Let's Blame the Crazy Man, Not Conservatives

Inflammatory rhetoric mostly harmless, says Jack Shafer
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2011 12:11 PM CST
This March 2010 photo shows a man identified as Jared L. Loughner at the 2010 Tucson Festival of Books in Tucson, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Mamta Popat)

(Newser) – The people blaming conservatives for the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords are "political vultures," practicing “the sick art of turning insanity into politics,” writes Victor Davis Hanson of the National Review. Jared Lee Loughner appears to be more “of an unhinged killer like Ted Kacyznski”; he was a fan of both the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf, fretted over "brain washing," and tried "lucid dreaming." It’s preposterous to believe his "unhinged rants about the 'government' indict" the Tea Party or anyone else.

Meanwhile, Jack Shafer of Slate derides the "awesome stupidity" of calling for politicians to watch their tongues. "Any call to cool 'inflammatory' speech is a call to police all speech," he reasons, "and I can’t think of anybody … I would trust with that power." Besides, we’ve always had inflammatory rhetoric, and "I'd wager that in the last 30 years there have been more acts of physical violence in the stands at Philadelphia Eagles home games than in American politics." For an opposing view, click here. (Read more Gabrielle Giffords shooting stories.)

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