Who is to blame?

Amanda Wallace

Amanda Wallace

Column by Amanda Wallace. E-mail [email protected].

Who to blame?

A little girl died. A congresswoman has suffered a near fatal brain injury. A federal judge was killed. A national tragedy. And a week later, the question that seems to be first and foremost is: Who are we going to blame?

Do we blame the Tea Party members? Sarah Palin made a map of “targeted” congressional districts and placed a bullseye over Tucson. Do we blame her?

Do we blame the news media for allowing politicians to dance around questions and to spread falsehoods about their political opponents?

Do we blame the gun? A piece of cold and unforgiving metal, a magazine with too many rounds? A mechanical device without a conscious or a brain?

Do we blame the recent election’s political mudslinging, the seeming inability of those in public office to approach each other publicly with anything approaching human decency?

Do we blame the campus police at Pima Community College, who knew that he was a risk to people due to his online threats? Can we expect that every person that writes a threat on the Internet is going to carry that out? Can we hold someone indefinitely because we fear that they can become a Jared Loughner or a Timothy McVey?

Do we blame a failed system that allowed a damaged young man like Jared Loughner to get a gun?

Do we blame his parents? His friends? Do we blame his community?

In the wake of national tragedies, we are always seeking to blame someone. We are trying to find out just who it is that we can put our own bullseye on.

But whenever the image of 9-year-old Christina Green is splashed across the news, or the images of any of the other members of grieving families, I find it more difficult than the political news punditry to blame this on anyone except one person.

Jared Loughner. He brought a weapon to a open meeting at a supermarket. He shot two magazines into a crowded room. He intentionally killed six people and wounded almost 20 more.

Would he have done this without Sarah Palin’s crosshairs pointed squarely over his district?

Would he have killed all those people if his magazines had just been slightly more difficult to load? We will probably never know, but the unfortunate truth is: most likely. In the end, we’re trying to find blame when blame can be easily designated.

Who is at fault? Jared Loughner. It’s no more complicated than that.