Forgive me if I and others suspect, at least in the immediate wake of it, that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' shooting is politically motivated.
I'm being flooded with Twitter and Facebook statuses suggesting that anyone who does so is a monster or is cackling gleefully. Or is otherwise exploiting it for political purposes.
Bullshit! This is a HUMAN issue. This week was rife with shootouts all over the country. That alone is tragic, regardless of cause.
But if you expect me to believe that a Democratic congresswoman, in Arizona, whose district was "targeted" on SarahPAC's website, would be shot in the head at a campaign event, in an age when the right-wing movement makes a point of bringing guns to town-hall meetings and openly talks of Democrats as if they are the Marxist enemies of America, and that it was just some random act of violence with no chance of political undertones, well, sorry. I can't do that. And to ignore that possibility is stupid and reckless. And could cause more tragedy down the line.
And no, I'm not going to blame all conservatives, all Republicans, all tea partiers, etc. I'm not going to suggest that everyone who doesn't support Democrats supports shooting them in the head. But I don't think it's at all irresponsible to suggest that there are enough extremists hopped up on hate out there to give us all pause. The media is not responsible, but irresponsible punditry doesn't help. You don't get to bark a constant pipeline of hate, fear and hyperbole and then suddenly call for civility when it comes back to bite you.
Interpret that if you will as a stab against all of the pseudo-revolutionary talk and smug, glib, take-America-back-before-America-takes-your-guns-and-daughters punditry from the far right. All I know is, we have yet to see a political figure shot by a Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow disciple. No atheists have exercised their Second Amendment rights on a fundamentalist preacher over doctrinal differences. If they did, they would also deserve every bit of this criticism. Until then, this particular faction of extremism deserves all the condemnation it has and will get.
Just like we shouldn't condemn all Muslims for the acts of a few, neither should we condemn all conservatives for this act. And I don't think anything beyond extra security for all politicians at events is going to help anything, and I certainly don't support a crackdown on political views. But again, there's a difference between overreacting and not reacting at all. And to suggest that we just brush the political possibility aside is asking for disaster in this day and age. Assuming that the shooting was in fact politically motivated, that makes it a double tragedy, for the victims and their families as well as the future of this country. I don't think it's at all out of line or disrespectful to bring up that notion. It's not too soon. If anything, it's too late.