The Tucson Tragedy

Sarah Palin at a campaign rally in Raleigh, NC.

Image via Wikipedia

It is Sarah Palin’s fault!

Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and other right wing talk radio were the trigger!

Those angry tea-party folks are at the cause!

What complete nonsense!

Everyone seems to blame everyone.  Yet, for some reason, no one wants to blame the alleged gunman.

Am I missing something?

I was listening to morning local talk radio. Nancy Kman stated something to the effect that we should be more cautious in what we say and that certain words could be responsible for triggering a mentally unbalanced person.  That sentiment immediately brought before me a thought of abused women who stay in relationships.  One I knew in particular, after she left, would say; “As long as I didn’t push his buttons he wouldn’t hit me, for the longest time I thought that it was my fault he hit me, you know…. because I would do or say something that would upset him.”

I have to wonder is this what we have come to in society.

Are we all to be so afraid that the wrong word, the wrong comment, the wrong treatment of someone who MAY be unbalanced will spur him or her onto a shooting spree?

Are we now to apply what is obviously flawed logic in an abusive situation to society at large?

Are we now to reason that we are responsible for another’s illegal and immoral actions?

I am responsible for myself and in turn, no one is responsible for me.  I cannot, nor should I be, responsible for the actions of others and in turn no is responsible for my actions.  We can’t control anyone but ourselves.  It is one of the main points I focus on with people who seek my assistance in losing weight.  It is as true in maintaining one’s health as it is in anything else in life.  You can only control you, attempting to control someone else is futile.

Additionally, I have to ask how we are:

ONE supposed to know someone is unbalanced and TWO what would be THEIR trigger.

I had a brief flirtation with the world of politics.  I ran a losing campaign for Congress and I spent a brief period of time acting as a political analyst for WYOU.  In the grand scheme, I was an insignificant blip on the radar.

However, I can relate three occasions that happened during my campaign that caused me some concern. Two of the three involved the same person, so I will relate those together second.

The first incident occurred in Monroe County; I was campaigning at some type of event in which there were many vendors.  I was introducing myself, when at one of the booths; the person behind the stand asked my party affiliation.  When I answered, I was immediately assailed with a verbal onslaught of how George W. Bush was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.  No efforts at reason were helpful; this person just continued raising her voice louder and louder until I simply walked away.  The trigger was nothing more than my party affiliation.

The other two occurrences happened at separate times, but by the same person.  The first time I was at an event in Lackawanna County, a volunteer was walking ahead of me asking people if it was okay if I introduced myself and spoke with them for a few moments.  One of the people we talked with was very eager and I spent several minutes with him.  His passion was obvious, and as long as I listened, everything was calm.  After a significant period had passed, I advised him that I understood his concerns; I had even jotted down a few notes, and I would look into what he had told me.  I went to walk on to the next person and I guess that was the trigger. He became agitated.  He claimed that I was not interested in what the people had to say.  I nicely tried to reason with him, that there were other people who wanted to speak with me.  Finally, he seemed to relax, I’m not sure why, but he did and I was able to go on.

The second episode occurred when I was campaigning with my then wife.  We were out doing a downtown tour when I caught a glimpse of this same person heading straight at us.  The speed he was approaching alarmed me and I immediately placed myself between him and my then wife. Immediately a verbal barrage of accusations assailed me about our last meeting.  He claimed I hid the fact that I was a republican and his verbiage increased in both vitriol and volume.  I attempted to engage him in conversation, but anything I said just amplified his anger. Finally, my now ex-wife whispered to me… and I am paraphrasing, “Subdue him or call the police.”  I am not sure why, but something else captured his attention and we were able remove ourselves.

I would guess if either meant me harm, they would have done so.

The question must be asked; how is one to know the trigger?  In retrospect, I don’t believe either of those folks to be mentally unbalanced, they were passionate about their convictions, but they saw my party as the cause of what was wrong and in turn, I became the object of their anger.  Yet, if someone is genuinely unbalanced, inflammatory words or actions may not be something as forthright as calling someone an enemy or having a target over a congressional district.

One life lesson I have learned is that you CANNOT apply rational logic to irrational people — that itself is a striking contradiction.

Dr. Joe Leonardi

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Filed under Congress, Congressman, Conservative, Democrat, Democratic, Freedom, Liberal, Mass Murder, MSNBC, National Public Radio, NBC, NEPA, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, The House

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