by theyoungturks, Tue Jan 11, 2011 at 05:55:40 PM EST
Was Jared Loughner's act in shooting Rep. Giffords political? Apparently this is what's being debated with a straight face now. Is this a joke? He shot a politician in the head. He called it an "assassination." What part of that was unclear?
He didn't shoot Gabrielle Giffords randomly and it turned out she just happened to be a politician. He sought her out, targeted her and then tried to kill her based on the fact that she was a politician. He thought the government was the problem and it was unresponsive to his psychotic demands on grammar and currency.
So, is Loughner a psycho? Obviously. And that's not just because he shot all of those innocent people, but also because it is abundantly clear from his writings and videos that he has significant mental issues.
But why does the act have to be either psychotic or political? It's obviously both. It was a psychotic act driven by his political beliefs. What's so hard to understand about that?
Then, the next question is whether both sides are equally at fault. Again, I'm confused by this question. What the hell did the Democrats or liberals do here? Nothing, except get shot. How can the media possibly attach false equivalency to this? Are the Democrats equally culpable for getting shot as the conservatives are for shooting them?
Loughner shot a Democrat. Gee, I wonder which side he was on? He hated the government and thought they were out to get us. Gee, I wonder which side he was on?
I thought conservatives said liberals love big government. But now some have the audacity to claim Loughner was a liberal. But if one thing is obvious from Loughner's political writings, it was that he hated the government. So, which one is it -- do liberals love or hate the government?
Come on, this is all a smoke screen to make sure people don't see what's going on here. In the last two years, there have been dozens of attacks and shootings aimed at government officials and political organizations. Every single one of them was directed at liberals, Democrats or the government. Now we're to believe that's the world's largest coincidence?
The conservative hate-mongers don't create psychos. We get that there will always be disturbed individuals out there. But the right-wing directs these lunatics to a source. They channel their fear, anger and paranoia -- and they point them toward the Democrats. They use them as hate seeking missiles.
They load them up them up with violent imagery, whether it's talk of cross-hairs or second amendment remedies or the tree of liberty being refreshed with blood. Then when they get a violent reaction they pretend to be surprised and outraged that anyone would suggest they were the least bit culpable. The reality is that it is a simple formula -- violence in, violence out. Violent imagery in, violent results out.
If pretending this isn't political or that somehow it is both-sided doesn't work (which they shouldn't worry about because so far it has worked perfectly in white-washing their culpability in the media), then they say it's political exploitation to point out what they have done.
How the hell are we supposed to point out the problem if we can't mention the issue for fear of being charged with political exploitation? Would it be exploiting the tragedy of the BP oil spill to point out that maybe we should be a little careful about oil drilling? Or are we not supposed to make the most obvious points so that we don't offend the other political side's delicate sensibilities?
You know who exploited a tragedy for political gain? George W. Bush and the entire Republican Party. They used 9/11 as a gimmick to get re-elected. Then they exploited it to attack a random country that had nothing to do with 9/11. It is nearly impossible to exploit a tragedy anymore than they did with 9/11. And maybe that's why they level the charge against us now, because they know that's the first thing they'd do.
But pointing out that conservative commentators and politicians have been inciting their followers isn't done to get anyone elected. I don't even know whose election this would theoretically effect. This isn't done to press some policy agenda (again, outside of gun control, I can't even think of what agenda we are supposed to theoretically be pushing for). This is to point out an obvious fact that is getting people killed -- if you incite violence, you get violence.
To pretend that isn't happening all across the country everyday on talk radio, etc. is to be willfully blind to reality -- and to allow it to happen again. And trust me, next time they'll also say no one could have seen it coming and that whatever we do we mustn't talk about it. Preventing another tragedy like this would be such terrible exploitation. Better to be quiet and let them do it again.
I didn’t think these clarifications were necessary, but apparently they are for some. So, here it goes.
1. I am not saying all conservatives are responsible. I got an e-mail from a conservative saying I am blaming him for breathing. I am not blaming him at all (unless he had a national platform and talked about “targeting” liberals, Democrats, etc.), let alone for breathing.
2. I don’t believe the proper remedy is limiting anyone’s freedom of speech. I never suggested that. In fact, I am sure if anyone passed such a law, not only would it be unconstitutional, but it would be almost exclusively used against the left.
2a. Of course, I don’t mind Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin attacking Democrats. That’s their job. I am asking them to use some caution in how they frame their attacks and not to use violent imagery that eggs people on.
On the show, I was very specific on what kinds of language I was referring to (I also have a link in the story above to examples). Here is the video where I list some of the examples of conservatives using violent imagery.
3. I don’t think that Jared Loughner necessarily listened to an episode of the Glenn Beck show and then went and did this (although others, like Byron Williams did specifically do just that). I am saying that these conservative leaders are purposely creating an environment in which this type of violence festers.
4. Lastly, I am not saying that these conservative leaders celebrated this news or wanted this specific outcome. I assume they are still human. But they knew, or should have known, that they were creating the environment that led to this kind of violence — and they didn’t give a damn.
What did you think was going to happen when you kept telling people to grab their guns, the government was endangering their family and way of life and that they should defend themselves? This was going to happen. Don’t pretend otherwise.