A terrible tragedy took place today in Arizona, followed immediately (as tragedies nowadays are wont) by a deafening crescendo of voices calling out for various entities to be held accountable, whether or not they actually bear any accountability. And as much as it pains me to defend some of the entities I am about to defend, I find it is the rational, and therefore the correct thing (for me) to do.
This article on Politico sums it up best for me:
A few days, or at the very least, a few hours – in an earlier era, people would have taken a breath before plunging into a remorseless debate about the political implications of an obscene act of violence.
Not in this era.
Within minutes after a gunman’s shots—bullets that killed a federal judge, a nine-year-old girl and four others, and left a congresswoman clinging to life—activists of all stripes were busy, first on Twitter and blogs, then on cable television, chewing on two questions that once would have been indelicate to raise before the blood was dry: Who in American politics deserves a slice of blame for the Tucson murders? And what public officials find themselves with sudden opportunities for political gain from a tragedy?