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AFTER THE ARIZONA SHOOTING, GRAPPLING WITH POLITICAL OPPORTUNISM AND THE MEDIA BLAMESTORM
I’ve now listened to three full days analysis of the tragedy in Arizona which left six people dead, 14 more injured including Rep. Gabriella Giffords who’s still fighting for her life. The 72-hour blamestorm seems almost as crazy as the events of Saturday, drowning out just about everything reasonable citizens should really be debating. But instead of looking at gun laws that allow an unstable student to buy an automatic weapon in 15 minutes or less, we’re talking about who besides the shooter has blood on their hands.
Paul Krugman, for one, wrote in the Sunday New York Times that the toxic rhetoric from the right is to blame. He specifically named Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly among those who stoke the anger. Krugman connects the dots from a 2009 Homeland Security report that warned of a rise in right wing extremism to a 300% rise in threats against members of Congress. He writes that many threats were made by those mentally disturbed, and then offers this premise: that something in America is whipping up a great number of them to act out their illness with violence.
Paul! The Nobel committee is calling. They want their prize back. Your argument doesn’t even factor in, uh, the impact of the economy on mental health. Read the rest of this entry »