Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tucson Shooting and Objectivity

As an advocate of objective thinking I have been dismayed by how quickly the shootings in Tucson were politicized. In this case the Leftist blog world started buzzing before anyone even knew whether Jared Lee Loughner had any ties with any political organization. Certain news media reporters and others fired up their best preaching tones to lecture us on the ill effects of the current political debate and to point accusatory fingers at the usual Right Wing targets (if I may use the term) such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. I won’t say the Left has a monopoly on such demagoguery. I’m sure if a suitable opportunity came along for the Right and if they had as much influence in the media as the Left I’m sure they would roll out their combines to make political hay.

In addition to the six poor souls who were wiped out by the gunman’s bullets there is another unnoticed victim in the ensuing barrage of verbal volleys that ensued: objectivity. As one commentator has pointed out the number of Americans who identify themselves as Republic or Democrat has dropped steadily while the number of folks who call themselves Independent swells. I think (but can’t prove) that many people have left the traditional parties because of these “knee jerk” reactions.

My point is that ideologies of all makes and brands treat their cherished ideas as ends in themselves with individuals (dead or alive) playing the role of pawns on their chessboard of power.

Naturally this tragedy has re-ignited the perennial debate on gun control which underscores the either-or thinking of ideologies. The Right argues for the right to bear arms even if it means we can buy weapons that are suited for armed warfare. The Right fears that making any exception to this right means we’ll eventually be completely disarmed. I do believe people have a right to bear arms for self-defense but do we need automatic weapons with extended clips for self-defense? Against what? The Iranian army? (Reminds me of a scene in the first Terminator where he enters a gun shop and orders a number of high powered automatic weapons. The store owner says they’re good choices for self-defense.) The Left, however, continues to capitalize on incidents like the Tucson shootings to nudge us along the path to having no privately owned handguns.

I can understand the Right’s resistance to this creeping disarmament while also understanding a part of the Left’s argument against allowing military style weapons in the hands of private citizens. To me this is what thinking objectively entails. I also know that some on the Left won’t be happy until all private guns are banned. I know their strategy doesn’t try to take guns away in one fell swoop but in a piecemeal fashion. The alternative is not to blindly argue for unlimited gun rights. Tragedies like Tucson undercuts the Right’s opposition to reasonable gun controls.

Here are some posts worth checking out.

Megan McCardle


Nick Gillespie at Reason

Jack Shafer at Slate.

Michelle Malkin's "primer" shows that the Left's charges about the Right's language of hate and violence amounts to the pot calling the kettle black. The progressive “climate of hate:” An illustrated primer, 2000-2010

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