Don't spread the insanity

In wake of shooting, media leap to conclusions to push their agenda

The blessedly rare mass public shooting isn’t predictable. But its aftermath sure is.

1) Before the blood is dry, check to see if the shooter is a conservative so the “mainstream” media can confirm what it believes about conservatives.

2) If there are no direct ties to conservative organizations, blame talk radio and Fox News for creating a “climate.” Funny, liberal rhetoric is never held to account for anything.

3) Revive talk of gun control, whether it would’ve made a difference in the incident at hand or not.

4) If there are ties to a conservative organization, blame the entire organization or movement.

As for the last item, after the Fort Hood shooting everyone on the left from the president on down cautioned not to read too much into Nidal Hasan’s ties to terrorists and his radical-Muslim rantings before and during the shootings of 13 of his comrades.

But it’s more than OK to jump to conclusions and generalize about conservatives.

This formula is used faithfully without regard to its accuracy. It certainly didn’t work so well after the Tucson, Ariz., shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and several others. The media’s knee-jerk reaction – that conservative talk was to blame, even naming names such as Sarah Palin – proved completely off the mark. If anything, evidence pointed to the troubled Tucson shooter being left-wing.

But that doesn’t mean the blame-conservatives formula has been crumpled up and thrown away. Within hours of waking up Friday, ABC News’ Brian Ross was postulating that the mass killer at the Denver-area midnight showing of the new Batman movie might be a Tea Party member.

Ross later had to recant, admitting he had the wrong guy. But the slander was complete. And he rushed it onto air because it fit the narrative of violent conservatives that the media long to validate.

This, from a media that went out of their way to avoid telling the truth about the violence, filth and other antisocial actions of the far-left extremist Occupy movement.

There are many possible explanations for Friday’s unspeakable tragedy, which occurred not far from the site of the wretched Columbine massacre. One explanation is simply mental illness – though, again, it would be folly, and more than a little offensive, to blame all of those with mental illness. Hopefully we’re more sophisticated than that.

An increasingly violent entertainment media can’t help, either. Talk about creating a
climate! Cable network IFC’s new comedy, Bullet in the Face, is said to be “rife with cinematic-level violence.” That’s saying something.

The Batman movie itself is dark and, arguably, unfit for younger viewers. One of those in the theater was 6 years old. Of an earlier, 2008 Batman movie, one reviewer noted, “But the greatest surprise of all – even for me, after eight years spent working as a film critic – has been the sustained level of intensely sadistic brutality throughout the film.”

A headline on that review referred to “a society seduced by sadism.”

When “comedies” are “rife with cinematic-level violence” and comic-book movies are too dark and violent for the young, we’ve crossed several regrettable thresholds.

This is speculation, of course, though grounded in study and anecdote – and reports say the Denver shooter called himself the Joker, an uber-violent character from Batman. It’s another thing entirely, however, to rush to impugn an entire movement, subpopulation or set of beliefs because of one person’s insanity.

That’s only spreading the insanity around.

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