There’s a whole lot that we don’t know about what led Jared Loughner to go on a shooting rampage last Saturday, and we probably will never know. So when we speculate about it, we’re not only guessing and assuming facts not in evidence, we’re tailoring the events that make no sense into something that does. That’s the way the mind works. So when David Brooks says that there’s no possible political motivation behind it, he’s guessing just as much as those who are blaming Sarah Palin’s unfortunate graphic choices.
It also means that the typical kneejerk reaction to blaming society and the coarsening thereof by media, music, violent video games, and Jersey Shore also falls flat. All of the mother’s little helpers who try to shield the world against things they are afraid of — wardrobe malfunctions, men kissing, Tom DeLay dancing on TV — can’t blame the shootings at Columbine on heavy metal and then deny that Second Amendment remedies resulted in the killings in a Safeway. They’re not thinking of the person who did the shooting; they’re thinking about what’s in it for them and how they can use it to their advantage. And they’re certainly not thinking about the victims.