Even as acrid gunsmoke hung in the winter Arizona air, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dopenik's bulldog countenance was thrust onto TV screens across America as he inveighed upon what he termed the "vitriolic climate" of America's political scene.
He cited Arizona as the mecca of America's acrimonious political warfare. He was, of course, referring largely to the recent passage of the anti-illegal alien law in Arizona. He was so absorbed in his self-appointed role of moral pontificator that he had no apparent interest in the role he was being paid to perform. He was out to lambast the passions of a segment of the Tucson community who oppose the invasion of Arizona lands by illegal aliens.
As if on cue the lights went on like a Christmas tree across media land. Chris Matthews excoriated talk show host Michael Savage as a raving commentator that begins his show in anger and ends it on the same tone. It would seem that Mr. Matthews is ultra-sensitive to vocalizations as when he experienced the "tingle" up his leg when Obama spoke in one of his campaign speeches. Other media attacks were focused on Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh as the hacks ramped up the very rhetoric they were decrying. One blogger even described Laura Ingraham as the "high priestess of hate." The common thread among these disparate commentaries was the blame being placed on the Tea Party movement, Sarah Palin and AM radio personalities for the Tucson shootings. The actuality of the event couldn't be further from the truth.
Subsequent developments reveal that the shooter was a troubled young
man. His classroom behavior had classmates on edge with his responses to
study material being entirely irrelevant, instead focused on
governmental mind control. It turned even more bizarre when he was
spurned by a young woman that he had previously had a relationship with.
His parents are seemingly being shielded by the authorities who have
divulged next to nothing about them or his home environment, which is
altogether rare. It has been reported by Fox News that his home is
nestled in a neighborhood of "crack houses." What few political
proclivities he had were apparently far afield from the values of the
Tea Party movement and its adherents, as evidenced by his
self-proclaimed list of favored books such as (for instance) "Mein
Kampf" and "Das Kapital." What may well have put Jared Loughner "over
the edge" was his use of the powerful hallucinogens Salvia, LSD and or
psilocybin. Taken singularly the bookmarks in his life were almost
certainly not the cause of his bloody rampage, but taken together they
could likely be seen as inevitable. This is where law enforcement and
mental health officials dropped the ball. The assassin is listed in
police reports as having issued a number of death threats to private and
public officials over a period of time.
As tragic and sorrowful as this carnage in Tucson was, I see an
insidious and shameful dimension to it. That is the "marketing" of this
potent mix of elements into what is, in effect, the kickoff to the 2012
Obama campaign for re-election.
From the boarding of Air Force One to the standing ovations to a
speaking president by a less-than-decorous audience, this gathering
displayed the earmarks of a damped-down campaign rally. Standing
ovations at a memorial service are out of place. Other than the
unsuccessful assassination attempt on a U.S. congresswoman,what made
this shooting an event to be memorialized by the White house?
At this point the infamous quote of Attorney General Eric Holder
should be recalled: "Don't let a good crisis go to waste!" Any viewer of
Channel 2 news (San Francisco) can see this horrible carnage, including
the shooting of children, repeated on a daily basis in the cities of
Oakland, San Francisco, Richmond and SanJose. Where are the White House
memorial services in these communities? Don't these fallen citizens
deserve at least a tip of the hat by a grandstanding president?
But was the unofficial campaigning over with the syrupy slurry
delivered by the silver tongued one at an artfully arranged memorial for
six out of scores of slain citizens across the American landscape?
Hardly. In ensuing weeks we have the masters of verbal political
acrimony engaging in a campaign of finger-pointing and tongue-wagging at
their Republican and Tea Party opponents calling for a return to
What return? Since when has politics been conducted civilly? The two
are about as compatible as boxing gloves on a barber. What Chucky
Shoomer and crowd are postulating amounts to exquisite table manners at a
Dale L. Bohling is a Crescent City resident.