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For No Good Reason at All

January 9, 2011

The report on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords having been shot at is horrific news. It was a great relief to hear that she has survived and the French Cowboy hopes the best for her recovery. Thoughts and prayers also to the other victims and their families. Especially heart-wrenching is the report that a nine-year-old girl is among the shooter’s victims who didn’t survive. RIP.

Unsurprisingly, such an attack on a politician sparks a whirl of speculation, accusation and the frantic search for the answer to the question “Why?”. The French Cowboy first heard about the shooting via radio. It was mentioned that Democratic Congresswoman Giffords took a strong stand against illegal immigration (which had been criticised by the Right and the Left), and that she had beaten a Tea Party candidate in the last election. Even in my mind the implication had its effect: It might have been a Tea Party activist who shot her.

As it turns out, the shooter’s political affiliation isn’t easily defined. What’s obvious, though, is that he is a seriously deranged individual. Well, who would’ve thought so. When an attack like this occurs, the problem is not the victim, the problem is the attacker. Looking for a logical line of cause-and-effect in this tragedy is pointless. When the conclusion is “…thus I will pack my gun and run amok” there is no (sane) logical line in the shooters mind that has lead there — much as this particular shooter seems to be into “logic”.

There is no political scenario in which everyone is safe from a lunatic’s aggression. By definition such an attack occurs for no good reason at all. We cannot foretell which circumstances will result in an attack of this sort and then avoid it, as it’s the unknown shooter himself who is the unforeseeable factor. And Loughner (who was identified as the shooter of Mme Giffords) certainly didn’t get his cue from Sarah Palin, as it has been suggested.

It’s a pathetic attempt to call for a gagging of political opponents in the name of safety to say that their rhetoric causes people to run amok who otherwise wouldn’t. And it’s appalling to misuse an event like this shooting spree to accuse a political opponent of instigating murder.

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