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Chorus of Hollywood Tweets Blame Palin & Tea Party for Arizona Shooting

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Posted on January 10 2011 9:00 am
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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Life occasionally provides us with incidents of such stark circumstance that our reaction can define our character. This weekend’s tragedy in Arizona is one such incident. Aside from the universal horror which we all share in response to the shooting, two categories of reaction have emerged. The first and least prominent has been to wait for the facts to come in and examine them objectively in an attempt to accurately understand what has happened and why. The more common reaction has been to assign blame, first without evidence, and then in direct contradiction of the evidence which has emerged.

In the hours immediately following the shooting, when details were scarce, Tucson radio talker Jon Justice candidly expressed the latter mindset, telling a Minneapolis radio audience that he was certain the shooting was politically motivated.

This is one of those situations where you don’t want to speculate. But, given this past election and everything going on– I have no details as far as motive. But then again, in the back of my mind, I also have very little question as far as motive.

Clairvoyance must be a heavy burden. Regardless, claims to know the unknowable take a backseat to claims in direct contradiction of plain evidence. There is now little doubt that suspect Jared Loughner suffers from some form of mental illness, leaving him wholly incapable of maintaining or acting upon a coherent political ideology.

Even so, a chorus of Hollywood tweets (collected over at BigHollywood) have joined the cacophony of blame directed at Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

Jane Fonda:

@SarahPalinUSA holds responsibility. As does the violence-provoking rhetoric of the Tea Party

Michael Moore:

When Palin put crosshairs on a map w/ Rep. Giffords & 19 other Dem congressmen/women, she urged followers to “reload” & “aim” for Democrats.

Patton Oswald:

“Get on target for victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Take back the 20. Reload.”

Elizabeth Banks:

Unfollow. RT @SarahPalinUSA Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Pls see my Facebook page.

Roger Ebert:

Sarah Palin’s actual gunsight map: http://huff.to/fbp4ge

John Legend:

I hope politicians will stop using gun imagery to incite their followers. Interesting post: http://gaw.kr/ffa3Zj

Of the lot, singer Josh Groban provides perhaps the most restrained criticism.

My issue is with the militaristic tone of the rhetoric in conjunction with these acts. Not connected directly but part of a larger problem.

The “larger problem,” as FrontPage Magazine’s Rich Trzupek points out, is the effectiveness of such rhetoric in mobilizing political support, not its tendency to inform killing sprees. Trzupek cites several examples of similar rhetoric employed by the Left. Indeed, the very term “campaign” has a military origin. To remove the “militaristic tone” from political contests would be to deny their nature.

To blame political rhetoric for the actions of a plainly sick individual is woefully nonsensical. You could just as well blame political rhetoric for the mischief of a five-year-old. Mental competence and intellectual fortitude are prerequisites to informing actions with political philosophy. Of course, when you’re dealing with people who can’t wait to determine who the suspect is before asserting with blind certainty what motivated him, raising such points becomes an exercise in futility.

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