Matt Towery

Last month, the media focused on another anniversary of the night John Lennon was shot in 1980 by a deranged and psychotic "fan," Mark David Chapman. He was obsessed with many things, including the book "Catcher in the Rye" -- and John Lennon.

The brilliant political analyst Charles Krauthammer, who at one time was a young practicing psychiatrist, has made it clear that from all of the confused emails and YouTube postings, plus the observations by acquaintances of the Tucson gunman, Jared Loughner, this was, as with Chapman, the act of a severely mentally ill person. It appears that Loughner had a "nonpartisan" obsession with Rep. Giffords, much as Mark David Chapman was obsessed with Lennon.

Now, many of the same columnists, commentators and politicians who have moved quickly to conclude that the "heated rhetoric" of politics is likely a partial or root cause of tragedies like the one in Arizona would never have even considered that the yesteryear rhetoric of John Lennon and Yoko Ono might have triggered leftist violence or social unrest. (Of course the commentariat's condemnations of overheated rhetoric today are mostly a not-so-subtle try at discrediting conservatives and the tea party.) "That was all about peace back then," they would say.

That's true. And so, too, it's true that those who've won political office thanks to grass-roots conservative movements have been speaking about liberty and restraining an overweening federal government.

There would never have been a case of "the liberal media vs. John Lennon" over his hot criticism of a war and the violent protests it helped spawn. It seems "heightened rhetoric" has no correlation to random violence when the shoe fits the left. But when it can be pinned on the right, there is a direct causal link.

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery