In the wake of Saturday's violent tragedy, I went against my better judgment, searching the airwaves for answers and explanations.
All I found was barbarism.
I found Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, pointing his finger at ""vitriolic rhetoric"" and referring to Arizona as a ""Mecca of prejudice and bigotry.""
I found Keith Olbermann, draped in his panoply of pressed shirt and salt-and-pepper coif, branding the sharp steel of judgmental multi-syllabics:
""If Sarah Palin, whose website put and today scrubbed bulls-eye targets on 20 representatives including Gabby Giffords, does not repudiate her own part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics, she must be dismissed from politics.""
This seems to be the ubiquitous sentiment within the media: drawing connections and riding the hindsight train toward some satisfying understanding for why a young man would attempt to assassinate a public official, to fire into a crowd without regard for human life.
In a Monday report from CNN, Towson University professor Richard Vatz asserts that the connection between violence and rhetoric is ""fallacious"" and ""born out of recognition that such violent incidents can't be eradicated.""
I'm inclined to agree.
Likewise John Green, father of the young girl who lost her life to the Saturday's assassination attempt, agrees that the shooting had little to do with political rhetoric.
""I think it's a random act of violence,"" he said in an interview with CNN. ""I don't want to politicize this thing. I want to remember our daughter. I want the country to remember our daughter.""
If Arizona is a ""Mecca of prejudice and bigotry"", it has nothing to do with race. It's the prejudice of the 21st century, the source of a dichotomy divided not by the color of skin, but the color of political affiliation.
Arizona, locked by location in the eye of legislative storms, is merely a reflection of a nation that loves to make enemies of ""the other side."" It is the product of a society that can make people like Ann Coulter and Bill Maher rich by buying books of inflammatory drivel about ""the other side.""
If America has a problem with ""vitriolic language,"" it's that we swallow it vigorously like pigs at the slop. We support entire careers of politicians and television personalities who make their name by tearing down their opponents with vigor and efficiency. We love it.
But none of that has anything to do with Gabrielle Giffords or Jared Loughner.
What happened on Saturday was an act of evil, plain and simple. Let it be a reminder that our world is chaotic, full of people who have taken for granted taking a life.
To complicate this truth, to water it down with rationalization and implication, does nothing to remember Christina Green. Looking toward political or social commentary as a comfortable explanation for the unpredictable nature of evil is nothing more than participating in self-delusional intellectual masturbation.
Plus, Loughner loves the free publicity. He wants you to look for the source of his despicable acts. He wants legislation passed in response to his actions, increased control of music, video games, guns and everything else frightened citizens will ban in order to feel a little more safe in the cold reality of existence.
I beg you. Don't give in. Don't try to rationalize.
Stalwart yourself against the fear mongering of evil individuals, and acknowledge the unpredictable world we inhabit.
— Remy Albillar is a senior majoring in English and creative writing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.