A subdued, thoughtful Jon Stewart tried in vain last night to make some sense of the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that left six dead, and concluded there is no easy answer because "you cannot outsmart crazy." Still, he urged political rhetoric to become saner, if only to make it easier to spot the true crazies. Attempts by political rivals to blame one another is "predictable and dispiriting," he said. While Stewart finds the current political environment "toxic and unpredictable," he added: "We live in a complex ecosystem of motivations, and I wouldn't blame our political rhetoric any more than I would blame heavy metal music" for Columbine.
"Boy, would it be nice to draw a straight line of causation from this horror to something tangible because then we could convince ourselves that if we just stop this then the horrors will end," he said. But "you don't know what a troubled mind will get caught on." Nevertheless, he pleaded for more sanity in political debate "if for no other reason than to draw a better distinction between the manifestos of paranoid madmen and what passes for acceptable political and pundit speak." It would be "really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn't resemble how we talk to each other on TV" at the very least to "make troubled individuals easier to spot," he noted.