about Loughner, but Charles M. Blow says it so much better. If you read his columns, you know that he is no fan of Palin ("she's as sharp as a wet balloon") or the Tea Party (he thinks they're racists).
I especially liked the sixth paragraph and have said almost the exact same thing on the HP forums.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/opini … ef=opinion
I'm guessing I'd more than likely disagree with most of the other things he has to say, but in this very honest and heart-felt article, he's certainly hit the proverbial nail on the head. It's actually pretty refreshing to see someone, regardless of which side of the political fence they stand on, just be honest about something for a change. Thank you for posting.
MLK Day seems appropriate to make this observation. I don't think there was ever a direct link between the shooter, James Earl Ray and the KKK. But it was approptiate to question, particularly after the murder, the role of the KKK in hate speech and violence.
Who today would suggest that we can't discuss racism, MLK, and the KKK in the same breath because the shooter was a nut, rather than a certified racist.
I am not and have not blamed Sarah Palin or the Tea Party. I have suggested AFTER the Tucson shooting as I did before. The rhetoric from the right is too harsh, too violent, and too threatening.
So is he saying that we should continue the violent rhetoric because the connection between it and Loughner's actions has been proved false (and that proving thus weakened the argument?)
I think President Obama got it right, and it is similar to what you said, Doug. It is our nature to want to make sense of tragedies. Questioning possible motives and contributing factors is human nature.
In this case we added 1+2 and came up with 4.
Jarod Loughner targeted and shot Gabby Giffords (and 18 other innocent victims)
Gabby Giffords had been targeted by the right for unseating with gun crosshairs on a map
Gabby Giffords and other Democrats who were targeted by the right were also victims of violent threats
it turns out that Jarod Loughner's actions were his alone and unrelated to the crosshairs or right-wing targeting
The fact that no direct (or even indirect) connection was found to Mr. Loughner's despicable acts seems to have obscured the have been that because of the right's rhetoric Ms. Giffords and other public servants have been threatened and suffered OTHER forms of violence.
That seems to have been overlooked.
Even if Jarod Loughner wasn't listening to the hateful rhetoric, others were/are. The four Republicans who resigned after the shooting are not afraid of Jarod Loughner. They are afraid of the other people who ARE being influenced by the hateful rhetoric.
It's not the actual guns that lead to this sort of violence.
It's not even people using them for leisure, or keeping them at home for "protection" (although, sadly, that tends to lead to unintended people being killed more often than not).
I personally feel it's a culture that glorifies violence.
I could be wrong, and no doubt other people have studied this much, much more than I have, but there is a cultural element that enjoys violence and dehumanizes certain people, and when you combine that in a person who's mentally ill, they grab a gun and replicate what they saw in a movie or in a video game.
And people like Palin, I'm sorry, contribute to this culture where shooting guns is not a matter of sport or protection, but of paranoid, militia-like, violent behavior.
Violent Rhetoric and the Mentally Ill
POSTED BY DAVID NEIWERT JANUARY 16, 2011 5:00PM
Last fall, Investigative Fund reporter David Neiwert spent several months documenting the Tea Party's ties with white supremacists and armed militia groups. We asked him to respond to the recent armed attack in Tucson. —Ed.
For some time now, it's been something of a reflexive response by media pundits, particularly conservatives and "moderate" liberals, to point to mental illness when some violent and unstable person commits a horrifying act in the name of extremist right-wing beliefs. If they're just mentally ill, you can't blame the people whose ideas they happened to pick up, can you?
Thus we have witnessed a steady stream of "isolated incidents" in which angry, mentally unstable men walk into churches and shoot their liberal targets in the head, or walk into public spaces and open fire, or crash their planes into government offices and gun down police officers. Yet when all these, and a long list of similar incidents, occur, they are dismissed as "isolated incidents." Because, you see the perpetrators are just "nutcases."
That's a cop-out, and a dangerous one. One of its chief consequences, in fact, is that the list of "isolated incidents" — and the body count that accompanies it — will just keep mounting. At some point, people will realize that the incidents are perhaps not so isolated after all.
This is particularly the case in a place like Arizona, where the political environment has become increasingly toxic in recent years. Conservative hatred of all things liberal has become so ingrained in the local discourse — thanks in large part to the pervasive popularity of right-wing hate talkers like Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh, as well as the omnipresence of Fox News and its "opinion" pundits — that it is becoming increasingly difficult to self-identify as a Democrat or a liberal in much of the state. People are afraid — with good reason — that doing so will expose them to vicious verbal and perhaps physical attacks. (Will Bunch wrote about this phenomenon in some detail for Media Matters recently.)
People on the ground in Arizona, like Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, know this reality intimately — which is why he immediately spoke out after the Giffords shootings, denouncing the "climate of hate" that had come to dominate the political environment in his state, and pointing in particular to right-wing radio and TV pundits who whip up those animosities for ratings, profits, and sheer mean-spirited viciousness.
To an extent, they are correct: They certainly can't be blamed in any direct sense, and especially not in a criminal sense. But neither are they without culpability — especially when the rhetoric upon which the mentally unstable person has acted violently is as deliberately inflammatory and as profoundly irresponsible as what we have seen from the American Right in recent years. The Right, indeed, bears the lion's share of the blame for creating a toxic environment in which unstable people come to believe that their political opponents are the embodiment of pure evil — that they are destroying America deliberately and maliciously — and therefore must be dealt with violently. This is an environment that today exists not just in Arizona, but everywhere in America.
Put simply (and colloquially): There's been a lot of crazy talk from the American Right in recent years. And crazy talk — especially condoned at the highest social levels — has a powerful effect on people who are already crazy.
If we don't take this seriously, more people will die!! We have to stop down-playing it.
(and I would have just posted the URL, but my computer is not letting me go back and forth)
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