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Jon Stewart Elegantly Comments On The Arizona Shootings

January 11, 2011

I’ve been trying to figure out how to handle the Arizona shooting situation.  I typically don’t like to comment on politics, but this is a huge tragedy that will permeate the media for months to come.  Being a mother of an eight-year old, my stomach literally wrenches every time I think about the nine-year old girl (Christina Green) who was senselessly killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  (Adding salt to the wound is the notorious Westboro  Baptist Church, the scourge of Kansas, which has declared that they will picket the poor girls funeral.)

I am particularly sickened by the immediate finger pointing that has taken place on both sides of the political spectrum.  One person, and one person alone is responsible for the slaughter that occurred in Arizona.  That person is Jared Lee Loughner.  He is obviously greatly disturbed, but to blame Sarah Palin or any other politician for his actions is absurd.  Those who pin the blame on her are giving her far too much power.

It’s similar to the people (conspiracy theorists) who maintained that George W. Bush is the biggest dumbass to have ever graced the earth, yet was capable of pulling off the collapse of the twin towers just so he could go to war for oil.  You can’t have it both ways. By the way, last time I checked gas was almost $3 a gallon.  Clearly his master plan went swimmingly.

I think that movies and television are a far more rational target, though I don’t condone making them a target.  Violence has escalated in both mediums, and the average American watches 28 hours of television a week.    It is estimated that the average child will watch 8,000 murders on television by the time they get out of elementary school. That is not to say that television (or movies) breed sociopaths.  I have watched every horror/slasher/torture porn movie that I can get my hands on, and I have trouble killing a spider when my kids scream about one in their room.

I’ve also heard rumblings that if we had better healthcare, this wouldn’t have happened. That’s ridiculous.  If Loughner is truly a paranoid schizophrenic (which seems to be the case), the most comprehensive healthcare in the world might not have made a difference.  Schizophrenics are notoriously difficult to treat, because they don’t believe that they are ill.  They go on meds, feel better, go off meds because they feel better, and the cycle begins again.  Short of committing them to an institution, there is not a lot that can be done, unless the individual in question agrees to treatment.

Let’s place the blame squarely where it belongs, on Loughner.  I really like what Stewart has to say about the tragedy, because it is rational, and closely aligned with my own feelings.

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17 Responses to “ Jon Stewart Elegantly Comments On The Arizona Shootings ”

  1. [...] Jon Stewart Elegantly Comments On The Arizona Shootings. [...]

  2. Judy Dambro on January 11, 2011 at 10:42 am

    I was disappointed to see how so many journalists minimized the accountability for certain politicians encouraging hate. Clearly, Sara Palin has blood on her hands from this recent tragedy in Arizona. Am I the only one who vividly remembers Sara’s Palin’s message … “Don’t retreat – reload”. That was the day I chose to no longer be a Republican.
    No doubt the monster who committed this crime is ultimately responsible, but it’s messages like Sara Palin’s that ignites people like this. It is a sad time in America.

  3. thomas on January 11, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Say what you will, it wasn’t the Left that issued fatwas for the assassination of their political opponents, as the Tea Party did with their calls for “2nd amendment remedies” to remove Democrats from Congress.

    Incitement to violence is a standard practice in Right Wing politics, then when they achieve their desired results they stand back and DARE anybody to prove their incitement caused it. They are the very definition of evil — every bit as evil as the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    Quit pretending the two sides are equal. They are NOT!

  4. Shannon Hood on January 11, 2011 at 11:01 am

    @Thomas I am not saying the sides are equal, but it is ridiculous to draw the conclusion that political speech motivated him. He is ill. John Hinckley, Jr tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan to impress Jodie Foster, it wasn’t politically motivated at all. Could be the same type of thing here. No one knows what is going on in his head.

    I can’t stand Sarah Palin, I think she is a joke, and she is the reason McCain lost my vote, but I don’t think she should be blamed for the actions of a troubled individual. If he comes out and says it is directly because of her influence, that is another matter entirely. You clearly are incapable of thinking rationally, with all due respect.

  5. Johnnny Mac on January 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I have two points I want to make.

    First, blaming any group for the action of any individual is wrong, simple as that. You can not fault all (or even generalize “most”) of any group for the actions of someone because quite simply, the actions were done by the individual and not the group. We can’t blame all Muslims for 9/11, all Germans for what the Nazis did, all Catholic priests for what some did, etc… Don’t lump people into groups, it just isn’t right or accurate and it leads to ignorance, intolerance and prejudice.

    Secondly, like the poster said, most of us have watched our share of scary movies, listened to aggressive music, etc… but whether we act out on it is ultimately up to us as individuals. Free speech is going to let a lot of junk out there, it is up to us what we do with it. We don’t need to abolish free speech or make things even more politically correct because of one horrible incident. It is impossible to stop bad things from ever happening, and these types of things happened long before the internet and the Tea Party and Fox News. People should not encourage violence, but I don’t think anyone did that.

    It is a sad time, but let’s not turn on each other over it. Our anger should be aimed at one person, the shooter.

  6. Amber on January 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    @Judy Damboro–are you saying that Sarah Palin’s ‘Don’t Retreat…Reload’ comment was actually subtext for ‘Go and shoot a Congresswoman?’ Seriously Judy? She’s advocating for 2nd amendment rights in regards to sport shooting and animal hunting. I believe it’s a bit presumptuous of you to shove such twisted words in her mouth.

  7. Shannon Hood on January 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    @Johnny Mac Well said. Thank you for the comment.

  8. TruthSayer on January 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I might point out that there is indeed a close Parallel between the
    Rhetoric of the Right and what happened Saturday. This Madman whether he
    was acting ‘because’ of the Rhetoric or not, did indeed follow almost to the
    letter some of the Calls GOP Candidates made during the last election Cycle.
    Namely ‘Exercise 2nd Amendment Remedies’ AND ‘Do not Retreat… Reload’
    In going to that Event and using a Gun in Violence against them.. He was
    ‘exercising his 2nd Amendment Remedy’, and when the clip was empty he did not ‘retreat’ instead he attempted to ‘reload’. Whether or not his actions were directly inspired by the Right will never be known (and his actions most likely were not inspired by the Right)…. But one certainly has to acknowledge that the ‘type of action’ that occurred Saturday is Exactly in
    line with the Rhetoric we have been hearing, that actions like this are an
    example of ’2nd Amendment Remedies’ and ‘not Retreating but reloading’
    It is just and fair to scrutinize such Rhetoric, ESPECIALLY in light of the
    fact that we have now seen first hand the result of such ‘Ideas’. Whether this particular action was inspired by the Rhetoric is largely Irrelevant,
    It certainly IS an example of such Rhetoric in action, it certainly IS a example of what following such Rhetoric might entail.

  9. Roger Deem on January 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Those who are using this tragedy as a political club to attack Sarah Palin or anyone else on the right need to seriously consider their actions. The hate these people are spewing comes from the anger amd misery that permeates their lives, that so twists their cerebral processes that anything evil must by its very nature be a product of those we oppose. I am not particularly a fan of Mr. Stewart but I applaud his words and his sentiments in the preceding piece. You who are in attack mode above either totally did not listen to his words or are so filled with apoplexy that the calm, reasoned thoughts he offered will never reach you.

  10. Follow Us on January 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm

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  11. ShemPenny on January 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I agree with your position, but it should be noted that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made comments about the negative message by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party in her very own words… it’s not just coming from people in the wake of the tragedy. It’s sad to think that Rep. Giffords might have been feeling genuinely threatened by Sarah Palin & Co. for some time now. I can’t imagine being on a list with a gunshot target (crosshairs) and not feeling even a little bit threatened by that. I’m just saying!

    VIDEO of Rep. Giffords (D-AZ)

    Sarah Palin PAC Target List

    For the record, speaking specifically of Rep. Giffords, she was known by people close to her as an amazing candidate to be the 1st female president. I realize there are 435 House of Representatives, so it’s difficult to know all of them, much less the Reps. who represent your state, but it makes her situation that much more heart-wrenching for me. She worked really hard for what she achieved in life and it’s sad to think about how her life changed on January 8th.

  12. Francene on January 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Yeah, what Jon Stewart said…. EXCEPT this guy didn’t randomly shoot people at the supermarket. He targeted an elected official, a politician, at a gathering of her constituents. A DEMOCRATIC politician who HAD BEEN THE SUBJECT OF a great deal of VIOLENT RHETORIC. There is no need to overlook the obvious while dissecting this tragic event.

    Crazy plus guns plus lots of ammunition creates a horrific event. But there is more to this and to choose to go into denial about the FACTS would be, and is, counterproductive at best.

    Why is it that we’re all interdependent, all of a piece, all in this together, even all ONE, until some unhinged person goes off the deep end–and, quite suddenly, he is ON HIS OWN, singularly responsible? Of course, he is responsible. But for us to try to shirk our own responsibility so lightly is foolish and short-sighted. And not even close to being true.

  13. Shannon Hood on January 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    @ShemPenny Thank you for your insight and comment. I hope to learn more about Giffords, and I appreciate your links.

  14. Shannon Hood on January 11, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    @Francene But he did not just attack the elected official. He indiscriminately shot at innocent civilians. If his true motive had been to take out Giffords, why did he shoot so many other people? Most assassinations that are political in nature have targeting the politician, and a bodyguard or other person right next to the politician might be harmed or killed in the process. This guy seemed intent on killing as many people as possible.

  15. Mary hicks on January 12, 2011 at 12:38 am

    So if it is true as you said Laughner alone was responsible for this tragedy, then does that mean you think inciting speak from the Right is alright?

    Is it incidental that almost all the political leaders killed in America are of the liberal and left? JF Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Dr. Tiller and other abortion clinic doctors, Harvey Milk… In fact, internationally, those killed were usually the ones who tried to bring peace and freedom to their people — starting with Mahatma Gandhi….

  16. Shannon Hood on January 12, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Jesus Mary, get over yourself. Of course I am not advocating hate speech from either side, and you know I am not. You can weed out quite a few of your examples as being committed by crazy people, pure and simple. Several of your examples have been the target of religious extremists. Religion is far more evil than the right, although the two are frequently lumped together. Without religious extremism, you can remove abortion doctors from the fray. Incidentally, I fully support doctors who perform abortions. JFK was likely crime mob related.

    Martin Luther King’s assassin was a white supremacist. If you try to equate the right and white supremacy, you are pathetic individual. I am tired of the comparison. Sweeping generalizations help no one. I am very weary of the sweeping generalizations about both sides.

  17. Chris Hyman on January 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    In my opinion, Jon’s best point addresses both sides, – re-iterating what he tried to do with his Rally to Restore Sanity:

    “I do think it’s important for us to watch our rhetoric. I do think it’s a worthwhile goal, not to conflate our political opponents with enemies, if for no other reason than to draw a better distinction between the manifestos of paranoid mad men, and what passes for acceptable political and pundit speak. You know, it would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn’t in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on T.V.
    Let’s at least make troubled individuals easier to spot.”

    But, consider – while this certainly applies to both sides, in my experience the metaphors, analogies, and similes using weaponry and/or war are more common among those supporting expanded gun ownership, those with a willingness go to war without adequate consideration or planning, and/or those who simply don’t care to reasonably debate an issue.