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← Sarah Palin's camp says depraved liberals blame her for mass murders

T. S. Elliott's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by T. S. Elliott

It is irresponsible to blame Palin for this tragedy, her actions and words while in poor taste and reprehensible are not to blame.

It is equally irresponsible to think that the culture of aggression and violent metaphors that have been spawning from the right wing did nothing to exacerbate the problem either. The Palins, Becks and Angles that have been spewing literal call to arms against the government have been drying up the leaves in the bush. They won't create the spark, but they're providing adequate kindling. To entirely blame the right would also miss the point, the assassinate Bush crowd of earlier years were a prime example of this from the left... but they were nowhere as mainstream, they were rightly marginalised.

The true spark behind it was (and I say this knowing all the facts have not yet come in) likely to be mental disorder. The young man in question was unbalanced, a view of his online rants easily give them impression. Distrust of government, ramblings about the gold/silver standard are all familiar ideas... then there is the bizarre notion of government using grammar to control people. There's little question that the spark here was a paranoid individual, someone who was unhinged and liable to go off. But the violent rhetoric, the aggressive personalities on the news, the insidious insinuations ("second amendment remedies", "if we can't win with ballots we'll win with bullets") is there any doubt that this added fuel to the fire metaphor? Add in the easy access to a gun, and you have an explosive mix.

Surely, I would conclude that this was hardly political. It was not someone who was so incensed by the political position of the congresswoman that he wanted to assassinate her. It was an unbalanced individual whose paranoias were stoked by this violent political culture. You can't point at a particular party and say "it was the left who did this" or "it was the right who did this". You can point at the fact that the media seems to give the most airtime to the nutjobs, the people who stir up this kind of madness because aggression brings ratings. The more shocking the better, only the most outrageous are given airtime.

I would once again state that my analysis of the event is only based on the news reports and interviews to date. Any new information that comes out could radically change what we know of the facts.

Mon, 10 Jan 2011 17:30:57 UTC | #576133