Monday, January 10, 2011

The talkfest ...

Over on Two Political Junkies Maria posted rather angrily about Gabrielle Giffords. I don't blame her, and I am not happy that conservatives and Tea Party types have spent the last 24 months making relatively frequent veiled violent threats. What I found somewhat appalling is that the first and several more comments suggested Loughner is/was connected to the left. In other words, liberal complaints about the right's violent rhetoric are totally unjustified, and the right's claims that the left is plotting the overthrow of t he government are vindicated by Loughner. It has turned into a heated comment fest, 26 at last look.

Similarly, but in a more subtle way, the New York Times columnists have joined the national debate. Paul Krugman, not surprisingly, blames the culture of anger (indistinctly) cultivated by conservatives aand Tap Party types. To his credit, he does not specifically say the shooter was a Republican or Tea Party type, somewhat less to his credit he singles out Bill O'Reilly an Glenn Beck as two of the figures responsible for the "Climate of Hate" we are experiencing. I say somewhat less because while I personally don't like either man, there is a large group on the right involved in reckless rhetoric.

By contrast, Ross Douthat concentrated on the nuttiness of the Tucson shooter. He brings up the Communist connections of Lee Harvey Oswald, and the nuttiness of other assassins. He also noes the accusations of the left (he could almost be talking about Krugman's column). While I agree thee Loughner certainly looks like a classic nut, his apparent anti-government rantings certainly seem more at home on the right. And then there is Republican opposition to gun control.

Which brings Gail Collins. who makes what I feel are the most sensible points. Collins is appalled (as am I) that Loughner could purchase a (concealable) handgun capable of firing 30 bullets without reload. Collins notes the Giffords herself is opposed to gun control, But Collins also notes that Giffords is practical Democrat who likes to find compromises that allow legislation to go forward. So maybe Giffords would have supported a limited gun control, one where maybe the next nut might only shoot six people, instead of eighteen. Which is to say that Collins tries to find solutions that might reduce the level of violence, instead of pinning or denying blame. Which no one besides myself will praise her for.

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