The Arizona Shooting - Can we Blame the Shooter?

Television news and the internet were ablaze Saturday with reports of the shooting in Arizona and in fact, it is still the top story today. The story is a sad one. A federal Judge, a 9 year old girl and others were fatally shot. The Congresswoman from that Arizona district, Gabrielle Gifford is fighting for her life today. All this because some wacked out kid went on a shooting rampage. It is a horrible story and we all feel for the victims and their families.

While the investigation continues, the details of this story are found all over the internet. My intent here is not just to tell about the story but to delve into how this story is being told.

The hype and bloviating is beyond reasonable.  Everyone from current news anchors and talking heads to bloggers and Hollywood-has -beens are tweeting, blogging or giving speeches about their take on the blame game already in full swing regarding this shooting.  It is even being reported that President Obama has been advised by a veteran Democratic Operative, to carefully and forcefully pin this on the Tea Party, just like Clinton pinned the Oklahoma bombing on the militia and anti-government sentiment.

Paul Krugman is a writer at the New York Times. He freely admits at the time he issued his statement, that there is no evidence that the shooting was political but he is going to assume it was and further assume that the shooting was in response to Gifford’s seat being on Sarah Palins list of Democratic held seats that were targeted for Tea Party attention last year.

On the map of the targeted seats, each seat in contention was spotlighted by crosshairs. So apparently Mr. Krugman did some math and decided that 2 plus 2 equals 5. Does he really believe Sarah Palin wanted these deaths? Wanted this bloodshed? Or, that she should have somehow concluded that this would happen?

Did someone not do all of their homework and know that the DailyKos also put a bulls eye on Congresswoman Gifford’s seat back in June of 2008 for the very same reason, to target her seat for a more netter candidate. Ms Palin removed her map hours after the shooting and issued condolences. But she wasn’t the only one removing items from websites, it seems the DailyKos removed some comments attacking Ms Gifford as well for not being left enough. The founder of the site simple tweeted, “Mission accomplished Sarah Palin,” as though this shooting was Palin’s intent all along.

Sarah Palin's Map

Jane Fonda puts it out there via Twitter, for the whole world to see that Sarah Palin and the Tea Party are to blame and adds Glenn Beck, as an afterthought, to be at fault as well.

John Lewis, of The Nation, writes that Palin put a target on Gifford’s district and that is was only a matter of time before someone followed up on that.

Keith Olberman is a liberal commentator on MSNBC who clearly speaks out of both sides of his mouth. While on one hand he pleads for the American people to show more restraint in their debates proceeds to spend the rest of his show blaming Palin, the GOP and the conservative commentators, without any proof, for the actions of the gunman in Arizona, raising the rhetoric to new heights.

With just a little bit of research, these mouthpieces would know that the shooter was not a sympathizer of right wing conservatism. He was a real left leaning liberal. In fact, his favorite books are “Mein Kampf” and the “The Communist Manifesto.” We are clearly not looking at a Conservative sympathizer. Acquaintances of the shooter describe him as a loner and a political radical, left wing, quite liberal and oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy. He dressed in goth and was called a pothead. But this information was not included in the blame game being played out all over the news and the internet. They only told you what they wanted you to think.

Where in the rules of this blame game does it say that it is not the fault of the person doing the shooting?

Do words really murder people?

It gets a little murky when we say that words have such deadly consequences. Are Mr. Olberman and Mr. Krugman are trying to say that people are not smart enough to realize that war terminologies commonly used in both political elections and battlefields are just words?

What happens to Freedom of Speech when the association between words, perhaps spoken years ago, can be found to be complicit in criminal actions taken today?

Is all this attention really about the story of the Arizona shooting or is more at play here hidden just under the surface?

With almost all of the liberal media pointing the blame towards Conservatives without any proof to back them up, we must ask ourselves if they are using this tragedy as yet another opportunity to try and silence the conservative voices on the rise throughout the country.

On the heels of the Net Neutrality, and the rhetoric over the Fair Doctrine still fresh in our minds, we need to be aware of the push by the liberal media for censorship of conservative views on television and the internet. Such disingenuousness could be holding the spark that the anti-free speech movement is looking for.

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Comments 45 comments

Michael Adams1959 profile image

Michael Adams1959 6 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

Truly amazing work you have here. This is off fact and not just opinion, as the liberal media is doing. I received e-mail saying this IS Sarah Palin's fault. Newsmax reported that the liberals have pinned it on Palin and the tea party for their approach to taking out the liberal seats in many areas of the country. This is a tragedy that has happened and should be treated as such. A deranged psychopath that finally had its fuse blow. I too am already sick of hearing where the blame may lie instead of the actual 22 year old mentally unstable psycho who took his own unsteady mind into the public without care of anyone innocently attending the meeting. Time to leave the blame where it belongs. Try the idiot in court, find him guilty (enough witnesses ought to be available) disregard the mental instability, and hang him from the highest tree in Arizona for all to see.

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

This is an opportunistic attempt by the rest of the media and a known liberal county sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, to silence the non-liberal media!

I also know for a fact (I have an excellent source) that the New York Times contacted the Arizona Tea Party soon after the shootings trying to connect the shooter to the Tea Party!

Excellent and timely Hub Joni!

gregas profile image

gregas 6 years ago from Corona, California.

Hi Joni, The shooter was absolutely responsible. From there it can go down the line. The media for what they print, the friends and family for not being able to see something was wrong, the parents for letting their son think the way he did and so on. It all comes down to the fact that there was something mentally wrong with the shooter and he snapped. It could have been that someone did see that there was weak mind there and gave a little shove to push him over the edge, hence the possible accomplis we keep hearing about. Has anyone even considered the fact that someone was doing this to make Palin and the Tea Party look bad.Just my feelings. Hub well done Joni. Greg

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Hello Michael. Thanks for reading and for your comments. This shooter gets a trial and gets to be called alleged but the witnesses know he is guilty and he will be punished.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Hi Will, I read some of the stuff out there today and was appalled at what I found. I went digging and sure enough I found a real story. I am of the opinion that our Freedom of Speech is eroding and there is a strong effort to silence conservative views in the media. Stories like this should gain our attention for the story itself, of course, but also for the ultimate goal of those who push such bias. Thank you for stopping by and adding your remarks.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Hi to you too gregas. All of those things may be true but to blame Palin or the Tea Party seems a little calculating to me. The motives behind the push to blame the right is truly a cause for concern.

eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

This is so terrible of the left to do this so fast. They never waste a tragedy. They can't let people mourn. The have to attack attack attack.

This is unacceptable of the left to do this. This shows you the scum that they are. They want to establish the facts instead of find the truth. SCUM.

Keep on hubbing!

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Hi eovery. Glad to see you here. Yep it is a scum thing to do. That they all did it is a little disconcerting isn't it? Almost too coincidental don't you think?

SomewayOuttaHere profile image

SomewayOuttaHere 6 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

...i've tried my darndest to stay away from the media/political blame game...for me the main point keeps getting missed....people were killed and hurt and families are left to pick up the pieces...that's the only way i can look at it...first and foremost...the rest is white noise....

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 6 years ago from Rural Arizona

Great Hub Joni. I feel it would be only decent to leave all the media and political crap stay out of this until the families have had time to grieve and adjust to this tragedy. The news media was so anxious to get their crap out they couldn't even wait to get their facts straight. Then they started playing the blame game on why they gave out bad information. They all need to just shut up and let the dust settle for the time being. This kid was a known nut case and not a part of any conspiracy that I know of. This was a tragedy that hurt all of America and should not be used to fuel the flames of hate worse than they already are.

TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 6 years ago from Tucson, Az.


You read my hub on this, and you know me. (at least politically) So I don't have to tell you how much I enjoy this. Being a Tuscon resident, I really get excited when I find someone who gets it. Girl .. you get it.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

It seems that the left wants to shift blame. JFK was killed by a communist but we hqave all the conspiracy theories. Any thoughtful person would know that there is no reason that Palen who is patriotic wold want a government official harmed.

rommergrot 6 years ago

When they said that Christians, conservatives, and veterans were likely terrorists I was upset because that meant me and my friends. But to blame Sarah Palin and the Tea Party is beyond shameful, it is traitorous. Great writing and you are right on.

tmbridgeland profile image

tmbridgeland 6 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

The shooter is apparently a mental case. WHy he chose that target is still a question. A man who needed medication, doctors and confinement. His personal madness was directed towards politics, it could as easily been a pop star, religion, or anything else. Let's not forget the victims in our race to assign blame.

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

I think someone nailed it best, our media is bordering on being traitorous to Americans...this my be the most vile thing our media has ever done....and that includes a huge list.

Nice Hub Joni

Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 6 years ago

Hi Joni,

There are a lot of crazies out there. It's good that all of political parties condemned this behavior. No one with mental issue should be allowed to bare arms. I'll just pray for the survivors and their families.

randslam profile image

randslam 6 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

Hitler was extremely conservative in his personal views and then he lost it totally in his political views--I would be very careful where I put the blame, but the casual nature of the Palin crosshairs, and her removal of the map, from her website may be too little, too late.

When amateurs like Palin, get up and stump about their love of guns--the wackos will arise. Perhaps, now that martyrs have been created the political wannabes will take a step back and tone down the violent tomes of their future takeover of America.

The rhetoric from both camps should be issue-based and not personality-focussed as is so often the case in our highspeed, visual world.

Who's fault was it? The shooter's, of course. However, the world of drug-addled fanatics is becoming over-populated and even loose metaphorical politico-jabber is going to inspire the "loonie toons" out there to do something horrendous.

For Tucson, and America, and the world; this is another hard lesson. Sabre-rattling in our media world may lead to tragic gun play in the real world.

It isn't that hard to see a delusional druggie taking a map with crosshairs placed on it as a map to an assassin's glory, is it?

Perhaps, in the future Palin can use a more impressive symbol to declare problem areas. Maybe the peace emblem from the sixties? Why not give peace another chance?

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

I so agree with your statement Someway. The victims and their families are certainly the headline. But we should all be vigilant as to how these stories are told.

For the folks who depend on a single news source like the ones listed above, they may truly believe that the actions of the shooter were prompted by Palin or the Tea Party. Heck of a thing when our Press doesn't tell us the truth.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

You're right Poolman. The story itself was a headline. The story is what should have mattered - not the blame game. We want to hold Congress accountable for their votes..... shouldn't we also call for accountability from the media? Isn't it their job to tell the truth?

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thanks Jim, I certainly try. The reasons that the left leaning media was so quick to blame the Tea Party and Sarah Palin instead of concentrating the blame squarely on the shoulders of the shooter is the hidden part of the story that really needs to see the light of day.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Exactly right dahoglund. Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your thoughts here. But your remarks do beg the question..... are those who are so quick to play the blame game really thoughtful people? What are their reasons for speaking out as they did?

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thanks rommergrot. I guess I would also be considered a terrorist then too, being a Christian conservative with ties to the military as a daughter, wife of a veteran and mother of a currently serving Navy Corpsman. You are so right about the current blame game. It is shameful...... No matter who is playing.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

tmbridgeland, you're right. The shooter was a nut case. His reasoning for the shootings are simply his reasons. They are not and should not be considered culpable. The victims and their families are the story and should be our first concern.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Most vile indeed, CMerritt. Is anyone keeping track of them all? That list has to be enormous.

When they so blatantly tell us falsehoods, are they held accountable?

Doesn't it make you want to know why they would so quick to play the blame game?

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Prayer is good, Mimi721wis, and we all pray for God to comfort them in their time of sorrow. Thank you for stopping by and reminding us with your remarks.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author


Wow, I don’t know where to start. Did you even read the article?

You remarks tend to follow along the same lines as those I wrote about.

Be careful about placing blame? How about placing blame squarely on the shooter? Is that careful enough?

I find it peculiar that you reference the casual nature of Palin’s crosshairs and its removal from her website as too little, too late, but fail to address that the DailyKos also had a bull’s eye on MS Giffords (and comments that they also quickly removed) for reasons that coincided much more with the opinions of the shooter.

Perhaps Sarah Palin and the Daily Kos could have used another symbol to direct attention to the districts that they intended to highlight. But why? Politics like sports have always used symbolic war references: Crushing defeat, target the defense, win, fight, annihilate, battle, conflict, attack, struggle, surrender, yield, combat and the list goes on.

Jeff May profile image

Jeff May 6 years ago from St. Louis

While I see your points, you seem also to be playing the blame game. We should be calling for civil discourse, not mining the internet for outlandish comments made by either extreme. No intelligent person is calling for curbing free speech.

And it seems you are trying to pin the shooter as "left wing, quite liberal" based on what has been "heard" from acquantances. Isn't that also the flip side of blaming "right wingnuts."

Yes both sides play this game, but in recent years, the right has had louder, or more vocal, radio and TV political celebrities. Why not just agree that we should all make an effort to avoid being so mean-spirited? That we should focus on the issues.

From what I have heard, Palin, Beck, and others will say any mean thing they can think of regardless of the facts, as long as it gets them ratings, money, and status/power. I'm no fan of Olberman either, as he has become full of himself, and his self-righteousness.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

no I do not think the people playing a blame game are either thoughtful or reliable people. Unfortunately people who should know better seem to be influenced by them.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Welcome Jeff, I place no blame on the left or any of the folks mentioned in the article. I place the blame on the shooter. All I did was point out that the media reporting on the story had a bias in their telling of it. I state that if they had done their homework, they would have realized that what they reporting - that the shooter targeted Giffords because of the Tea Party and Sarah Palin - was NOT true.

As for louder voices on the right? Could be. But the left has dominated the airwaves for many years and now according to ratings, people are deciding to listen to a more fair and balanced approach to the news without such liberal commentary.

I do believe that we all need to be nicer to each other whether we are on TV or not. Focusing on the issues is what the Tea Party is all about so I totally agree with you there.

Can't really say I have heard 'mean' things from Palin or Beck. I've heard things that I may not agree with but when you make a statement like the one you did, you really should give examples. You know like when Anderson Cooper called the Tea Party folks, just average Americans, such a filthy and disgusting name on national television.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Welcome back dahoglund. I think you got it in a nutshell here..........."Unfortunately people who should know better seem to be influenced by them."

We have come to rely on the press and media to provide us with both sides of the story and we can no longer depend on them to do so.

Abecedarian profile image

Abecedarian 6 years ago from These United States, Texas

First off all, the Oklahoma bombing was anti-government, no one pinned that on McVeigh, he said it himself. The political atmosphere has created many a lunatic on both sides of the party lines, but this last election forward the rhetoric has gotten very devisive and for an unstable individual looking for a reason to do something, it inforces and justifies it for them. We have always told our kids, it's not what you say, it's how you say. So, think before you speak.

American Romance profile image

American Romance 6 years ago from America

How come now brought up the campaign speech by Obama when he said if they bring a knife we will bring a gun? great hub!If this is anyones fault it is the left! It is they that have destroyed morals, God and prayer! voted up!

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Abecedarian, thank you for stopping by and adding your thoughts here. The political atmosphere is certainly highly charged and very divisive. An unstable mind doesn't need to go looking very far to justify immoral actions.

Yes we may be responsible for our own speech and certainly our own actions but how far do we carry that responsibility? Does the rest of the world really have to dampen their debate on the off chance that some wacko decides to go off on a nut?

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

How true American Romance and thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It is odd that only the metaphors used by the right are bad. The Left can use them all day long. Using cross hairs is bad if you are a conservative but it is ok if you are a liberal.

I actually had one person explain that Palin's cross hairs mattered and that the Bulls eye didn't because not as many people read the article where the bulls eye was but Palin is everywhere.

So I guess is you are a liberal you can use liberal logic to explain it all. Doesn't need to be the truth - just liberal.

Jeff May profile image

Jeff May 6 years ago from St. Louis

While MSNBC is not "fair and balanced," nor is Fox, despite their claim. CNN tries. But that's just my progressive view.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thanks for telling us your view Jeff. It is my opinion that CNN isn't all that fair and balanced either. And MSNBC is a joke. At least on Fox, they have a number of both conservative and liberal hosts and they encourage debate between the differing points of view.

2besure profile image

2besure 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I believe that this man is unstable. Unstable be are more likely to react to real or imagined messages of violence from TV or radio.

fred allen profile image

fred allen 6 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

I applaud you for having the courage to take on such a polarizing subject. I knew you would start with the true reason for the tragedy before getting into the controversy. One thing is clear, people on both sides of the isle are ready, willing and able to engage in heated rhetoric. While I am very much a conservative Republican and proud of it, I believe the high road is the one less traveled but the one that God would have us take. I rarely if ever have anything positive to say about our current president, but he said something last night that resonated with me deeply. He was talking about the little 9 year old girl Christine. Her innocence. Her aspirations. That he would like America to become the way she saw it to be. Debate is good and very useful, but the lack of civility and the unwillingness to take the high road are what is crippling this nation. Our fates are tied together. There is common ground. Through civil debate and compromise we can forge ahead and be part of a process we can be proud of.

When thinking about what happens in the media and in the halls of congress and the senate and the whitehouse and the internet blogs, I am reminded of an example in the world of sports that impresses and inspires me. The New England Patriots. Not my favorite team (GO PACKERS!). While they are not my favorite, there is so much about them to admire. They are the most successful franchise this century. One thing that has marked their success and causes even the haters to admire is their unwillingness to engage in giving fodder to the media that leads to bulliten board material for the other teams. Their coach ALWAYS takes the high road. Their quarteback was called an explitive name by an opposing player this week and responded with, "I've been called worse" Someone has to be the first to lead us to the high road. I pray someone does.

Jeff May profile image

Jeff May 6 years ago from St. Louis

"MSNBC is a joke" -- come on now. Is that helpful? I disagree with you about Fox, but I have watched them enough to know that while I believe them to be extremely biased and partisan (as is MSNBC), I also acknowledge that they are smart enough. Even Glenn Beck. I have called him immoral and tried to explain why, but haven't dismissed him outright as a "joke." Jon Stewart has a grand time making jokes about him, but always with quality humor, never a dismissive insult, as I believe it is when you say someone (or by extension an organization) is a "joke."

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Hi 2besure, welcome and thanks for stopping by. Unstable people react to a variety of stimuli and if we could predict with any accuracy, what the triggers are I'm sure it would help. I guess my point is that since no proof was available at the time(or since then) that the shooter was reacting to any of the recent political rhetoric, these people, blaming the right and Sarah Palin, shouldn't have been so quick with their finger pointing.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Hello Fred, I am so glad you stopped by. Your remarks are well taken. Debate is always good and healthy for the country. But I do agree that the tone of the national debate has turned ugly. You are right, there is plenty of common ground for us to work and build on.

The presidents remarks about the aspirations of the young girl are things all need to remember. Thank you for spotlighting them here.

It takes a big person to continually take the high ground and it isn't always easy but once again, you have cut through the nonsense and hit the nail right on the head. Thank you so much for your insight.

Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Sorry Jeff, I should have said that referring to them as fair and balanced was a joke, keeping the comment in context. I don't see how insults are helpful at all and that was not my intent.

2besure profile image

2besure 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Yes, that is my point unstable people can pull anything out of the air and feel it applies to them. Like the Son of Sam said a black dog spoke to him. You never know what triggers them. Real or imagined.

allweathersforum profile image

allweathersforum 6 years ago from Gans Oklahoma

Good post Joni,

I was stunned and I always am when the blame gets transferred to the gun somehow. This is a travesty in America today, and is a sure sign of common logic skills going out the door. Would anyone say that we are to get rid of all our kitchen knives because of Jack the ripper, Jeffery Dahmer, or manson. That would be absurd, but people seem to think that the object is to blame and to the brain behind that object. Thanks for the post. Blessings.


Joni Douglas profile image

Joni Douglas 6 years ago Author

Thank you allweathersforum. I appreciate your comments. We have become a nation that wants to avoid consequences, whether intentional or not. We have seen it in schools, Congress and certainly in the judicial system. Shifting the blame off of the guilty and on to conditions, environments or whatever excuse they can find has immersed us all into the - "It's not my fault" mentality. Common sense tells us that consequences are an integral part of the learning process in becoming responsible people. Thanks for stopping by.

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