I'm not here today to point fingers, or to peer into the mind of a man who takes up arms in a parking lot full of people. Over the weekend, I debated the wisdom of those that have placed cross-hair sights on their political opponents names, or those that repeatedly cautioned that, if they didn't get their way, that the electorate might well exercise those "Second Amendment remedies". I will admit, my knee jerk reaction was to pin some of the responsibility on them and others that seem to prefer the "tough talk" (or those clowns, like Glenn Beck, who did an entire skit on his show were he poisons Nancy Pelosi) . While we still don't have all the answers, it would now appear that the gunman in this instance was not necessarily affiliated with either political party, and not necessarily swayed by what anyone on either side had to say. He was led by his own mental illness, and the deluded belief that his actions were somehow acceptable.
So pinning any blame on the hate speakers was perhaps, in this instance, incorrect. And if you have any doubt of that, listen to the hate speakers themselves. Rush, The Palin, Beck - they're all heartily offended by the idea that any of the venom that they spew on a daily basis could be construed as in any way condoning violence on another human being. Free Speech, they cry. Just words, they cry. Not our fault, they cry.
What they are saying is that, in the grand scheme of things, what they say doesn't matter at all.
In this, we are in complete agreement.
They say that the Arizona gunman had a personal responsibility for his actions, and made the conscious choice to do what he did, their hate speech notwithstanding. I would have to agree. We all have personal responsibility. We all have the ability to make choices that will either enrich or bring harm to our existence and the existence of others around us. It is logical to make those choices that bring us pleasure and avoid pain.
We would not eat rat poison, or serve it to our family. This would be harmful.
We would not set ourselves on fire, nor anyone that we cared about. This would not make us happy.
We would not, nor would we encourage others to, use power tools as personal grooming devices. This would simply be unwise.
By this same logic, it is important that we, as a people, should completely ignore anything and everything to come out of the mouths of Rush, The Palin, Beck, Hannity and anyone else who so obviously preaches hate and violence in order to push their own agenda or, worse yet, just to get a boost in ratings. In the cost/benefit analysis of life, the commentary of these people is far too harmful to be of any use to a civilized society.
It is time to stop rewarding bad behavior. The surest way to ensure that the malicious words of the right wing do not cause a thing like Arizona to happen is to not hear them, not repeat them - indeed, to act as if they do not exist. The right wing has spoken loud and clear in this matter, and it fills me with joy that the last words I heard them say before forever blocking them out of my reality were these;
What we say does not matter.