The Loughner Totem

First Lady Michelle Obama has written an “Open Letter to Parents Following the Tragedy in Tucson,” which can be read at the White House website.  Like her husband’s speech in Tucson, it has some fine passages, was issued with dubious timing, and includes some horribly mistaken assumptions.  It’s part of the official Obama effort to turn Tucson psycho Jared Loughner into a totem, which the Left can use in their continuing effort to push the “Climate of Hate” narrative.

The premise of the letter is that children will have many questions about the Tucson horror, and “they don’t lend themselves to easy answers.”  Rush Limbaugh had some fun with this notion on his radio program today, pointing out that the answers are indeed easy: a lunatic opened fire in a crowd , injuring and killing innocent people.  I don’t have any first-hand experience with kids asking about the tragedy, but I would think they might be especially interested because one of the victims was nine-year-old Christina Green, who is prominently and appropriately mentioned by the First Lady.

Mrs. Obama’s letter becomes problematic when she offers suggestions for discussion topics.  She says parents have an opportunity to “teach some valuable lessons about the character of our country, about the values we hold dear, and about finding hope at a time when it seems far away.”  Try to imagine a household where Mom and Dad sit the kids down and have such a grandiose discussion, five days after a breaking news event.  It sounds like something the Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen characters on Modern Family would do, complete with a PowerPoint presentation.

The First Lady also encourages us to seize this moment to teach our kids “the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us.  We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.”  Anyone who watches MSNBC already knows all about the horrible results of failing to do that.

We’re also supposed to explain that “anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and wants to serve it.”  Anyone?  Really?  The lesson America should impose upon its children at this moment is the universally selfless purity of public servants?  If there’s one thing this country needs less of, it’s blind faith in government, coupled with the default assumption of moral superiority for politicians and bureaucrats.

Even the less hysterical reactions to Jared Loughner have tended to inflate his significance in politically useful ways.  The President did this repeatedly in his Tucson memorial speech.  The truth is that Loughner was not an enemy of “tolerance,” unless you accept a definition of “intolerance” so broad as to render it meaningless – and as we all know by now, that is the kind of thing that really made the veins in Loughner’s head throb.  He wasn’t an agent of some hostile power, and America did not come under attack last weekend. 

His actions should prompt some serious evaluation of mental health policies and Arizona law enforcement, not a tortured national drama in which America howls impossible questions into the dark shadows of its very soul.  His existence does not shake the concepts of civil society, the right to bear arms, or freedom of speech to their very cores.  He did not become a political operative just because some of his victims were politicians.

Last Saturday, a deeply messed-up guy with a brain full of paranoid conspiracy theories tried to kill a woman he’s been obsessed with for several years.  His rampage claimed six innocent lives.  The only reason anyone thinks the story is any more complicated than that is because Michelle Obama’s political allies and media friends made a titanic effort to produce a national panic, and silence their enemies.  Try explaining that to your kids, Mrs. Obama.