Crosshairs on Peace by royalty free
What a fierce fusillade of national verbiage erupts after every creepy assassin strikes. Unless well-intentioned blather confronts the following, nothing will change: 1) the ceaseless, badly-monitored salvo of gun sales, 2) flocks of armed, unhinged extremists at large, and 3) security to insulate officials from being sitting ducks.
Satirists might propose electing only ex-soldiers or police skilled in self-defense, modern day replicas of 19th C. politicians who went off to work armed and ready for "vigorous exchanges." Maybe such action shootouts could be the next survivor's show TV hit.
Certainly, the worst nonsense so far bubbled up from Sarah Palin's cauldron, setting new over-the-top standards far beyond irony. The Shriller from Wasilla dared scold others "who embrace evil and call it good . . . who mock [our] greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults." Doesn't that shrill last phrase, "imagined insults," capture Palin in a verbal crosshair?
Never apologize, whether bad judgment or bad timing -- never retreat, no surrender, just more inflated invective and clinical narcissism. With the phrase, "blood libel," her set-speech on murder in Arizona ends up making HER the victim. Clearly, here she outdoes even her model of ignorance, blind to specific historic context, whacko beyond words considering Rep. Giffords is Jewish. "Blood libel" refers strictly to slandering minorities, especially Jews, accusing them of murdering Christian children in a ritual blood sacrifice. "Death panels," begone. If the coarseness of "blood libel" doesn't torpedo Palin's future, I can imagine what will.
Good news: any such demise signals the first positive from this horror.
Words don't matter, only "blood libel"?
As Dylan Ratigan on msnbc remarked, how is it okay for Palin to claim words don't matter and individual actors are solely responsible for their crimes while going apoplectic when others opine violent rhetoric fuels a context for violence. Or that her outrage might push the "disturbed" to obey her "don't retreat, reload"? Crosshairs, anyone?
Certainly any such talk won't make us safer, nor will good intentions or happy hopes from politicians, nor minute retelling of the perpetrator's miserable life. For once I prefer slow closure and the memory of slaughtered innocent to drive enough Americans, even on the right, to rise up and say: "Stop. No more repeating hand pistols, the perfect match for mass murder." Imagine, even insisting there be help for roving unmonitored and/or unmedicated lost souls.
"Glock Sales Surge After Shooting" blasts Huff Post's headline. At $499. each, the price mocks the recession as rabid gun owners fear celebrity reduces access. Why? I hear no major politician gunning for gun controls. There's an anti-war group in the Democratic Party but no constituency defying the NRA and its glorious triumph, by far the most dangerous, insane gun fetish in the western world.
When Talk Dissipates Action
Actually, empty talk may be worse than nothing, giving the illusory assurance attention is paid to the growing crisis when Tea Bag paranoia overlays politics with gun violence. Enough hunting up every granular detail of the murderer's life, as if one guy's psychotic episode informs, or inhibits the next shooting. Not. Oddly, if the Arizona rampage gets reduced by the right to unpredictable, unsocialized random mutation, one wonders why religious, gun-loving, anti-evolutionists gag at the notion God relies on chance, that is, random mutation, to drive natural selection? The key to our presumed progress as a species.
I live in the American West, along with the South and key urban centers, a nexus for violent rhetoric, radical individualism and murderous gunplay. To echo The Magnificent Seven , I like this antidote to thinking violence solves anything, "We don't deal in solutions, friend, we deal in lead." And blood and spilled guts, and instant, simplistic responses (guns are sacred, the more the merrier) that worsen complex problems.
I despair that any culture that worships radical individualism, defining truth as faith alone ("every man a king") and violent revolution as our national birthright, will hold together as coherent community. Self-expression is a civilized version of individualism; taking man's law (or God's) into your own hand tests strictures of our common ground, of living without chronic fear. If anyone's "rights" are first divinely-ordained, open solely to self-confirmation, then any "law and order" dictated by less righteous, less Christian people obstructs "sacred God-given freedoms." If murdering lawful abortion doctors is justified as moral, then what forbids a whole range of anarchy or extremism? If the south seceded, why not Alaska or Texas or Arizona?
Watershed -- or Disintegration?
The Rapture isn't the only apocalypse possible, as strictures which have bound us together, albeit with rough edges, unravel. More population, in a compromised culture without historic social and mobility that eased tensions, mean "disturbed" descending to "Second Amendment solutions." Give ready arms to outraged, authoritarian personalities with high-powered pistols, add to any personal grudges the 24/7 media onslaught (from violent movies, songs, talk radio, cable TV, the internet, or video games), then bloodshed will splash across more headlines. When hard times exacerbate joblessness, family abuse, addiction, poverty, and a sense of powerlessness, who can be surprised neither the center nor the edges hold?