When I was very little I was on a trip with my mother, aunt and two cousins. My cousin Clint said something or other, and my cousin Meredith said, "Clint! Don't jump to collusions!" This was met with laughter...because she obviously meant "conclusions."
I have to admit something. When the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City happened...I jumped to the conclusion that it was Islamic terrorism. You'll have to excuse me...I had returned to the USA from Europe where Islamic terrorism had been an issue.
Boy, did I learn my lesson as the details unfolded after that event. It was one of our own. I was utterly disgusted by the idea that any one of us could do something that horrible. I was ashamed that I had assumed it was an Islamic extremist.
As a result, whenever something happens, I do not assume.
Even on 9/11...I felt the horror as it unfolded and I waited to hear details before I let myself think that any specific group or movement was behind it.
I don't know what you did the other day after hearing about the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and others in Arizona.
Several thoughts percolated in my brain. She is a Democrat, so I wondered if it could be a right-wing extremist. She is a Blue Dog (conservative) Democrat...so I wondered if it could be a left-wing extremist. She is an American political figure, so I wondered if it could be an Islamic extremist. She's in Arizona, so I wondered if someone upset about immigration issues could have perpetrated it.
We have a mixed blessing these days concerning access to "information".
When I heard, I prayed. Then I heard she was dead. Then I heard she wasn't dead.
Then...the absolutely predictable, but shameful, happened.
Before ANY details except that the suspect was a "white male" were released...I began to see sites online and political figures and news outlets infer that it was a crime perpetrated by a right-winger. The idea that the gunman was a Sarah Palin fan went viral.
Someone created a fake Facebook account for the gunman that listed Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin among his interests. Some gullible folks seized on this and went ballistic online.
The national dialogue quickly turned into an indictment of "right-wing" rhetoric.
I was stunned because, if anything, it seems the rhetoric has simmered down a bit post-election.
Then gradually I became sickened. Some could NOT allow us to get the news, digest the news and seek answers and information before they turned this tragedy into a political football. A consensus formed. A consensus trumpeted that this was the act of a "right-winger" spurred on by "hate speech." Quite egregiously, reports emerged that the shooter may have been an Afghan War vet.
As it has evolved, it appears that the perpetrator of this is a very mentally ill young man. He was kicked out of his college due to mental issues and disturbances. He was rejected by the military. He is anti-US flag and even showed a video of a flag burning on his Youtube. He likes Mein Kampf AND The Communist Manifesto. He thinks the government controls our minds through our grammar. He is an atheist. He likes to smoke marijuana. He doesn't like immigrants...and maybe doesn't like Jews.
So now we know. He's neither left nor right...but someplace out in the wilderness of his own twisted and incoherent thoughts. Certainly, he IS ill.
We did our nation a disservice the other day when we jumped to collusions. In future, instead of hearing indictments of an ideology or a political movement...ANY movement...I hope that we are allowed the time to receive bad news, pray about it (or not, whatever floats your boat), share OUR collective grief and express our sadness.
May we never again use corpses not yet cold as a soapbox for a political fight.
Guest posting written by Quirkopatra from Digg