This guy should be executed yesterday.
There are few individuals in any society who are lower than pedophiles, abusers of the elderly or mass murderers. Hypocrites would seem to follow close behind. The attempt by the loony left to portray the psychotic Arizona shooter as a conservative ideologue to exploit the tragedy for a partisan purpose is beyond reprehensible or scurrilous. Mayor Michael Bloobmerg tried to pin the May 2010 Times Square bombing on the Tea Party.
It began within hours of Saturday’s horrifying shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and nearly 20 others, even before the gunman was identified.
Posted at 5:28 PM ET, 01/10/2011
Jared Lee Loughner was a registered independent, didn’t vote in 2010 election
By Chris Cillizza
Suspected Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner registered as an independent voter in Arizona in the fall of 2006, according to the Pima County Registrar of Voters.
Loughner registered to vote on Sept. 29, 2006, identifying himself as an independent. Records show he voted in the 2006 and 2008 elections but is current listed as “inactive” on the state’s voter roles — meaning that he did not vote in November.
The political affiliations of Loughner, who is being charged by state and federal authorities with the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) as well as 19 other victims outside a Tucson grocery store on Saturday, have become the subject of a white-hot partisan debate in recent days.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, liberals sought to paint Loughner as an anti-government, tea party conservative. Conservatives retorted that Loughner lacked anything close to a coherent political philosophy — a case strengthened by subsequent glimpses into his personal life that suggests someone struggling with mental illness.
Loughner’s decision to affiliate as an independent rather than a Republican or Democrat would seem to affirm the sense that while he targeted Giffords in the attack, it was not a decision born of a set of deeply held political beliefs that fit neatly into either party.
I don’t have much to say about what happened this weekend other than the obvious: it’s a tragedy, and I hope we are making adequate provision to care for victims who may now face decades of disability. But as to the rest–we still don’t know why he did it. Many of the people who rushed to blame this on their political opponents made themselves look like first class jerks, an impression that was not improved when we got more information, and they doubled down rather than simply admit that they had perhaps jumped to conclusions.
At this writing, it seems as though the violent rhetoric this guy was listening to came from the voices in his head, not the radio or cable TV. There is no evidence that his ideas were significantly influenced by anyone, left or right, or that saying mean things about Giffords made his fixations worse; we’re talking about someone whose main grievance seems to have been that she wouldn’t address his concerns about a conspiracy to control the grammar of American Standard English.
This never looked much like an assassination, which usually targets a single politician, not nine-year-old girls who happen to be standing near them. And after reading his ramblings, it’s pretty clear that he was some kind of crazy, and that his community turned away from his craziness rather than trying to intervene. But even that judgement may be premature. And anyway, it’s not enough to say that he was crazy–even paranoid schizophrenia does not elevate the risk of violent behavior by that much. Most mentally ill people do not attack other people.
In this instance and others, arrows of truth are absent from their armory of ideas.
Liberals who opined in the New York Times or the Washington Post and the DailyKos have exposed themselves as mere tax and spend ideologues. Just as they believed Barack Obama represented a change for the better and were wrong, with their poisonous rhetoric, their hollow charges fell flat.
Having worked in a psych hospital in a previous life where I encountered paranoid patients who were, followed by the FBI, the government, or an agent of the the CIA from the planet (pick a name), it was evident that the AZ shooter is a nutjob, a paranoid-schizophenic with delusions of grandeur. Not a right wing wacko or left wing loon, he’s just lost. Jared Loughner, dropped out of high school and attended community college to become functionally educated. He lacked social skills and was rejected by the Army; his life was on a cruise to nowhere. The following evidence pointed to this cursory conclusion (January 9) and is confirmed today. He wanted to go out in a blaze of glory.
Gabrielle Giffords shooting: Jared Loughner ‘believed he could fly’
A schoolfriend of Jared Loughner, the main suspect in the shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has spoken about his friend’s obsessions with dreams, chaos and government.
10:00PM GMT 10 Jan 2011
Bryce Tierney, 22, was a school and college friend of Jared Loughner, the man charged with the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.
On the eve of the shooting, Loughner rang Mr Tierney and left a voicemail on his mobile phone, saying: “Hey man, it’s Jared. Me and you had good times. Peace out. Later.”
Mr Tierney said that when he heard the news of the shooting, he immediately thought that Loughner was the culprit.
Mr Tierney told Mother Jones magazine that his friend became obsessed with dreams and kept a diary of his nightime visions.
He said Loughner was “more interested in this world than our reality.”
Mr Tierney said: “I saw his dream journal once. That’s the golden piece of evidence. You want to know what goes on in Jared Loughner’s mind, there’s a dream journal that will tell you everything.”
He said that Loughner sometimes approached strangers and would say “weird” things.
“He would do it because he thought people were below him and he knew they wouldn’t know what he was talking about.”
By the beginning of 2010, Loughner’s imaginary world was taking precedence over his everyday life, Mr Tierney said.
“He sort of drifted off, didn’t really care about hanging out with friends. He’d be sleeping a lot.
“He figured out he could fly.”
Loughner, according to Mr Tierney, told his friends, “I’m so into it because I can create things and fly. I’m everything I’m not in this world.
“I think the reason he did it was mainly to just promote chaos. He wanted the media to freak out about this whole thing. He wanted exactly what’s happening. He wants all of that.”
Jared Loughner’s behavior recorded by college classmate in e-mails
By David A. Fahrenthold
In early June, Lynda Sorenson, 52, had gone back to community college in Tucson in hopes of getting back on the job market. One of her classes was a basic algebra class–and one of her classmates wasJared Loughner, now identified by authorities as the man who killed six people and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in a shooting rampage Saturday. Sorenson’s e-mails to friends from last summer, provided to the Washington Post, reveal her growing alarm at Loughner’s strange and disruptive behavior in class.
From June 1, the first day of class:
“One day down and nineteen to go. We do have one student in the class who was disruptive today, I’m not certain yet if he was on drugs (as one person surmised) or disturbed. He scares me a bit. The teacher tried to throw him out and he refused to go, so I talked to the teacher afterward. Hopefully he will be out of class very soon, and not come back with an automatic weapon.”
From June 10:
“As for me, Thursday means the end to week two of algebra class. It seems to be going by quickly, but then I do have three weeks to go so we’ll see how I feel by then. Class isn’t dull as we have a seriously disturbed student in the class, and they are trying to figure out how to get rid of him before he does something bad, but on the other hand, until he does something bad, you can’t do anything about him. Needless to say, I sit by
From June 14:
“We have a mentally unstable person in the class that scares the living crap out of me. He is one of those whose picture you see on the news, after he has come into class with an automatic weapon. Everyone interviewed would say, Yeah, he was in my math class and he was really weird. I sit by the door with my purse handy. If you see it on the news one night, know that I got out fast…”
The class’s instructor, Ben McGahee, said in an interview Sunday that Loughner had been removed from class in its third or fourth week, because of repeated disruptions.
Shooting suspect’s nihilism rose with isolation
Posted: Jan 09, 2011 4:55 PM EST
Updated: Jan 10, 2011 7:56 AM EST
By JUSTIN PRITCHARD
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – At an event roughly three years ago, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords took a question from Jared Loughner, the man accused of trying to assassinate her and killing six other people. According to two of his high school friends the question was essentially this: “What is government if words have no meaning?”
Loughner was angry about her response – she read the question and didn’t have much to say.
“He was like … ‘What do you think of these people who are working for the government and they can’t describe what they do?’” one friend told The Associated Press on Sunday. “He did not like government officials, how they spoke. Like they were just trying to cover up some conspiracy.”
Both friends spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they wanted to avoid the publicity surrounding the case. To them, the question was classic Jared: confrontational, nonsensical and obsessed with how words create reality.
The friends’ comments paint a picture bolstered by other former classmates and Loughner’s own Internet postings: that of a social outcast with nihilistic, almost indecipherable beliefs steeped in mistrust and paranoia.
“If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem,” the 22-year-old wrote Dec. 15 in a wide-ranging screed that was posted in video form and ended with nearly the same question his friends said he posed to Giffords: “What’s government if words don’t have meaning?”
On Sunday, Loughner was charged in the shootings a day earlier at a political event outside a Tucson supermarket. Aside from the six killed, 14 people were injured. Doctors were optimistic about Giffords’ chances for survival.
Loughner had at least one other contact with Giffords. Investigators said they carried out a search warrant at Loughner’s home and seized a letter addressed to him from Giffords’ congressional stationery in which she thanked him for attending a “Congress on your Corner” event at a mall in Tucson in 2007. Saturday’s shooting occurred at a similar event.
Other evidence seized from his home included an envelope from a safe with messages such as “I planned ahead,” ”My assassination” and the name “Giffords” next to what appears to be Loughner’s signature. Police say he purchased the Glock pistol used in the attack in November.
Loughner lives with his parents about a five-minute drive from the shootings, in a middle-class neighborhood lined with desert landscaping and palm trees. Sheriff’s deputies blocked off much of the street Sunday.
Neighbors said Loughner kept to himself and was often seen walking his dog, almost always wearing a hooded sweat shirt and listening to his iPod.
His high school friends said they fell out of touch with Loughner and last spoke to him around March, when one of them was going to set up some bottles in the desert for target practice and Loughner suggested he might come along. It was unusual – Loughner hadn’t expressed an interest in guns before – and his increasingly confrontational behavior was pushing them apart. He would send bizarre text messages, but also break off contact for weeks on end.
“We just started getting sketched out about him,” the friend said. It was the first time he’d felt that way.
Around the same time, Loughner’s behavior also began to worry officials at Pima Community College, where Loughner began attending classes in 2005, the school said in a release.
Between February and September, Loughner “had five contacts with PCC police for classroom and library disruptions,” the statement said. He was suspended in September 2010 after college police discovered a YouTube video in which Loughner claimed the college was illegal according to the U.S. Constitution. He withdrew voluntarily the following month, and was told he could return only if, among other things, a mental health professional agreed he did not present a danger, the school said.
It was at the college that Loughner had posed his question to Giffords about government and words, one friend said. A college spokesman said Giffords often has used school property for open events; a Giffords spokesman said he was not sure at which event the exchange would have taken place.
Loughner’s alienation from his friends was gradual.
The Loughner they met when he was a freshman at Mountain View High School may have been socially awkward, but he was generally happy and fun to be around. The crew smoked marijuana every day, and when they weren’t going to concerts or watching movies they talked about the meaning of life and dabbled in conspiracy theories.
For a time, Loughner drank heavily, to the point of poisoning himself, the friends said. Once, during school lunch break as a junior, he downed so much tequila that he came back to class, within five minutes passed out cold, had to be rushed to the hospital and “almost died,” one friend said.
Mistrust of government was Loughner’s defining conviction, the friends said. He believed the U.S. government was behind 9/11, and worried that governments were maneuvering to create a unified monetary system (“a New World Order currency” one friend said) so that social elites and bureaucrats could control the rest of the world.
On his YouTube page, he listed among his favorite books “Animal Farm” and “Brave New World” – two novels about how authorities control the masses. Other books in the wide-ranging list included “Mein Kampf,” ”The Communist Manifesto,” ”Peter Pan” and Aesop’s Fables.
Over time, Loughner became increasingly introspective – what one of the friends described as a “nihilistic rut.”
An ardent atheist, he began to characterize people as sheep whose free will was being sapped by the government and the monotony of modern life.
“He didn’t want people to wake up and do the same thing every day. He wanted more chaos, he wanted less regularity,” one friend said.
The friends said Loughner told anyone who would listen that the world we see does not exist, that words have no meaning – and that the only way to derive meaning was during sleep. Loughner began obsessing about a practice called lucid dreaming, in which people try to actively control their sleeping world.
Several people who knew Loughner at community college said he did not engage in political discussions – in fact, he didn’t talk much at all, and when he did classmates cringed.
“He made a lot of the people really uncomfortable, especially the girls in the class,” said Steven Cates, who attended an advanced poetry writing class with Loughner at Pima Community College last spring. Though he struck up a passing friendship with Loughner, he said a group of other students went to the teacher to complain about Loughner at one point.
Another poetry student, Don Coorough, said Loughner read a poem about bland tasks such as showering, going to the gym and riding the bus in wild “poetry slam” style – “grabbing his crotch and jumping around the room.”
When other students, always seated, read their poems, Coorough said Loughner “would laugh at things that you wouldn’t laugh at.” After one woman read a poem about abortion, “he was turning all shades of red and laughing,” and said, “Wow, she’s just like a terrorist, she killed a baby,” Coorough said.
“He appeared to be to me an emotional cripple or an emotional child,” Coorough said. “He lacked compassion, he lacked understanding and he lacked an ability to connect.”
Cates said Loughner “didn’t have the social intelligence, but he definitely had the academic intelligence.”
“He was very into the knowledge aspect of school. He was really into his philosophy classes and he was really into logic and English. And he would get frustrated by the dumbed-down words people used in class,” Cates said.
Loughner expressed his interest in grammar and logic on the Internet as he made bizarre claims – such as that the Mars rover and the space shuttle missions were faked.
He frequently used “if-then” constructions in making nonsensical arguments. For instance: “If the living space is able to maintain the crews life at a temperature of -454F then the human body is alive in the NASA Space Shuttle. The human body isn’t alive in the NASA Space Shuttle. Thus, the living space isn’t able to maintain the crews life at a temperature of -454F.”
Loughner also said in one video that government is “implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.” He described America’s laws as “treasonous” and said that “every human who’s mentally capable is always able to be treasurer of their new currency.”
Loughner described himself as a U.S. military recruit in the video, but the Army released a statement saying he tried to enlist but was rejected. The statement said under federal privacy law, no reason could be specified.
In October 2007, Loughner was cited in Pima County for possession of drug paraphernalia, which was dismissed after he completed a diversion program, according to online records.
A year later he was charged with an unknown “local charge” in Marana near Tucson. That charge was also dismissed following the completion of a diversion program in March 2009, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
“He has kind of a troubled past, I can tell you that,” Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said.
Shooting suspect’s campus troubles led to suspension
Jared Lee Loughner was involved in five “classroom and library disruptions” that campus police responded to, school officials say. A YouTube video also raised concerns.
January 09, 2011|By Ashley Powers, Maeve Reston and Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Tucson and Los Angeles — The 22-year-old man suspected in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and at least 17 others outside a Tucson grocery store was suspended from a local community college last October for code of conduct violations and ultimately withdrew from the school voluntarily.
Jared Lee Loughner attended Pima Community College between 2005 and 2010. From February to September of last year, he was involved in five “classroom and library disruptions” that were handled by campus police, the school’s officials said late Saturday
He was suspended in late September after the college police found a video on YouTube in which Loughner claimed the college is “illegal” under the U.S. Constitution, officials said.
School officials said police officers delivered a letter explaining the decision to his home, where they spoke with Loughner and his parents. He was told he could return to campus only for an appointment to discuss the disciplinary actions against him in early October. During that meeting with campus officials, Loughner withdrew from the school.
Officials said they sent a subsequent letter telling Loughner that if he planned to re-enroll “he must resolve his Code of Conduct violations and obtain a mental health clearance indicating, in the opinion of a mental health professional, his presence at the College does not present a danger to himself or others.”
On Nov. 30, a YouTube user who appears to be Loughner posted a video that railed against Pima Community College, calls the school “unconstitutional,” a “torture facility,” and refers to teachers as “con artists.” At one point, he castigates police for removing students from educational facilities for talking.
“Removing you from the educational facility for talking is unconstitutional in the United States,” the text says. “This situation is fraud because the police are unconstitutional!”
“Every Pima Community College class is always a scam!” he says. “Most people know all the subjects are for mind control and brainwash! The students are unconstitutionally paying for free education! The students are attending a torture facility! You know the teachers are con artists?”
Top of the Ticket
Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm
January 10, 2011 | 2:24 am
It’s tempting in the angry aftermath of deadly moments such as Saturday’s shooting of 20 people in Tucson to seize on any convenient, seemingly credible explanation for the inexplicable. How could someone so young take it upon himself to lash out lethally to kill six innocent people and wound 14 others, all presumably unknown to him, on a sunny Saturday by a grocery ironically named Safeway?
At his initial news conference Saturday, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik could not offer much specific information about the incident, including the accused’s name or motive.
However, the 74-year-old sheriff was somehow repeatedly certain the incident had something to do with overheated political rhetoric in his state and in America today, where grown-ups in public life call each other liars and hostage-takers. While others employ even more vicious vitriol hiding behind the convenient anonymity of the Internet.
While that theory may gain broad traction, at least in these initial days, a look back at prominent assassinations and attempts in U.S. history finds far different common patterns — more personal or….
…political motivations with mental illness, prime among them, the need to demand attention through some heinous act. Perceived political or employment grievances in which the targeted politician becomes the focus of the assassin’s hatred and lethal weapon. At least one attempt was apparently inspired by a Hollywood movie.
Arizona has been a politically conservative state for generations. But anyone studying the writings and videos of the accused, Jared Lee Loughner, is hard-pressed to find any coherence, let alone a political one either way.
Friends on Twitter said Loughner was “left-wing” and “a pothead.” Loughner claimed to admire both the “Communist Manifesto” and “Mein Kampf.” Before his expulsion from college, classmates said he was given to unprovoked outbursts in class.
His writing of conscious dreaming is gibberish. His lonely video of a U.S. flag-burning in the desert is amateurish, showing a young male in a hoodie, garbage bag and mask shuffling about like a senior citizen. The Army rejected him. Someone who could likely use some treatment, but one problem with these awful incidents is that, in hindsight, most involve mental cases. However, obviously not all mental cases take such deadly action.
Suspect’s Odd Behavior Caused Growing Alarm
By KIRK JOHNSON, SERGE F. KOVALESKI, DAN FROSCH and ERIC LIPTON
Published: January 9, 2011
TUCSON — In a community college classroom here last June, on the first day of the term, the instructor in Jared L. Loughner’s basic algebra class, Ben McGahee, posed what he thought was a simple arithmetic question to his students. He was not prepared for the explosive response.
“How can you deny math instead of accepting it?” Mr. Loughner asked, after blurting out a random number, according to Mr. McGahee.
Mr. McGahee, for one, was disturbed enough by the experience to complain to school authorities, who as early as last June were apparently concerned enough themselves to have a campus officer visit the classroom. And what Mr. McGahee described as a pattern of behavior by Mr. Loughner, marked by hysterical laughter, bizarre non sequiturs and aggressive outbursts, only continued.
“I was getting concerned about the safety of the students and the school,” said Mr. McGahee, who took to glancing out of the corner of his eye when he was writing on the board for fear that Mr. Loughner might do something. “I was afraid he was going to pull out a weapon.”
A student in the class, Lynda Sorenson, 52, wrote an e-mail to a friend expressing her concerns.
“We do have one student in the class who was disruptive today, I’m not certain yet if he was on drugs (as one person surmised) or disturbed. He scares me a bit,” Ms. Sorenson wrote in an e-mail in June that was forwarded Sunday to The New York Times.
“The teacher tried to throw him out and he refused to go, so I talked to the teacher afterward. Hopefully he will be out of class very soon, and not come back with an automatic weapon.”
Mr. Loughner’s behavior grew so troubling that he was told he could no longer attend the school, and he appeared, given his various Internet postings, to find a sense of community in some of the more paranoid corners of the Internet.
Mr. Loughner seems at some point to have crossed a border. From being a young man whom acquaintances described as odd, he became the sole suspect in the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona’s Eighth District. The police say he bought a 9-millimeter Glock handgun in November, and devised a plan to kill the congresswoman.
“The ubiquitous nature of the Internet means that not only threats but also hate speech and other inciteful speech is much more readily available to individuals than quite clearly it was 8 or 10 or 15 years ago,” Mr. Mueller said. “That absolutely presents a challenge for us, particularly when it results in what would be lone wolves or lone offenders undertaking attacks.”
The words echoed comments by Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik, who said Saturday at a news conference that “unbalanced people” could be affected by the vitriol, anger and hatred of antigovernment rhetoric.
Mr. Loughner’s friends and acquaintances said he was left isolated by his increasingly erratic behavior, apparently exacerbated by drug use. A military official said Sunday that Mr. Loughner had failed a drug screening when he tried to enlist in the Army.
Lydian Ali, a classmate at Pima Community College, said, “He would laugh a lot at inappropriate times, and a lot of the comments he made had no relevance to the discussion topic.”
Mr. Ali, 26, continued: “He presented a poem to the class that he’d written called ‘Meathead’ that was mostly just about him going to the gym to work out. But it included a line about touching himself in the shower while thinking about girls. He was very enthusiastic when he read the poem out loud.”
At the Y.M.C.A. where Mr. Loughner worked out, he would ask the staff strange questions, like how often they disinfected the bathroom doors. Once he asked an employee how he felt “about the government taking over.” Another time, he sat in the men’s room for 30 minutes, leaving front-desk staff members to wonder what he was doing. When he emerged, he asked what year it was.
“One day it would be a tie-dye shirt, and the next he’d be dressed like a rapper, with a beanie and everything,” said a trainer at the Y.M.C.A., Ben Lujan. “It was almost like he was trying to be different people.”
Inappropriate remarks are big clue to a condition of psychosis.
Gabby Giffords, a tragic prophet
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Let’s begin by being honest. It is not partisan to observe that there are cycles to violent rhetoric in our politics. In the late 1960s, violent talk (and sometimes violence itself) was more common on the far left. But since President Obama’s election, it is incontestable that significant parts of the American far right have adopted a language of revolutionary violence in the name of overthrowing “tyranny.”
It is Obama’s opponents who carried guns to his speeches and cited Jefferson’s line that the tree of liberty “must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
It was Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada, who spoke of “Second Amendment remedies.” And, yes, it was Palin who put those gun sights over the districts of the Democrats she was trying to defeat, including Giffords.
Rhetoric coupled with leadership can produce violent action. Fire-eaters, who represented the planter class, the South’s leaders, caused the Civil War. To imply that the wacko Sharron Angle could lead a rebellion or even inspire others to repeat such historical folly is ludicrous and the product of a liberal ideologue’s febrile mind.
Republicans in Congress, Sarah Palin, the spokesmodels and Glenn Beck/Bill O’Reilly/Sean Hannity at Fox News are only doing what their masters on Wall Street want them to do: paint Liberals as unAmerican for giving business executives a hard time. In the Received Church of the GOP, business executives work tirelessly to provide Cletus with a job. It is Democrats who want to force Cletus to join a union, to pay union dues, and to hew the Democratic Party party line. “Dang Democrats,” says Cletus, “I’m gonna vote Republican.” And so he does along with all the villains on Wall Street who threw half the nation out of work with their “insured-against-default,” “highly rated” securitized mortgages for the poor. Reinstitute banks regulated by the several states and the Glass-Steagall Act. Do it today.
1/10/2011 4:01:57 AM
Thank you. I think that it is safe to say that this was not random violence.
1/10/2011 3:54:59 AM
John Kerry as he was being interviewed by Bill Maher…
Bill Maher: You could have went to New Hampshire and killed two birds with one stone.
John Kerry: Or, I could have gone to 1600 Pennsylvania and killed the real bird with one stone .
1/10/2011 3:51:47 AM
God forgive us.
1/10/2011 3:50:06 AM
Sarah quitter palin denouncing teh shooting it’s too late for this evil quitter to denounce anything.She was the nr.one instigator spreading hatreds and lies to the American people,igniting emotions.Sarah quitter palin placing gun sights on Gabby Giffords face is evil to the core,murderous,she should be held accountable placing evil murderous imagery on people’s faces,she should apply those to her own face…Sarah samba quitter palin isn’t above the law,this is long overdue,and she should be questioned,for spreading threatening language.She’s an evil excuse for a sane American.There must be a bill that prohibits Sarah quitter palin placing imagery gun sights on faces,she should target herself,and not others.May God bless Congresswoman Gabby Giffords,more each day and serve the people once again,in the most,courageous way.Don’t retreat Gabby,and we need you very badly.From all of us here in Europe praying for you.And thatnk you Mr.President on your quick response as a POTUS.
1/10/2011 3:49:03 AM
** Obama: “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”
** Obama to His Followers: “I want you to argue with them and get in their face!”
** Obama on ACORN Mobs: “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”
** Obama to His Mercenary Army: “Hit Back Twice As Hard”
** Obama on the private sector: “We talk to these folks… so I know whose a-s-s to kick.“
** Obama to voters: Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat”
** Obama to lib supporters: “It’s time to Fight for it.”
** Obama to Latino supporters: “Punish your enemies.”
** Obama to democrats: “I’m itching for a fight.”
A former classmate, Caitie Parker — who has called the suspect “left wing” and “a pothead” — tweeted that after that event, Loughner said he thought Giffords was “stupid” and “unintelligent.”
1/10/2011 3:33:21 AM
And to those of you discussing Nazism and communism. Winston Churchill described them in his volumes about WWII as the different sides of the same coin. He hated them both equally because he saw them as equally destructive.
1/10/2011 3:31:44 AM
To try to explain the behavior of a clearly disturbed individual by saying that somehow the behavior of the sane around him who are merely excercising their right to free speech is disgusting.
1/10/2011 3:28:30 AM
Excellent article. Maybe if we are lucky Giffords will remain a living reminder to us of how fragile our system is, and how essential learning to disagree amicably is to it. Compromise is NOT a four-letter word. Guns are not toys or symbols that should even appear in our discussions. The interview in the Buffalo News with the Republican Congressman from the Buffalo NY suburbs showed the first hopeful sign to me — he spoke, clearly with first-hand knowledge, of her as a friend. We need a lot more of this in Congress. Hopefully Boehner and Pelosi will use this opportunity to restore Congress to a collegial body where people can work together. It’s much harder to demonize people you like. And if your ideas can be defended logically, you don’t have to demonize those who disagree with them.
1/10/2011 3:24:14 AM
Politicians need to provide a flag, a narrative for the people to assemble around. In the past it was success, growth, money, winning.
An America in decline can fake success for 5, 10 years. But not forever.
Therefore the narrative shifts too far off the reality. and the thing falls apart. And people without much sense just grab frantically. And attack. And kill.
It would be okay if Obama could lead.
But Obama cannot lead. He only knows how to follow.
1/10/2011 2:49:23 AM
(like anyone really reads his posts…)
The really cool thing about “FormerDemocrat” is that he raised the average IQ of BOTH parties when he switched to the GOP. Thank you, FD!
1/10/2011 2:25:33 AM
I think the Republican party needs to send a party elder
to speak to Palin on a personal level to tone it down. We
have two wars going on and a Depression and we don’t
need an armed rebellion over healthcare reform.
1/10/2011 2:24:39 AM
It is our civic duty to contribute to a renewed civic order by: 1) asking media that carry the violence-mongerers to account for the consequences of that violence; 2) tying the media to sponsors and asking those sponsers (or fellow participants in the media) to account for the consequences of that violence; 3) asking for accountability from politicians who do not demand accountability from the violence mongerers and media and who participate in violence mongering or even indirectly foster images of violence themselves; 4) asking for accountability for gun ownership from ALL gun owners; 5) demanding renewal of the assault rifle and pistol ban; 6) demanding revocation of laws that allow individuals to carry a gun without a permit; 7) holding gun dealers accountable for their gun sales through, in part, a way to trace a bullet back to a gun sale.
1/10/2011 2:18:00 AM
Just to extend that comparison….Nazi attack Commies therefore Nazis can’t be commies. Nazis ally themselves with Italian Fascists (anyone in Italy will tell you that Fascists are far righters) so Nazi = Fascists = Conservatives. Their commonalities? They all loved God, Country, and Guns and they sang their National Anthems while the rest of the world watched them hang for the treasonous crimes against humanity. Now I’m not saying conservatives are monsters but if I used your own simplistic reasoning, I could get there pretty quick.
1/10/2011 2:12:50 AM
Like in all tragedies, partisans see additional support for the views they already have.
Sorry, but both the left and right, and the media that supports each side, profit from divisive but meaningless rhetoric.
If we really want honest debate, we need to recognize that both the left and right bring valid viewpoints — we just need to decide the way ahead using the best ideas both sides bring to the discussion.
Sadly, the media today likes to manipulate ideas to present their views in a way that appeals to the most extreme partisans and presents the other party in the most negative and destructive light.
Dionne is just another link in the chain.
1/10/2011 1:57:09 AM
FormerDemocrat: love how you conservatives think in black and white. Whatever hitler called his party, he was a dictator that wanted Germany to return to its traditions, its true ethnic heritage (sound familiar right?). But let me throw this in there for you…if you’re equating socialism to communism (as your simplistic syllogism does), why did Hitler attack Communist Russia and ally Germany with fascist Italy?
1/10/2011 1:54:16 AM
How many people were shot at the event was it more than a dozen? That doesn’t sound like an assassination attempt to me.
If the would-be assassin was motivated by hatred for the Congresswoman why would he shoot at everyone standing there? If the answer is that he is crazy, then doesn’t that sort of make the liberal complaint against Republicans moot?
I don’t even recall any news reports that indicate that he shot at the Congresswoman first.
1/10/2011 7:53:04 AM
Only in the WaPo could a commentators headline speak of blaming both sides, then have the piece villify the right, complete with a reference to Sarah Palin. This wasn’t an act of political violence. The gunman wasn’t a conservative stooge driven to rage by Rush or Palin. He was a confused lunatic.
Cut the hypocrisy and snide finger-pointing. Stop trying to make this into a crass political statement. It’s unbecoming and it won’t work this time. Just give it a rest. Instead of blaming the Right, say a prayer for those who were hurt and the survivors of those who were killed.
1/10/2011 7:52:47 AM
More Breaking News:
“now AP is reporting he was a 9/11 Truther
And an atheist, reader of Marx and cop hater
He shot a conservative Democrat who had voted against Pelosi as Minority leader
Seems that conservatives are at risk.
He did kill the Conservative Federal Judge appointed by Bush
1/10/2011 7:52:41 AM
This will not end soon. Republicans and Tea Party leaders do have an obligation not only to condemn this action but to put an end to the rhetoric that contributes mightily to this sort of extremism. Don’t count on either to do anywhere near enough in this regard.
There is a strong parallel between the reluctance of right-wing leaders to roundly condemn the inflamatory speech that fuels violence and the reluctance of Muslim clerics to roundly condemn Islamic terrorism. Clearly the mainstream of both American conservatives and Muslims do not condone violence or extremism, but at some level they are useful to both movements. Intelligent conservative leaders ought to recognize this parallel and take action to distance themselves from the kind of dismal denial that Muslim clerics engage in. But I fear that the power of fear that extremists engender is too intoxicating for either camp to renounce.
1/10/2011 7:49:08 AM
I note EJ doesn’t mention Obama’s “Elections have Consequences” and Nancy Pelosi’s tactics of locking the GOP out and ramming through legislation without adwquate time for review by the GOP. For two years the Dems ran over the GOP, ignoring their ideas and ridiculing (with the post’s help) ANY and ALL changes or amendments the GOP may have offered. This period followed the last two years of Bush’s Presidency where the liberals declared Bush and Cehney “Criminals” that should b eput in jail on a daily basis. The Dems have been much more agressive in their political rhetoric, but in the end that doesn’t cause an attack……this was the deed of some wacko who was out to shoot a politicain, Democrat or Republican.
Of course the left doesn’t want to miss this chance to again rachet up the rhetoric and attack anyone who isn’t an Obamite and a far left Democrat…..no wonder America threw these guys out in the midterms-they will do the same in the General Elctions of 2012 as well.
1/10/2011 7:48:54 AM
I am sure E.J. and other Democratic operatives would like to tone down partisan rhetoric from the Republicans just long enough for Obama to be re-elected.
Exactly. Conservatives outnumber liberals 4 to 1. They have been unhinged ever since they saw the majority wake up in America. Watch for them to use any ploy to continue their efforts to implement legalized theft schemes without your knowledge or approval. Stay awake, and do not fear them. Their philosophy has been a proven failure every time it has been tried in history.
1/10/2011 7:42:31 AM
E.J. Dionne Jr. is an agitator. His article in the Washington Post is geared toward agitating everyone who isn’t a far left Progressive/Socialist/Communist. In other words, Everyone in the mainstream, and everyone on the Far right who is not in the mainstream.
Please tell me how E.J. Dionne Jr. and the Washington Post who supports him in this agitation, is not part of the problem. Please tell me how the Washington Post who supports this far left agitation is not supporting the political polarization it now seeks to pin on someone else.
Former Democrat was a Dixiecrat. He was only a Dem because that was what Pappy was and all his ancestors back to the Civil War. However, As the Democratic Party became more Liberal and Centrist, moving away from the power of the Dixiecrats Mr. FormerDem decided that the party abandon him and his principles. This is not anything new.
This person has never been a Liberal Humanist and never will be. His non de plume is a smoke screen to get people to believe he was a Liberal Humanist, but his rhetoric belies him, it exposes him for what he truly is.
You see the hatemongers have always been with us. I know everyone thinks this is new, but it is not. They may have changed parties, names and now live in the North, or South, Midwest etc etc., but the hatemongers all have one thing in common – they need something to hate, someone who is at fault, but not them. They hate anything, or anyone who does not look like them, think like them or believe like them. They need to hate. Hatred and anger is what fuel them.
We should all feel sorry for people like Mr. FormerDem. He is a very unhappy person, he sees no light at the end of the tunnel, he lives in darkness and anger. As with many of his colleagues of hate who join him in this hate they cannot see that it is destroying them.
1/10/2011 7:40:49 AM
Killer was described by classmates as a “Left-wing Pothead”.
Which means we can expect our dirty dishonest liberal/progressive MSM wolfpack press to under report and censor that information.
btw E. J. Dionne its left-wingers like you at the dirty POST and the same types at MSNBC who have inflammed the American people with your Hate N Dive stories…….
1/10/2011 7:40:33 AM
We all bear a burden here, EJ. Those with the bully pulpit a greater one, perhaps. Stop the diatribe, demonizing and arguments against the person instead the of person’s arguments. This disconnect happens on both the right and the left. But no one knows for certain to what extent any of it caused this armed timebomb to explode. With all the lamentations and finger-pointing nobody knows for sure.
1/10/2011 7:39:54 AM
You should be ashamed of yourself.
Thie horrible event just took place and you immediately use this to promote your political leanings.
How about allowing some time for the families and friends of the victums to recover?
You should be very, very ashamed of yourself.
1/10/2011 7:35:11 AM
There is nothing more I would love to do this morning than to blame republican pundits and politicians for this shooting. I would love to be able to point to the violent insinuations by Palin, Backman, Beck, Hannity and the whole fox news network. But the reality is that a mentally disturbed person went out, got a gun and used it to kill innocent people. He’s probably not even to be blamed depending on his level of sanity. Now if the rhetoric continues and this event happens again…well the evidence of cause will most certainly point to those mentioned above.
1/10/2011 7:33:20 AM
I am sure E.J. and other Democratic operatives would like to tone down partisan rhetoric from the Republicans just long enough for Obama to be re-elected.
1/10/2011 7:31:51 AM
These righies doth protest too much, methinks.
They have a point, when they seem to be blamed by the left for every bad thing that happens. And by the way, I meant “sensitive to” as being too easily offended.
Yep and it will be just a matter of time before the radical socialist liberal left blames this shooting of a democrat by a radical socialist liberal left loon on former President Bush if they haven’t blamed him yet.
1/10/2011 7:31:24 AM
Why am I not at all surprised that Dionne would attempt to make political hay from the tragic and insane murder of Rep. Giffords? Nobody has a clue whether conservative, or for that matter liberal, rhetoric had any connection to the acts of this obvious madman.
But far be it from Dionne to miss a chance to hurl blame at conservatives including, of course, Sarah Palin, and Sharron Angle, the defeated Tea Party candidate for Senator, for whom Dionne just loves to display his hate again and again and again. At the same time, Dionne ignores the fact that nobody has done more to coarsen the political dialogue in America than the leftist media and blogosphere. For example, nightly on MSNBC there is a parade of lefty hate mongers led by Olbermann, Schultze and Maddow, and it is not uncommon for Olbermann even to incite his viewers to do violence to his ever-growing list of perceived enemies. And too often Dionne and his buddy, Eugene Robinson, are right there on MSNBC fanning the flames of the most hateful and violent political discourse in America today. But even if we find that the killer of Rep. Geffries watched Olbermann’s rants every night, I doubt that you will hear conservatives trying to blame Olbermann or MSNBC for a madman’s acts. Thankfully, conservatives tend to leave this odious blame game to the left, maybe because they have so often been the targets and the victims in a game that the lefties have elevated to a practiced art.
1/10/2011 7:28:06 AM
These righies doth protest too much, methinks.
They have a point, when they seem to be blamed by the left for every bad thing that happens. And by the way, I meant “sensitive to” as being too easily offended.
1/10/2011 7:28:01 AM
A militia consisting mainly of mentally ill determined to fight to the death our attempt to get them covered and treated. Why? Because we are communist traitors just like Reagan said. And it’s in the constitution, we are infringing on their mind, government control, never surrender shoot to kill. Sarah O Conner must die…
1/10/2011 7:25:28 AM
United in Horror
By ROSS DOUTHAT
Published: January 9, 2011
When John F. Kennedy visited Dallas in November of 1963, Texas was awash in right-wing anger — over perceived cold-war betrayals, over desegregation, over the perfidies of liberalism in general. Adlai Stevenson, then ambassador to the U.N., had been spit on during his visit to the city earlier that fall. The week of Kennedy’s arrival, leaflets circulated in Dallas bearing the president’s photograph and the words “Wanted For Treason.”
But Lee Harvey Oswald was not a right-winger, not a John Bircher, not a segregationist. Instead, he was a Marxist of sorts (albeit one disillusioned by his experiences in Soviet Russia), an activist on behalf of Castro’s Cuba, and a man whose previous plot had been aimed at a far-right ex-general named Edwin Walker. The anti-Kennedy excesses of Texas conservatives were real enough, but the president’s assassin acted on a far more obscure set of motivations.
Nine years after Kennedy was killed, George Wallace embarked on his second campaign for the presidency. This was the early 1970s, the high tide of far-left violence — the era of the Black Panthers, the Weathermen, the Symbionese Liberation Army — and Wallace’s race-baiting politics made him an obvious target for protests. On his final, fateful day of campaigning, he faced a barrage of coins, oranges, rocks and tomatoes, amid shouts of “remember Selma!” and “Hitler for vice president!”
But Arthur Bremer, who shot Wallace that afternoon, paralyzing him from the waist down, had only a tenuous connection to left-wing politics. He didn’t care much about Wallace’s views on race: he just wanted to assassinate somebody (Richard Nixon had been his original target), as “a statement of my manhood for the world to see.”
It’s possible that Jared Lee Loughner, the young man behind Saturday’s rampage in Tucson, will have a more direct connection to partisan politics than an earlier generation’s gunmen did. Indeed, many observers seem to be taking a kind of comfort from that possibility: there’s been a rush to declare this tragedy a teachable moment — an opportunity for people to cool their rhetoric, abandon their anger, and renounce the kind of martial imagery that inspired Sarah Palin’s PAC to place a target over Gabrielle Giffords’s district just months before Loughner gunned down the Arizona congresswoman.
But chances are that Loughner’s motives will prove as irreducibly complex as those of most of his predecessors in assassination. Violence in American politics tends to bubble up from a world that’s far stranger than any Glenn Beck monologue — a murky landscape where worldviews get cobbled together from a host of baroque conspiracy theories, and where the line between ideological extremism and mental illness gets blurry fast.
This is the world that gave us Oswald and Bremer. More recently, it’s given us figures like James W. von Brunn, the neo-Nazi who opened fire at the Holocaust Museum in 2009, and James Lee, who took hostages at the Discovery Channel last summer to express his displeasure over population growth. These are figures better analyzed by novelists than pundits: as Walter Kirn put it Saturday, they’re “self-anointed knights templar of the collective shadow realm, not secular political actors in extremis.”
This won’t stop partisans from making hay out of Saturday’s tragedy, of course. The Democratic operative who was quoted in Politico saying that his party needs “to deftly pin this on the Tea Partiers” was just stating the obvious: after a political season rife with overheated rhetoric from conservative “revolutionaries,” the attempted murder of a Democratic congresswoman is a potential gift to liberalism.
But if overheated rhetoric and martial imagery really led inexorably to murder, then both parties would belong in the dock. (It took conservative bloggers about five minutes to come up with Democratic campaign materials that employed crosshairs against Republican politicians.) When our politicians and media loudmouths act like fools and zealots, they should be held responsible for being fools and zealots. They shouldn’t be held responsible for the darkness that always waits to swallow up the unstable and the lost.
We should remember, too, that there are places where mainstream political movements really are responsible for violence against their rivals. (Last week’s assassination of a Pakistani politician who dared to defend a Christian is a stark reminder of what that sort of world can look like.) Not so in America: From the Republican leadership to the Tea Party grass roots, all of Gabrielle Giffords’s political opponents were united in horror at the weekend’s events. There is no faction in American politics that actually wants its opponents dead.
That may seem like a small blessing, amid so much tragedy and loss. But it is a blessing worth remembering nonetheless.
January 10th, 2011
I live in Tucson, in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ district. Having been a longtime observer of Arizona politics, I can attest that the political atmosphere in this state during the past several years has devolved to a highly toxic condition. Arizona state government in both the executive and legislative branches is completely dominated by far-right Republicans who openly express the most outrageous, xenophobic, anti-federal, and anti-progressive positions imaginable. The two U.S. senators from Arizona are an embarrassment. The newly-elected Arizona Attorney General (who was formerly Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, and was previously banned-for-life from securities trading by the S.E.C. for his past financial actions) made his opposition to the Hispanic ethnic studies program in the Tucson schools a centerpiece of his campaign. Paranoia and hatred of illegal immigrants runs wide and deep. Beyond the usual FOX “news” and other highly-paid national right-wing rabble-rousers, we also have had a stable of local AM talk-radio blowhards spouting inflammatory diatribes.
And in what I consider to be a great sin of omission, local television news seldom substantively investigates or confronts any of these things, instead preferring to either ignore them or tread a non-committal middle ground that gives exposure and credence to absurdity (and, of course, avoids offending right-wing viewers and thereby decreasing viewership and ratings). This misleading “even-handedness” has continued even after the shooting; late Saturday January 8, one (non-FOX channel) Tucson television news “crime reporter”, who has for years played to, indeed encouraged, public fear in his “reporting”, talked about the excesses on both sides of the political spectrum as though they were equal.
No, they have NOT been equal! Democrats have certainly called for opposition to Republicans, but virtually always via non-violent political and legal processes; occasionally this has extended to calls for investigation, impeachment, or a war-crimes trial, as was the case with regard to a Republican administration that started an unnecessary war in Iraq. I know of no Democratic candidate who has put any Republican opponents in a crosshair-graphic map, as Tea-Party Republican Sarah Palin, for example, did for 20 members of the Democratic opposition. Or as Matt Bai noted in his New York Times article (in print December 9): “Consider the comments of Sharron Angle, the Tea Party favorite who unsuccessfully ran against Harry Reid for the Senate in Nevada last year. She talked about ‘domestic enemies’ in the Congress and said, ‘I hope we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies’.”
Gabrielle Giffords would generally be considered to be one of the “Blue Dog” Democrats. I and many others of traditional progressive leanings often did not agree with Ms. Giffords’ political positions, finding them much too conciliatory to the right-wingers, and too pro-military. But rabid opposition to her came overwhelmingly from the right. And influential that opposition has been; in the November election, Ms. Giffords barely managed a win over a Tea Party Republican opponent whose pronouncements on the campaign trail and in televised debates were, in my opinion, both absurd and vitriolic. Her opponent’s website (post-shooting sanitized — but partially cached by Google) included statements such as (upon the passage of health care reform): “Today is the day when the liberal politicians of both parties stand before we the people, and are held accountable. It is the day when those who have sided with socialism, unlimited power and a corrupt establishment are judged”. And, as reported by Jennifer Steinhauer in this newspaper (in print January 10), “Last summer, Ms. Giffords’ Republican opponent, Jesse Kelly, had a campaign event in which voters were invited to ‘shoot a fully automatic M-16′ with him to symbolize his assault on her campaign.” (The full Kelly invitation, quoted elsewhere on the web, has a significantly more violent allusion).
Now it has come to outright violence by someone who may very well have been influenced by that campaign and broader outrageous rightist rhetoric. That someone has violently targeted an elected representative who was (in today’s political atmosphere) essentially centrist demonstrates just how dangerous the right-wing demagogic “narrative” has become. But bipartisan calls to tone down the rhetoric notwithstanding, it is naïve to expect any long-term move towards civility. Too much power and money are at stake, for both politicians and their patrons.
Recommended by 272 Readers
January 10th, 2011
Ross, I am a Democrat. But, this is the most sensible editorial I have read on this subject. Thank you.
Recommended by 28 Readers
January 10th, 2011
Kirn’s quip is about right. If anyone can find ideology in those YouTube posts perhaps they too should go in search of a psychicatric workup. One thing I do know: paranoid schizophrenia and Glock semiautomatics don’t mix.
Depoe Bay, Oregon
January 10th, 2011
…”Violence in American politics tends to bubble up from a world that’s far stranger than any Glenn Beck monologue…”
Oh yeah, Ross, we KNOW that! But you seem to be dismissing Beck’s hate mongering and violent rhetoric as not a contributing factor to the upsurge in violence we are experiencing in the U.S. And going for the “fair and balanced” routine will not work! This is mainly a right-wing issue. The left can be obnoxious and overly partisan, but not so obviously murderous and furious as those on the right. How about the Tea Partiers appearing at rallies with GUNS? Haven’t seen any guns or threatening signs at Democratic rallies, have you? Or spitting on the shoes of Black congressmen walking to their offices. Com’on, Ross, you know better.
I think you need to read Paul Krugman’s op ed tonight. And listen to what he says, rather than work up your rejoinder.
January 10th, 2011
The sad fact is that the small portion of Democrats who have actually read any history already know what you are saying is true. They don’t care. They just want to use a national tragedy to their political advantage. It’s despicable, and they are hypocrites.
Bowling Green, KY
January 10th, 2011
It’s become so predictable that hard core conservatives like Mr. Douthat call upon the rest of us to appreciate complexity of modern life only when it suits their purpose. Otherwise it’s “with us or against us”, “Mission Accomplished”, “Dead or Alive”.
So now Mr. Douthat joins the enormous chorus of conservatives and assorted right wing apologists crying about how unfair it is that they are being called on the carpet for their incendiary rhetoric. “It’s not fair” he whines. “Liberals are making hay out of a horrible tragedy”. What? So far the only ones trying to make an opportunity out of this murderous event are conservatives who strive yet again to paint themselves as victims.
At long last, have any of them no decency? Please, Mr. Douthat, save the sermonizing, false equivalencies, intellectual dishonesty, and self-serving blather for Fox and the many Amen corners on the right. You’re all singing out of the same hymnal. It’s praise the lord and pass the ammunition. And while we’re at it, let’s have another reading of the second amendment, just to remind those pesky liberals that they could be next.
January 10th, 2011
Not only the right wing Palinesque rhetoric of assassination is to blame. Justifications from the media such as this one are also to blame for the slaughter yesterday.
You own it. It’s time to do something different before anyone else gets hurt.
new york city
January 10th, 2011
“When our politicans act like zealots they should be held responsible.” Who do you specifically hold reponsible, Ross? Do you believe Sarah Palin putting crosshairs over Gabrielle Giffords’ face (while saying it’s time to “reload”) falls into that category?
Those who screech about “2nd amendment remedies” are always horrified after the fact, but Giffords’ words about Palin’s fascistic call to violence proved sadly prophetic. Yes, we are currently uncertain of Laughner’s motives, but if you think such calls have no effect on those on the edge, you are kidding yourself.
And yes, both sides have those that dehumanize the other, but pretending that today’s Democrats and Republicans are equally culpable is just plain dishonest. The Republican Party has been taken over by the zealots that you say should be held responsible–and you know it.
January 10th, 2011
Once again, Ross Douthat write the smartest, most thoughtful article among all of the Times editorials. They need to add you for a second day, every week
January 10th, 2011
About your earlier articles defending Glenn Beck and the Tea Party’s incipient racist vibe, Christopher Hitchens remarked in Vanity Fair that “It is often in the excuses and in the apologies that one finds the real offense.” Here is yet another example. Making excuses for hate speech and incitement of violence seems to me to be a very strange way to respond to the recent murders in Arizona.
It might be easier to pawn off the most recent mayhem on the disconnected lunacy of one disturbed individual if there had not been repeated warnings that the inflammatory rhetoric of right-wing liars and loudmouths was going too far. When people started showing up at Tea Party rallies with guns strapped to their hips, perhaps that was a signal that a line had been crossed. What was needed was a call for civility and honest political discourse, not an excuse or a whitewash to downplay what was clearly a symptom of a much deeper disease. Responding to this recent horrific tragedy in Arizona by suggesting that, well, everybody’s doing it, or it’s not really connected, or liberals murder people too, is just creepy, and illustrates the kind of offense Mr. Hitchens detected in your previous columns.
Let’s remember that right-wing rabble rousers were not focusing on political differences. They were feeding angry people ammunition. They claimed that the president was a foreigner and therefore not qualified to be president. They were saying his was the most corrupt administration in history. They were saying he was a Muslim who harbored anti-colonial sentiments about America. They called for “second amendment solutions” to what they saw as the president’s problematic agenda.
Well, one young man chose to apply a second amendment solution. Yes, he is almost certainly mentally ill, but there are mentally ill people in the world. It’s a dangerous enough world to live in without reckless right-wing blowhards putting crosshairs on targets. They’re not targets, they’re people. And no excuse or apology is going to remove the responsibility that these right-wing agitators have in this tragedy.
January 10th, 2011
“When our politicians and media loudmouths act like fools and zealots, they should be held responsible for being fools and zealots.”
While yes, once in the 60′s and 70′s rhetoric came stridently from the left (and for good reasons, we might add), it must be noted that in the last decades it is decidedly from the right which the loudest and ugliest rhetoric has come. And it is clear, that Mr Douthat’s sanguine optimism regarding “none wants the others dead” is less than realistic. There is a lot of anger, gun-toting, and overwhelmingly right-wing and goaded by the bobble-heads of the right. Ross would like to claim some mid-ground and say its equal. But it’s not. Curious that equality is something the right only embraces in moments of blame.
January 10th, 2011
Very different for a “Democratic operative” or a “blogger” on DailyKos to use violent rhetoric. Their rhetoric, though irresponsible, has limited range. Not so, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Sharon Angle. These are supposed to be our political and community leaders who can broadcast their toxic rhetoric through the megaphones of our media.
Let’s not draw false equivalences. I have not heard such sedition and hate coming from leaders on the left as I have from national leaders on the right. As a LEADER you have the responsibility to choose your words carefully. Because, tragically, those words, can have real consequences.
January 10th, 2011
“the attempted murder of a Democratic congresswoman is a potential gift to liberalism.”
Right. Tell that genius insight to the family of Gabrielle Giffords. I guess we only imagined those Palin crosshairs that were placed on Giffords and other politicians who have a “D” next to their name.
This column is par for the course for Douthat: posit a moral equivalence where there is none.
January 10th, 2011
It would be nice if this were, a “teachable” moment. But it seems impossible to teach the Guns Oil and Propaganda party anything which may upset their pocket book. They are very happy to have the country armed to the hilt, innocents shot ever year, blood on their hands, so long at the arms dealers make a buck and the propaganda merchants of hate scare the plebs into an orwellian 30 minutes of hate every day.