Dé Domhnaigh, Eanáir 09, 2011

The Shooting

"If you're able to create one new currency then you're able to create a second new currency. If you're able to create second new currency then you're able to create third new currency. You create one currency. Thus, you're able to create third new currency."

"If I teach a mentally capable 8-year old for twenty consecutive minutes to replace an alphabet letter with a new letter and pronunciation then the mentally capable 8-year old writes and pronounces the new letter and pronunciation that's replacing an alphabet letter in 20 consecutive minutes."
-Jared Lee Loughner

Let's be clear, if the above statements strike you as obviously leftist or rightist in character, and serves as proof of how wicked and dangerous those people are; well you're wrong I suppose, and more to the point why the hell are you thinking in such terms when a nine year old girl is dead?

There is to be sure some elements of Loughners thoughts that vaguely echo the borderline mainstream of political discourse; dumb ideas held by otherwise sane people; and these elements could be construed as sort of libertarianish. Apparently everyone has the right to their own currency, and your can even have two or three just for yourself, but only if it's backed by gold or silver. 'Federalist laws', (we may be assured that however he defines 'federalist' is total dada.) are treasonous somehow, and a universal standard form of written English is apparently, really bad, or maybe really good, or neither.

It also should be obvious that the mad are just as human and therefore social as the rest of us. And they are bound to be influenced by their social environments in ways that are both different from and perfectly similar to how sane people are influenced. It's no coincidence that Lincoln's own Chrisma Woman, cursed by schizophrenia to think that strangers are always out to get her, obsesses over Muslims and Chinese, two of the most popular targets for better hinged xenophobes.

And finally it is likely that Loughner was driven to kill by the same basic motives that lead perfectly sane people into believing stupid things and committing atrocities in the name of their beliefs; the desire for a fantastic, 'strong' morality of cosmic struggle and triumph over an earthly morality of vulnerable compassion and humility.

This is the mindset of the fanatic; left, right, or miscellaneous. And though the American right has been far more guilty than the left of this sort of fantastic zealotry, drawing in those who feel insecure about their masculinity or loss of social predominance with the claim that politics, along with every question in every other moral and philosophical realm, is a war; and that goodness is not instilled by living and practicing goodness but by fighting for and defending it, imposing it upon the wicked through force. It may be that the 'heated rhetoric' that naturally comes with such a mindset may have influenced Loughner's actions in some way, but it is dishonest to state this as fact. And posters on lefty blogs who angrily insist that the Tea Party or Sarah Palin indisputably have blood on their hands are only infected with a different strain of the same true believer status as they are.

We'll find out more about this Loughner, or not, whether he acted alone or with someone else, or not, whether he was involved with any movement that has a recognizable place on the right/left spectrum, or not. None of this means a thing compared to the six people who are dead and the congresswoman who may or may not join them. Get over yourselves.

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