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January 10, 2011 08:34 PM UTC

The Tea Party and their Brand of Violence

  • 88 Comments
  • by: SSG_Dan

(I’m not sure I agree, promoted because it is well said and there are well formed replies thus making it a worthy discussion. – promoted by MADCO)

I don’t believe that the Tea Party had anything to do with the assassination attempt on a Democratic Congressperson. I still hold them responsible, however.

First there was Pim Fortuyn. And now, there is Gabrielle Giffords. Assassinations that have fundamentally changed politics in the Netherlands and now the United States. In each case, the political divide in that country before or after an election caused heated rhetoric to fester into violence. Unlike the killing of Fortuyn, Rep Giffords was shot in the wake of the most divisive and angry election since the Civil War. And unlike Fortuyn, there is one political movement that shares in the blame – the Tea Party.

First off, I absolutely don’t believe that the shooter in Arizona was a trained agent of Tea Party, sent to carry out the threats of another like-minded candidate who promised a “Second Amendment Solution” if she lost an election. But The Tea Party brand was violence – shown by angry followers screaming and threatening candidates during the Health Care debate, blog posts and commentators promising revolution and bloodshed if elected officials did not obey their talk-show thinking on government, and armed protestors at political events bearing banners promising to “water the tree of Liberty with blood.” It was even proudly displayed in the flag they chose as their symbol – the Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” yellow banner flown at numerous Tea party events.

And guns were even more embedded in the Tea Party DNA. Reacting to the false advertising of the NRA that “Obama’s gonna getcher guns” the Tea Party chose to arm themselves at every opportunity – be it public rally or a Starbucks run. And noting the Left’s obvious “discomfort” with being confronted by screaming protestors who were promising blood revolution if they didn’t get their way at the ballot box, the Tea Party ran with the meme.

“Heh – them lib’ruls are skeered about my 9-mil….ain’t it funny? I think I’ll go call O-bama a Muslim and see if he says anything, or just slinks away….”

And the Tea Party reveled in the image. This worship of firearms fit the demographic of the people they wished to energize. Knowing that the Second Amendment would galvanize their base while diverting attention from the factually-thin message on taxes and spending, the loose leadership of the Tea party movement surrendered ANY responsibility over their brand, their message and the consequences.

Now, as a gun owner, I also can see the average Tea Party member’s point about owning firearms. It’s a Constitutional right, and the ownership of at least one firearm gives those so inclined the feeling of protection, empowerment and yes, freedom. And yes, there are bad guys that on rare occasions gun owners manage to defend themselves against.

And gun rights are no longer the main issue of the Republican Party. Yes, it was a great fundraiser letter theme when the Clinton Administration finally cracked down on the avalanche of assault weapons out on the streets, but it hasn’t been a real issue for decades. Now, here was a political movement that made gun ownership a near-requirement for membership. Why wouldn’t it attract a rabid following?

But this is where the Tea Party (and their members) bear significant responsibility for the political divide in this country, and some for the shooting of a Congressperson – they never policed their own ranks.

Consider that Conservatives constantly harp the message of “responsibility”, then the Tea Party leadership and their members are guilty of failing that most basic ethical standard. Because they knew they had the crazy of the craziest in their ranks, and they failed to do anything about it.

If a few whackos show up at a Rally armed and sporting a passive-aggressive message about assassination, then hell, he’s more than welcome to be up front! If a candidate froths at the mouth at a rally about a “Second Amendment Solution” then HELL YES we cheer her on! And if we rally at the Capitol and cheer elected officials who declare we have to storm the Capitol to save America, then that’s what being in the Tea Party is all about!

If this is what you do, in front of the cameras, in front of your country, in front of you God, then you own this. This is your message, your passion, and your promise to the rest of the nation who was (and still is) watching.

Even thru all of this, the average Tea Party member is stunned that anyone would connect them to this murderous rampage at a political rally. “I never said you should kill anyone” is the meek, almost indignant response the morning after. Yes, no one in the Tea Party movement said to specifically kill THIS person on THIS day. But this political movement was out there reveling in their anger, empowered by the madness and shouted for the government to be overthrown, the leaders they disagreed with removed (by force if necessary) and all that opposed you were a threat to this nation only because they disagreed with you about a proposed health care law.

So, Tea Partiers, you have uttered you own version of “will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” and now there as been action on it. Trying to blame the violence that festered on your watch as the acts of “skateboarders” is empty and cowardly. Because even if is discovered that this madman who killed so many was not inspired by the violence and hate the Tea Party has spread, that hate is still out there. If not a grocery store in Tuscon, why not one in Broomfield? In Denver? Or anywhere else that’s represented by a “Dem-o-cratic traitor?”

The clock is ticking, and if the Tea party does not act quickly and decisively, they will fade away into the same political junkyard that the Know-Nothings, the Bull Moose party and the Lijst Pim Fortuyn silently rust away in. If the Tea Party pretends to be a “real” political party, then they have to act now to put a lid on the anger and hate that drove them to office.

Don’t get me wrong – I fully support the Constitutional Right for Tea Party members to display the depth of their ignorance. There is some value to some of their political beliefs about Federal spending, the deficit, and the size of government.

But now, you have to do it without screaming about revolution and bloodshed. The time to intimidate your way to political power is over. The only thing you can do now is stop the hate, take the higher ground, and try and close the chasm you opened up on the campaign trail. Because, now you are “the Government,” having taken an oath to the Constitution and sworn to serve ALL Americans, not just the ones with the guns and the yellow flags and the banners depicting Obama as a Muslim.

If nothing else, you have to do for your own political survival. Because if you let this continue to fester for your own political gain, it will explode. Now you can’t bring your guns to rallies and proclaim their powers of liberty – because so many more will bring pictures of the dead caused by those guns. For every shout about personal responsibility, more will shout in return – “where was yours?” For every Tea Partier who thinks this isn’t their fault and hoots his indignation about it, there will be so many more who believe that it is.

Clock’s ticking….

Comments

88 thoughts on “The Tea Party and their Brand of Violence

      1. “The thing is, the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” Giffords said in March. “When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.”

          1. nothing to see here, go back to your boring lives, nothing here to see, move on…

            We know the drill.

            Whether or not this crazy individual found some incitement in Palin’s nasty rhetoric we will probably ever know.  

            What we do know is that blithe encouragement of violence on your fellow Americans is irresponsible and disgusting, and that Rep. Giffords words were eerily prescient.

            What is even more disgusting than that is that Palin and her people don’t have the common decency to hold their heads in shame at this time, instead, they get the vapors when a point is being made about how destructive their words and actions are, and they revert to damage control and coverup.  

            Real ownership.  Classy.


          2. Actually, it may have been the hate rhetoric against Hillary at the time, since most were sure she was going to be President.  It was ugly against her as well.

            So, it took three years of hearing to get him to act.  What is your point?

        1. (If she actually still had one, that is.)

          I think it matters not a whit whether Palin’s actual words inflamed the shooter.

          But picture running that quote of Gifford’s together with Palin’s target ad, and using that as the basis of an ad against Palin in whatever race she happens to be in. “It’s a question of common decency — and good judgment.” There’s no way Palin stands a chance in hell of reaching higher office.

          Palin remains a TV personality, if her ad revenue doesn’t dry up. Or she buys that nice little house near Bristol, and she retires.

    1. ..I’ll never forget your very public defense of Rep Markey when these same kind of whackos were howling for her blood during the Health Care debate.

      As it turns out, you were the mad prophet shouting in the wilderness…

      1. .

        I’m trying to say that the T-Party is not as consistent or as coherent as you seem to think.  Don’t think of it as a political party, think of it as a forum for old grumpy white men to vent, without bringing up professional sports teams.  

        Really, who is the Tea Party ?  

        To me, its the folks who have showed up to events.

        And they attended for a lot of different reasons, but it looked to me they mostly came to feel that they were having an impact and being heard.  They came seeking affirmation, and got it.  They brought their anxieties about the future, and had them validated.  

        I sympathize with the overall angst that I see at its core.  Maybe that makes me a member.

        I’m worried about my future.  A better Christian than me would trust in God’s Providence, but me, I still worry.  

        I haven’t spoken out against Health Care Reform only because I mostly don’t understand what all the noise is about.

        The fundamentals weren’t changed: Big Pharma and Big Insurance are still crushing patients and doctors to squeeze out even bigger profits.

        I haven’t questioned where Obama was born because, whatever hunch I might have, I understand how our constitutional system is set up to handle such complaints (Article 3.)  If a birther isn’t willing to ante up to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit, they deserve to be ignored.  

        My main concern about the future is somewhere in the whole question of who runs our country.  I don’t fear the Trilateralists or Bilderbergs or Soros, I’m more concerned that the Congress no longer performs its Constitutional function (Article 1.)  Without that co-equal branch, there’s no checks and balances.

        Lamborn has staked his reputation on beating back the leviathan CPB, which he thinks is destroying the country by allowing voices of dissent to be heard.  A total waste of a seat.  

        Senators ain’t much better.  Senator Udall is on the Armed Services Committee.  We’re engaged in several wars that are making us less safe.  What’s his response ?  Repeal DADT.  

        Y’know who comes closest in my book in the Congress to representing the Tea Party ?  Maybe not who you might think.  Polis and Giffords.  These two didn’t get the memos about ignoring voters.  So they lower themselves into the level where I live my life and allow ants like me to complain to their faces.  To complain to somebody who is nominally one of the 500 most powerful people in the world.  

        Giffords famously faced the music when the Tea Party was revolting.  Lamborn, who bragged about joining the T-Party Caucus, is still hiding from us.

        I disagree with your characterization of the T-Party.

        .

        1. ….but what I saw at Town Hall meetings, and on the ground of the Capitol in March last year were angry, hostile and armed people screaming for blood.

          Now that their candidates occupy the same building they threatened to storm, they have to step to the mike and stop the violent rhetoric.

          I give a shit about the grumpy assholes stewing in their own crazy, polishing up their illegally modified AR-15s. But I do care about their newfound mouthpieces parading around on nutjob talk radio or Faux News.

          This may be a patchwork monster, created from so many pieces of rhetoric, dogma and just-plain hate, but it’s the Tea Party’s creature, and they have to stop it.

          1. (Yes, Barron, I really just said that.) A lot of folks that I saw at Tea Party rallies were older folks that were scared to death watching their way of life just…fade away and wanted someone, anyone, to listen to them and I got the impression they didn’t think the GOP was paying attention to them anymore than the Dems were so they started to organize and has sort of created their own subculture within the confines of the Republican Party.

            That’s about all the credit I’m willing to extend them at this point.  

        2. I’ve always thought of the Tea Party as a mindless mob so your characterization of it as leaderless makes sense.

          What jerk offs like you try to ignore is the entire message of the Tea Party which is that if violence is needed to gain their political objectives then they are more than willing to cross the line.  They are American terrorists.  The Tea Party is a toxic stew of bubbling hatred and violence egged on by assholes like you.

            1. You’re not an asshole or the whole myth of Death Panels to kill granny was not a blatant appeal to take up arms and defend the family from “Death Panel” zombies?  The whole rhetoric of the Tea Party is not an attempt to mobilize through patriotic propaganda a violent if “necessary” resistance (and aren’t they all portrayed as necessary to safeguard the “Tea Party/Leave it to Beaver” 50’s lifestyles that are just as mythical as Death Panels) to duly elected laws based on a fear of mythical Death Panels and black presidents?

              You are rewriting history if you claim that the Tea Party mobs were just frightened old folks venting about unfair legislative actions.  The implied violence was there from the very beginning.  “Don’t change anything that you were elected to do or we’ll kill you.”

    2. it’s you for slapping on those blinders so tightly as you continue to defend and lend your unqualified support to the indefensible. What a shameful context in which to use the capitalized word “Grace”. Your smug pretensions to religious moral superiority are very tiresome.    

        1. which is why I was appalled at your response, crying shame and referring to the need for capital “G” Grace, in response to this heartfelt and well reasoned diary. You may be well meaning, you are certainly on the side of sense and compassion on many issues, for which I give you due credit, and being deluded is no crime but I really don’t have time for self righteous,smug, holier than thou prigs.    

  1. You have articulated this part of the problem perfectly.

    But the critique is incomplete, because it does not include the complicity of their corporate masters.  The Tea Party would never have amassed the power it did, beginning in early ’09, if Big Insurance, Big Oil, Big Pharma and others had not bankrolled it.  And if Big Right Media had not hyped it from day one.

    Thousands of people could gather in Washington to protest the war, to march for civil rights and progressive issues and get virtually no mention on cable news.  Their numbers would be minimized.  But let 300 Tea Partiers get together in a park (because the Koch brothers bankrolled the buses) and cable media, particularly, inflated the numbers and rolled tape and commentary for hours on end.

    So people like Dick Armey and Newt Gingrich, along with the billionaire Koch brothers and other extremely wealthy corporate heads bear even more responsibility than the silly, not-rich, not healthy, often mean-minded Tea Partiers that we saw in our communities and on TV.

    1. …in the coming days, the State of Arizona will be seen as the guiltiest party in this massacre.

      Why? They refused to follow Federal law and report on the gunman’s mental illness to the National Criminal Background Check System. Had the State filed these records are required by law, Loughner would’ve been flagged by the system, and his purchase of a combat handgun (a Glock 19) would’ve been blocked.

      As far back as the Gun Control Act of 1968, there have been federal laws against selling weapons to mentally ill individuals. But the Virginia Tech tragedy in 2007, in which the shooter Cho Seung-Hui was able to pass two federal gun background checks even after a state court ruled that he was dangerously mentally ill, highlighted the need for better record-keeping and interagency communication to enforce those laws. (More than 30 people died in the incident.) Saying that unstable individuals are disqualified from buying firearms is meaningless if the national background-check system, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), has no record of their illness. That’s why the Brady organization was proud to announce on Friday, just a day before the Tucson shootings, that the number of records of mental illness in the NICS database had more than doubled since Virginia Tech, to more than 1 million records.

      But there’s a problem with that: there should be more than 2 million records in that database, if all the states cooperated fully. According to the Brady organization’s records, Arizona was not even the worst offender – at least the state ramped up its reporting somewhat in the wake of Virginia Tech. But still, Arizona’s own estimate is that the state has 121,700 records of disqualifying mental illness that should go into the NICS database. From the beginning of 2008 to October 2010, however, it submitted only 4,465 records. Worse than Arizona were states like Louisiana, which submitted only one record during that time frame, and Nebraska and Pennsylvania, which didn’t submit any.

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/0

      Why does Arizona avoid following this law? I’m sure the Conservative Republicans appointed by the current Gov feel they’re protecting the “liberty” of the paranoid delusional gundamentalist citizens. Instead, they’re responsible for this massacre. (

      And oh yes, I know there’s bazillions of illegal guns he could’ve purchased “if he really wanted to.” I doubt a delusional twenty-something has the street smarts to find all of these illegal gun dealers, and he certainly would not have purchased a 9mm handgun design for close-quarters combat AND a matching extended magazine.

      1. I asked elsewhere, but it’s not clear there was any actual diagnosis of mental illness in Loughner’s case, or even whether he was treated. If there wasn’t, I don’t see how it could have been noticed even with stricter background checks.

        1. “The real question in Tucson, though, is why the alleged shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, was allowed to buy the murder weapon in the first place. Beyond the clearly delusional nature of online videos ascribed to him, Loughner was suspended last year from Pima Community College apparently because of mental problems. According to the college, he was told he could return only if he obtained “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.”

          If a Community College in the area had him suspended from classes because he might be a threat, then I think that’s a little tidbit of info that belongs in the NICS.  

            1. Question: Who is authorized to “diagnose” a mental problem that must be entered into a Byzantine computer system that doesn’t work well?  And at what level of severity does a mental health issue become a block to firearm ownership?  There are multiple inter-related issues presented, not the least of which is assuring due process.

            2. That is probably the problem.  They may not have known who to contact that could/would actually try to help this young man.  Who knows, with some professional help he may not have done this killing.

              All the more reason for getting ACA into effect with its help for community health centers, maybe, just maybe, help could could soon be available.

      2. One is disqualified by mental illness in the NICS if you’ve been “adjudicated” as mentally ill.  While many in Tucson may have known Lorghner was nuts, it had not led to any time in front of a judge to put him in the system.

        This is my understanding, not backed up by links, but I think it’s correct here.

  2. How many times do i need to say that.  Some guy on Kos or on POls doesn’t mean anything in this conversation.  When leadership is saying stupid hateful stuff, that is dangerous.  When a guy with a TV show or radio show is saying stupid hateful stuff, that is dangerous.  

  3. Teabagger darling Michele Bachmann on cap and trade, of all things:

    I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people – we the people – are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.

    My bold.

    Seriously.  She couldn’t say, “This is bad policy”?  She couldn’t say, “Contact your representatives in Congress and tell them to vote against it”?  She had to say, in effect, “Get your guns and start a violent revolution to save your country from your elected representatives”?  

    You posters, and you know who you are, who have been defending this kind of nonsense since the Tucson gunman hit the ground.  Why???  Why can’t you say that this kind of talk is wrong, no matter which side it comes from?   Why won’t you admit that it is wrong when people on your side say things like this?

  4. If leaders in the Tea Party movement actually cared what pot stirrers like yourself say about them, they should sue you for libel. Glenn Beck himself, focal point for liberal accusations of violence, routinely calls for a peaceful, MLK like movement. It’s why Alveda King spoke at his 8/28 rally. National leaders like Beck do police the movement. Beyond that, Tea Partiers are a peaceful, law-abiding lot, and nobody ever felt the need to address violence because the idea that a Tea Partier would ever commit an act of violence is unthinkable inside the movement. As you have pointed out, there is not a shred of evidence connecting this shooter to the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, talk radio, or anybody else on the right. In fact, he had quite a lot of left-leaning traits. Heck, all we do all day is talk about abiding by the Constitution and securing our borders in order to PREVENT violence. I would find your diary personally offensive if I considered your opinions to be any more important than those of a squawking chicken, so whatever.

    1. bubbles from the swamp.

      So many dumb things you post.

      Beck pre-empted the MLK Memorial to make himself in to the teapot leader of old white people who are clinging to a false memory of 1950’s TV fiction shows.  There is a reason it is called Whitestock.  

      Beck and his minions prevented the solemn memorial to a great leader of the Civil Rights movement from meeting at the very monument of the man who gave the Emancipation Proclamation.

      The rest of your rantings are idiotic too.

        1. At best count there were a couple of black people who for some reason think Beck is leading them to something – maybe gold. But the black people there were observers and hawkers of merchandise.  Their accounts of the event are very humorous.  Mostly about how surprised the white attendees were at seeing black people on the grounds.

          Of the 87,000, best guess, or 3 million, nutjob guess, there were less than 100, one hundred, black people anywhere near the Beck Whitestock. And, the great percentage of them were observers.

    2. COMPLETELY FOS.

      routinely calls for a peaceful, MLK like movement.

      He occasionally makes those comments to COVER HIS ASS. Don’t you think some staffer has asked the question, “Gee, boss, what are you gonna do if some nutcase “goes postal”…aren’t people gonna blame you”?

      95% of his rhetoric is inflammatory.

      Your argument is specious and flimsy.

      Why don’t you just go back to your lair and put on a copy of ” Bachmann/Palin Overdrive” and leave the discussion to adults?

       

      1. When I am wrongfully accused of having a “brand of violence” I have the right and duty to defend myself. Adults wouldn’t make such specious charges in the first place.

        1. I went back over the thread and couldn’t find where someone accused you of “having a “brand of violence””. I think the only thing I accused you of was being full of shit.

          Glenn Beck himself, focal point for liberal accusations of violence, routinely calls for a peaceful, MLK like movement.

          This comment alone discredits almost everything you say. You neglected to mention the hundreds of times, many quoted here in this thread, that he has incited insurrection and sown fear of a terrifying government, bent on the distruction of his faithful listeners.

          Believe me, Beej. no one here would ever try to convince you of anything. But there are others who read these pages who should not read the drivel you post without an opportunity to also hear the truth.

          So you may defend yourself, of course, but defending bullshit…Nah.  

        2. NOT.

          What you are guilty of is not following the example set by Barron X – when teh crazee by the gundamentalist idiots (who comprise a significant party of the Tea Party) started threatening violence against Rep Markey for voting for the Health Care Law, he immediately called for a stop AND for like-minded Constitutionalists to defend her…at gunpoint.

          Now, go back to your SAS simulations and look for the missing semicolon.

          (ALL others, please ignore the simpleton troll posting from (Redacted) State University property…

    3. That’s right wing all the way.

      Of course, one of his friends said Loughner liked to be shocking online, and thought his listing of Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto as favorite books online was motivated by that.

      Which, of course, means that the whole thing is suspect. Who knows if he read any of the books he listed.

  5. Rhetorical incitements to violence are like schoolyard bullying: They most affect the people who don’t have the ability to shield themselves from responding emotionally. For example, people with untreated mental illnesses. Which are, generally, untreated due to unavailability of care.

    Say what you like about universal health care vs. a free market system for physical ailments, but I think it’s becoming clearer and clearer that mental health care needs to be more available in order to prevent future tragedies. So often after a disaster like this, it comes out that the shooter sought treatment for a mental illness and wasn’t able to enter or complete that treatment for financial or logistical reasons.

    I don’t have a perfect solution for the problem, but I hope politicians will keep it in mind as they respond to yet another tragedy that could likely have been prevented with a bottle of pills and a therapist willing to take a call and respond to a patient saying, “I’m afraid I’m going to hurt someone.”

  6. That said, I have to side with the right on this one.

    Let’s say I was gunned down between my office (where I do abortions) and my car.  My buds in the Pro-Choice movement might start to clutch their pearls and decry the rhetoric around the anti-choice movement, but if a crackhead with an arrest record as long as my arm was later found with my wallet, they’d look pretty foolish.

    The rhetoric around the tea party movement (and Glenn Beck saying he’d like to choke Michael Moore to death with his bare hands and watch the look in his eyes as he did it ) is horrific and has no place in civilized discussion.  But until we see Loughner’s internet history or highlighted copy of the Sarah Palin story, we can’t attribut his deeds to the rhetoric.

    1. But I agree with pretty much everything you said. I really wanted to blame this on Palin, the right, Glenn Beck, and everyone else who have been polluting the political atmosphere in this country (one DC rally notwithstanding) with bile and hatred for any number of groups of human beings.

      Sadly, I, like many of my fellow Democrats, wasted the initial opportunity to encourage an examination of our political values. Instead of jumping all over Palin, or Beck (or the Beej or Laughing Boy or Cologeek) and blaming them for the politically violent culture we’ve all helped foster at one time or another; we should be looking at this as a paradigm shift. From this moment on, we can all pledge to stray away from this type of political discourse.

      I do think that we need to start holding people–Democrats, Republicans, and independents–accountable for their violent rhetoric. The tragedy in Arizona wasn’t necessarily caused by our political culture, but to deny that the heat of the fire has been steadily rising around us for years now is wrong. Let Tucson serve not as a framework for blaming one side or the other for it happening, but rather as a wake-up call.

      I’m sickened by this tragedy, but I can’t go on sitting idly by while we intensify our divisions rather than use it as a moment by which we can define ourselves for decades to come.

    2. But I agree with pretty much everything you said. I really wanted to blame this on Palin, the right, Glenn Beck, and everyone else who have been polluting the political atmosphere in this country (one DC rally notwithstanding) with bile and hatred for any number of groups of human beings.

      Sadly, I, like many of my fellow Democrats, wasted the initial opportunity to encourage an examination of our political values. Instead of jumping all over Palin, or Beck (or the Beej or Laughing Boy or Cologeek) and blaming them for the politically violent culture we’ve all helped foster at one time or another; we should be looking at this as a paradigm shift. From this moment on, we can all pledge to stray away from this type of political discourse.

      I do think that we need to start holding people–Democrats, Republicans, and independents–accountable for their violent rhetoric. The tragedy in Arizona wasn’t necessarily caused by our political culture, but to deny that the heat of the fire has been steadily rising around us for years now is wrong. Let Tucson serve not as a framework for blaming one side or the other for it happening, but rather as a wake-up call.

      I’m sickened by this tragedy, but I can’t go on sitting idly by while we intensify our divisions rather than use it as a moment by which we can define ourselves for decades to come.

      1. Is exactly what the right has been doing.

        Not “This has nothing to do with our speech”, but “Hate speech is part of politics; see, Dems do it too.”

        1. We can’t play the blame game, but just because there isn’t a connection between this particular atrocity doesn’t mean that our political culture is severely damaged. Everyone needs to do their part to change that.

          And sorry for the double post.  

          1. I stopped reading the other thread because I’m so disappointed in so many posters I (did?) have a lot of respect for.  Why hasn’t everyone figured out this point?  Are knees still “jerking”?

            1. It reminds me a lot of when people tried to blame Marilyn Manson and DOOM for Columbine. It’s not quite the same thing, but in the wake of a tragedy scapegoats abound.

              1. but got too emotional.  While the situation is different and the shooter less sympathetic, the lesson that should have been learned is exactly the same.

                Oh well.  History – It does that.

      2. I made exactly one finger pointing comment (one with a big IF, which matters), and retracted it a day later. But for naught. Apparently just even asking for a reduction in combative talk alone is “blaming the right.”

        1. I didn’t read most of that thread. I got very discouraged by my own knee-jerk reaction, and I decided I would probably get drawn in to that nasty back-and-forth if I tried to weigh in. I wasn’t trying to make my comment personal towards anyone in particular.

    3. I don’t think anybody’s rhetoric made this young crazy man shoot Rep. Giffords.  From what I’ve read, he was pissed that she didn’t answer his bizarre and incoherent question in 2007 and has been stewing about it ever since.

      I’m facebook friends with several conservatives, and have watched with great interest as they post long lists of quotes from liberals using violent imagery and denying with complete sincerity that any righties ever say such things.  I posted several quotes of things folks on their side said, and they either denied that they were said or tried to explain it away.  One person who denied that righties said such things also said that violent rhetoric on the left is so pervasive that she could put together this huge list even though she never goes to leftie sites.  Of course, I believe that’s because the righties are putting all of our inflammatory quotes on their websites, just like we are putting all their inflammatory quotes on ours.

      And yes, there are folks on our side of the aisle who have made outrageous and inflammatory statements.  Just now, TPM quoted a Democrat as saying about Florida Gov. Rick Scott, “Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him.”  

      http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo…  Folks, there aren’t any virgins here.

      I’m more interested in seeing how things go from here.  I hope that people become more aware of what they’re saying and stop using this kind of rhetoric.  I also hope we all start calling out anyone who uses inflammatory and violent rhetoric. And I mean we call out our own … and I hope the Beejs, Laughing Boys, GOPWarriors, and Cologeeks will call out their own, too.  We’ve all spent a ton of time in the last few days defending our own and blaming the other side; now let’s start policing our own language and that of our ideological companions as well.

       

        1. Isn’t that mandatory?  As long as that’s the only context in which you use any variation of the word “shoot.”

          I am so sorry I said that….

    4. that was really Beck. What vile, hate-filled speech! I chellenge anyone (LB, BX, anyone except BJ) to defend that rhetoric. And please do go to Beck’s audio in the link at the bottom of this linked page to actually hear what he said…

    5. because they are socialist programs that harm our country?

      You are siding with the unrestrained sale of military weapons to people with demonstrated mental incompetence.

      You feel it would be inappropriate to ask people to come together and focus on rational solutions to the problems of our day because it might cost Republicans votes if they had to compete politically based on ideas instead of based on bias and intimidation.

      Pretty slimy company you keep DP.

        1. My apologies about the confusion

          I was trying to highlight that Republican violent political rhetoric might not be a contributing factor to this tragedy but their attempts to destroy social programs that help those dealing with mental illness is terrible policy.

          Mentally ill people can’t hold jobs or pay for their own treatment but they need help and society benefits when they get it.

          Republican violent political rhetoric might not be a contributing factor to this tragedy but how does their divisive and violent rhetoric solve any of our urgent problems?

          Republicans suck (not DP) and their pathetic attempts to avoid blame while avoiding responsibility for their maniacal hatred towards and all out attempts to destroy our social and safety net programs is the real issue here.  This is just another consequence like the BP Oil Spill of an ideology that creates more problems than it solves.

          1. From Slate

            Seena Fazel is an Oxford University psychiatrist who has led the most extensive scientific studies to date of the links between violence and two of the most serious psychiatric diagnoses-schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, either of which can lead to delusions, hallucinations, or some other loss of contact with reality. Rather than looking at individual cases, or even single studies, Fazel’s team analyzed all the scientific findings they could find. As a result, they can say with confidence that psychiatric diagnoses tell us next to nothing about someone’s propensity or motive for violence.

            I am a strong advocate for better mental health care, and there’s no denying that the Republicans have little interest in bettering our mental health care system, but I don’t think you can say that Loughner’s actions were only because of whatever mental illness he may be suffering from. The study cited in that Slate article found people were 3 times as likely to be killed by being struck by lightning than they were to be murdered by a schizophrenic. It also found that drug and alcohol abuse was a much better indicator of violence than someone’s mental illness or lack thereof.

            Is that to say that the mental health care system couldn’t have potentially stopped Loughner before he fell between the cracks? Absolutely not. Better mental health care could potentially have saved this situation from happening as others have pointed out. I just think it’s so much more complicated than we’d like it to be. It’s not a cut and dry picture.

            1. Thanks for the citation.  While studies aren’t “truth” they can shed some light on complex subjects like mental illness.  I told a colleague at work that one of the reasons I didn’t pursue being a manager is that I didn’t like coming in contact with mental illness.  It’s everywhere if you look.  Give me a complex program to write and a quiet cubicle and I’m good to go.  I total respect for the good managers who can produce a quality product or service and get the most out of their staff and not get totally exasperated at the whacked out behavior of a troubled employees.

              The common thread throughout all Republican solutions is “do nothing while protecting the rich”.  While promoting mental health and early detection and pro-active treatment of people with severe mental health problems might not ever be connected to this shooting, the Republican solution of spending cuts to eliminate available and affordable mental health treatment seems pretty stupid to me.  The lost productivity in our national work force because of over stressed people who are under severe financial and emotional pressure is recoverable and then some.  Why not as a society strive to offer available mental health treatment for those who are incapable of healing themselves.  Republicans who want to eliminate all social safety net programs while protecting the tax breaks for the rich suck.  It’s as simple as that and you don’t need a study to comprehend that it’s a fact.

      1. this friction here, my friends. Let’s not devolve into being the problem we need to solve. I have always had great respect for both Gilpin Guy and Daft Punk. I recommend a chill pill.

        This is not an easy subject. If the issue were simple, like…the Broncos suck…common ground would not be so hard to find. 🙂  But this issue cuts very close to the bone with most people.

        My initial reaction was outrage at the blatent militancy of the Tea Parties of America. That hasn’t changed much…but I have cooled off enough to get the point that further escalation is just simply moving in the wrong direction.

        I am going to try to be better. Not for Beck, Palin, and Angle…but for Ellie, LB, and Barron.

        Peace.  

  7. We are all feeling pain.

    We are mourning.

    Our country is mourning.

    This was a truly terrible thing to happen. We lost something precious.  When this has passed, we will not be the same.  America will not be the same.

    Maybe this would be a good time to treat each other gently. Maybe this would be a time to forgive one anothers “excess of passion”.

    How we go forward from here depends on each of us.

    Peace

  8. …and I’d to post some follow-up…

    1) The connection between Pim Fortuyn and Rep Giffords is not just easy hyperbole. Future MP Fortuyn was engaged in a war of political rhetoric with the Dutch Political establishment that matched the bile and anger of our last election. His fiery comments about Islam and immigration appealed to some, insulted many but drove a important point to the forefront of the election.

    But he was gunned down NOT by a Muslim or an immigrant – he was murdered by Volkert can der Graaf, a Vegan employed by an animal rights group. At his trial, he cited the hostile tone from Fortuyn and his political party LPM, saying it would create a hostile environment for years for Immigrants and Muslims in particular.

    He used the hostile tone of the political debate to justify his assassination – something that may still come out with Rep Giffords’ assailant.  

    2) Definition of a BRAND:

    A brand is the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity – it affects the personality of a product, company or service.

    I’m note talking about the individual views of some of the intelligent (Barron X) or moronic (Beej) members of the Tea party – I’m talking about their BRAND. It has been crafted in images of guns, violence and revolution…to success at the ballot box.

    Now that tragedy has struck, trying to erase images of kooks with guns threatening elected leaders with murder and revolution is positively Stalinistic. This is the brand the Tea Party built to seize political power – and there’s NO trying to erase it now that decent people are questioning it.

    The simple test is this – during blind focus groups at 9News, we showed pictures of the various weather talent to groups. They would ID Mike Nelson by name, but when they would see a picture of Kathy Sabine, they’d say “9News….Kathy Sabine.”

    Now, if you had shown this picture to a focus group (Tea Partiers Included) before the shooting in AZ:

    I would bet my marketing ass that almost everyone would answer “Tea Party.”

    THAT’S the issue here – the Tea Party built this brand, and if they want to survive as a political “movement” past this term in Congress, they have to do something about it – NOW.

    Because if you look at the Dutch Parliment now, Fortuyn’s political party is GONE….

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