Well, that didn’t take long.
Not long after the initial Sunday morning news shows had found their way to various video archives, the next round of punditry began. And with it came the familiar Firing Circle that accompanies most news events that, no matter how tenuously, seem to attract political crossfire. Blame the “target” ads of Sarah Palin. No, those were “Surveyor’s scopes.” Really! He was a right-wingnut. He was a left-wing nut. It’s Rush’s fault. It’s Obama’s fault.
No, he’s just nuts.
What started out as a fairly sane, low-volume suggestion that maybe everyone could tone down the rhetoric quickly devolved into another round of Blame Game. And the Circular Firing Squad simply reloaded.
An opportunity to act like grown-ups instead turned into another infantile playground fight. Well done, children.
There’s a scene from a cult flick from the ’80s, Repo Man. In it, a convenience-store robbery goes bad (meaning, worse than usual): blood is spilled, generic brand food products (a running joke throughout the movie) lie in ruins. One of the perps, a skinhead punk, performing a dramatic death scene, confides to his sometimes buddy (“You have weird friends, Otto.” “Thanks, I made them myself.”) about his life of ruin. “In the end, I blame society.” To which Otto (Emilio Estevez) replies, “That’s bullsh#$.” At least that’s how I remember it.
So, yes, Jared Loughner is to blame for the shootings, right? He pulled the trigger. Repeatedly. Save for an official conviction, that is pretty much beyond dispute.
But when you have an imbalanced, probably insane individual, who is to blame when “society” fails to stop a heinous act? Mom and dad? The sheriff? The schools? The Dream Police?