Christian Hartsock
How John Lennon killed Sharon Tate (and other ideas for MSM narratives)
By Christian Hartsock
January 11, 2011

John Lennon murdered Sharon Tate. Jodie Foster shot Ronald Reagan. Oliver Stone and Marilyn Manson caused Columbine. A dog ordered the Son of Sam killings. And Fox News, the Tea Party and the American right compelled Jared Loughner to shoot Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in Tucson.

The only reason these parallels don't work is that while Charles Manson did in fact draw inspiration from The White Album, John Hinckley from Taxi Driver, Harris and Klebold from Natural Born Killers and (somewhat debatably) Marilyn Manson, and David Berkowitz from a Labrador retriever, there is no evidence Jared Loughner even watched Fox News or leaned right. Inconveniently, a former friend and bandmate described Loughner as "left-wing political radical" and "quite liberal," and Loughner claimed The Communist Manifesto as one of his favorite books ( on his YouTube page where he also released video burning the American flag.

But when it comes to exploiting human tragedy to "pick a target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it" (in Saul Alinsky's words), no facts will obstruct a perfectly salvageable mainstream media narrative.

Writing in The New York Times, Paul Krugman mouthwateringly jumped at the bit to officialize the tragedy as a cue for "the GOP's leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers," giving dire caution over "the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we're going to see in the months and years ahead," and blaming a "climate of hate." Jane Fonda blamed the tragedy on "violence-provoking rhetoric of the Tea Party" — a movement whose standards of civility apparently don't live up to those of the Viet Cong.

This "climate of hate" and "violence-provoking rhetoric" certainly wouldn't include the congressional maps put out by the Democrat Leadership Committee using actual shooting targets ( (as opposed to the surveyor crosshairs used by SarahPAC), nor Barack Obama's 2008 "if they bring a knife to a fight we bring a gun" remarks (, nor the environmentalist 10:10 "No Pressure" ad ( featuring children being blown up for questioning green control tactics, nor the West Hollywood display of Sarah Palin hanging from a noose (, nor the feature film Death of a President fantasizing the assassination of George W. Bush (, nor Wanda Sykes giving President Obama a good tickle by wishing kidney failure upon Rush Limbaugh (, nor Bill Maher regretting that the terrorist assassination plot against Dick Cheney didn't pan out(,2933,256650,00.html), nor even the gunshots fired into Republican Congressman Eric Cantor's office during this past spring (

Naturally, only conservatives are to blame for a violent act by an apparent liberal. And instead of blaming Al Gore and the environmental movement for James J. Lee, the man who held three hostages at the Discovery Channel building with explosives attached to him this past September and claimed An Inconvenient Truth as his inspiration, we blamed one person: James J. Lee. For the same reason, here is a list of people I blame for the Tucson shooting (forgive the brevity):

1) Jared Lee Loughner

2) See 1)

I have publicly criticized zealous, unguarded conservative tactics before, such as in my piece Keep the Tea Kool-Aid Free( and been chastised for it. Nevertheless, sorry, but I will not blame ignorant conservative tactics for this shooting by a described left-wing radical. Nor will I ever blame a violent act on anyone save the perpetrator. Tellingly, there has yet to be one conservative commentator to exploit what we know of Loughner's leftist background to fault leftism itself. I will not be the first do that anymore than I will blame leftism for the shootings of Presidents James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy — all of whom were shot by left-wing radicals.

It is a shame that six innocent lives were taken in Tucson and instead of being a nation in mourning we are perversely forced to have a political debate. It is the same impulse which we see far too often on the left that insatiably itches for division in America, injecting political poison into apolitical or non-racial events to resurrect factionalism in race, class and persuasion — be it the Henry Louis Gates arrest, the Duke lacrosse "rape," Hurricane Katrina, the SB1070 bill, the 2008 election, and endless other instances. "Progressives" are now demanding that divisiveness be toned down? Please, be my guests.

In Spike Lee's brilliant 1999 film Summer of Sam, a group of friends begins to use the Son of Sam murders as a catharsis for their internecine animosities towards one another to the extent of forming lynch mobs. Perhaps there is an element of human nature that compels many to react to a tragedy by spreading the blame around. But I have a strange feeling we can do better.

© Christian Hartsock


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Christian Hartsock

Christian Hartsock, 24, is a director, screenwriter, producer and political columnist and activist... (more)

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