Meaning in Madness

Here is a rather infuriating development in the news about the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  Let’s stop for a minute and reflect: People are dead, including a nine-year old girl named Christina-Taylor Green who by all accounts was a bright member of her student council.  They are dead because a madman (may his name be forgotten) chose to give in to his twisted psychosis and murder them.  All evidence indicates that he has no coherent political philosophy.  He apparently liked both Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto (Nazis don’t agree with Commies and vice versa).  He had some intriguing theories about grammar being mind-control, and from what has turned up of his own writing, he endeavored mightily to buck the insidious tyranny of tenses and basic sentence structure.  I believe he suggested using marijuana for currency.

He’s nucking futs, in other words.

But that’s far too simplistic an answer for such a great tragedy, so what do our political elites do?  They try to pin the blame on someone, anyone.

Almost immediately, speculation began about whether the shooter was a Tea Partier.  Sarah Palin’s name naturally came up, with the usual level of barely suppressed glee from the media.  And those on the right, who have time and again been outmaneuvered in classless demagoguery by leftists, also began to look for political motivation where there was only madness.

In what would seem strange were it not so distressingly common, the talk on the left turned to the subject of our “rhetoric.”  Oh, the violent imagery in our speeches, the martial language used on the campaign (campaign<—see?) trail.  Rush Limbaugh, who got away scot-free when he inspired the Oklahoma City bombing with his fiery hate speech, must be brought to heel!  Laws are already being drafted that put restrictions on certain phrases - redundant, stupid laws to make it illegal to threaten a federal employee (was it legal before?).  The imagery of crosshairs in a Palin political ad is under fire.  Never mind that the left routinely uses such language.  Goal posts moved, silly.

The reaction of our political class to this shooting tells you all you need to know about our elected representatives and our media.  They well and truly do not get it.  Seriously floating the idea of removing the word “target” from the political lexicon? Regulating radio program speech? Their first inclination is to suggest more control over what you hear and what you can say.

Events like this tear down our carefully constructed illusion of safety.  Death is in actuality never very far from us, but we can’t comfortably ignore this reality when it stares us full in the face in the form of a smirking lunatic.  When such things happen the inclination is to find who or what is responsible and punish, banish, demolish them.  We try to find some X-factor that would prevent it from happening and rail against those who “should have known.”  We have to realize that nobody could have predicted these senseless events; that a day out among her constituents would end this way for Giffords, that the other victims would be struck down so coldly.  Poor Christina-Taylor Green had a future, and it is snuffed out…for no reason.

Apparently, posturing and pointing fingers is easier for our leaders and pundits than grappling with this sad truth.

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