all those injured and the families of those killed.

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