Why Does This Bother Me So Much?


I wrote an open note to John Gruber of DaringFireball.net taking him to task for being so quick to jump on the liberal bandwagon and to blame Saturday’s shooting on the rhetoric from Sarah Palin and others. As a rational human, I should have let it go then. But it still bothers me now.


So I’ve given this a fair amount of thought. I had a note from a reader who said that he is right, that certainly inflammatory rhetoric such as Palins’ and Kelly’s should be mentioned in the context of this shooting.

But why should it be? Because the killer heard it? Because the killer believed it? Because the killer… because the killer what? What is it, exactly, that the killer took away from Palin’s and Kelly’s messages?

Or did he even hear these messages?

I have no idea what the shooter heard—real or imagined. I have no idea what his motivations were.

But John Gruber implied that he knows what the shooter heard. He, as many others have as well, implies that the shooter heard Palin’s and Kelly’s speeches and took them to be orders to shoot to kill. He jumped on the liberal bandwagon just as fast as he could.

That bothers me… some.

See, John Gruber is a superb technical analyst. He has a head for all things Apple and, I daresay, a fair amount of the tech industry as well. His prescience is uncannily accurate when he is dealing with topics he’s grown up with. He reasons through things. He argues things openly so we, his readers, can understand how he reaches his conclusions.

Here, though, he’s gotten caught up in the emotional, in the hype, and, in my opinion, has reached a conclusion before any of the facts are known. While it may be only a matter of time before the killer’s lawyers stand up in a courtroom and finger rhetoric as the cause of the shooter’s actions, that hasn’t happened yet. John knows it, and so do I.

Is it possible that the shooter heard Sarah Palin’s speeches and divined it necessary to shoot Representative Giffords? Yes. Is it possible that he heard voices in his head that told him to do so? Yes. Is it possible that his next-door neighbor, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, mentioned in an off-handed, light sort of way that he’d like to see Representative Giffords dead for all the mess she’s made of… whatever? Yes. Is it possible that he is an anti-Semite and found a convenient target in Representative Giffords? Yes. Is it possible that…?

These are all possibilities, and the possibilities are endless and completely unknown at this point. Unlike his other writing, though, which is careful and well-thought-out, John Gruber discounts all other possibilities in favor of the one that is the most divisive and suits his liberal agenda the best.

So… what?

Well, as a commenter to my original post said, it’s his blog and he can do with it what he wishes. But for me, that’s a problem. That he can get so carried away with conclusions which defy logic makes me want to question his judgement on the subjects where he most certainly has become an expert, even though I know they are totally unrelated.

And that’s what bothers me so much. I want to write him off totally as a liberal, left-leaning looney, just like everybody has written off the Sarah Palins and Ann Coulters of the world because of their beliefs and opinions. But I can’t do it! I can’t simply write him off because of one of his beliefs, because of one of his views, because of one of his opinions.

Therein lies the bother. I want to take the irrational approach, too, but I just can’t seem to hitch my wagon to that train.

Instead, I offer up my apologies to John.


I apologize for that note of the other day. It is, after all, your blog, and you can do with it what you want to. Keep up the good work, but don’t go off the deep end too often. I look forward to reading what you have to say on all subjects and, though I will disagree with you vehemently on your political views, I will most certainly be all the better for understanding your viewpoints.


And now I can let that one go.

Recent Comments