Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Morning Blog, Tragedy Edition

I wrote late last night about my own take on yesterdays horrific mass murder in Arizona.

The New York Times breaks down the political repercussions here.

Other than John Roll, those killed were:

Gabrielle Zimmerman, 30
Christina Green, 9
Dorothy Morris, 76
Dorwin Stoddard 76
Phyllis Schneck, 79

Rep. Gifford remains unconscious after being shot in the head though doctors appear to be optimistic about some sort of recovery. What sort, remains uncertain.

John McCain:

“Whoever did this, whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race.”

Andrew Sullivan provides a valuable run down of links and commentary on the assassination attempt here.

The lunatic is profiled here. It's pointed out by a reader on Sullivan's blog that he is at the age when people suffering from mental diseases often have their first psychotic breaks.

Responses from local congresspeople are here. Rep. Dahlkemper:

Ms. Dahlkemper recalled Ms. Giffords' reaction to their being among 20 representatives targeted by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's website in the recent election. The site featured a map of the country with rifle crosshairs marking each Democrat's district.

"She was in the crosshairs of Sarah Palin, as was I," Ms. Dahlkemper said, her voice rising in anger. "We were both one of those. So that tells you what is going on with the rhetoric in this country, that has got to stop."

In a sad coincidence, the nine year old victim was born on 9/11.

In addition to the suspect, authorities have released a picture of a person of interest:

The Washington Post profiles John Roll, the federal judge who was slain here. Though he had received numerous death threats, it appears as though he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He just wanted to stop by to say 'hi' to a friend.

Slate debunks the idea that mental illness is a viable excuse:

A 2009 analysis of nearly 20,000 individuals concluded that increased risk of violence was associated with drug and alcohol problems, regardless of whether the person had schizophrenia. Two similar analyses on bipolar patients showed, along similar lines, that the risk of violent crime is fractionally increased by the illness, while it goes up substantially among those who are dependent on intoxicating substances. In other words, it's likely that some of the people in your local bar are at greater risk of committing murder than your average person with mental illness.

Reuters analyzes the political environment in Arizona providing the background to the shooting. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik:

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told a news conference.

"The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

The Guardian UK opines that violent rhetoric against Democrats is encoded in Conservative political DNA:

Republicans and even Tea Partiers will have the sense – again, for a while – to steer clear of directly gun-related rhetoric. We won't be hearing much in the near term about "second amendment remedies" and insurrection and so forth. But this will be temporary. Guns are simply too central to the mythology of the American right, as is the idea of liberty being wrested from tyrants only at gunpoint. For the American right to stop talking about armed insurrection would be like American liberals dropping the subjects of race and gender. It's too encoded in conservative DNA.

After all this, National Review, arguably the voice of Conservative America is mostly concerned with political opportunism:

I’ve been trying to follow the story today while balancing some other obligations. I’ve been reading the instant-reaction on Twitter and on the web and I’ve been trying to filter out the urge to vent my rage at those who immediately shoe-horned these awful crimes into their ideological prism. There have been some truly disgusting displays of opportunism out there. I will confess to having made those kinds of mistakes in the past and I try very hard to learn from those mistakes.

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