A long time ago, there was a famous play where a ball bounced off Jose Canseco’s head and into the stands for a home run. I remember reading a columnist say “look, it was a freak play that could have happened to anyone, but, if you’d told me you just saw a ball bounce off someone’s head and into the stands, I would have guessed that someone was Jose Canseco”. I’m afraid, it’s the same with this shooting: it may have been the work of a lone whacko, but it can hardly come as a surprise that the first time a sitting Congressperson was shot on American soil it happened after two years of unprecedented (at least since the Civil War) right-wing hostility towards Democratic elected officials. Krugman:
It’s true that the shooter in Arizona appears to have been mentally troubled. But that doesn’t mean that his act can or should be treated as an isolated event, having nothing to do with the national climate.
Last spring Politico.com reported on a surge in threats against members of Congress, which were already up by 300 percent. A number of the people making those threats had a history of mental illness — but something about the current state of America has been causing far more disturbed people than before to act out their illness by threatening, or actually engaging in, political violence.
And even if all the over-heated rhetoric had nothing at all to do with this shooting, why can’t Palin and her ilk at least express a little regret? If the Brooks-Collins “Conversation” thing at the Times really does end in a murder-suicide, I will feel bad for having joked about that possibility; likewise, if giant meteors hit Bethesda and Georgetown.