Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tragedy in Tucson

The prime suspect in the tragic Tucson killing spree apparently is mentally ill, according to reports, yet the punditocracy, in a typically-rushed judgment, already is indicting "toxic politics" and "rhetorical recklessness" as the real culprits.

Must sane people exercise self-censorship in order to ensure that the insane don't seize on pointed political rhetoric as in incitement to violence? And if so, how will that work and who will police it? Is this really an indictment of American political discourse, or an indictment of American mental healthcare (or the lack thereof) -- or just another case of a deranged individual acting-out in a terribly-tragic bid for public attention and notoriety? At the risk of being accused of a similar rush to judgment, I'm guessing that, when all the facts are in, this will look less like an attempted political assassination than a demented "cry for help" from an attention-seeking nut.

A little sincere soul-searching never hurts. But this already seems an exercise in politically-motivated shaming and finger-pointing.

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