Once again, we see a terrible national tragedy playing out before our eyes. A lunatic goes on a rampage. Six innocent people are gunned down, including a nine-year-old girl. A congresswoman fights for her life. And demagogues seek to exploit these events for political gain.
Some on the left will seek to attribute the acts of an apparent nut job, with an apparent fascination for Hitler and Marx, to the rhetoric of right-wing politicians and commentators. And an Arizona sheriff attributes all of this to what he sees as the bigotry of the people who reside in his state. (An interesting way for a public servant to describe those who pay his salary and whom he has sworn to protect.)
Memory takes one back to that sad day in Dallas, 48 years ago. Textbooks still talk of an atmosphere of hate, mostly generated, of course, from the right, at the time President Kennedy made his fateful trip to that city. It still matters not that the man arrested for the crime of the last century was a self-declared Marxist, with a special fondness for communism, Fidel-style. The sad truth is that in free societies, some of the crazed will, in spite of law enforcement’s best efforts, strike out at their fellow citizens. And celebrities, be they Ronald Reagan, John Lennon, or Gabrielle Giffords, get into their sights. Our hearts go out to the families of those slain this weekend, as we pray for the congresswoman’s speedy and complete recovery.