Listening to BBC radio this morning, I was provided a rare perspective on the tragic attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the shooting of 19 others, and the death of at least six so far, including a judge and a nine-year-old child. The perspective was not from the left or the right, but about how Americans have turned the unfortunate events into a political debate. I’m no different: I was quick to cast aspersions on Sarah Palin’s freedom targets, and the right has already begun to galvanize into action, too, characterizing the shooter as a loony lefty.
But, as soon as you allow yourself to pull back from the politics of these horrible events, you see something like this headline, “1 down, 534 to go,” and the anger and vitriol returns. We’re not satisfied with the nut case with a gun storyline; we want to cast a net of blame across an entire political party. In the days and weeks to come, no doubt talk radio hosts and cable-news pundits will marshal as much evidence about Jared Lee Loughner as they can muster to support their own partisan storyline.
And then there are those who just want to grieve apolitically.
Maybe we should all just allow ourselves some space to process the ordeal without allowing politics to enter the question. I mean, Jesus Christ: A wackjob shot a centrist Congress woman in the head and opened fire on a crowd of people. How many of you have allowed that to really sink in?
But once it does, blame will be leveled. So, in today’s Pajiba Debates we ask, not who is to blame, but — outside of Jared Lee Loughner — should we be blaming anyone at all?