If the truth be told, the extreme rhetoric on both sides sickens me, but this embrace of all things ballistic seems to fall more to one side than the other.
While I agree that it may be unfair to blame the actions of this lunatic shooter on the weapon- and violence-centered rhetoric of many members of the Palin-Limbaugh-Beck-Gingrich cabal that says it speaks for God and America and we may never know for sure, it has all the hallmarks of political assisination.
It's likely that this shooter was schizophrenic, and it may be that when he heard the vitriol of these nattering nabobs of nastiness on radio or television, he thought he was being given a mission, a mission from God. True, such language may have little effect on most folks, but it is heard by all - the healthy and the not so healthy. The nabobs know this. Make no mistake; they know what they are doing.
Just as offensive to me have been the knee jerk reactions of many to the wide-spread criticism. Some of what I have heard is so distasteful that I'm not going to offer examples, but in general, I'm amazed at the inability to rise to the occasion or seize the opportunity to lead us out of this lunacy.
The insistance that what one says has no effect followed by an attack on those who disagree is incredibly disingenuous. It's insanity - whichever fringe suits your politics. One fringe, however, is screaming louder right now, and it's quite clear they doth protest too much.
I have only one question for them, but let me pose it by recalling a story I heard years ago when I lived in Maine. Forgive me if using humor here seems inappropriate.
It seems a city slicker lawyer was out for a spin in rural Maine as he put his new sports car through its paces. Unfortunately, as he came around a turn, he found a cow in the middle of the road. She was crossing the road as she moved from one pasture to another. The grass is aways greener ... He slammed on his brakes and almost stopped in time - but only almost. He hit the cow and knocked her for a loop.
The farmer - having heard the squealing tires - came running. By the time the farmer got to the scene of the crime, the city slicker was out of his car, fretting over the cow, and apologizing for the accident. He offered to pay the farmer for the damages - whatever the cow might be worth. As the lawyer pled his case, the cow got up and continued her walk to the other side of the road.
Relieved, the lawyer began to argue that clearly there was no damage after all. The farmer was silent as the lawyer continued to press his case. Finally the farmer looked at the lawyer and said, "I tell you what. I don't know if she's injured or not, but if you think you did her any good, I'd be happy to pay you for it."
And that's what I think of when I hear these language of violence apologists denying their rhetoric has any negative effect and demanding proof if it be otherwise. I tell you what, nabobs. If you think you're doing anything positive for the level of discourse in this country, then I'd be happy to pay you for it.
I know my money is safe though because these hysteria mongers aren't helping our us or our country. It's not a left/right issue. It's just that my generation believed if you weren't part of the solution, you were part of the problem. Those who offer this brand of rhetoric are, in fact, part of the problem.
We simply must find a way to return civility to political discourse in this country. If not, there will be much more sorrow in our future.