Because although Jared Lee Loughner appears to have been fairly mentally disturbed indeed, his actions did not happen in a vacuum. Since Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee in 2008, and especially since he was inaugurated in 2009, the right wing has ramped up the violent imagery and rhetoric many, many fold. And now, they want to claim we shouldn’t politicize this tragedy? PZ scoffs:
What we have here is an attempted assassination of a politician by an insane crank at a political event, in a state where the political discourse has been an unrelenting howl of eliminationist rhetoric and characterization of anyone to the left of Genghis Khan as a traitor and enemy of the state…and now, when six (including a nine year old girl) lie dead and another fourteen are wounded, now suddenly we’re concerned that it is rude and politicizing a tragedy to point out that the right wing has produced a toxic atmosphere that pollutes our politics with hatred and the rhetoric of violence?
Screw that. Now is the time to politicize the hell out of this situation. The people who are complaining are a mix of lefty marshmallows whose first reaction to the fulfillment of right-wing fantasies by a lunatic is to drop to their knees and beg forgiveness for thinking ill of people who paint bullseyes on their political opponents, and right wing cowards who are racing to their usual tactic of attacking their critics to shame them into silence. This is NOT the time to back down and suddenly find it embarrassing to point out that right-wing pundits make a living as professional goads to insanity.
More at link, including a number of Tweets collected over the last thirty-six hours, among them one of my personal favorites: “Sure, Sarah Palin didn’t pull the trigger. But then, neither did Charles Manson.” I don’t know the person who wrote that, but – as I read it – it wasn’t a comparison of Manson to Palin, but a reminder that Manson was never even accused of having killed anyone himself, only of inciting his “family,” and a reminder of the fact that it was used to put him away for a long time because we DO recognize the role inciteful, violent, inflammatory rhetoric has in our culture. Or at least we used to recognize it. Why the heck are we shying away from recognizing it now?