Jon Stewart opened his show tonight to give a short, serious speech about the shootings in Arizona, but he didn’t cite political discourse as somehow responsible for the tragedy.
“I wouldn’t blame our political rhetoric any more than I would blame heavy metal music for Columbine,” he said, adding that “Boy, would it be nice to draw a straight line from this horror to something tangible, because then we could convince ourselves that if we just stopped this, then the horrors will end.”
“You cannot outsmart crazy,” he said. “You don’t know what a troubled mind will get caught on.”
Stewart’s comments had been highly anticipated, given that he led the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington in October. While he criticized media hyperbole at that event, he didn’t cite it as a factor in the Arizona shootings.
He said, “I don’t know if there is a way to make sense of this thing.”
He did call for toning down the highly charged rhetoric, “if for no other reason than to draw a distinction.”
“It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn”t resemble how we talk to each other on TV,” he said. “Let’s at least make troubled individuals easier to spot.”
His full speech is here.