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Media reaction to shooting painfully disturbing

Photo courtesy of MCT

The shooting that took place in Arizona over the weekend revealed something about this country that is deeply troubling. The events that took place were tragic. Six people lost their lives and many others were wounded. But another disturbing aspect of this story is the way some people are reacting to it.

It seems that we live in a culture devoted to placing blame on anyone we find most convenient, which results in everything becoming political.

Much of the media buzz surrounding the aftermath of the event centered on Sarah Palin. During the campaign season, she displayed on her website a map that has now created a great deal of controversy. Her “Take Back the Twenty” map included crosshairs of more than 20 congressional districts.

Her message was to vote out Democrats in conservative districts who voted for the health care bill.

Some media outlets are now pointing to the map as an indication of Palin’s potential involvement in the shooting. It makes sense that this story would emerge. The media must find someone to blame, besides the obvious culprit. It is convenient if that person is on the Right. So, who better to target than Palin? Placing the blame on her creates a much better story than pointing the finger at an unknown loon.

It is funny though, that I did not hear these claims that Palin was inciting violence when the map first came out. Then it seemed obvious that she was talking about politics. But now that someone went on a shooting spree, we are supposed to believe that Palin was behind the whole thing.

We are told by the media that the one person who deserves the blame — the shooter — had a troubled past and that he could have easily been provoked by a map made by Palin during the election season.

This kind of rhetoric is extremely dangerous because it shows future gun-toting crazies that this behavior will earn them above-the-fold headlines and considerable TV time. It also shows them that the responsibility for their actions can be pushed off onto somebody else.

People often say that political discourse in this country is vitriolic and uncivil. Case in point.

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