Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Shootings in Tennessee

There will always be more questions than answers when something like this shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville happens, and as is always the case, people are reaching conclusions based on their perceptions and agendas.

The fact that the accused shooter, Jim Adkisson, targeted a church known for supporting liberal values such as equality for women and gay marriage and that he had a lot of right-wing literature in his house are being used by both sides of the political spectrum to play up the evils of the other side. Some right-wing bloggers are wondering if the UU church was a “gun-free zone” and that it wouldn’t have happened if some of the parishioners had been packing heat. All that does is demonstrate a woeful lack of knowledge about the UU’s; they might as well ask for a ham sandwich at a bar mitzvah. And no doubt there are those on the left who are seizing on the fact that Mr. Adkisson was reading Bill O’Reilly as reason enough to get him off the air and use the occasion to accuse people like him of promoting such actions. The righties are going to cover to say that just because the accused read the books doesn’t mean he was influenced by them, which is a valid argument…but then it makes you wonder why the authors bothered to write the books in the first place. Censorship serves no purpose other than reinforce the paranoid view that there are things the authorities don’t want us to know.

In the end, no one yet knows what pushed Mr. Adkisson to snap Sunday morning. What was the trigger, so to speak, that moved him to action rather than just sitting around his house fuming about those damn liberals and queers? He won’t say, probably because he doesn’t know himself. That should be reason enough for the speculators and prognosticators to stop looking for someone else to blame.