Good News from the Giffords Shooting!

Jared Lee Loughner, Lone Nut

Hooray for us! We’re not to blame!

That’s right: We’re all off the hook for Saturday’s mass murders of six people, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl born on 9/11, and the woundings of 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

This must be a huge load off the minds of the media and the public that is now absolved of any need for soul-searching. At least that’s what the public has concluded. Two polls out today show that majorities don’t think there’s a connection between eliminationist political rhetoric emanating largely from the right and the Arizona crimes.

Public opinion is buying into the lone-nut theory now gaining currency in media coverage. Who wouldn’t think so, based solely on the Hannibal Lecter-ish mugshot of accused assassin Jared Lee Loughner? (Even the fashion and the lighting is positively Lee Harvey Oswald. Note how the shadowing gives Loughner the same black eye that Oswald got from the Dallas police.)

Lee Harvey Oswald, Another Lone Nut

We also have the benefit of the conclusions of seemingly half the people in Arizona — all duly quoted in the reportage of the past several days — that Loughner was and is seriously off his rocker. (Isn’t it amazing how the discussion of the guy’s erratic behavior reaches critical mass only after he goes Glock?)

The upshot is that the radio flamethrowers are back in business as usual. (Rush Limbaugh insisted today that Loughner is in league with Democrats.) And we’re all heading back to our work and families.

Show’s over folks: Time to move on.

Meanwhile, 9,000 more people will die in gun violence in the United States throughout the rest of 2011. (Click here for a chart that shows the comparative gun-death rates in dozens of countries. Pay special attention to the countries that have higher gun-murder rates than does the United States — not the kind of comparison group to which I’d like to belong.)

We can all rest easy tonight, secure in the knowledge that we need do nothing in a nation that lets Jared Loughner and 34 percent of all Americans own firearms with few or, in many cases, no restrictions.

Well, maybe there is one thing we can do: Pray that one of those thousands of lone nuts with guns in the United States never crosses our path.

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