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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 11, 2011 / 6 Shevat, 5771

Is Arizona shooting an empty search for meaning?

By Michael Gerson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When President John Kennedy visited Dallas in November 1963, he was greeted by a full-page newspaper ad accusing him of being a communist fellow traveler. To his wife he observed, "Oh, you know, we're headed into nut country today." The city, according to historian William Manchester, was a "mecca" for "the Minutemen, the John Birch and Patrick Henry societies."

In the hours following Kennedy's assassination, aides assumed a right-wing radical was responsible. When Robert Kennedy informed Jacqueline about Lee Harvey Oswald's leftist background, she felt sick. "He didn't even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights," she said. "It's - it had to be some silly little communist." Eventually, the Warren Commission found no direct connection between Kennedy's assassination and the city's "general atmosphere of hate."

It is a natural human desire to invest tragedy with meaning, to make grief coherent. Manchester, who chronicled JFK's final day, concluded, "If you put the murdered president of the United States on one side of the scale and that wretched waif Oswald on the other side, it doesn't balance. You want to add something weightier to Oswald. It would invest the president's death with meaning."

The killings in Arizona deserve to have a meaning. The first assassination attempt on a female federal officeholder. The shooting of a respected federal judge. The murder of a girl born on a day known for death, Sept. 11, 2001. We want these lives and all the others to be balanced by something weightier than Jared Loughner.

A killer such as John Wilkes Booth represented a conspiracy and a cause. He was hanged to repudiate an idea. A would-be assassin such as John Hinckley symbolizes little more than the sad incapacity of a single mind. Based on current evidence, Loughner more closely resembles Hinckley. Yet he is different in some respects. The alleged Arizona killer shows signs of psychosis. But he also seems to have contributed to his own corruption by dabbling in moral nihilism, conspiracy theories and other drugs. In the absence of organic disease, it is possible for a man or woman to gradually destroy their character and conscience. The voice in Loughner's head may have been his own.

This does not have a crude political application. Some liberal critics of polarization have accused their ideological opponents, on the thinnest of circumstantial evidence, of complicity in murder. This is an extreme and ironic symptom of polarization. But outrage on the right should be tempered by the recognition that many conservatives would be capable of hasty judgments under different circumstances. Suppose an unstable leftist loner, with some peripheral ties to ACORN, had shot a Republican congressman. Americans never use the actions of an individual to judge the guilt of a group - unless it is the Tea Party, or immigrants, or conservatives, or liberals, or Muslims or fundamentalists, or anyone else who is really, really disliked.

Asserting simplistic political blame in the Arizona killings is a destructive enterprise. But a lack of causation does not mean the event is without meaning. There is inspiration in the examples of those who provided aid, including Daniel Hernandez, as self-possessed as a medic on a battlefield. And there is a warning in the example of Loughner. His views are tinged with madness but are not unrecognizable. They are the distorted reflection of any ideology, of right or left, defined by resentment, conspiracy theories, illusions of persecution and hatred for the other. Loughner lives at the center of this blighted ideological landscape; others, from birthers to truthers, visit its outskirts. It is the place where madness and politics merge.

Among the details to emerge from Arizona is Loughner's list of favorite books. "The Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf" do not surprise. But "To Kill a Mockingbird" is harder to explain. It is a moving depiction of empathy - the ability to walk in someone else's shoes. Yet Harper Lee is also brutally realistic about human nature - more realistic than her creation, Atticus Finch.

One hopes that Loughner, with time on his hands, will reread this section: " 'He was out of his mind,' said Atticus. 'Don't like to contradict you, Mr. Finch - wasn't crazy, mean as hell. Low-down skunk with enough liquor in him to make him brave enough to kill children." Crazy, mean as hell, or both, this is the achievement of Jared Loughner.


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Previously:



01/07/11 WikiLeaks gives dangerous ammunition to a tyrant
01/04/11 Michael Vick: Symbol of the second chance
12/28/10 Social Security reform is the answer to Obama's problems --- and the nation's
12/21/10 When foreign policy realism isn't realistic
12/17/10 When it comes to politics, Obama's ego keeps getting in the way
11/26/10 Libs resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama's problems
11/19/10 With Holder at the helm, detainee policy is a disaster
11/12/10 Blue-state budget crises spell even more trouble for Dems
10/19/10 Obama the snob
10/12/10 Seeds of victory in Afghanistan
10/05/10 Believers' remorse
10/04/10 Pound-foolish on national security
09/28/10 Babylon on the Potomac
09/27/10 Our reluctant commander in chief
09/21/10 Blue strongholds are becoming Democratic graveyards
09/17/10 For the GOP, a bittersweet brew from the Tea Party
09/15/10: Insanity's great enablers
09/13/10: The lost communicator
09/08/10: Will 2010 midterms be 1994 all over again?
09/01/10: Obama's economic wandering
08/27/10: Miracles from abroad
08/25/10: Address these issues in order to strengthen the Tea Party
08/20/10: The lost promise of Barack Obama
07/23/10: Obama's greatest nightmare
02/04/09: The Reality of Innocence
01/07/09: The Risks in Obama's Ambitions
12/31/08: Support Obama Will Need
06/13/08: Prince Charles, Organic Conservatism Icon
06/11/08: No longer a bankrupt political joke but still overshadowed
04/23/08: McCain's anger management
04/10/08: A Country for Old Men
03/06/08: Does the America Need a Hug?
03/06/08: Obama's First 100 Days
02/29/08: Words Aren't Cheap
02/22/08: He Said, They Said
02/20/08: Dying silently in Zimbabwe
02/15/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


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