Friday, January 14, 2011

The Cause of the Tucson Shooting

So, predictably, liberals tend to be leaning toward the theory that the rhetorical miasma from the fever swamps is a salient cause, where as conservatives tend to be emphasizing the shooter's patent insanity.

Presumably we will all agree that insanity was a factor. But two points that have struck me as important of late:

1. Someone on NPR this morning pointed out that the shooter didn't go shoot up a grocery store. The fact that it was a Congressperson--and a Democratic Congressperson at that--clearly must be taken into account by our developing theory of the shooting.

2. The Mystic's point: that, even if conservative rhetoric is having an effect, we should expect that insane people will be affected first. I suppose we should think about a bell curve, with, say, the left end being the crazy end. Think of a line moving left-to-right, where the line is a threshold, and moving past it represents taking violent political action. Outliers on the bad end of the sanity curve will be the first over the threshold. One case does not a pattern make, of course...but so far, what we've got is consistent with what we'd expect to see were right-wing rhetoric having the effect in question.

Of course there's a very good chance I'm thinking about this incorrectly.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two points:
1) The shooter is known to have frequented the "zeitgeist movie" site. This is a pseudo-documentary of the mother-of-all-conspiracy theories: 9/11 was permitted to happen because the bankers & insiders wanted catastrophe & the fed is evil & we need to be using gold & silver for currency. Strangely, a quick google search shows a glock-fanatic site as a prominent linkto:

Also, the gun-store clerk that sold the large-magazine clip was concerned about Loughner's sanity, but didn't find anything in a background check. That means
a) gun store clerks should be expected to use their discretion when selling firearms.
b) the background check was truly pathetic.

3:34 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Check it out. I'm like the Oracle of Delphi. Behold my following predictions. I await your awe.

(Non-predictive preliminary info:)

The guy is obviously insane. That being said, we can't claim that he held to any particular ideology. He's simply not a rational being and, therefore, he's not capable of rationally professing an ideological stance.

(Begin Oracular Pwnage:)

My prediction is that we'll find a lot of people on the right using that defense against people who allege that rhetoric on the right caused this behavior.

The problem is, I think this defense will erroneously be applied to arguments that the rhetoric on the right was A cause, and not THE cause.

My further guess is that too few liberals will be capable of making this distinction and the few who can won't make much of a splash. I certainly don't expect the MSM to be capable of following such logic and, with Fox firmly entrenched against any such reason, there won't be any actual impact on the people who need the information...

I also suspect the right will point to the fact that the kid was big on the whole 9/11 conspiracy bunch in support of arguments that he was influenced negatively by liberal craziness as well.

Of course, the problem here is the obvious difference in treatment of 9/11 conspiracy whackos by the left and limbaugh/beck/hannity/o'reilly/palin on the right.

I figure this is all going to just get bogged down in a flurry of the following right wing methodology:

1) Mischaracterize the liberal position
2) Fight the newly created, mischaracterized position with an irrational flurry of tu quoques containing wide-ranging and only vaguely related topics
3) Observe the confused liberals scramble to shoot down the irrelevant defenses.
4) Await the passing of public interest.

The American population is just too cynical, lazy, and skeptical to try to determine who's right when it comes to politicians flinging mirrored accusations.

It simply doesn't seem to matter who's actually right.


5:07 PM  

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