Monday, January 10, 2011

A National Tragedy and the Blame Game

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know about the tragedy that befell our Country this weekend. A deranged person (I won't add to his Google rankings by using his name) attempted to assassinate U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. As a result she is critically wounded, 6 others are dead, and fourteen other innocent people wounded; all their lives changed forever. While many of us focused on prayers for the victims, a certain portion of our society instead focused on using the crisis for their own political gain. And so began the blame game.

This is not unexpected when we live among people who can't accept responsibility for their own actions. Your kids are overweight because you can't say "No" when they want a Happy Meal? Ban toys in kid's meals. Careless with your hot coffee? Sue the person who made the coffee. Is it too tough for you to decide if a butter knife in a child's lunch box was an accident or intentional? Create "zero-tolerance" policies.

When someone shouts "Allahu Akbar!" and starts shooting people, we are urged not to jump to conclusions about his intent. However, this weekend the assumptions began almost immediately. Before Congresswoman Giffords was even out of surgery, a liberal Senator was claiming that she "heard" that the shooter was a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. Other politicians blame tea party rhetoric. We now know that the shooter has been in essence stalking Mrs. Giffords for many years, well before tea parties came on to the scene. The blamers claimed that the shooter must be a "right-winger" out for revenge. It later emerged that his internet postings highlighted flag burning and praise for The Communist Manifesto. We also learn he was rejected by the Army for drug use. Hardly the makings of a right-wing extremist. But why face facts when there is blame to be placed? As we learn more and more about the shooter's life, all those early blamers are starting to look pretty silly.

Much of the "blame others" mindset has been focused on political campaigns that used the word "target" in their campaigns. Amazingly there are some that claim we should never use such imagery because "not everyone is sane" and some people might take it the wrong way. Can anyone claim they've never been in a strategic planning session that the word "target" wasn't used? Putting a "bulls eye" symbol on planning charts to indicate focus is common. I know people that become unhinged at the sight of a clown. I've witnessed hysterical breakdowns by adults at the sight of a store Santa Claus. We've already seen the results of political correctness gone awry and the affect it's had on schools. Have we become so feeble of a society that we must start banning any words that someone *might* react to?

As expected, there are the immediate cries for stricter gun laws. After all, this irrational person used a gun to commit his act of terror and, again, it is easier to blame an object rather than the person. However, he could have just as easily driven his car into the crowd. Remember that somewhere around 80 million gun owners in the United States DID NOT go on a murderous rampage this weekend. I'm pretty sure killing an innocent person is illegal everywhere in the U.S. yet those laws didn't stop this crackpot from committing his crime. Some people have convinced themselves that if guns are illegal, the criminally leaning will decide to obey that law and not commit their evil deeds. Why do some people think that making people defenseless against the predators of the world actually reduces crime? There's a reason most mass shootings occur in "gun free" zones, like schools, where guns are banned.

What does all this blame and misdirection have in common? It all boils down to a refusal to take responsibility for our own actions. If you can't take responsibility for your own actions, you can't expect other people to do so for theirs. It goes without saying that the shooter in this incident is loony tunes. Yet a certain segment of our society chooses instead to blame others, or looks for inanimate objects on which to place blame for the tragedy. These people won't miss a chance to exploit the dead to advance their own agenda.

Despite all the horror interjected into our lives by this event, there are things we can point to that should bring us some hope. Reports are now coming out about citizens who stepped up and took action. In fact, one of the people involved was a law-abiding citizen who carried a concealed weapon, a point that most news agencies are choosing to ignore. This action is in stark contrast to other recent events where victims simply sat and waited to be shot.

A lesson from all of this? In a population as large as the United States there are going to be mentally unstable people. There are also going to be lightening strikes and meteorite hits. There are going to be sick people that drive their cars into shopping malls, and unstable people that go into schools and start shooting or setting off bombs. There are going to be terrorists attacking us everywhere. How should we live as a result? Should we do exactly what these evil people want and give away our rights and freedoms? No. We should live our lives prepared to face evil head on. We must be prepared spiritually; are you ready to face your Maker? We must be prepared physically and mentally; are you prepared to protect your loved ones and yourself. There is no reason to go about life unaware of your surroundings and unprepared to face danger.

As with the act of war we saw on September 11, 2001, this shooting was an attack on our form of government. It is an attack that will change us forever. However, restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, or curtailing the freedom of speech in political discourse isn't a solution. Such restrictions don't stop lunatics from committing their atrocities. As history has shown, such actions do lead to repressive governments, run by evil men, where millions of innocent people die. Is that what the blamers want?


  1. David,
    Thanks for this well thought out point. I have to agree 100% with your thoughts here.

  2. David -

    Sorry you felt the need to drag your politics onto a beer blog.

    Sorry, too, that you sound like you're on the wrong side of the issue.

    The really great thing about this country, though, is that you get to do those things with the only repercussion being one reader deleting a bookmark.

    Good day, sir.

  3. My comment was for David not the turd who thinks Beer and Politics don't mix. Where does he drink his beer? We always talk politics over a pint.

    Besides, last I checked it's David's Blog.


  4. David:

    It's good that you speak your mind, and those who don't care to hear an opposing view such as pdxvoice can move on to other bookmarks which may give this person what they wish to read. It's unfortunate this person lacks tolerance. I share Anthony's point, politics over a pint go hand in hand.

  5. Appreciate all the support. I even read some liberal blogs so I keep up with those ideas as well. But let's debate without calling names.


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