Was Jared Loughner's Act Political?

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.

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Clarifications:

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.

 

 

Tags: news, Politics, loughner, news, giffords, Politics, representative, loughner, gun, giffords, Violence, Tyt, representative, Cenk Uygur, gun, The Young Turks, Violence, Tyt, Cenk Uygur, The Young Turks (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

So......

Does this mean that the Discovery Channel shooter who was a hard core environmentalist, who cited Al Gore's book as some sort of inspiration, was he politically motivated. Is Al Gore to blame for this nutcase's psycotic demands and behavior.

How does Laughner, someone who read and held beliefs found in the communist manifesto and mein kampf, a registered independent who didnt vote in 2010, be pegged as a right wing fanatic.

Fact is, its all bullshit. Just another attempt by the liberal left wingnuts in the country to blame someone else for the rantings and behavior of a lunatic. When Bill Ayres was blowing up buildings, was that okay however?

When Presidential candidate Obama made reference to bringing "guns" to the fight, referred to political opponents as enemies, was that okay?

Claiming that conservative commentators, talk show hosts or politicans create some sort of violent behaviors is a total load of crap. And, its typical of the out of touch left wing of the democratic party that got us slaughtered in 2010 and likely again in 2012.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2011-01-11 06:47PM | 0 recs
It was okay....

When Alec Baldwin suggested showing up at Henry Hyde's house and stoning him to death right? Fact is I can cite as many behaviors and statements on behalf of the left that could be construed as inciting or attempting to incite violence. My issue, is, the hard left and folks like you just dont see it in yourselves.....just everyone else.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2011-01-11 06:50PM | 0 recs
A Non Rational Mind Doesn't Fit Rational Politics

Sadly, this piece does what many liberal pieces have done in recent days: take the insane acts of an unhinged man and try to put them into the context of our left-right political divides. Clearly... they don't fit.

Jared Loughner, it's become clear, is probably suffering from mental illness, most likely paranoid schizophrenia with violent tendencies. His thought process isn't rational. He appears to hear voices, and has trouble distinguishing reality and fantasy (the long stream of ideas about "lucid dreaming" he presented suggest the sense that he had trouble knowing when he was dreaming or not.

As I said on my blog, I'm all for discussions of our civil discourse and the suggestion that some things have gone too far... but it's clear that the tone of our discourse and the actions of Jared Loughner are not related. A far more productive discussion related to Loughner and issues of mental health would be focused on better identifying and treating mental illness, especially schizophrenia which develops in young men in their late teens and early twenties, and which has been a clear element of many mass shootings and violent incidents. Untreated mental illness has pushed a substantial amount of the American response to the mentally ill into our jails, courts and law enforcement systems, which are poorly trained and ill equipped to handle the influx. Our failure to have a proper system to address most mental illnes in this country is beyond embarrassing; it's nearly criminal.

Mostly, as a liberal who's been focused on health issues for years, I'm dismayed that a clear, common sense discussion of mental health and better responding to mental illness has taken so long to come about in the wake of the Tucson shooting. There's an almost willful refusal to see the obvious: Jared Loughner's poor state of mental health is the clearest cause of his actions, and the thing that could, most likely have been treated sooner as a means to prevent this shooting. This is a natural issue that the left could easily turn into a moment of significant progress on mental health at the federal level. It's appalling to me that we're not.

by nycweboy1 2011-01-12 04:58PM | 0 recs
Same old Nazi Bullsh*t

When Hitler burned down the Reichstag -- his Nazi henchmen framed a mentally retarded/challenged man for the crime. The rightwing nuts always blame the left for ALL crime/any crime. But remember, we leftist get to have guns too. Should a rightwing manic come looking /shooting for me -- I'm defending myself--thats what I got from all the expensive government training I got as a guest of the US ARMY.....

by hddun2008 2011-01-12 06:57PM | 0 recs
Smoke and Mirrors

I know that what I am about to day does not fit in with the Kumbaya moment we're supposed to be having in the wake of this tragedy.  In fact, I am proud of President Obama that he is trying to create this atmosphere in the country.  However, having said that, it is my belief that we are never going to get the Republicans/Conservatives/Tea Party to ever sing Kumbaya with us.  They don't care about Kumbaya, or "just getting along."  All they care about is winning.

I agree with this article by theyoungturks.  There is no moral equivalency in this issue. And, as a Progressive Democrat, there is no way I am going to pretend there is.  The Republican Party does not control the Senate or the White House now and that ticks the hell out of them.  That is it in a nutshell.  And they will do anything to get back into power.  Because they are firm believers in the new age Golden Rule: "He who has the gold, makes the rules." Notice that when they do not control the government, they are for small government, cutting waste and support anti-government movements.  However when they are in power, the government is an almost "imperial" instrument for that power, racking up astronomical debt for personal profit, and anyone who disagrees should be taken out to the courtyard and given a cigarette and a blindfold.

So let's call this what it really is on their part: temper tantruming, mendacious sore-loserism. And, if we will finally believe that obstruction is all that we'll ever get out of them when we are in power, than maybe it's time we ignore them and pursue, promote and pass the agenda that we campaigned on, and that the people voted us in for.  After all, if I am right and they are going to be angry whatever we do, well then, let's give them something to be mad about.

by Astyanax 2011-01-13 11:34AM | 0 recs
@ BuckeyeBlogger

No, what Alec Baldwin said was not ok, but, he is a private citizen and has a right to say what he wants. It's exactly like the neo nazis who want to march through Skokie, a predominantly Jewish suburb of Chicago. To me, this idea is mean-spirited, hateful, and arguably provocative. I strongly disagree with their views, but I defend their right to express them.

What you conservatives don't seem to understand is that using an example like Alec Baldwin's comment is a false equivalent. He is not an elected official, nor does he have a platform, like a daily radio or TV show. Another example of a false equivalent is the idiom, 'you don't want to bring a knife to a gun fight' or 'loaded for bear'.

To be clear: idiom |ˈidēəm| noun 1 a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., rain cats and dogs, see the light).

There is a big difference between using an idiom, as opposed to the constant inciting of the masses, by the media. Drive anywhere in America and you can hear Rush hate radio almost 24/7. In some parts of America, he's on 5 different channels simultaneously, at any given time.

TV news is just as bad. Journalists have been replaced by spokesmodels, paid to read scripts they don't even research or write themselves, and in some cases, clearly don't even understand.

Somehow, instead of discerning these differences, many conservatives choose to be masters of psychological projection. And the beat goes on ...

 

by Greydog 2011-01-14 04:44AM | 0 recs
Debate

Agree totally with these that "when Hitler burned down the Reichstag -- his Nazi henchmen framed a mentally retarded/challenged man for the crime. The rightwing nuts always blame the left for ALL crime/any crime. But remember, we leftist get to have guns too. Should a rightwing manic come looking /shooting for me -- I'm defending myself--thats what I got from all the expensive government training I got as a guest of the US ARMY" .

Great article and comments .Good Luck

 

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by Alessa Hilton 2011-01-16 06:53AM | 0 recs
That is why it is called a lunatic fringe

Yes Loughner was psychriatriactly challenged but the old name of Lunatic Fringe of such psychiatrically challenged folk used to be a group that no public leader would support much less pander to. Now that the political climate has moved so far to the right those folk are being mainstreamed so the political "ideas" that have no relation to logic or facts are commonplace and treated as not just sane but normal. Loughner's ideas about grammer and currency are not the invention of his own damaged mind, but common threads that were found on many sites that were quickly down and scrubbed within minutes of his name even being known.

In randomly wandering through web pages I came across another psychiatrically  challenged individual who's paranoid schizophrenia was both original and apolitical, being certain that the secret group out to get him taunted him, and identified themselves to each other by wearing red somewhere on their clothing. Probably this person suffers in nonviolent obscurity as most schitzophrenics do. But if he found reason to act out violently there would not be obvious political leaders, or even awareness of his reasons usless they found the blog.

That would be what a random crazy would look like, and that is not what Loughner, Roeder, David Adkisson, Eric Rudolph, William Krar, Tim McVeigh, or any of the many other right wing killers that have attacked in recent years (or in the case of Krar, stopped ahead of mass murder) would look like. Even the crazy Islamists like Al Queda stand on the political right of their community and promote a very similar Authoritarian agenda.

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