Assassins and Raw Power

Gabrielle Giffords was shot this weekend/Contributed

Amid our quick-fire analysis, let’s remember: No one asked Gabrielle Giffords’ assailant to shoot her and no one told him to kill all those people.  He pulled the trigger.  He is responsible.  Perhaps experts will establish his “insanity” (a legal, not psychological, term) and, therefore, diminished culpability – and maybe this tragedy will catalyze a new American civility – but I’m suspicious of sudden blame games smelling of incivility themselves.  Please.  A real woman lies in critical condition; real parents lost a real nine-year-old daughter and are shedding real tears; other real people are in mourning.  Honor them.  Care for them.  Pray for them.  Don’t use them for talk-show fodder.

Instead, I’ll ponder the nature of assassination itself and the destructiveness of raw power – because that is assassination’s essence: a deranged, narcissistic minority of one wields power over the vast majority.  It is the ultimate totalitarian act, usually void of recognizable reason.  Entire populations are robbed of the leaders they elected.  Those leaders shook hands until their palms were sore, smiled, fended off scurrilous attacks, kissed thousands of babies, smiled, memorized facts and figures from boring government reports, smiled, deprived themselves of sleep while listening to yelling constituents, and smiled.  They sweated through election night, eked out narrow victories, and then spoke kind words about worthy opponents who had hauled their names through the mud a day before …

Bang!  Raw power obliterates an entire process and ruins lives.

Read full post here.


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