"I think it is clear that we Jews owe Sarah Palin an apology. For centuries, we have had the temerity to compare our suffering to Hers." --An Andrew Sullivan reader, today.
It's true Loughner is probably just an incoherent madman who, like Arthur Bremer, would have found another prominent politician to fixate upon if it hadn't been Giffords. But the current his madness followed was still the product of a toxic atmosphere stoked, in the main, by the right wing.
A lot of the reaction on that side has been tellingly defensive, most prominently Sarah Palin, who today, as a memorial service was conducted, proved that in her mind, it's always about her in a video message in which, among other things, she appropriated the term "blood libel" in regards to the statements of many that she is one of the most egregious stokers of the gun politics meme. The term refers to accusations of child murder against Jews in the Middle Ages, and her blithe use of the term demonstrates her tone-deafness, her martyr complex, her ignorance, her narcissism, and/or her insensitivity. I'll leave it to you to mix and match which of those you deem most important. Fortunately, her solipsism throughout this matter has accomplished one thing: making it even less thinkable that she could be president.
But in regards to the defensive posture of the right in general--they are quick to dismiss him as a lone nut, leaving aside that they have actively recruited such people as foot soldiers in the Tea Party. He may well be insane. But Dalia Lithwick at Slate points out they cannot have it both ways. Because they also claim he is somehow colluding with the Obama administration so that he'll get off with the insanity defense, having accomplished his supposed goal of tarring those who like to mix guns with politics as crazy.
And by the way, proposing a conspiracy theory that specious is a great way of differentiating yourself from a psycho, is it not?
The insanity defense is a canard of the right to point out the irrational lenience, in their minds, of the US justice system. This, of course, leaves out the fact that the standard of proof is very high, and for this reason it is rarely proposed by competent lawyers, because it is rarely accepted. And that even if Jared(he even has the name of a little douchebag) Loughner gets to go to a crazy house instead of the big house, in Arizona that means he stays in an asylum till it's determined that he's legally sane. And then he serves out his sentence in an actual prison.
But the right insists that he's crazy, that his actions have no coherence or sense(or if they do, he's a leftist, a charge I cannot even fathom), that it's nothing to do with politics, certainly not theirs. Well, then, are they arguing that he should be found legally insane? Both things cannot be judicially true.
Update: a worse twist to Palin's use of the term "blood libel": Gabrielle Giffords(who opened her eyes this evening) is Jewish.
Her crime in this case was not so much theft of a historical term but receipt of stolen property. I'm sure before her speechwriter read Glenn Reynolds and swiped it from him, the Quitter never even heard the phrase before.
"Eternity with Beelzebub, and all his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me and this pencil." - E. Blackadder, 1791 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson SUPPORT MY SINFUL WORK AT PATREON!