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Ian O'Doherty: You really think it’s her fault?

The shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords over the weekend was shocking, particularly the fact that a nine-year-old kid was one of those killed.

It was the kind of demented gun spree that we see too often in America and the fact that it happened in Arizona, which is currently one of the most controversial States of the Union, only added to the media frenzy.

After all, Arizona is at the frontline of the debate on illegal immigration and is flooded with illegal immigrants — and all their efforts to deal with the problem have led to them being called the most racist place in America.

So what persuaded Jared Loughner to commit this despicable act?

Well, he was known as a stoner who was linked to white power and anti-semitic groups, and Giffords was Jewish, so that's one possibility. He was extremely prolife and Giffords had voted to liberalise abortion laws, so that's certainly another possibility – after all, she wouldn't be the first person to be killed by a pro-life zealot.

But no, the American media was quick to inform us who was really to blame — Sarah Palin.

Within hours of the shooting, networks like CNN and liberal websites and blogs were all pointing the finger at Palin and saying that she and the Tea Party were responsible for winding Loughner up.

Look, I think Sarah Palin is a complete moron, but you can't blame her for the actions of a lone nutter.

Honestly, we have enough reasons to dislike her without inventing new ones — seriously guys, up your game a bit.

Well, that would make some difference...

What has science ever done for us? Sure, there's medicine, space travel and, most importantly, HD TV, but really science is overrated. Until now.

British scientists have come up with a new noisesuppression device that drowns out the sound of the hideous, hellish, banshee-like shriek of the dentist drill.

As regular readers will know (and thanks a lot for all the letters and emails recommending good dentists, and if the dentist who emailed in to offer his services could send it in again I'd appreciate it. I did something terrible to my computer and wiped all the emails), I am a complete bloody wuss who has only ever been to the dentist once.

And, verily, one of the abiding memories I have of that uniquely unpleasant ordeal was the sound of that feckin' drill coming near my mouth.

There's a reason why the likes of SAW and Hostel are so successful and while I can watch the most gruesome Italian splatter horror you can find, I personally prefer not to put myself in that kind of situation.

After all, what if the drill-wielding dentist is actually mad and has decided to let his psychosis run free?

What, God forbid, if the dentist had ever read this column and decided that he was going to punish me for crimes against journalism? I mean, I couldn't really blame him, to be honest, and no court in the land would convict him, but I'm not prepared to take the chance.

So, now they can drown out the sound of the drill — but they still haven't invented the device that could drown out the sound of my rather less than macho whimpering and begging as the procedure was conducted.

Well done lads, bang-up job

If there's one thing good about the current crisis . . . actually, scratch that, there is nothing good that has come out of the current crisis. But there has been a notable sense of solidarity from some people.

Even during the recent snow (I never, ever want to see another snow flake as long as I live), most people were quick to help out other stranded drivers and to get messages for elderly and infirm people who weren't able to get out to the shops.

Yup, there has been a sense that because we're all screwed to one degree or another we might as well realise that we're also in this together.

Well, everyone except the British-owned Irish Mail On Sunday, that is.

As you may know, the Star On Sunday closed down last week, with the loss of 17 full-time jobs and numerous other freelancers will also lose work.

It sent a chill through newsrooms all across Ireland, and as someone who has previously worked in a newspaper that closed down, I know just what a shitty feeling that is.

But then on Sunday, splashed on the front page of the Mail was the charming message: “Welcome To All Readers Of Irish Star Sunday”, which was just kicking a bunch of people when they were down. Bastards.

Oh will you just stop it

Just when you thought the hysteria and bullshit surrounding Gerry Ryan's death had subsided, along comes another gobshite to kick the debate off once more.

Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy has rather pointlessly thrown her hat into the ring by claiming that the delusional Gareth O'Callaghan should receive Garda protection because “Veronica Guerin faced down the same underworld figures”.

There's just one slight problem with that assertion — after all of O'Callaghan's bluster and fatuous nonsense, he was then forced to admit to the cops that he didn't actually know the names of any dealers and then they came out and publicly contradicted Ireland's very own Walter Mitty assertion that he was receiving protection from them.

Although police protection for O'Callaghan might not be a bad idea — after all, there are plenty of people in RTE who would happily string him up by the balls for his constant media presence.

Ian Spied

DVD Time

Tom Hanks certainly shed his image as America's Nicest Man in the Sam Mendes directedRoad To Perdition (2002). Hanks plays Mike Sullivan, an Irish-American hitman forced to go on the run from his own bosses when his son witnesses something he wasn't meant to see.

Years of loyalty and friendship go out the window and all bets are off. Paul Newman is brilliant as the ruthless crime boss and Jude Law, of all people, gives a remarkably strong performance as arival hitman.

Sample quote: “There are only murderers in this room, Michael. Open your eyes! This is the life we chose, the life we lead. And there is only one guarantee: none of us will see heaven.”