As we follow the developments in Arizona around the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, we're gathering opinion and reaction from a variety of It's A Free Country contributors. Blogger Solomon Kleinsmith submitted this piece late Saturday night.
The tragic news coming out of Arizona has dominated the news this weekend, and both ends of the political spectrum are jumping all over the issue, trying to use it to their own selfish political ends. Heaven forbid a tragedy like this ever go to waste...
Some on the left seem hell bent on using the map where Sarah Palin has gun site targets on certain vulnerable races as proof that she was somehow baiting loons like this apparent assassin to go ahead and shoot political opponents. This cartoonish assessment is just as stupid as those on the right who are pointing out the same thing on a post on Daily Kos (another more vitriolic post was apparently taken down), in which the author verbally puts a "bulls eye" on her district, along with those of several other moderates.
Others on the left have taken it upon themselves to politicize this event by trying to paint it as an argument for stronger gun control laws. This coming even as we know next to nothing about this Jared Lee Loughner character, where he got his weapon, or if there was any history of violent legal problems.
As with any other crime like this, its not political verbiage that drives people to these sorts of acts -- its insanity. This guy is a nutcase. I could care less whether he was a left winger, right winger or anything in between. He is a MURDERER.
Millions of people watch movies where fictional characters duke it out; they don't leave the theater and take those fantasies out into the real world. People like Sarah Palin and Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga (the founder of Daily Kos) are political firebrands that stoke the flames of the insane culture war that is causing so much damage to our great nation. But they are no more responsible for the violence of an insane listener who takes their hyperbole literally than the Pope is for some insane Catholic who thinks he hears Jesus tell him that his neighbor needs to be sent to hell.
It would be just as easy for me to fall into the pundit trap and politicize this. Instead, I'll align myself with those calling for prayer for the families of the five people who died and others who were injured. I'm siding with those on both sides who condemn this heinous act without stooping to slip a partisan message into the equation, and those who say the violence and hatred needs to subside rather than find reason to spew more hatred at fellow Americans who happen to disagree with them politically.
This event is more than tragic enough as it is. To add to it with all of this garbage is just... sickening.
Solomon Kleinsmith is a nonprofit worker, serial social entrepreneur and strident centrist independent blogger from Omaha, Nebraska. His website, Rise of the Center, is the fastest growing blog targeting centrist independents and moderates. He is currently collaborating with other centrist independent and moderate bloggers on a news aggregation and social networking site, and is always looking for ways to help the independent groundswell as more and more people become disaffected with the two major parties.