My first thought (as it always is) was that it won't be too long before we find out that he was taking an SSRI and suffered from some sort of clinical depression. After that, I rolled my eyes at the renewed calls for gun control as anyone with a brain can see that these incidents happen less often and violence is, in fact, continuing to drop every year. Remember, folks, the media likes to make money and they make this shit seem like it happens all the time and right NEAR YOU!!! Ahhhhh, look out!!!!
As I reflected further about this latest shooting and tried to make sense of all of it, I started thinking about Jared Loughner and how my thoughts at the time were off base. My main contention then was that people like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Michele Bachmann created a culture (through their words and actions) that led to Loughner going on his rampage. But that's not quite right.
Even if the police found Palin stickers and a Limbaugh radio subscription, they still wouldn't be responsible. Even if Loughner or Page came out and said, "I love Michele Bachmann and am a proud supporter. Her talk of Muslim infiltration and enemies of the state made me do it!" they still wouldn't be responsible. The ones that are responsible are Loughner and Page. But that doesn't let the Terrible Trio off the hook. Not by a long shot.
While it's wrong to say that their creation of a culture of hate and fear caused these shootings, it's absolutely correct to say that their backwards as fuck ideology (bordering on psychotic) doesn't help.
And that's the problem.
Each of these people (along with many more like them) have a responsibility as public figures to serve the common good. When they talk about traitors and infiltration as opposed to working together and respecting everyone's rights and freedoms, the don't advance any sort of social cohesion. There may not be causation or correlation between their words and actions and this type of violence but it's continued practice and existence is divisive, not constructive.
I know that folks like Limbaugh, Palin. and Bachmann are earning their livings off of panic mongering but ti shouldn't be at the expense of this nation. This is now true more than ever as the power in our world shifts to shared responsibilities. We have no time for secret plots, dog whistles, reverse racism and subtle intimations of non whites threatening our way of life.
That is, of course, if we want to continue making money.