I just had a friend in Washington DC claim that the left is just as responsible for this as the right. That the teabaggers talk a good game, but are really harmless.
I am not going to insult you guys here and get into that. But there is already chatter on social media sites that this shooter was mentally ill, and therefore Sarah Palin and her ilk can hardly be held responsible for this.
In fact, I've seen that said here this afternoon. I feel a rant coming on. Come over the fold and let me tell you about my crazy uncle and Sarah Palin.
"Don't jump to conclusions" a fellow Kossack said here today responding to a tip jar on the breaking news diary of today's tragedy in Tuscon.
After all, this could be a guy who escaped from a mental institution. Some whacko who just got up, broke out of a mental institution with a gun and started blowing people away.
Okay? Ignore all of the Palin dog whistles with targets and maps and rhetoric. Ignore the fundraisers designed to take out the competition with an M16. Ignore the previous threats and vandalism of political offices.
Instead, think of the mentally ill person with a gun, in the mental institution who breaks out. He runs towards any random political rally, with sirens blaring, manhunts ensuing, complete with bloodhounds and tunnels. But be sure you don't jump to any conclusions.
The mentally ill just shoot people for no reason every day, right? They break out of "hospitals" and just shoot people. Mentally ill people do that. Yea, sure they do. But I have a question, where exactly are those hospitals where the mentally ill are locked up? Seriously, where are they?
I have someone in my family with schizophrenia. Paranoid Schizophrenia. You know, the voices. Let's call him my Crazy Uncle. If you can point me to one of those hospitals where I can lock Crazy Uncle up and forget about him, boy I'd sure appreciate it. It would be a great relief to know he is safe, and out of our hair. He's been driving our family to exhaustion for years.
For my Crazy Uncle, the voices, though, usually come from somewhere. When another family member had wisdom teeth removed, Crazy Uncle called all the area dentists, feeling like the patient was bleeding to death from the pits left behind by the teeth. Totally embarrassing for us to get our teeth cleaned around town after that.
When another one of us flew in an airplane, Crazy Uncle tried to follow planes in his car to be close to the family member who was leaving. It was based in panic. Crazy Uncle was feeling like the flying person would never be seen again. The police officer who pulled him over didn't think it was very funny when Crazy Uncle told him he was chasing airplanes with his car.
Our Crazy Uncle was always difficult to care for. He was independent enough to live on his own, yet he required numerous stays in the psychiatric ward of the local hospital, where by the way, he never even tried to "break out of" because he could simply sign himself out. Getting him in the hospital was way tougher. He had to be a danger to himself or others.
Calling the town dentists is weird, but isn't dangerous. His crazy driving with the airplanes, however, was grounds enough for us to get him a two-week stay in the local psych ward. It was supposed to be a longer stay, but he got his meds stabilized in the hospital, and then signed himself out early.
He teetered between home and homelessness his whole adult life, because you see, you really can't find a hospital that locks up mentally ill people anymore. They usually find a home under a bridge somewhere and wander among us, dirty and muttering. Exhausted families feel guilty, but really, have no other way to continue to care for someone like this.
Back to my point.
If we look into the alleged shooter's rants and mutterings, he may seem to us to be mentally ill. He probably is.
But I am wondering how mental illness excuses the responsibility of Sarah Palin and her ilk for this. How does it excuse the "Second Amendment Remedy" crowd and Glenn Beck from full responsibility for this?
Aren't they actually talking right to my Crazy Uncle? Isn't it him they want to whip up into a paranoid frenzy? Isn't it him they want to act out their death wishes on those they fear or hate or envy?
My Crazy Uncle can't work. He can't hold down a job. He stays home every day with his old A.M. radio and television. He wants to smoke cigarettes, but curses the government for making them so expensive. Plus he can't even smoke in his public housing anymore. The government. It is the government that makes his life so hard.
And that Obama? My Crazy Uncle hears he wants to have death panels and he's a Kenyan. Yea. That's what my old Crazy Uncle hears. He has coffee with his friends at the Mall every morning. They tell him things they read on the computer. They whine. They complain and Crazy Uncle sucks it all in. The voices run over again and again in his head.
I'm pretty sure my Crazy Uncle doesn't have a gun hidden somewhere in his dresser. But I don't know what he does every day. I don't think anyone of us would really know what he has access to. Sometimes he is really with it, and not everyone realizes how paranoid he can get. I don't know if he could apply for a gun license and get one. He probably could. Maybe he just wants it for protection. But that's today.
Tomorrow could be a bad day. Tomorrow he could forget to take his meds. He could hear something at the Mall. Maybe his friend from the Mall invites him to protest at a political rally against the Obamacare woman who supports death panels.
His friends have gotten Beck's gold. They talk about revolution. They talk about the lies and the corruption and all their money going to support, you know, the blacks and the Muslims. My crazy uncle gets whipped up, the voices run over and over.
And the unspeakable happens. People are dead, my Crazy Uncle gets shot by police, but Palin and her 'Second Amendment Remedy' crowd look down at their hands and smile.
They are clean, manicured and sparkle with diamonds.
My uncle may be real or not. He may be my neighbor's uncle, or your uncle. He may be the guy living next door to you. He's probably never killed anyone or talked about killing anyone. But do you know how he fills up his days? No. Does he have paranoia that is fueled by the kind of stuff Palin and Beck pedal? I'll bet he hears dog whistles way better than most do.
Footnote: This is my rant about the "mentally ill" part of this excuse for Sarah Palin and company. I also believe there are people who are full of hate and use her rhetoric, and the "Second Amendment Remedy" as permission to act on the hatred and use it as an excuse to kill people.
The argument that a mental patient did this simply because they are mentally ill really irks me to no end. It perpetuates a dangerous misconception about mentally ill people. I have news for those who use this argument: Far more mentally ill people are killed every day by a lack of health care than break out of institutions with guns and kill policians and kids.