... for the AZ shootings. Is it, as some might suggest, Sarah Palin?
I don't like the woman, her politics, or pretty much anything she stands for one iota but my answer to this question is: oh come on! Of course not.
Aside from the sick feelings I have after hearing about the 75 year old husband who took a bullet for his wife; the 9 year old who was born on 9/11 and whose life was cut short while she was trying to learn more about her government; and the judge who survived potential asassination by the Mexican drug cartel but wound up dead because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time - aside from feeling completely sick to my stomach about these tragedies (and more), I'm also feeling pretty sick about some people's reaction to them.
On the one side, we have Boehner and the political right jumping so far away from this incident that they're practically in-line for an Olympic medal in the long jump. On the other side, we have folks like Credo Action who are trying to blame Palin for motivating the shooter with some crosshairs on a map that, until this weekend, nobody blinked an eyelid at.
I have no idea why the shooter did what he did or why he targeted Congresswoman Giffords. Was it because she was Democrat? Was it because she was a representative of the government, period? Was it because he was a tea-partier on the rampage? Was it because he forgot his meds that morning? Was it because his local government was so underfunded that nobody was even around to recognize or treat his mental health issues? Was it a symptom of the general breakdown in the fabric of our community, where troubled people are everybody's problem but nobody's responsibility?
I. DO. NOT. KNOW. And neither does the media, nor John Boehner, nor Credo, nor the the Tucson police, nor the FBI, and possibly not even the gunman himself. Not that's stopping people from speculating and finger-pointing. Just as some of these same folks complain about a hyperpolitical Washington and a hyperbolic media fueling the cultural fire for such a tragedy, it seems they are content to throw their own brand of fuel on the fire.
None of this helps, of course. It's all a part of the same machine of absent responsibility and virulent finger-pointing that keeps us all so polarized in the first place.
Here is what I do know, however. That the shooter, who was turned away by the Army in 2008, walked into a gun store in November and easily purchased the 9mm pistol he used in his rampage. The bullets? Bought in a Walmart.
Apparently, we care more about how someone might use a gun on our enemies than we do how they might use it in our own backyard.
That's something we all are collectively responsible for.