What happened Saturday morning in Tucson, AZ is exactly what I've feared in today's political spectrum. Granted, there is no implication that Jared Lee Loughner was motivated by anything in the media, but you wouldn't assume that from MSNBC and Fox News' coverage of the shooting. A Democratic congresswoman in a predomantly Republican state is wounded --almost declared dead, even-- and instead of joining together to mourn and reflect the partisan sniping is just as loud as its ever been.
In the wake of the shooting, Andrew Sullivan posted this blog entry. The implication of violence is blunt, though former Gov. Palin announced a day later that the crosshair metaphor weren't intended to provoke harm upon her political rivals. I may not agree with Palin's views, and she seemed as geniunely appalled by the shootings as anyone else, but I hope she uses less incediary language in the future. I'm sure Sully and Grizzly Mama would agree: acts of violence against elected political figures destroy democracy itself, regardless of affiliation.
As for my original point: naturally, partisan pundits and other assorted talking heads are saying the massacre was politically motivated. Simply put, what I declared in regard to the Holocaust Museum shooting two years ago still applies now: hatred has no political affiliation. The man (boy?) that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and cruelly gunned down six others was a deranged loner, an anti-Semetic wannabe demagogue intent on wiping out "the Jew problem." This is not conservatives picking off liberals or the left playing crybaby on the right; it was one man with one gun and a vague, wholly demented understanding of how the world really works.
On top of that, crazy begats more insanity; it was only a matter of time before the hate-mongerers at Westboro Baptist "Church" announced that they will picket the funeral of the shootings' youngest victim. Their relentlessness is confounding, as is the tasteless attitude of nearly every attention whore scrambling to get their five minutes' time on the cable news outlets. Jon Stewart put it best: I wish we could pin the blame on something tangential, but we can't, so we finger whoever and whatever we normally would oppose. That might be the biggest tragedy of all.
+ It didn't occur to me until after I posted my blog last week that 289 is 17 squared. For more on my "obsession" with the prime number, click here for a "memorable" blog from September 2008.
+ In early December, I was discussing literature with an IO classmate and she chided me for reading mostly magazines. It dawned on me that I hadn't read a novel cover-to-cover all year, and she was right to point out this hiccup. Over the summer, I had tried to read The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen, but I couldn't get into it and gave up by page 75. Shortly after that conversation, I stopped at my local library and checked out The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever, which I read at my temp job during breaks or whenever the phones died down. I finished the book by December 30th, and after a quick breather I'm now in the early stages of reading The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow.
+ We took advantage of a division that was weaker than the experts projected, our offensive line is still pretty shaky, we're playing a losing team that spanked our asses three months ago, and I'm still convinced that Lovie Smith isn't all that, but... GO BEARS!!!