[Illustration by ALEX FINE]
SLATE: Act I of the politicization of the Tucson shooting was pundits and liberal politicians asking if right-wing rhetoric contributed to the violence. Act II was conservatives rejecting this and pointing out, by the way, that the media did not rush to judgment when Nidal Hassan killed 12 people at Fort Hood. Act III is the conservative fightback, as exemplified by this message from the Tea Party Express to its members. MORE
SARAH PALIN: “If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible,” Palin said. MORE
CBS NEWS: Blood libel is the false accusation, perhaps originating in the 12th century, that Jews murder children to use their blood for religious rituals and holidays. Palin appears to be appropriating the term to indicate that she is a victim, as a result of some groups and individuals claiming that her political rhetoric contributed to the actions of the deranged, lone gunman. But the real victims are Rep. Giffords and the others who were wounded or killed, not Palin, who appears to be tone deaf to Giffords statement that there are consequences to actions. The consequences of Palin’s crosshairs may not be directly related to the shooting rampage in Tucson and assassination attempt, but they are related to the level of divisiveness in the country. MORE
FOX NEWS: The term “blood libel” is not well known, but it is highly charged — a direct reference to a time when many European Christians blamed Jews for kidnapping and murdering Christian children to obtain their blood. Jews were tortured and executed for crimes they did not commit, emblematic of anti-Semitism so virulent that some scholars recoiled Wednesday at Palin’s use of the term. MORE
WALLS STREET JOURNAL: A trove of 131 online-forum postings written between April and June 2010, which were viewed by The Wall Street Journal, provides insight into Mr. Loughner’s mind-set in the year leading up to Saturday’s shootings in Tucson, Ariz. The online postings paint a picture of a disturbed young man trying to impress his peers and struggling to find a purpose to his life. They range from prosaic chatter about weight lifting to nonsensical philosophical ramblings that left some of the gamers who read them wondering whether he was using drugs or had a mental disability.
On Tuesday, after a search of the Loughners’ home, federal investigators found a letter from Rep. Giffords’s office in which Mr. Loughner had scribbled the words “Die Cops” and “Die Bitch,” said Capt. Chris Nanos of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. Capt. Nanos, who was briefed on the findings, said Mr. Loughner had also referenced an assassination in handwritten notes on the letter. On Tuesday, after a search of the Loughners’ home, federal investigators found a letter from Rep. Giffords’s office in which Mr. Loughner had scribbled the words “Die Cops” and “Die Bitch,” said Capt. Chris Nanos of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. Capt. Nanos, who was briefed on the findings, said Mr. Loughner had also referenced an assassination in handwritten notes on the letter. The letter, dated 2007, was a form document sent by the staff of Rep. Giffords to thank Mr. Loughner for attending one of her events. MORE
FOX NEWS: Zach Osler, in an interview Wednesday with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” said: “He did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio. He didn’t take sides. He wasn’t on the left. He wasn’t on the right.” Media speculation swirled after Loughner allegedly opened fire at a Tucson rally last Saturday, critically wounding Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 13 others and killing six. Immediately, the Tucson sheriff and liberal pundits and lawmakers chimed in that the shooting somehow was politically motivated and a result of the extreme rhetoric being used by conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. But Osler said Loughner wasn’t shooting at people, “he was shooting at the world.” Osler said he instead suspects that Loughner was motivated by a documentary called, “Zeitgeist: The Movie,” which slams currency-based economics. MORE
Zeitgeist: The Movie – 2007 by Peter Joseph from ZeitgeistMovie.com on Vimeo.
RELATED: Zeitgeist The Movie Companion [PDF]
ALSO: A wildlife officer pulled over the suspect in the assassination attempt against an Arizona congresswoman less than three hours before the deadly attack, authorities said Wednesday as they pieced together more details of a frenzied morning. Jared Lougher ran a red light but was let off with a warning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, the Arizona Game and Fish Department said. The officer took Loughner’s driver’s license and vehicle registration information but found no outstanding warrants on Loughner or his vehicle. Also that morning, Loughner, 22, ran into the desert from his angry father, who was chasing his son after seeing him remove a black bag from the trunk of a family car, said Rick Kastigar, chief of the department’s investigations bureau. Investigators are still searching for the bag. MORE
ALSO: Kelsey Hawkes, 21, dated Loughner when he was a sophomore and she was a freshman at Mountain View High School in Tucson. “I’ve just been very overwhelmed by everybody tracking me down and trying to get information out of me that I don’t have, or trying to pin our breakup on his behavioral change,” Hawkes wrote. “I did date Jared Loughner six years ago in high school, but he’s not the same Jared Loughner that the world now knows as a mass murderer — not the same person at all. What he chose to do with himself and his life between the time that we weren’t dating and what he did on Saturday is far beyond me.” MORE