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An American tragedy becomes the fodder for political opportunism. Where is our shame?

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Start: I am heartsick over this.

If you’re an American, and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the weekend, you’ve heard about the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday, January 8, allegedly committed by loner Jared Loughner (I say “allegedly” only in that he has not yet been found legally guilty). In this rampage, 13 others were injured, and six were killed, including nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, ironically featured in the book Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11.

When I first heard of this, I flashed on the line from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation science fiction series, made by a central character Salvor Hardin: “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” Learning more about Loughner, though, it appears that he may literally be incompetent, probably delusional, maybe even insane.

A Poster Child for Blame

Already Giffords is being made a poster child by the American political Left in an effort to paint the political Right as rabid, mindless extremists who preach violence against the opposition. The Left points at the admittedly inflammatory rhetoric of the Right, and specifically the the tone and message of Sarah Palin’s 2010 stumping for Tea Party candidates, and makes the claim a graphic on the 2010 congressional campaign website “Take Back the 20” was designed to incite violence by “targeting” candidates.

True or not, to blame any group or ideology for the actions of one person is to strip the individual of any responsibility for his/her actions.

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