Friday, July 20, 2012

So it begins

At about 5 this morning, my wife told me about the Colorado shootings. (She gets up earlier.) She told me of reports, perhaps unconfirmed, that the gunman shot a three month old baby. I really don't have the vocabulary to describe how horrible this is.
But eventually it dawned on me. Someone is going to try to make political hay out of this.
Sure enough, ABC News' Brian Ross rushed to the forefront reporting that someone with the shooter's name seemed to be a member of the Colorado Tea Party. Although the network admitted that it did not know if if the tea party member was the same guy arrested for the shooting, George Stephanopoulos gasped. This, he said, may be "significant."
Turns out that the report was incorrect. Ross and ABC News have retracted the suggestion and apologized.  Bbut here's the thing. Whether James Holmes turns out to be a right wing psychopath, a left wing psychopath or an apolitical psychopath doesn't matter. The operative term is psychopath. How he chose to justify his murderous impulse is of no great moment. The rationalizations serve the impulse; they don't create it.
I appreciate the Grey Pomposities of the Commentariat may not choose to understand that. But it doesn't matter if he's a tea partier or a member of the Occupy movement. Someone does not decide to gun down a theater of people because they hear intemperate rhetoric - something, incidentally, that seems to be spread among all political groupings. A violent nut does not reason from false premises to the conclusion that he should murder a bunch of people.

Reason has nothing to do with it. The kind of pathology that leads to mass murder has deeper roots. The environmental movement doesn't own the Unabomber. The political right is not responsible for Timothy McVeigh. The left isn't to blame for Charlie Manson or Lee Harvey Oswald
I could go on. It wouldn't matter if - as appears not to be the case - the shooter was an illegal immigrant. While it's too early to know for sure,  the incident probably tells us little about, on the one hand, gun control or, on the other,  concealed carry in public places. It is a tragic event, but it's not a political event.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.


Anonymous said...

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R.-Tex), on the Heritage Foundation radio, has attributed the attack to the "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs in this country." Noting that concealed carry is legal in Colorado, he asked, "was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more swiftly?".

Tom said...

Don't forget the blame on violent video games (ironically, given the setting, I'm seeing more of that than focus on violent movies).

Anonymous said...

I like how you write this as if only one side politicizes things like this.

You have to know better; therefore my question is why you ignore your side. Doesn't the hypocrisy required for such tribalism get hard to ignore after a while?

Nathan Petrashek said...

Preach it, Brother.

John Foust said...

Is this post about the conservative outrage about Fast & Furious?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Here's another one!


What say you, Professor, about the human slime on your side of the political spectrum?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mitt Romney...all we need to do is change the heart of the American people.

No sweat.