In the aftermath of last week's horrific school shooting in Red Lake, Minnesota a lot of theories have been floated about what might have motivated Jeff Weise to commit has terrible acts. What or who was to blame for the tragedy? It began with many of the usual suspects:
- Drugs: Weise was taking Prozac.
- Music: Initial reports claimed that Weise liked to listen to music with dark, violent messages. Recently this seems to have refuted, as I heard an interview with an relative who said that Weise enjoyed the likes of Johnny Cash and John Lennon (imagine that).
- Movies: Weise was said to have watched the school shooting movie "Elephant" just a few weeks before the shooting.
- Neo-Nazi websites: Weise appears to have had a fascination with Nazis and posted messages on Nazi themed web sites.
- Bullying: Apparently Weise was not the most popular kid in school and may have been the victim of bullies.
- Family history: Weise's father committed suicide when he was ten and has mother was left paralyzed after an auto accident in which one of Weise's cousins was killed.
The simplest explanation of course is that he was a very F'ed up kid who lost his tenuous connection with reality and snapped. But you can't have continuous media coverage based on such simple premises. There has to be more.
Late last week, I noticed the emergence of a another theory to explain the unexplainable. A theory that I predict will gain credence as we go forward because it will allow its proponents to use the tragedy at Red Lake for their own political purposes.
The reason that we had a school shooting at Red Lake is because Governor Pawlenty refuses to raise taxes.
Outlandish you say? No one would dream of trying to get away with such an obvious shameless politicalization of the issue, right? Don't be so sure.
You should never underestimate the lengths that the pro-government, pro-spending, pro-confiscating your money crowd is willing to go to. Remember that it was only last year that Governor Pawlenty was being blamed because people's commutes were slower when it snowed. For a while it seemed like every problem that came down the pike was being laid at Pawlenty's feet because of his cold-hearted indifference to the need to spend more of your money.
For now, the fingers aren't being pointed directly at Pawlenty. The talk is about lack of funding for early childhood education or that we don't have enough counselors in our schools to help kids like Weise. Not to make light of a serious subject, but when I hear talk of more counselors, I can't help but imagine Mr. Macky from "South Park":
Mr. Macky: Uh, Jeff...Don't shoot kids in school, m'kay?
But give this thing a week or two and the dots, they'll be a connected. A troubled kid shoots up a school....That troubled kid could have been helped by counseling and/or ECE....Governor Pawlenty cut programs for school counselors and/or ECE in the last budget instead of raising taxes....Governor Pawlenty's refusal to raise taxes is the reason for the Red Lake shooting.
And it won't be limited to the Guv either. Republicans in the MN House and Senate will fall in for their share of culpability as well. Then there's David Strom of the Taxpayers' League. Although it doesn't seem possible that they could demonize him any more (he already has been unfavorably compared to Satan after all), I would imagine that the Strom haters in the local media will use the Red Lake shooting as another excuse to sully his good name.
Although the behavior of the pro-government folks in this regard is inexcusable, it is really not all that surprising. When you believe that government is the ultimate provider and the answer to life's problems, then the mere fact that something like Red Lake occurred means that somewhere along the way government failed. And we all know what the answer is when government fails, don't we?
That's right, more government. (See the debate over education funding.)
UPDATE: Dan e-mails to point out a cartoon which lays the blame for Red Lake at the foot of another political leader; President Bush.