Day 3: Gabrielle Giffords shooting

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.

Of course you have idiots like SE Cupp, the fake atheist who FOX employs to make them appear fair and balanced, saying things like (in this editorial),:

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.

And later:

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.

As more information is becoming available, more voices are entering the chorus. Consistent with his style, Phil Plait tiptoed in with a yield-before plowing forward post. Plait says,

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.


6 thoughts on “Day 3: Gabrielle Giffords shooting

  1. Spot-on on those last two paragraphs Jeremy!

    Let me just say, if shown evidence of anyone on the left spewing any vicious, violence-inducing, hate mongering rhetoric for political posturing I will gladly condemn it. However, as demonstrated in PZ’s post, the hateful bile coming from the right is just too disgusting, all too common, and very easy to find.

    We need a switch to civil discourse in this country and realize that someone who disagrees with you is not necessarily an enemy of the state or a terrorist.

    “You’re either with us or against us” Anybody remember that golden nugget from W.? This type of black and white view of the world that many on the right espouse needs to be done away with!

  2. I’m pretty hesitant myself to connect the dots from the gun-happy idiots on the right for their blatant militaristic sloganeering these last few years, to Jared Loughner’s insanity and eventual shooting: it reeked too much of a simple cause and effect search.

    Pretty much in agreement however. It takes bigger balls to simply disagree with someone, rather than to call for threats to their livelihood.

    (The political opponent of Gabrielle Giffords had a rally wherein the participants learned to shoot M-16s! As an example.)

  3. There have been actual incidents of violence inspired by the irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric of the right-wing and plenty of reason to criticize that rhetoric for its potential to incite nutters to harm others whether its happened yet or not. It has happened. The AZ case appears to be a different animal of a delusional yahoo who thought the gov’t was brainwashing people with grammar, complained about the hyperbolic rhetoric in politics, and was obsessed with this politician not due to her being a democrat or Sarah Palin but because she refused to address his concerns of gov’t brainwashing via language.

    If he turns out to have been inspired by right-wing yahoos or another group’s invective, then that should certainly be scrutinized, but there’s no reason not to scrutinize the hyperbolic hysteria in politics regardless of whether this guy was an example of how dangerous it can be.

    Legally carrying a firearm to demonstrate one’s views they’re pro-2nd Amendment does bother many people, though alone isn’t a threat (in combination with watering the tree of liberty rhetoric is another matter). It’s widely viewed by many 2nd Amendment supporters that Obama’s history of supporting bans and restrictions on firearm ownership over the years would result in actual policy when he became president. Fortunately for gun rights folks he’s had bigger fish to fry without getting tangled in gun control fights that get very bogged down considering US culture when it comes to guns and the fact that the right is enshrined in the Bill of Rights and powerful interests such as the NRA backed by millions of members and their dues (mine included) wouldn’t make it easy to repeat the pointless Assault Weapons Ban or other restrictions that either don’t do any good or would only affect lawful gun owners as opposed to criminals who aren’t concerned with a gun violation on top of armed robbery/murder/etc.

    I support some gun control laws and would like to see better control of straw purchasing that enables black market sales of guns in violent neighborhoods far from original purchases in more lenient states. I’m fine with background checks and would like to see a better system for how mentally ill individuals who are a danger to themselves or others are added while considering their due process rights, etc.

    But one can be a bit of a gun nut without riling people up as if they don’t take drastic action that Bush will declare an emergency, cancel elections, establish neo-fascism and start a draft (“VOTE OR DIE!”) or that Obama is leading us down a path to socialism/communism/fascism etc unless the democrats are stopped at all costs. Such hyperbolic hysterical nonsense should be scrutinized regardless. It has resulted in actual violence by unstable people, even if this AZ guy never ends up being one of them given the evidence available now or in the future.

    That’s my view on it anyways.

    1. I’ve been waiting for your response to all this.

      When it comes to knowledge about guns, I got nothing. I shot at a range one time. And I played the hell out of Duck Hunt back in the day.

      So, thanks Glock. I really appreciate it.

      Gun ownership is a right, and like anything, it’s a right that could be taken away.

      On last night’s News Hour (your favorite), they had a panel of idiots talking about the warning signs. I’m sure they’ve been doing it on all the networks.

      That’s what this country is really good at, bitching about the past, fingering our belly buttons for lint, and then moving on to the next big thing.

      I doubt we’ll ever learn.

      1. My political philosophy is one that deals with negative rights with fundamental inalienable rights that can not be taken away just because a government or other people say so. They belong to the individual so they can only be infringed.

        Philosophically that means that an infringed right doesn’t cause the right to cease to exist, but creates an impetus to force the government to recognize and respect it again. It’s a fairly unique approach that is part of American revolutionary liberalism way back when, but I think it is superior to the positive rights theories that other western democracies generally go by where they have to be granted rights by kings or governments like subjects unable to claim them for themselves as individuals.

        So I don’t view rights as something that can be taken away by governments, merely disparaged by them. The only way to truly lose fundamental rights is to personally choose to abandon any claim to them. That’d just be sad.

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