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When Will We Learn?

As terrible as the tragedy in Tuscon was, what’s even more disheartening is the fact that we as a society will in all likelihood learn absolutely nothing from this tragedy in spite of the fact that there are oh so many lessons to be learned. Yes, this was the act of one very sick, deranged individual and in no way can it be directly linked to the violent rhetoric of the right wing. But that does not absolve the Glenn Becks and the Sarah Palins for having created an atmosphere which encourages acts like this, regardless of whether or not it was instrumental in this one incident. One would like to think that deep down most Americans really do reject the vitriol of these right wing extremists, and you might think that this tragedy would work to maybe tone down that rhetoric. But alas, as we are seeing already from comments by Palin and Limbaugh and other right-wing whack jobs, if anything they are becoming even more hateful. But I guess that was to be expected. What one could hope for, though, would be a more reasoned response from the mainstream media — using this incident to call out these radical right wingers for their violent political rhetoric. But then that’s not happening either, as we keep hearing from them that “both sides are just as guilty”. Are you friggin’ kidding me? Name one mainstream liberal who comes anywhere close to saying things like Michelle Bachmann’s “I want people to get armed and dangerous”, or Sharon Angles “Second amendment remedies“, or Palin’s “reload and aim for Democrats“. You can’t because 99% of the craziness is coming from the right, and not the left. But you would never know it listening to the likes of Brian Williams, Katie Couric, or Wolf Blitzer. Shame on all of them.

And even beyond the issue of our political discourse, there are other lessons that will probably go not only unlearned, but not even discussed. I guess at this point it would be ludicrous to even suggest that maybe, just maybe, there ought to be some type of limitations put on the sale of semi-automatic weapons like the one used in this shooting. That anyone, much less someone as disturbed as Jared Loughner was, can buy guns like this is incredulous. And yet nothing will be done about it. And then there’s the whole issue of why someone, somehow had not gotten help for Loughner before he went totally over the edge. The media are filled with stories from neighbors, friends, school and work associates, all of whom pretty much saw this coming — and yet did nothing about it, simply because there was nothing they could do. And this gets back to the whole disaster that our health care system is. If we as a society make it impossible for so many millions of people to get health care for the most basic of needs, how in the world are we going to deal with people who do desperately need help like Loughner? But again, I haven’t even seen this angle of the story even mentioned anywhere.

So two or three weeks from now, it will be back to business as usual. The right-wing extremists will continue with their overt bigotry and hatred and calls for violence, the Republican Party will continue to embrace them, mentally unbalanced people will still have free and easy access to guns and other weapons, and there will be no way for anyone to help people like this. Is this a great country or what?