Sunday, January 09, 2011

Even if Jared Loughner acted alone, he heard the rhetoric!

In the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, we must end the violent rhetoric that has exploded in American politics. Violent rhetoric has consequences. As stated by Sady Doyle:

It does not matter whether the man who shot Giffords was schizophrenic. There are a lot of schizophrenics who don’t shoot people!

What matters is this: That if you create a culture of violence, if you inflame anger (that’s fine to do, and often necessary!) and direct it toward specific targets (that’s fine to do, and often necessary!) and then point people in the direction of physical violence including gun violence as a solution, someone is going to take your word on that.

Someone is going to be vulnerable enough to your message to take you at your word and shoot someone, because they are:
  • Young
  • Stupid
  • Drunk
  • High
  • Just got dumped and full of rage that needs somewhere to go
  • Just got fired and full of rage that needs somewhere to go
  • Socially disempowered or disenfranchised, and (especially — in my experience — if they are white men, who are not taught to expect or deal with being socially disempowered) full of rage that needs somewhere to go
  • Poisoned by a toxic variety of masculinity that equates manhood with power and power with violence
  • Very unhappy and self-destructive
  • Isolated and unloved and willing to get attention by any means possible, even negative attention
  • Or just not thinking right, in some very rare cases due to mental illness, but with the above factors probably contributing, or else THEY ARE JUST NOT THINKING RIGHT
SOMEONE IS GOING TO HEAR THAT, AND IT IS GOING TO RESONATE IN THEIR MINDS THE WRONG WAY. I am all for anger; I am all for, even, pointing at someone and saying “here is a person to be angry at!” What I am not a fan of is going, “do you know what would help with your anger? Second amendment remedies. Guns, they will help with your anger.”

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