Friday, July 20, 2012
Rush Limbaugh, Words Hurt
Today people are reliving a tragedy in Aurora Colorado. For all we know maybe some of the same people were involved, given Columbine is only twelve miles away. Have we become any more humane in thought or deed in the intervening years? Absolutely not. Our weapons have become even more lethal, and our speech even more filled with hate and vitriol. People still haven't figured out that Bambi doesn't wear Kevlar and that different doesn't mean wrong, or "the enemy." And of course hate radio thrives, with the same singularly repulsive voice out-oinking the rest of the pigs seeking prime-time scraps from their corporate masters.
Case in point, Rush Limbaugh's rant this week against the vast left wing conspiracy surrounding the release of the Batman movie with "Bane" as the bad guy, which is pronounced the same as "Bain," Mitt Romney's notorious job outsourcing corporation/person. Rush would have us believe that decades ago, when the Batman series was being written in comic book form, or perhaps just several years ago, when it was being written in movie form, someone had traveled to the future and reported back that Romney was likely to be running as the republican candidate for President in 2012, so the film was then timed for release at that time with the bad guy named after his, at the time unknown corporation/person. This makes perfect sense in Rush-world.
Infinitely more troubling, it may have made complete sense to a tortured young man surrounded by his republican-red painted walls, waiting for "a sign" that it was time for him to make his assault-weapon attack on innocent Americans. This is often the case with the gravely mentally ill; they wait for some "signal" that it is the right time for their fantasy plan to unfold. Was Rush's rant this 24 year old doctoral student's undoing? Was it his final straw? Does he, himself even know in the mixed up chemical soup his brain has somehow become? We will never know. What police are likely to get from him is a mixture of rant and pure logic, as he is clearly horrifically damaged somehow yet was able to make his way into a doctoral program.
We would tend to think "something snapped" but it took time to gather all these weapons and the gear he has. It is becoming clear as I write this that this was not an impulsive act and that the man in question was extremely well prepared in advance. He owned several police/FBI-style assault weapons, probably perfectly legally, as well as black police/FBI-style riot gear. His apartment was booby-trapped. At the time of the attack and murders he reportedly had red or orange hair and he called himself "the Joker" to the police, so the Batman movie was not random. We do not know how long he was fascinated by the franchise or for how long he planned this attack, but that trigger was clearly primed.
My concern here is that in a nation where literally anyone can get his or her hands on assault weapons, we do not need radio comedy show personalities like Rush Limbaugh (or politicians like Michele Bachmann) spewing hate, even if they are laughing at their gullible listeners all the way to the bank. He knows and we know he's just a buffoon, but ludicrous at is may seem, all too many people take his words as absolute Gospel. Some of these people are otherwise sane, even educated professional people. My late brother was a respected medical professional and even gay and as much of a bigot as Rush is, even he listened to the guy and agreed with him! How does that go...it's all about the Benjamins? Money talks, and in some cases it also kills.
To me it would seem that any rational person knows two things about Rush:
1. He cannot possibly be serious. His comments are just way too over the top. He plays to his audience for the money, plain and simple. It's despicable and irresponsible, but perfectly legal. It's immoral and unethical and may now have driven someone that one final step to murder a dozen people and maim seventy-some more, but in his view, hey...it beats working for a living. "Medical care" doesn't come cheap.
2. Whatever he's taking is not doing him any favors. Rush is clearly still using, and it is my strong suspicion abusing, some form of mind altering substance(s). My professional observations lead me to suspect a combinations of the drugs Methadone and Xanax, given his history of long-term Oxycontin (O, oxy, o.c., 80's) abuse, fluid retention, massive percentage of adipose (fat) tissue, memory lapses, mood swings, and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). This could also be supplemented with sleep medication.
Could you sleep if you did what Rush does for a living? This would also explain his many memory lapses. Like many liars, he has trouble remembering what he's said in the past, which often catches him up when he tries to "walk things back." It's like he forgets he's on tape, but actually he's just numbed himself emotionally. If he weren't such a monstrosity, I'd feel sorry for him. I do NOT mean monstrosity in the physical sense, for the record. That can be changed. What Rush is, I'm afraid, is beyond repair, as much as I wish it weren't so. There is no Wizard to give him a heart, a brain, or the even just the courage to try to be a better man.
No, indeed, do not expect any apologies from Rush. In fact, expect him to behave like a rabid attack dog. He will know that people are out here, naming him and Michele Bachmann and people like them for what they're doing.
It's a very fine line to tread, to confront what they do honestly and forthrightly without becoming what I so despise. I stumble from time to time. I get carried away into hyperbole on occasion, but I've never called for violence against anyone, and I try to remember there are real human beings involved in these tragedies. In fact that is exactly what drives me. It is the innocent who so often suffer from the excesses of the powerful and the loud.
The far right wing and their owners, the NRA and other big money power buyers, are so distanced from anything resembling a conscience, this will not be a personal tragedy for them. It won't matter to them that living, breathing, for the most part very young human beings at the very beginning of their lives, are dead. This will be a call to even MORE arms. This is what's so troubling about what I've seen so far.
Most of the comments I've seen from that side of the political spectrum so far are about "oh great, now they're going to try to take away my guns." PEOPLE ARE DEAD! At least mourn them before you start worrying about the next murderous conspiracy theory!