One reason I haven’t written much of anything is that everything I read right now pretty much puts me into a funk; the quality of rhetoric I’m seeing from both sides doesn’t bring me any kind of reassurance that our politics are going to be anything but a brawl – at a time when we’re driving our nation along a mountain road with no guardrail. It’s a bar fight where I just can’t bring myself to choose sides.
The immediate news suggests that the shooter is a garden-variety nutjob – about which more in a moment.
But I’ll bet the toxic politics of the moment help focus the rage of the deranged and disconnected and shake them out of the tracks of their daily lives into a path that’s potentially far more destructive. It’s absurd that either side claims that the other a monopoly on violent rhetoric – it’s just not true. And it’s more absurd to hear militant rhetoric from journalists and writers whose closest brush with violence was a shoving match at the frat house or sorority.
It’s disgusting, and somewhere, somehow, someone needs to shame these assholes into changing their tone. Maybe – just possibly – this tragedy will serve as a bucket of ice dumped in their laps that may, just possibly have an impact.
Everything being brought forward (and let’s admit that we have very little yet) about the shooter makes him out to be deranged. I’ll point something out here that I’ve said before; somewhere someone saw someone with a gun whose behavior should have set off a yellow light. Someone who should have said or done something, because – again based on very preliminary and sketchy stories – I’m hard pressed to imagine that anyone who looked at this guy would have had serious second thoughts about his fitness to own a weapon.
Update – fixed embarrassing typo in post title