REFLECTING ON THE CARNAGE IN ARIZONA
On Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona, United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords, pictured on the right, a Republican turned Democrat, was hosting "Congress on Your Corner" for the constituents of her 8th District. The occasion was one where she could greet citizens of the district, address their concerns, and clarify her political positions, which favor President Obama's stimulus packages and healthcare act as well as women's abortion-rights. In connection with this "Meet and Greet," she was shot in the head at pointblank range by Jared Lee Loughner, a troubled and unstable young man. Although the congresswoman remains in critical condition, her physicians are optimistic about her potential for recovery and, for this, we can be thankful.
The same hopeful prognosis, however, is unavailable for other of Loughner's victims. John M. Roll, pictured at lower left, a United States district judge in Arizona, who recently ruled that illegal aliens had standing to sue an Arizona rancher for $32 million dollars, was shot and killed. Christina-Taylor Green, at lower right, the 9-year old granddaughter of former New York Mets manager Dallas Green, was also shot and killed. All total, 18 people have been reported injured, with 6 killed.
Be assured that all the facts related to this horror have not yet been uncovered. Reports are still breaking. In the midst of continuous reportage and commentary, I think it safe to assume that the vast preponderance of the American people are committed to nonviolence and peaceable civil society, and decry the events which unfolded yesterday in Arizona. Regardless where one's place on the political spectrum is, he or she can aver that the violence that transpired in Tucson was dreadfully shocking and without excuse. All reasonable people should condemn it.
That said, it must also be pointed out that much of the reporting of this event has been corrupted by editorial opinion. True, the shooter is being associated, correctly or incorrectly, with a number of political positions which have been gathering momentum and growing in grassroots appeal for the last two years. As difficult as it is to plumb his schizophrenic mind and to decipher the meaning of his murky and troubled prose, one can make out the faint silhouette of some of his political views, especially when placing them alongside those of the American Renaissance, a political publication with which he is alleged to sympathize. There is some basis, although in some instances close to conjectural, to think that Loughner believed the currency of the United States should be supported by gold and/or silver, that the country's $14 trillion debt threatens national security, that the combination of unrestricted immigration and institutionalized multiculturalism is profoundly destructive to national solidarity and cultural cohesiveness, that strong border security is necessary, and -- most controversial of all perhaps -- that leaders within the Jewish community have been in the forefront of promoting positions adverse to and militating against traditional American culture.
The dangerous tendency in opinionated news coverage is that of equating the unworthiness of Loughner's actions with his political views. His politics and his actions should not simply be lumped together in the same package and roundly condemned as "irresponsible," "senseless," and "criminal." The correlation that citizens seem expected to draw is that anyone who holds such political views is a sick and dangerous extremist, who is prone to the murder and mayhem of Jews (like the congresswoman) and others, and thus has no legitimate role in the national debate.
I have been suspicious of the media in this country for a long time. I have no respect for most of what I read, see, and hear day in and day out in media circles. Some news analysts have not hesitated, believe it or not, to place the awful burden of the Tucson catastrophe upon Sarah Palin – that's right, Sarah Palin! -- for her fiery campaign rhetoric in the midterm elections. What a monstrous leap in logic!
Let me insist, here and now, that no one is justified in judging a political cause by the wrongful actions of a few of its advocates. John Brown was a devout abolitionist, who with his band of Gileadites rode into Kansas, Missouri, and Virginia and, in the name of freedom and humanity, butchered to death people who were opposed to abolitionism. Is it intellectually and morally permissible to equate abolitionism with Brown's murderous rage? Nat Turner likewise led a slave insurrection that resulted in the indiscriminate hacking, axing, clubbing, or shooting to death of a number of white people. Is it fair to identify anti-slavery sentiment with his barbaric behavior? Of course not.
In the same way, there are millions of Americans today who are profoundly troubled over the same issues that appear to be on Loughner's mind. These are not bogus concerns. They are real, and quite grave ones at that. Most Americans, I dare say, yearn for an open discussion of them. Such citizens are not, by virtue of this fact, racists, xenophobes, anti-Semites, and fear-mongers. Just the opposite is the case. Those who punctuate their assertions with slanderous name-calling are the ones who are yielding to political correctness, short-circuiting deliberative thought, and caving into the herd mentality.
How about a national discussion of Peter Brimelow's Alien Nation, Lawrence Auster's The Path to National Suicide, Roy Beck's The Case Against Immigration, Alvin Schmidt's The Menace of Multiculturalism, John Locke's The Second Treatise of Government, David A. Hollinger's Science, Jews, and Secular Culture, and Kevin MacDonald's The Culture of Critique? How about throwing in Porter Stansberry's pessimistic prospects for the dollar too? I doubt that many media personalities have the intellect or integrity to engage the ideas of any of these men. And of the few who might be willing to do so, I seriously question whether they could be counted on to undertake the task in a systematically critical way.
This, my dear reader, is why I prefer to watch the Food network on those rare occasions when I turn on the television. I strongly suggest that you consider doing the same.
January 9, 2011