Rage, hate, and blame

I've recently started reading Terribleminds, the blog of Chuck Wendig, a novelist and freelance writer. It's a stew of writing advice, amusing stories, and other bits of his brain matter, all of it profane, most of it funny. Today he has a post up about the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 other people, including the judge, 9-year-old girl, and four others who were killed. I didn't have much time to reflect on it yesterday.  I was working and at a newspaper, big breaking news always turns into a combination of sprints toward our deadlines and a marathon of getting the right mix of stories to cover the attack into the paper. (It's a lot more fun than that sounds.)

I did see on Twitter that there was a lot going around about Sarah Palin's target list with the crosshairs and about other violent rhetoric and outright threats in the world of politics over the past year or two. (I retweeted a few of those things because I thought they were interesting, though I didn't have much time to absorb them.)

Wendig's post takes a fairly nuanced look at who is to blame -- the shooter -- but also at the kind of climate that can fuel violent ignorance :

  • "I believe that what happened yesterday was a tragedy and I believe the blame lies with the man who pulled that trigger."
  • "Sarah Palin didn’t pull the trigger, but she — not alone, and with others — vomited forth a toxic tide of misinformation into the world. And let’s be clear, that’s where violence and horror comes from: misinformation."

He also took to task the idea that this kind of act is solely the province of extremism on the right:

  • "I saw some claim that only the right-wing is capable of violence or violent rhetoric, which even a cursory examination reveals to be nonsense."

And whatever kind of hate we are talking about, there's a way through it, he writes:

  • "Maybe from here we can try to be smarter, more practical, more even-keeled and — let’s hope against all hope — nicer. ... It’s a fucked-up time in America, and I just think the best way through the darkness is to once more put our foot on the neck of ignorance and make it -- not “conservative” or “liberal” -- the dirty word."

Well said. Go read the whole thing.