The Tragedy After Tucson

The hardworking staff hasn’t read everything in the wake of the Arizona shootings that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head, but we’ve seen enough media coverage to form a few conclusions.

1) The worst sort of opportunism is at work here on both the left and the right.

2) Their attempts to disguise it are largely pathetic.

3) Some commentators, however, have made a modicum of sense.

• From the left, New York Times columnist Gail Collins in her Monday piece:

Today, the amazing thing about the reaction to the Giffords shooting is that virtually all the discussion about how to prevent a recurrence has been focusing on improving the tone of our political discourse. That would certainly be great. But you do not hear much about the fact that Jared Loughner came to Giffords’s sweet gathering with a semiautomatic weapon that he was able to buy legally because the law restricting their sale expired in 2004 and Congress did not have the guts to face up to the National Rifle Association and extend it.

Love gun control or hate it, you have to admit that Democrats have been gutless on the issue.

• From the right, Glenn (Instapundit) Reynolds in a Monday Wall Street Journal op-ed:

Those who try to connect Sarah Palin and other political figures with whom they disagree to the shootings in Arizona use attacks on “rhetoric” and a “climate of hate” to obscure their own dishonesty in trying to imply responsibility where none exists. But the dishonesty remains.

To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

Good question – among many, as the chin-strokerati try to sort this out to their side’s advantage.

Not exactly Tocquevillean, is it?

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15 Responses to The Tragedy After Tucson

  1. CAvard says:

    John, I think Dan Kennedy has been great in terms of putting the Arizona tragedy into perspective. Another person to check out is Spinal Tap’s Derek Smalls, er, I mean Harry Shearer. I think you’ll like this piece he penned at Huff Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harry-shearer/why-so-many-mentally-ill_b_806725.html Lastly, the DART Center for Journalism and Trauma is a great tool for journalists and this piece put the murders in perspective. DART is one of my personal favs. http://dartcenter.org/content/covering-mass-killings

  2. Michael Pahre says:

    Did the NY Times fact-checkers slip up on Collins? I thought that the weapon he used was perfectly legal, even under the expired assault weapons ban, but that it was only the 31-bullet magazine that was illegal under that ban.

    It may be a subtle difference, but it is very significant in that lawmakers are far more likely to be open to legislative action on “gun clips” or “magazines” than they are to banning a particular gun itself.

  3. Steve Stein says:

    Glenn Reynolds? You mean the guy who posted: High School Friend: “As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy.”?

    He can just bite me.

    • Campaign Outsider says:

      I didn’t say everything out of his mouth made sense, Steve. But even a blind squirrel . . .

      • Steve Stein says:

        Looks like we have Glenn Reynolds to blame for Palin’s latching onto the utterly offensive “blood libel” characterization. I would be flabbergasted if Palin understood the true meaning of the term, but Reynolds should know better.

        I still say he can bite me.

      • Campaign Outsider says:

        I’m with you there, Steve.

  4. dankennedy says:

    Seems to me there are far more people on the right claiming that the left is blaming it on them then there are actual people on the left blaming it on them. It’s a bonanza for the right’s ever-smouldering sense of grievance and persecution. And no, Krugman did not do himself proud this week, but he was an exception.

    • Campaign Outsider says:

      You have a good point there, Dan, although I wonder if you’ve been watching much MSNBC lately.

    • Michael Pahre says:

      You’re right: there seems to be far more defensiveness from the right than offense from the left.

      Read Krugman for the economics, not the politics. A prize doesn’t give you a lifetime pass to pontificate on every subject.

  5. BP Myers says:

    Does anyone believe the right wouldn’t leap all over an attempt on a right-wing icon’s life, regardless of the political leanings or mental state of the assailant?

    To see the left “being reasonable” now, walking away from the notion that hate-filled rhetoric contributed to an environment where something like this would occur is frankly, disgusting.

    This is why the right will always win, and the left will always lose.

  6. dankennedy says:

    Another thought — someone attributed this to Michael Moore, but I don’t know that for sure. Can you imagine what would be going on if a Muslim were responsible for the Sarah Palin map?

  7. Steve Stein says:

    John – I’d like to know your reaction to George Packer here:

    “It’s undeniable that some Americans on the left never accepted the Bush Presidency as legitimate after the Florida recount. It’s also undeniable that the left’s rhetoric over the Iraq War was often hostile, simplistic, and unfair.

    “But it won’t do to dig up stray comments by Obama, Allen Grayson, or any other Democrat who used metaphors of combat over the past few years, and then try to claim some balance of responsibility in the implied violence of current American politics. (Most of the Obama quotes that appear in the comments were lame attempts to reassure his base that he can get mad and fight back, i.e., signs that he’s practically incapable of personal aggression in politics.) In fact, there is no balance—none whatsoever. Only one side has made the rhetoric of armed revolt against an oppressive tyranny the guiding spirit of its grassroots movement and its midterm campaign. Only one side routinely invokes the Second Amendment as a form of swagger and intimidation, not-so-coyly conflating rights with threats. Only one side’s activists bring guns to democratic political gatherings. Only one side has a popular national TV host who uses his platform to indoctrinate viewers in the conviction that the President is an alien, totalitarian menace to the country. Only one side fills the AM waves with rage and incendiary falsehoods. Only one side has an iconic leader, with a devoted grassroots following, who can’t stop using violent imagery and dividing her countrymen into us and them, real and fake. Any sentient American knows which side that is; to argue otherwise is disingenuous.”

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