What have been your thoughts about the murders out west? The shoot-up where the congresswoman suffered a bullet through her brain?
Did you buy into any of the theories floated by various public figures? That angry voices on talk radio had been the catalyst for this violence. That Sarah Palin’s rhetoric had fueled it. That extreme figures on the left and right had whipped up a mood of viciousness. And this mood had inspired the murderer.
There is, of course, zero evidence to support these theories. There is evidence that supports another theory. That theory is that the man is a lunatic.
I suggest it is no more complicated than that. He is out of his mind. He is crazy. I suggest we ought to dispense with all the other theories. This guy is whacko. His behavior over the years was that of a whacko. That is all we need to know.
The guy who shot John Lennon was – probably still is – nuts. The woman who shot at President Gerald Ford was nuts. The guy who assassinated Robert Kennedy was nuts. The guys who do many of the shootings that make the headlines are simply nuts. They don’t shoot at public figures because they disagree with their politics. They shoot because they are insane.
There are other nutty people prowling around the public scene. They are the columnists and commentators and politicians who use these murders to stoke anger against their political opponents. They try to pin a murder like last week’s on Rush Limbaugh. They call for talk radio to be censored, for Sarah to be media-whipped. They are as venomous as they are crazy. They are obsessed. They believe if you double flush your toilet you do so for a political reason. They think if you speak the word “crosshairs” you do so to instigate violence. They believe if you favor gun ownership you lay the groundwork for the next school massacre.
After the shooting out west, opportunists cried out for special protection for public figures. They spoke of elected officials as being heroic.
Sorry, but I don’t see it that way. I see them as elected officials. They are people who run for office for fame, status, money, glory. They do their jobs. Once in a blue moon some whacko takes a shot at them.
They are no more targets than the poor folks who get gunned down working at convenience stores. They are no more victim than folks who labor in the Post Office and get mown down by a local fruitcake.
Are any of them heroic? If they try to shield others, yes. I suppose going to work in some of the most dangerous inner city areas might be considered heroic. A lot of us would not have the cajones to teach in decrepit inner city schools. Or work in a store where it seems half the customers are drugged up and armed. Those who care for the violently insane I think are heroic. One mis-step and they could find scissors plunged into their chests.
Something we ought to readily acknowledge is that all societies contain loonies. We should feel fortunate that so few are led to violence by the voices of their lunacy. We should mourn the victims of their violence. We should work harder to contain, subdue and help the lunatics. And we should leave it at that. Enough with public figures painting political pictures with the blood of the victims of lunacy.
From Tom ... as in Morgan.
For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.