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10:48 AM Sun, Feb. 17th

Column: Free will's role snuffed in Tucson shooting

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." - Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff, 2008.

As we all know by now, Tucson was recently the scene of a horrific shooting, killing six and wounding more. I've deliberately waited a while before discussing this event, as I wanted to observe the procession of debate itself. And what a sorry procession it's been.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik started things rolling immediately after the shooting when, during a news conference, he stated that "the anger, the hatred, the bigotry has gotten out of control."

And, while Dupnik didn't label the tea partiers as the bigots he was referring to at that time, he had no such qualms against doing so last year: "Sheriff Clarence Dupnik went after the tea party this weekend at an immigration forum, saying its members are bigoted. 'We didn't have a tea party until we had a black president,' Dupnik said."

Nor did it take very long for the rest of the mainstream media's left-wing machine to crank into high gear and do what Dupnik failed to do, i.e., explicitly name the objects of their hatred: the tea party, Sarah Palin, Ayn Rand, and maybe George Washington too for all I know.

A sampling of their bile:

"Today, I think we can say incontrovertibly that violent political rhetoric and the threat of political violence in this country comes almost exclusively from the right." (Eugene Robinson, Washington Post Associate Editor, MSNBC News interview, Jan. 8.)

And, on WDBZ's 1230 AM radio station blog in Cincinnati, Ohio, poster "WDBZ" reported that: "Loughner listed Ayn Rand's 'We Are Living' as one of his favorite books. Ayn Rand is tea party hero credited with inspiring its philosophy." [sic] ("5 reasons that the AZ shooter Jared Loughner is a teabagger," , Jan. 10.)

Ayn Rand's book is actually titled "We The Living" - and the fact that Loughner also listed "The Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf" as his favorite books as well simply indicates that Loughner read different things. I've read all three of those books too, and a number of others on Loughner's YouTube profile list to boot - but I'm not out shooting congresswomen.

And one could just as easily argue, as some have done, that subsequent information regarding Loughner's political inclinations actually place him on the left: "As I knew him, he was left-wing, quite liberal," said one of his former classmates, Caitie Parker. ("Arizona suspect's recent acts offer hints of alienation," The New York Times, Jan. 8.)

But all of the so-called "debate" about Loughner's place on the political spectrum, while possibly illuminating as to motive, is really irrelevant: for none of it bears any relation to the fact of free choice in free human action. The rest of us, left, right or whatever, aren't picking up guns and shooting either. When do we start holding ourselves as responsible for our own actions instead of blaming the writings of others?

But it's certainly amusing to observe the left's calls for "tolerance" in Tucson's wake: Michelle Obama, for instance, in an open letter to parents regarding their children, encouraged them to "teach them the value of tolerance." ("An open letter to parents following the tragedy in Tucson," , Jan. 13.)

Really? Would that be the same kind of "tolerance" Mrs. Obama's husband expressed toward Republicans back in 2008 when he said: "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun"? (Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2008.)

And Sarah Palin's being blasted as evil because she placed a target symbol over Giffords' district in the 2010 elections? So much for "tolerance."

Never failing to let a "serious crisis go to waste," however, the left's pundits are now busily yammering for gun control - which is like slimming down fat people by taking away their forks. And about as stupid, and proves that six lives weren't all that got snuffed in Tucson: Free will and self-responsibility, RIP as well.