I was one of the assholes who rashly posted regarding the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, blaming right-wing wingnuts for encouraging violence and right-wing sheep for following through with their idiotic leadership’s encouragements.
The rush to link the psychopath and alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner to the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, which began mere minutes after the shootings, reflected a total unraveling of the liberal media. When the vicious and irresponsible postmortems began, the folks piling on didn’t even have the shooter’s identity, much less his motive.
But worst of all, this is the same group of people who levied some of the most vicious imaginable attacks against Palin during and after her campaign for the vice presidency. A panoply of oh-so-tolerant-and-enlightened liberal institutions – the media, the econuts, Hollywood – turned Palin into their virtual punching bag.
And finished with:
But even if it turns out that he was a fan of Palin, or he did have some kind of political motivation for shooting 20 people this weekend, let’s not pretend that the voices on the left are any more sanitized than those on the right. Instead of wasting time pointing fingers, maybe the liberal media could work on regaining the trust of the public by doing its job a little better.
Let me join the chorus of people who have said, “Where is the violence among liberal ranks? Who’s packing heat or dropping guns at conservative rallies?”
That’s right, nobody.
And that is why we must be even more vigilant, even more ready to use critical thinking in the wake of tragedy. It’s OK to grieve, it’s OK to be horrified, and it’s OK to be angry. I’m angry, damn angry. But we cannot let that impair our judgment. It is times like these that we are most likely to rush in, to make snap judgments, and to make mistakes. And in a situation as serious as this, that is the thing we can least afford.
It’s good advice. But I can’t help but think that with all the violence in right-wing rhetoric, how could a person not jump to a conclusion. Regular reader Kilre helped calm me down, and provided some good links explaining that the shooter Jared Lee Loughner may have been in desperate need of mental health professionals, and he was not associated with right-wing lunacy.
And as regular reader Luis pointed out this morning, Pharyngula blogger PZ Myers weighed in with a more direct effort. He wrote:
Do not sit there cowering, trying to make excuses for teabaggers and violent morons. This is supposed to be the part where you stand up, look at the shouters on the other side, and tell them, “This is wrong, and this is the harm you bring to our country.” Instead, I see a rush to postures of submission.
Myers also pointed out a batch of poignant quotes that you should go read including:
I find it abhorrent that Sarah Palin would stoke the coals of extremism with dangerous messaging, then delete it when something bad happens. – Jason Pollock
If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web with crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he be sitting right now? Just asking. – Michael Moore
A physician cannot treat an illness s/he willfully refuses to diagnose. Violent political rhetoric is not fault of “both sides.” – Tom Tomorrow
What I found even more helpful was this link from Andy Groves, the second commenter on the Pharyngula thread. It’s a compilation of quotes regarding “Eliminationism in America.” And if you didn’t think the right-wing thought leaders were a lot of violent lunatics before, you should have no problem after you’re finished with that link.
The link includes barbarous quotes from many of the right-wingers who make me sick that they are even considered intelligent resources for anyone smarter than a lava rock, including Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.
But hey, these minds all claim to be peace-loving believers in the Mormon, Catholic or Protestant God. Their views fall perfectly in line with the jealous, vengeful, violent God of the Old Testament, and also with the incredibly-improved sword-bringing deity of the New. Everyone knows if Jesus lived today, Matthew 10:34 would read, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a semi-automatic rifle.”
At least these Crusaders for Christ are consistent with their message of cognitive dissonance-inducing biblical concepts of peaceful violence.