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As Long as We Remember...

January 12, 2011

From Tragedy Comes The Blame Game

Amanda Haddaway

In what seemed like mere minutes after the Arizona shooting tragedy, the mainstream media began pointing fingers and conjecturing about why Jared Loughner came armed with the intent to kill Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a “Congress on your Corner” event last Saturday in Tucson.


Quite simply, we don’t know why yet and we may never know the real reason that this mentally disturbed individual acted with malice toward another human being. The media’s attempt to place blame on unrelated parties, such as Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, is sickening. Mental illness doesn’t have a political party; and we cannot assume that this individual was motivated by the rhetoric of any political party or politician.


Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, among others, was quick to point fingers at an image that was posted on Sarah Palin’s political action committee website during the recent election. The image depicted 20 locations on the U.S. map marked by the crosshairs of a gun scope with the text “We’ve diagnosed the problem, help us prescribe the solution.” The district that Representative Giffords serves was included as one of those 20 markings.


While the image may be an over-the-top graphic that borders on inappropriateness, we do not know if Loughner ever saw this image or is even aware of it. The police uncovered a letter from Congresswoman Giffords to Loughner from 2007. He received this letter long before Sarah Palin became a household name and prior to the creation of the Tea Party movement and SarahPAC. How can the mainstream media legitimately assign blame to former Governor Palin and the Tea Party? Doing so is wrong, plain and simple.


It’s easy to cast the first stone and try to make reason out of such a senseless act; but the media has a responsibility to report the facts and not inject their own personal biases. Ms. Maddow and others are doing nothing to fix the very problem that they complain about. Somehow they believe that they are above the law when they complain about “the right’s reckless rhetoric.” It’s not just the right that is to blame. Our very own president isn’t above reproach either. His oratory is more partisan than any president in at least the past 30 years. Does this help the public discourse and our ability to achieve goals for the greater good? Absolutely not.


We must all learn to wait to make judgments until we can say with certainty why Loughner acted in the way that he did. We must also be prepared to never know the answer and not inject our own personal “conspiracy theory” onto the situation.


Unfortunately, there are members of our society who have deep-rooted psychological problems that we don’t always know or understand.


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