On Jan. 8, 19 people were shot and six were fatally wounded when a young man opened fire at an event for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The acts of the shooter, Jared Loughner, are unspeakable.
Almost as sickening was the pathetic attempts of individuals to use this event for political gain—both those on the left and on the right.
The event the disaster took place at was a session of “Congress on Your Corner,” which is designed so that members of the community can go and express their concerns to their state representative. It is events like these that make this country great, and men like Loughner that try to tarnish it.
The following days should have been ones that brought the country together. While this did occur for the most part, there were still individuals who took the opportunity to jump to conclusions and make assumptions for political gain.
Paul Krugman, the left-leaning writer for The New York Times was quick to post a scathing entry on his blog for the newspaper’s website.
“She’s been the target of violence before,” Krugman wrote. “And those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist.”
Krugman’s blog post was published a few short hours after the shooting, while the details were still murky and the scene in Tucson was bleak. Krugman may have realized he spoke too soon. A few hours later he disabled the “comments” feature for this post and said, “the crazies are coming out in force.” The public was calling him out on his poorly-thought-out predictions.
The Hollywood crowd was also quick to make their opinions known and turn the shootings political.
Stirring the pot since Vietnam, Jane Fonda did not hesitate to fire off an angry and pathetic tweet.
“@SarahPalinUSA holds responsibility,” Fonda said. “As does the violence-provoking rhetoric of the Tea Party.”
While I am not a “tea-partier” or a faithful follower of Sarah Palin, it has become quite apparent that Loughner was in no way affiliated with the Tea Party, or Sarah Palin for that matter.
Those on the right did not respond appropriately either.
In a startling message from Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, he said followers should be focused on blaming Loughner, the “liberal lunatic,” as well as Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the “leftist sheriff.” He also went on to talk about the Oklahoma City bombing and how the government was quick to blame the incident on Conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh, helping to solidify Clinton’s relection to a second term.
Both sides are at fault.
In his speech, and in my opinion the best one of his career, President Obama hit the nail on the head.
“But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another,” he said.
This is true and I hope people were listening because the next time a tragedy like this occurs, I can only hope that the aftermath is one of unity, not polarization.