Chilling Times

The shooting this morning of an Arizona congresswoman (who at this writing is in critical condition) is a chilling moment in American history. It appears that six people were killed, including a young child and a federal judge.

Some have already noted that Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was featured last year in a map created by Sarah Palin’s Political Action Committee. The map used crosshairs to identify 20 members of Congress who supported health care reform legislation.

Just as stunning is the language we continue to hear and see from extremist right-wing groups, including in Texas. This morning, in fact, the Houston-based Life & Liberty Political Action Committee sent out an e-mail accusing the Obama administration and congressional supporters of “death-dealing” health care reform of using tax dollars to murder babies through abortion and subject the sick and elderly to “death panels.” Then we read this passage:

“Politicians’ home offices are staffed by locals… locals who do not want to look their neighbors in the face and lie. These Congress Critters LIVE in these areas and when they come home on breaks and to campaign (continuously) they are no longer sheltered by taxpayer-paid Capitol Hill staffers who shield the Members from We the People.”

Let’s be clear: the Life and Liberty PAC’s e-mail does not — thanks goodness — call for assassinating elected officials. It explicitly calls for recipients to sign petitions, fax elected officials and vote out anyone who supported health care reform. But we wonder what message the PAC’s leaders really think they are sending with outrageous and incendiary claims that the government — with the support of President Obama and members of Congress — was murdering babies over Christmas:

“Not only has the government attempted to eradicate Christ from His own birthday celebration; but like Herod, our government was murdering babies throughout the holiday season… with your tax money.”

The e-mail goes on to charge that “ObamaCare Death Panels have already begun” and are essentially condemning seriously ill people to death. And then this:

“Since the unborn, elderly and the infirm and vulnerable were not afforded respite from government death-dealing even during the Holy Season of Christmas, there can be no respite for the politicians who fund their deaths in the New Year!”

As we said, chilling.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted January 10, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    There’s no fun, and no certainty of fact in the middle muddle. Extremists get more fun by out extreming other extremists. It’s what is lynch mobs do until someone swings in the breeze.

    Ruanda retains the title of the bloodiest lynch mob in a century. All done with machetes, not napalm or nukes

  2. CT (ASCP)
    Posted January 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    It’s no doubt that Loughner is deranged, that he did the shooting. OK, so he hasn’t been convicted in a court of law yet so we can’t rightly use that word “alleged.” But c’mon, let’s get real: there were dozens of eye-witnesses who will identify him as the shooter. I’m not a ballistics expert like others here but there is going to be other forensic evidence too, such as compatibility of bullets to firearms added to his history of violence and threats.

    It’s also no doubt that Loughner either acted on his own or in concert with another. That “other” could as well be the encouragement he indirectly received from right-wing talk radio, right wing politicians, and the ultra-conservative culture of Arizona with their barely-there gun laws.

    I got sick and tired of hearing NPR ALL DAY criticize the talk on ALL sides of political debate. Everyone was saying hate speech comes from both sides. Methinks NPR stooped over far too much to appease conservative listeners. Let’s get the facts straight. Sure, there is criticism from the so-called “left.” However, that just begs the question: WHAT left? There IS no Left left in this country. It’s either Centrist, Conservative, or Ultra-Conservative. And the lines between the latter two are quite blurred anymore, the fringe of the Right having become mainstream Right.

    A few callers got it right: that whatever “hate” speech is coming from the “Left,” is far surpassed by that coming from the Right, both in content and quantity. Witness the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Michael Savage (Savage’s latest lunacy being that Brownshirt Commies are running amok throughout America), to name just a few instigators inciting violence. Who can forget Lou Dobbs calling for the assassination of Howard Dean and Bill O’Reilly calling for the assassination of Dr. George Tiller? Their talk of “second amendment solutions,” “crosshairs,” “reloading,” etc etc etc.

    Rather than discouraging such speech, we now have elected Republicans JOINING IN with this kind of speech.

    So, the mentally unbalanced at large with guns are getting encouragement from both the media and the elected. Both sectors are acting extremely irresponsibly, and THEY NEED TO BE CALLED ON IT (i.e. will John Boner EVER admit Pres. Obama is a U.S. citizen? I doubt it!)

    Not one of these people, from conservative media or conservative politicians, is offering ANY conciliatory tone. Not one of them is taking ANY responsibility for their anti-government hate speech. Not one of them is admitting that words have consequences. The only talk I hear from conservatives is that “Well, it’s not just us. It’s the other side too.” More passing the buck and finger-pointing.

    Witness Rush Limbaugh’s essay following the bombing of the federale building in Oklahoma City. (Which was committed by another anti-government fruit loop). Not ONE word of sympathy for the victims. All Limbaugh said was that it wasn’t HIS fault.

    It won’t be any different this time.

    Maybe – MAYBE – some will tone down the rhetoric. But not for long. Within a week the vitriol will not only return but increase a dozenfold. Not just the anti-government hate but the loopy lunatic accusations. You watch. Some right-wingnut is going to say the Democrats put Loughner up to it.

  3. Charles
    Posted January 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Well, so much for grand hypotheses and speculations, which is why they call them hypotheses and speculations. The Federales seem to think now that the alleged Loughner shooting was the work of a single person. Was he egged on by a cast of fruitcake millions? You decide.

  4. Charles
    Posted January 9, 2011 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Charles would like to offer one of many possible hypotheses that one might develop ahead of all the facts to explain the Arizona shootings. Does anyone remember John Allen Muhammad (Batman) and his young ward Lee Boyd Malvo (Robin)? They were the Maryland snipers that terrorized the Washington D.C. area about 10 years ago. Muhammad was a deranged veteran, and he had been teaching his young student various things, including how to kill people like they were animals on a game ranch.

    We may be looking at something along those lines in the alleged Loughner shootings in Arizona. The police are searching for a possible accomplice to the crime—a male 40-50 years old. If there was indeed such an accomplice, I would guess that it might be an older man who had been filling Loughner’s head with Democrat-Liberal-Moderate hate and taking advantage of the kid’s obvious mental illness. If this guy exists and they catch him, I would bet you my last popcorn nickel that the FBI will find his house filled with literature by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rick Scarborough, the Family Research Council, and a cast of similar 1000s. His home and car radios will be set on the local conservative talk radio station. Anyone want to bet on that?

    Because they spelled Lougner’s name wrong early in the day, and I got the write spelling fairly early, I was able to make it to some of his web haunts before they took them down. My guess: high end paranoid schizophrenic. I do not remember the exact wording but the deluded rambling went something like this:

    They are creating a new currency, and

    A new currency is coming in my dream

    I feel like a male deer today.

    Male deers are called bucks.

    I am then a buck

    This means I am currency.

    Really. It was that weird.

    More speculation: Terrorist leaders are too chicken to put the suicide vests on themselves. They find sick, mentally challenged, and impressionable young people to do their dirty work for them. I wonder if this could be a similar case where the guy they are seeking is a right wing extremist hate monger who was too chicken to do the dirty work himself, so he just carefully maneuvered a mentally ill kid to the point where it was almost certain the kid would do the dirty work on his own.

    Defense: “Oh!!! He was mentally ill. I didn’t tell him to do that shooting. We were just going into Safeway to buy a couple of steaks for our BBQ that afternoon. Before I even knew it, I looked around and the kid was shooting everything in sight. I ran like hell to just save my own life.”

    Yeah BUTT: When they find all of that fruitcake literature in his house, the cow pie is going to hit the federal conspiracy fan—and there will be no escape for him.

  5. Posted January 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Anger, rage and fury trigger chemical releases in the body as if it were under physical attack, and become addictive regardless of the reality of the threat. This goes also for depression, anxiety, and fear. They too are chemically addictive.

    Dr Steven Karpman’s “Drama Triangle” posits three revolving roles: victim, rescuer, and persecutor. In ant given personal relation, a ‘game player” can travel all three positions in a single sentence as in:

    “You SOB, I am only trying to help you”

    In personal relationships, the “switch” between roles is sequential. In propganda, all positions are done simultaneously in which the Tea Party propaganda is a superb example.

    We do not have confirmation of the true motivations of the assailant in Tucson who seriously wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and killed several other including a Judge. At present there appears to be more than one involved in the shooting.

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