Most Americans aren’t blaming a “harsh political tone” for the horrific January 8 shooting in Arizona, in which a lone and seemingly deranged gunman allegedly shot a member of Congress and a handful of people nearby, killing six people. Despite efforts by some political talking heads to blame Republicans or conservatives for the actions of the shooter, it’s a relief that a majority of Americans aren’t buying that bull. Sixty percent of those polled by CBS News said the shootings were not related to any “harsh political tone.”
It’s been maddening to hear some on the left try to blame Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin and some other media or political figure for the alleged actions of that young Arizona man, Jared Loughner. The great leap by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, MSNBC’s liberal parody Keith Olbermann and others to blame politicos seems baseless to me – where is the evidence? For one thing, it’s not clear that the alleged shooter ever described himself as a Republican or a conservative or that he was a fan of Limbaugh, Palin, or anyone else. I’ve not seen evidence that he was watching, say, Glenn Beck every day and was so incensed at what Beck complains about – big government, dishonest politics – that he decided to attempt to kill a member of Congress.
But what if Loughner were hooked on Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh? When have either of them suggested a violent uprising? To the extent that Sarah Palin used cross hairs on a map to “target” the district of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during the 2010 campaign, I can’t say that was a great choice on her part. But it’s really a fantastical stretch to argue that such imagery motivated the shooting. Aside from the complete lack of evidence that A caused B – or that Loughner had ever even seen Palin’s website – I’m not aware of an instance in which Beck or Limbaugh or Palin or any high-level conservative or GOP lawmaker has called for violence against any political figure on the left. (Not like ex-Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski (Pa.) who apparently called for the shooting of Florida’s new governor.)
Speaking out against statist, economy-tanking, liberty-quashing government policies is entirely appropriate and, in the wake of massive bailouts, gargantuan deficits, and the impending Obamacare takeover of health care, crucial. Which makes it particularly galling is that some on the left use this horrible incident to suggest that speaking out against objectionable, intolerable policies is somehow suspect or wrong. I’m encouraged to see that most Americans seem to reject these bogus criticisms. Hopefully the remaining 30 percent will come to their senses.