Alex Massie argues for some necessary perspective from those engaging in silly fingerpointing that has followed the assassination attempt in AZ. The bigger picture:
And this too is normal. Political violence of this type is almost definitionally unhinged but it’s striking how rare it turns out to be the case that the perpetrators can be fitted into one neat political profile or another. And even when they can their targets are frequently so at odds with the meaning of their supposed “philosophy” that trying to “make sense” of such matters becomes an even more frustrating task.
Anyway, we may think these are unusually turbulent times, fanned by unusual quantities of cheap and phoney populism, scaremongering and hysteria but this is not in fact the case. ‘Twas ever thus and the 1960s offer a perspective that might be worth looking at if only, despite all the huffing and puffing, to appreciate how calm and at peace America is these days. Remember McKinley and Garfield too, if you want to go still further back. America ain’t tearing itself apart these days, no matter how much Paul Krugman tries to persuade you it must be. The paranoid style has rarely lacked followers and, just as significantly, the centre has also always had a healthy paranoia of its own. Sometimes, as is the case today or in the aftermath of any other act of grim violence, this will seem unusually plausible.
Often nutbags are just nutbags. They have always existed and always will. I sometimes feel like those who engage in this overblown rhetoric about right-wing militiamen or leftist fifth-columnists wish it were true (rather than strictly believing it to be so). It seems to me analogous to the period immediately preceding the First World War, where the sheer tranquility and prosperity of the time only heightened the perceived stakes of regular petty squabbling or chance occurences by contrast and, with memories of true conflict dulled, only whetted appetites for more.
Whatever you do, Andrew is best ignored until tempers die down.