The Shooter

I didn’t expect to be defending Sarah Palin, but here goes.

It wasn’t long after Saturday’s shooting in Tucson, Ariz., before speculation started flying that the shooter was motivated by hatred of liberals, Democrats and the government in general, and possibly fed by the over-the-top and sometimes violent rhetoric we have heard all too often from conservative politicians, shock-jock radio hosts and some in the right-wing media.

We’ve now all probably seen the graphic that Palin posted during the mid-term campaign, showing a number of congressional districts across the country denoted with crosshairs. Even though her ad targets districts and not people, the imagery is repugnant, as was her call to “not retreat, but reload.” But the ad and the comments were part of a political effort to win seats in the election. “Targeting” a district in an election is a lot different from calling for someone to shoot that district’s representative.

Anyway, based on what we know, I’m guessing the shooter never even saw that poster, and wouldn’t take marching orders from Palin or the Limbaugh gang anyway.

Here’s the YouTube page of the alleged shooter: (click!) It doesn’t take long to realize that the creator of these “videos” is a seriously deranged, paranoid individual. It’s going to take a team of psychoanalysts years to sort out the tangled motivations that led him to do what he did.

My guess, based on what I’ve seen so far, is that he wouldn’t have been fired up by comments from the extreme right, or by Sarah Palin, any more than he could have been soothed by reassurances from Rep. Giffords or from anyone in the government. He seems like someone who checked out from reality some time ago, and his motivations — while there may have been some element of politics, somewhere in there — aren’t something that the rest of us are going to understand.

I actually heard CNN “experts” Saturday afternoon speculating on whether he was mentally ill. Seems to me that he pretty much defines mentally ill.

I’d love to blame the tragedy on Limbaugh or on Sarah Palin, or on the endless violence on our television, movies and videogames. But I think this blogger had it just about exactly right.

My question is, how does this guy purchase a semi-automatic pistol? I’m not the only one asking.

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