Americans usually go overboard concerning everything from words to gifts to honors to…whatever… whenever an “event” takes place. Media coverage is the reason. Imagine what would have happened in this country when Lincoln was assassinated if cable 24/7 had been available! The telegraph was the fastest thing going and the preparing of pictures, rudimentary as they were, took an inordinate time to process. Printing was done by hand entirely. Transportation essentially meant the horse. Look at the difference between that “event” and the “events” of today – instant accounting of everything in real time, with pictures, movies available immediately, with the first reports inevitably in egregious error.
The Arizona shootings took place on the eighth and represented a sad “event” of profound impact. Add in the injured high-profile Congressperson, and news concerning her far outstripped news about those who died, notwithstanding that one was a federal judge. Coverage has been 24/7, even though the same ground has been plowed over and over. The main difference: celebrity!
Current America seems not to realize that death and trauma are just as inevitable as taxes. In the aftermath of 9/11, hundreds of millions of tax dollars were awarded to survivors of victims, notwithstanding that many of those who died undoubtedly had insurance policies and assets that left their families quite well-off. It was as if John Doe in Peoria was responsible for the deaths, though no such thing happened in 1995 in Oklahoma City regarding those who died in the Murrah Building bombing carried out by Timothy McVeigh.
This doesn’t mean that government shouldn’t help in cases in which help is needed, regardless of expense, such as with the firemen and policemen (and their families), but the precedent has been set in the 9/11 case so that those involved in the next tragedy will demand justifiably that they be treated the same way. To see the difference concerning culpability, consider the Ft. Hood massacre of November 2009, which happened on government property and was perpetrated by a government employee, Major Hasan, who hasn’t been tried yet.
The supposed gravity of 08 January can be seen in the fact that the network biggies – NBC’s Brian Williams, CBS’s Katie Couric, and ABC’s Diane Sawyer had to broadcast from Tucson, no matter that hundreds of their own capable people had already been on the scene, covered it thoroughly and had already interviewed over and over anybody and everybody who had anything to say, even if just an opinion…and it became ultra-politicized in the process. The presiding sheriff preached a sermon on TV and later argued with Fox’s Megan Kelley about hate speech, never mind that the shooter was demonstrably proven to be a crazy guy sort of like the shooter at Virginia Tech (33 dead) in 2007.
Of course, it’s been the cable networks that have had all the better of the reporting since they could just cancel all their programming and devote every hour by every personality to the Tucson massacre. The public has been given an accounting (or non-accounting) of just how many bone fragments have been in Representative Giffords’ brain practically on the hour, for instance. One remembers the day-long caterwauling hysterics of Fox’s Shepard Smith and Geraldo in New Orleans days after Katrina hit there in 2005. Superficiality has its place.
The predictable finger-pointing by the lib-left has been vicious, the predictable slamming of talk-radio being operative, the insistence being that the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was driven to his assassinations by the likes of Limbaugh or Glen Beck…or even Sarah Palin. Apparently, John Hinckley, Jr., Reagan’s would-be assassin, another crazy person still institutionalized, has been forgotten. Has everybody forgotten Sirhan B. Sirhan, who killed Bobby Kennedy, and Sara Jane Moore and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, both of whom tried to kill President Gerald Ford in 1975? Were they the products of hate-speech by republicans? Of course not! They were either crazy or mean or both. Moore has been paroled after serving more than 30 years but the other two are still sweating incarceration.
The usual “gun availability thing” has been beaten to death again by the politically correct, notwithstanding that any bystander with a gun could have killed Loughner before he wreaked his total havoc, especially if he had been able to get off his second clip. One wonders if the “elitist” self-appointed intellectuals will ever understand that crazy people exist and that they always will. Nah…too sanguinary an approach for the civilized!