I know that Ethics Alarms has been a bit relentless regarding the accusations and the innuendos against Sarah Palin and others in the wake of the Arizona shooting, but it is an unusually widespread out-break of unfair conduct, and the Ethics Dunces are coming in waves, and from all sides and sectors.
We have a sheriff on the scene, Clarence Dupnik, who seems determined to create the assassin’s defense for him, by claiming, in the face of much evidence to the contrary, that he was driven to violence by inflammatory political rhetoric. Watch Loughner’s crack criminal defense team run with that. We have the nation’s supposedly premiere news source, the New York Times, running a revolting editorial describing Loughner’s attack as political, when this is clearly not true. (An excellent condemnation of the Times piece by James Taranto can and should be read here). Not to be outdone, Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the third-ranking House Democrat, took the same low road. Referencing defeated G.O.P. Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s justly criticized “Second Amendment solution” statement from the campaign (it probably, and justly, lost her the election), Clyburn tied it to Jared Loughner’s attack.
“He saw a Second Amendment remedy and that’s what occurred here and there is no way not to make that connection,” Clyburn told the Charleston Post and Courier.
Yes, there is a way, you shameless, irresponsible, foolish man—because there was no connection!!!!
There is no more reason to think Angle’s idiotic statement drove Loughner to start killing than there is cause to believe that he was inspired by pollster Mark Penn’s comment to Chris Matthews that Obama needed an Oklahoma City bombing-type event to turn the tables on anti-government opponents. Rep. Clyburn is engaging in one of the classic logical fallacies: post hoc ergo propter hoc (After this, therefore because of this).
Throwing around accusations in the aftermath of a murder based on a vile combination of partisan finger-pointing, cheap political point-scoring and brain-dead reasoning is about as low as politics can go. And that’s where Clyburn is: irresponsible, unfair, and dumb.