Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shot at Tucson rally


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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189 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    It’s possible that the violent imagesand gun fetishism of the Tea party didn’t cause this tragedy. For their sake I hope so. Either way, it’s way past time for them to stop it and start acting like grownups.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      This is exactly like when Bill Sparkman was murdered.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        Or perhaps like when George Tiller was murdered.

        It didn’t take me to put the thought “it might be a teabagger” into your head. If anything (God forbid) happens to a Republican, it wouldn’t occur to me in a million years that Pelosi or Obama were to blame. Why is that?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          9, 30, 63, 76, 79, HUT!

          My first assumption was not that this was Obama’s or Pelosi’s fault but that this was a nut who was reacting to Arizona’s recent immigration laws. (It’s Arizona… I figured that the Congresswoman was ‘R’ and that was the motivation that would make the most sense to me to shoot someone that I assumed was a State Politician in Arizona.)

          When I found out that it was, in fact, a Democrat, I then went through a list of likely motivations for why someone might shoot a Democratic Congresswoman in Arizona.

          The motivation that eluded me was, in retrospect, the most obvious one.

          The guy was seriously disturbed. It wasn’t politically motivated but sociopathically motivated.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird says:

            I’m not saying it was politically motivated because I obviously don’t know that. But if he was motivated to shoot her and people around her as opposed to others because she works for and is authorized to help make the policy of the government, would you deny that it was politically motivated? This doesn’t take the sociopathy out for a second, but isn’t it possible it was jointly sociopathically politically and motivated, or perhaps politically motivated to the extent that some substantive views he had which had a political dimension to them contributed to his motivation — and then the act itself was sociopathically enabled/allowed/activated?

            This is pure speculation, and I am not saying that it was any of these things. I’m just wondering about terms and categories in our discussion here. I obviously don’t know that the governmental matters that he wrote about in his videos in fact motivated this action in any way. But we aren’t saying that, because he was sociopathic, therefore any views about the government or other substantive views he held, even if jumbled and disordered in a broken mind, weren’t real view capable of motivating him to do things (making videos, if not shooting people). Are we?

            None of which would be to say that, even if some of these views did partially contribute to his decision to do these things, that he is any more competent to stand trial.Report

            • Yeah, I think it is tough to say that he wasn’t at all politically motivated. He did not randomly walk into a Safeway at a time when there was just coincidentally a political event going on. That his politics were incoherent and all over the map and clearly informed by his mental illness, whatever that was, does not mean he lacked a political motivation. And of course the incoherent political views were also informed by other sources. Right now, we don’t at all know what those other sources were beyond his remarkable list of favorite books.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew says:

              There was a diary posted at Daily Kos (and deleted, for some reason) written by a politically-inclined person complaining about how much of a disappointment this particular Congressperson was for good progressives. A blue-dog Democrat.

              Is that relevant to any political motivations the shooter may have had? Or should we just say that if there’s a “D”, we know that she stood for Team Blue and therefore Team Red shot her for Team Red/Team Blue reasons?Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think you hear that in “politically motivated,” but I’m not hearing anyone saying Team Red shot her, certainly not here. If a leftist critique was part of his motivation then a leftist critique was part of his motivation, nd yes, of course that’s political. But it obviously appears to be a great deal more scrambled and incoherent than that. All Mark and i are saying is, scrambled, incoherent, and sociopathic as he was, it doesn’t mean his motivation was totally devoid or unaware of politics (though we’re also not claiming to know that it wasn’t – though given everything there is to see now, it’s hard to see how it might have been. Devoid of politics, that is.)

                Red, Blue, whatever. From what I gather, this was his Congresswoman. People have all kinds gripes with their Representatives that might well not be partisan political gripes; they’re still political gripes. I go up to my Congresswoman in a parking lot and shoot her while she’s talking issues with voters, and there’s a very high bar to show that’s not a political act, no matter how sick I am. I pretty much need to show I don’t even know she’s my Congresswoman.Report

              • Exactly. For all we know, he attacked her because he somehow held her responsible for his being expelled from Pima Community College, or for refusing to intervene to prevent that, or something along those lines. It’s still a political act, but it is not necessarily a political act drawing inspiration from any partisan source. In many ways, knowing those sources is just as important as knowing if the source was a partisan one (which I am increasingly coming to doubt, but remains to be determined), if only to refute the assumptions that far too many are making right now.Report

              • This is exactly what I’ve been trying to say.Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Because you’re crazy! Just kidding Mike. I think it, like everything else in life, gets down to our individual prisms that we all view life with–we are, after all, carrying around 100 billion little neurons in our head–it’s amazing we humans agree on anything!Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          “It didn’t take me to put the thought “it might be a teabagger” into your head. If anything (God forbid) happens to a Republican, it wouldn’t occur to me in a million years that Pelosi or Obama were to blame. Why is that?”

          Because the rhetoric used by President Obama doesn’t talk about ‘reloding’, ‘second amendment solutions’. He doesn’t use crosshairs in his website. Neither he nor any prominent liberal politician, pundit or leader has described the GOP using the same language as Beck, Limbaugh, Palin, Faux News, or GOP politicians.Report

  2. Avatar Freddie says:

    Ideology is always incidental to lunacy. What a terrible thing.Report

    • Avatar koedo in reply to Freddie says:

      Succinct and to the point.Report

    • Avatar morzer in reply to Freddie says:

      No, it isn’t, unfortunately. Even “lunatics” get their views from somewhere, and in the case of Loughner (not Laughner), given his obsession with government control and a currency based on gold, the logical starting point would be Glenn Beck.Report

      • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to morzer says:

        Mr./Ms. Morzer, bigass difference—lunatics get their justifications from somewhere, or another. They are lunatics, mostly narcissists. They’re not sitting home watching Oprah or The View, flick Glenn Beck on by accident and then go shoot a Democrat congressman or blow up a government building in Oklahoma City.

        Aw, geez, what’s the use? You people will believe what you want to believe.Report

        • Avatar morzer in reply to tom van dyke says:

          Given that you’ve already decided how everyone else thinks, what exactly would be the point in trying to have a reasoned discussion with you? Still, let’s try and clarify some key points:

          First, the picture you present of someone just randomly turning on the TV and making a decision is grossly simplistic. Why ignore the decades of drum-beating for violence and talk of violent remedies stemming from the right wing? These things accumulate in people’s heads. Trying to make it into one melodramatic moment may work in Hollywood, but it’s no substitute for dealing with how the 24/7 drumbeat of rightwing paranoia and falsehoods actually affect people.

          Second, simply calling Loughner a “lunatic” and saying, in effect, “move along, nothing to see here” is the easiest out and for that matter the least honest way of approaching the situation. Why are you afraid to probe more deeply? Why shut off discussion?

          Third, you haven’t explained why Laughner shares a particular set of right wing pathologies: the obsession with government control, the fantasies about gold and silver backed currencies, even the strange fetishizing of the English language. Until you can explain the eerie resemblance between his views and those of Beck et al, you ought to hold off on trying to blame the left wing for “smearing” the right wing. These are your views, and you need to own them, not try and hide behind cheap accusations of smears.Report

  3. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    Some lefties promptly slimed the right on this, including on CNN. Then they complain about the heat of the rhetoric.

    Typical, just another day in paradise.Report

    • Avatar Freddie in reply to tom van dyke says:

      Here’s a great opportunity for you to be the change, friend.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to tom van dyke says:

      Four people are dead, but you’re the real victim. Stay classy.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to tom van dyke says:

      Tom – is this really the right time to act aggrieved over politics as usual? This isn’t even the time for politics as usual let alone acting put out that lefties smeared right-wingers. People are dead, including a little girl. The gunman appears to have been a deeply, deeply troubled young man. It is a tragedy before and after and above and beyond the day-to-day political nonsense.Report

      • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        EDK, I thought you addressed the tragedy part in the comments thread of the previous post. If I didn’t do the proper hand-wringing or tap dance, sorry.

        One of your commenters went off and I thought I’d address the fact that it was really a mirror image of what he was fronting. But if you think it’s improper, I respect your dissent.Report

    • Avatar mistermix in reply to tom van dyke says:

      Is it really “sliming” to point out that Giffords’ district was one that appeared on Sarah Palin’s map, targeted with a rifle sight.

      Is it “sliming” to point out that Giffords’ opponent held an event described as follows:

      “Get on target for victory. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”

      I think it’s just repeating some ugly facts, and hopefully this event will cause those who think that type of rhetoric is acceptable to think twice.

      I have a lot of family in Tucson, it’s a beautiful city, and I’m deeply saddened to see what’s happened there.Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to mistermix says:

        mistermix – those are all true – but another question: Was Laughner actually influenced by any of this? These items seem entirely incidental to Laughner’s motivations.Report

        • Avatar mistermix in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          I think Laughner was mainly motivated by whatever pathology he was experiencing. I don’t think, in general, that it’s helpful to blame a political party or a set of political activists for his actions.

          However, I also think that it’s more than fair, and not inconsistent, to decry the violent imagery that was used in the campaign to unseat Giffords, and for people from all sides of the political spectrum to use this opportunity to open, fact-based discussion about it. The kind of rhetoric that was used in the campaign against Giffords was not necessary, it coarsens our political discourse, and, worst of all, it is dehumanizing.

          We need to have a politics where treating opponents as non-human objects, worthy of being targeted in rifle sites, is out of bounds, and where that kind of rhetoric is shunned by all sides in political debates.Report

          • Avatar koedo in reply to mistermix says:

            And what if the shooter was ‘liberal’ in ideology and motivation.?


            I don’t know if it’s true just as mistermix doesn’t know if his assertions about the Tea Party are true. Is the music responsible when someone acts out the video or lyrics? Was oliver Stone responsible for acts of violence that occurred as a result of ‘Natural Born Killers’?

            It appears this person is acutely sick and trying to ascribe a political affiliation to this is a waste of time.Report

            • Avatar mistermix in reply to koedo says:

              Did you even read my comment? I agree completely with the last sentence of what you wrote, I stated basically the same thing in my response to E.D.

              But — It is absolutely true, an undisputed fact, that what I said happened in the campaign against Giffords in 2008 happened. Sarah Palin posted an image of Gifford’s district with a rifle sight superimposed. Gifford’s opponent had the fundraiser that I quoted.

              Which gets me back to my point – we need to have a fact-based discussion about the overheated rhetoric that has been accepted in politics, and tone it down, because it is dehumanizing and doesn’t do anyone any good.Report

  4. Today’s terrible news sponsors this thought:

    Tradition wave theory posits that crests and troughs are additive or subtractive, but rogue waves are often many times high than can be explained by any addition of waves in the sea-state.

    The “breather” solution of the nonlinear Schrödinger equation posits that rogue waves suck energy from the surrounding waves in a given sea-state, creating a wave that is much taller, steeper, and more dangerous than traditional wave theory can account for.

    It’s thought that the Edmond Fitzgerald was sunk by a combination of a rogue wave (a nearby freighter was swept by a wave just before losing radio contact with the E.F) and free surface effect (the EF’s liquafacted taconite cargo shifting when she was hit by the wave reported by the other vessel.)Report

  5. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    It was the CNN thing that really burned my butt. They had some hack cartoonist-pundit named Fitzsimmons calling in from the scene, and he launched into sliming the right. The anchor had a space to move on, but returned to Fitzsimmons’ wild speculation.

    So yes, I’m a little sick of people questioning their opponents’ intelligence, if not their very humanity.

    And when this enviro-nut did this,

    I didn’t make much note of it, or draw any conclusions from it. People are strange.

    I was listening to that lefty but funny show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” on NPR when they broke in with the CNN feed. I am the change, Freddie. 😉Report

  6. Avatar Freddie says:

    Complaining that the other side is playing politics with tragedy is playing politics with tragedy. Please, enough people will walk this road. Don’t walk it, everybody.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Freddie says:

      When it comes to situations like this, the wisest words I’ve ever read come from a computer game:

      “Why do madmen do anything? Because they’re bloody madmen, that’s why!”

      Sometimes there is no why. Sometimes there are no lessons one can learn. Sometimes things are bad for no good reason and there’s nothing we can do about it.

      I think this is one of those times.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    The thought processes that went through my head today.

    I was in the television room. Maribou yelled “there’s been a terrorist attack in Arizona!” from the adjacent computer room.

    Terrorist?, I asked. Immediately, I thought of suicide bombs, or a car bomb, or a bomb bomb, or something. “A state senator has been shot! Or she’s a congresswoman. Something!”

    And I asked “what makes it terrorism and not just crime?”

    She said that there was a lot of noise on the web and a lot of people were saying a lot of things.

    Arizona, I wondered… was it an attack against the Illegal Immigration law?

    “She was a Democrat!”, Maribou yelled to me. Hoo boy. It was a teabagger.

    We had to run some errands… pick up some stuff from the Safeway, some stuff from Petsmart. Got home and find that it’s a garden variety nut.

    I am ashamed to say that I am relieved.Report

    • Avatar Tony Comstock in reply to Jaybird says:

      The needle’s been moved, Jaybird, and I don’t think there’s anything shameful in being relieved to find out this seems to be the act of one deranged loner, who, even if he did hang his psyche on the repugnant rhetoric used against Rep. Gabrielle, would have likely found something else in its absence.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tony Comstock says:

        Yeah, but I should have been thinking about the dead folks rather than whether I was going to be playing offense or defense in the upcoming round of political football.Report

        • Avatar Tony Comstock in reply to Jaybird says:

          Oh, well when you put it that way, shame on you.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird says:

          It seems like a lot of folks were thinking along similar lines, whether we would put it that exact way or not. That, in itself, should be reason enough for us all to take a look at ourselves and say “chill out and take it down a notch, dude.”Report

          • I remember back when the Federal Building was bombed early reports were (IIRC) that a muslim man was taken off a plane for questioning. I remember thinking “Oh God, I hope that’s not true. If it is this there’s a good chance this nation is doing to do something reckless.” and I remember being relieved when it turned out to be a white guy they were looking for.

            I also remember the Summer of 2003. I was really hot and as it sometimes does, the power went out, so I took that as a cue to head to the beach.

            When I turned onto South Fox, the car radio went dead, and I thought “Oh shit.” And then I made a point of going to the beach and spending the rest of the day not thinking about what it might be that was so bad it took the radio station off the air.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tony Comstock says:

              It was similar when the beltway sniper was still killing innocent folks.

              There were people screaming about how this was obviously a white guy who was an angry white male “falling down”… and, for a short time, angry white males got all defensive explaining how awful murder was, how the person doing this was obviously deranged, we shouldn’t be using something like this to score political points…

              And then it turned out to be a black guy who was a member of the Nation of Islam.

              And everybody dropped their arguments like a hot potato and started picking up the juiciest sound-bites from the abandoned arguments of their opponents.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jaybird says:

                Excellent observation, Jaybird! I purposely watched CNN and they didn’t disappoint. They refused, for many, many hours to call him by his legal name, John Allen Muhammad and instead, used his former name, John Allen Williams. they were way behind the curve on this one. It leads to the obvious question, who exactly were they afraid offending? Mass murdering Muslim terrorists? Who else could possibly be offended, otherwise?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Heidegger says:

                This is about as far from my point as you can get while still remaining on topic, Heidegger.Report

  8. Avatar greginak says:

    Laughner definetly sounds mentally ill, no question about it. RIP and get well soon.

    This is yet again another opportunity for people to ponder the use of violent images and such.Report

  9. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    Could someone explain how the shooter got off twenty rounds or so? What, this is Arizona, was there no one in the crowd carrying a piece who might have been able to hit the shooter or at least make him duck?
    Nuts or not, left or right, hang him.Report

    • Have you ever been shot at, Bob, or been within sightline of someone using a gun to shoot at people?Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Tony Comstock says:


        • That’s a pretty cryptic answer, Bob. How about you elaborate a little so I might put your “I’m packing and I’m not afraid to use it” schtick in a little more context?Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Tony Comstock says:

            Well, Tony I’m trying to provide more ‘thoughtful’ commentary. If you think that’s my ‘schtick’ you’re mistaken. I may be packing but I’m scared shitless to use it…I’d rather run away, or talk the perp out of shooting, or do about anything than shoot a fellow human being.
            However, it does strike me that ’20’ rounds is more than sufficient time for anyone in the crowd who may be carrying to try and save human life. Perhaps, no one had a clear shot? I’d just like to know.Report

            • Suit yourself, Bob. But just so you know, I’m an enthusiastic gun owner. I like hunting, shooting for sport, and take pride in the fact I can put 9 out of 10 rounds on a 12″ steel plate with iron sights at 250 yards (or at least I could back when I had access to a place to shoot.)

              And through that lens the posts you make here make you seem like an erectile dysfunctional loser who constantly brings up his guns to make up for the fact that his dick is small and doesn’t work very well.

              Pretty sure that’s not the impression you’re trying to make, but it’s the impression you’re making on me.


              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Tony Comstock says:

                That’s not a very ‘thoughtful’ comment, and you sound like a regular Annie Oakley. I’m figuring you’re a woman, trying to sound like a man.Report

              • I’m frequently mistaken for a woman. Are you ever mistaken for a man?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Tony Comstock says:

                Tony, I found it rather disconcerting that you would show that much interest in my ‘junk’, so I figured you were either a woman or a homosexual. Perhaps, you work at the airport?Report

              • Robert, “transgressive” is the new “banal.”Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                It’s been that way since the 60’s.Report

              • This is pretty rich coming from a guy who uses a post about a Disney movie to post a comment that he was at another movie, packing a piece with a bigger caliber than the fictional characters in the fictional movie.

                Like I said, TMI dude. TMI.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Well, Tony you got me there. What can I say you’re one intellectually nimble dude!Report

              • Look Bob, I’m just trying to get a better understanding about why packing heat is your happy place. Apparently it involves your being on the wrong end of a firearm and apparently you don’t want to talk about it.

                Fair enough, that must have been pretty fucking traumatizing, and I don’t blame you.

                But it keep squirting out in this weird ways; like this thread, where you end up looking like you’re fantasizing that if you had been on-scene you would have been the man with the plan and would have dropped Laughner and reduced the damage done.

                Like I said, I’m pretty that’s not the impression you’re trying to make, but it’s the impression you’re making on me. Whether or not you care what I think is your business.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Tony, you’re scaring me, dude!
                Do you have a fixation on me? I hope not, but it’s beginning to look like you do.
                Dude, you need help and while I can hep you philosophically, I’m not a shrink or a priest.

                E.D. shouldn’t you be talking with Tony?Report

              • Avatar Robert D in reply to Tony Comstock says:

                I’m far from a pro, and I imagine this guy was a raw novice, but even with a magazine change in between I can fire 20 rounds from the ready position fast enough that most people will still be wondering what is going on and how to respond, much less drawing their weapon. Unless there’s someone there with combat experience or a secret service agent it doesn’t surprise me at all that no one responded. Matter of fact I’m amazed he was tackled as he ran away.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert D says:

                Thanks Robert, that makes sense.
                However, he must have been dedicated to doing as much damage as possible. And, yes tackling him after was a heroic act by anyone’s definition.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                The story I heard was that before he was tackled a woman ripped the second magazine out of his hand as he was trying to reload and basically took it from him. Then he couldn’t get a third clip loaded. This is a woman who supposedly had already been shot herself. So, if we’re looking for heroes, it sounds like there were plenty of them.Report

              • Avatar Tony Comstock in reply to Rufus F. says:

                Hinkley emptied his 6 shot revolver in 3 seconds, putting 4 bullets into 3 bodies, including his target.

                His target was surrounded by the one of the most highly trained anti-assassination security details in the world.

                Despite the area being filled with armed, trained law enforcement, Hickley was not shot. He was tackled to the ground. First by a civilian in the crowd, and then by members of the security detail and other law enforcement.

                Slow Motion Footage of the Shooting

                When shooting breaks out in a crowd, heros don’t draw — they lunge. Anyone who thinks things might have played out differently in Arizona if someone in the crowd had been “carrying a piece” is deluded.Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

          Cheeks, you are obviously lying. How many seconds did it take to fire 20 shots? How long would have been the ‘what is that?’ reaction? How many people started then moving around very quickly?Report

          • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Barry says:

            Barry, I was asking a question. Consider yourself on first violation ‘A-hole’ probation.
            Tony: I didn’t know the scenerio at the time of my inquiry. But, you might want to consider that these wacko ‘shootings’ are each a little different. Some killers, for example, carry multiple clips, reload, and end up shooting many people over a period of several minutes because no one in the church, restaurant, or school has a weapon with which to defend themselves and others.
            Thus, the advantage of ‘carry-concealed.’
            Tony, the world’s not perfect, in fact it’s quite messy. Fortunately the founding generation understood that and took the opportunity to allow following generations the ‘right’ to defend their lives.Report

  10. Avatar Aaron W says:

    I will admit that my first reaction was to associate the violence with the sometimes overheated rhetoric on the right, especially since the Congresswoman had been the target of vandalism in the past. Now, obviously, this isn’t correct or appropriate, as this man is clearly just psychotic and has no apparent associations with the Tea Party. I think it’s good that it sounds like some on the right are reconsidering violent and revolutionary rhetoric in light of this tragedy even though I doubt that if the one now infamous gun target ad (or the others) had not existed, it would have done anything about this situation. Of course, the usual suspects on the left and right are probably going to continue on as ever, using this horrible tragedy as an excuse to slander their ideological opponents.Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Aaron W says:

      Dude, former and late Senator Ted Kennedy killed more people than the ‘tea party’ ever thought of killing. Then there’s Bubba and Waco and on and on….!Report

    • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Aaron W says:

      “I will admit that my first reaction was to associate the violence with the sometimes overheated rhetoric on the right…”

      Of course it was, sir. That’s the lefty meme, and as previously noted, CNN helped perpetuate it today with that Fitzsimmons guy. Rush Limbaugh pushed Timothy McVeigh over the edge. Bill Clinton associated the Tea party with McVeigh.

      And so it goes. But it is slander.

      Neither is there an easy equivalency between both “sides”—the door doesn’t swing both ways on this, and the right is not using this tragedy to attack the left. I am simply noting what happened today on CNN, since it was fresh in my brain. Objecting to being slimed is not the same as initiating the slime.

      “Eliminationist rhetoric” is a lefty argument against the right. The ad in question was in bad taste, and is now a viral talking point. But wussifying the language to make it psycho-proof [and the ad’s effect was negligible if not nil] is not something I favor, esp since there’s no proof it’s necessary or even desirable. Hyperbole has its place.

      [And to short-circuit Godwin’s Law, Hitler wasn’t being hyperbolic. He was literally serious.]Report

      • Avatar Aaron W in reply to tom van dyke says:

        Objecting to being slimed isn’t the same as being slimed, but the problem here is the same. Much as Jaybird noted above, this hasn’t taken long to turn into political football, even in regards to the criticism of the use of violent rhetoric. I didn’t necessarily mean to suggest that the right and left were acting equivalently in this particular case, but rather that this will just add another round to the continued senseless day-to-day posturing and political fighting.

        Hyperbole has its place, but violence does not unless you’re Hitler. (Hey, you went there first.)Report

        • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Aaron W says:

          Don’t forget—Hitler was pro-life. He also liked cowboys and Indians.Report

          • Avatar Aaron W in reply to Heidegger says:

            Really? I thought he was pro-choice, and had associations with Obama because Obama’s anti-colonial father’s cousin’s daughter happened to be in the same village as a man who met someone who went to one of Hitler’s political rallies.Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Aaron W says:

              The Compassionate One, Obama, speaking at the Democratic
              Conventi0n, 2004:

              “It’s that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams….”

              His freaking brother lives in a mud hut in Kenya, and lives on $1 dollar a month! What a brother.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Heidegger says:

                Good one, H-Man!Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Hey we have a new Rifleman and it’s not Chuck Connors, but none other than Tony Tries Too Hard Comstock! What are you doing going so fast and hard after the honorable Mr. Cheeks? And, for the record, yes–I was shot–as a cabbie in Boston. I regret to this day,
                I didn’t a gun with me. And yes, I would LOVE to have shot and killed all three of those fuckers. If anyone’s manifesting penis envy, it’s clearly you. And that’s just hysterical to say you could could hit, 9 out of 10 times, a 12″ plate from 250yds. Can Marine snipers even do that?Report

              • “Can Marine snipers even do that?”

                I expect they can. From the Marine recruitment website:

                MARKSMANSHIPAs part of a force that is ready for any battle, every recruit must qualify with their M16 rifle after two weeks of dedicated marksmanship training.

                Grass Week:
                • The basics of safety and marksmanship
                • Comfort and precision with the rifle
                • Firing without ammunition while sitting, kneeling, standing
                and lying in the prone position

                Firing Week:
                • Live fire from all positions
                • Firing at ranges of 200, 300 and 500 yards
                • Building accuracy, beginning with 50 rounds of slow fire,
                one shot at a time; and rapid fire, 10 shots in a row

                On qualification day, at the end of firing week, recruits strive for their highest score out of 250 points. They will earn the Rifle Marksman badge, the Rifle Sharpshooter badge or the coveted “Crossed Rifles” Expert badge. Marines requalify with their rifles each year.


              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Tony Comstock says:

                Well Tony, that’s just incredible. You’re one hell of a shot. As a matter of fact, I wish you were near my cab the night I got shot. I don’t know anything about guns, so I’ll take your word about your excellent marksmanship–it’s quite impressive. If you were armed and at the scene of the crime today, would you have dropped the shooter? Without hesitation? I’ve been a victim of violent crime six times in my life, and as I said before, I don’t know anything about guns, have never owned a gun, but can’t help think I’d be hell of a lot better of I had a gun on every occasion. Maybe it would have had enough of a deterrent effect so that shots would never have needed to have been fired. That I wasn’t killed on four of the occasions is just pure luck.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Heidegger says:

                H-Man, take it easy on Tony. The dude’s unstable and we’ve gotta do all we can to hep him. I’m pretty sure E.D.’s going to have a talk with him and his sexually weird ‘comments’, but we’ll see?Report

              • I would ask that this line of discussion cease, given the subject matter of this post.Report

              • I agree with Mark. Tony, Bob, give it a rest. Actually, give it a rest outside of this thread as well, though it’s particularly distasteful given the subject matter. Enough is enough.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                No problemo!Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Hope so, Bob. Some of the oddest comments I’ve ever seen on this site. He was obviously doing his very best (which was laughably pathetic) to bait you and draw you into a mud slinging brawl with his penis variation of the, “your old lady wears army boots,” provacation. Good for you–you resisted and kept your cool, Bob. Tony, we’re here for you. I’d be happy to discuss several psychotropic drugs that might be of help to you–messianic complexes can be treated, with great success. Please accept our honest offers to provide help.Report

        • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Aaron W says:

          What violence? The “professional left” confuses rhetoric and reality.

          Or maybe they don’t actually believe their own BS, like the “eliminationist rhetoric” meme. Maybe it’s just a game they think works. Perhaps it’s an attempt to silence or marginalize the views of the right. Regardless, gentlepersons of the right just laugh. And I don’t think the swing voters are even listening.

          I don’t mind Fox or MSNBC doing their thing. But when President Clinton does it, I have a bit of a problem. [Invoking McVeigh is a sort of corollary to Godwin’s law.]

          And when CNN helps mainstream these views—slanders to my mind—I strenuously object! And when a figure like Bill Clinton does it, I really think it stinks. He’s not being hyperbolic or merely rhetorical; he’s asserting a serious and literal argument.

          And that’s the difference between rhetoric and reality.

          [I do want to set the “professional” left off from liberals and Democrats here, the latter being great Americans like my mother, a proud FDR Democrat to the day she died.]

          [And Aaron, do really believe this stuff, or are we just reading from the script? I’m genuinely curious.]Report

          • Avatar Aaron W in reply to tom van dyke says:

            OK, I wasn’t being serious at the end there, but allow me to clarify because I don’t think we’re actually disagreeing here.

            For various reasons, I tend to have sympathies with the Democratic party. I was pointing out a failure of mine was to immediately associate the violence with previous rhetoric on the right because of those sympathies. This was just an emotional reaction, and obviously incorrect based on developments since then. I think it’s interesting that some on the right have reconsidered the use of hyperbolic rhetoric (see: ) but I don’t think it really would have changed anything had the Tea Party said nothing but happiness, sunshine, and rainbows or if some of the gun-related political ads didn’t exist.

            I think the important thing to keep in mind here is that something terrible and violent has happened, and any attempt by some on the left to politicize it is just as senseless as what happened. It sucks, but complaining too much about it is just perpetuating that politicization. Besides, by the end of next week, Obama/Sarah Palin/whoever will have done some big BAD thing that everyone needs to comment on, but I doubt that will matter to the family of the dead little girl.Report

            • Avatar Aaron W in reply to Aaron W says:

              Also, dogs that didn’t bark: gun control. I could be wrong about this, though.Report

            • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Aaron W says:

              Aaron, I’m glad we could separate some of the rhetoric from the reality. This blog at its best.

              I did feel strongly about what I heard today on CNN within moments of the tragedy [crime!]. The anchor could have steered it away from Fitzsimmons politicizing the shooting, and that he didn’t was what I found typical, and what contributed to your initial reaction that some righty watched too much Glenn Beck this week.

              And so, I wrote about here.

              McVeigh was 1995, but it’s still a reliable plot point from “the script.” As for the Tiller killer, whoever he was, there was a substantive issue there [abortion is murder, specifically late-term abortion]. It had nothing to do with “prevailing” rhetoric, or if it did—O’Reilly—the only alternative is to not talk about late-term abortion atall, and this would be unacceptable, to stop talking about the issues of the day lest somebody cross the line. You simply can’t run a democratic constitutional republic under that constraint.

              Your link from Slate was exc, but I think even this great blog is too politicized to discuss Glenn Beck with any level of fairness, let alone charity. One must actually listen to him first-hand and in context, esp his radio show, and not be satisfied with Media Matters, etc.

              What comes clear is that he views himself as a work-in-progress, as are all human beings. I initially saw him as a Father Coughlin who would end up disgracing conservatism, but he has confounded and delighted me as he continually steps back from the precipice. As the Slate article documents, he’s trying to make the transition from voice in the wilderness—the radical, the revolutionary—to mainstream, the normative governing ideology. Such a transition requires a certain moderation, starting with “transgressive” rhetoric.

              And I do wish you could take the Democratic Party back from “the professional left.” I miss my Democrats, where we all considered each other great American regardless of party.

              The rhetorical problem with the Dems is that their rhetoric did not change in going from opposition to governing party. The GOP were still the bad and evil guys, even when in the superminority.

              You cannot govern by attack and polemic; at some point you actually govern, and in the affirmative.

              And of course, there was the substantive matter of Obamaism/Pelosism/progressivism. The American people don’t want it, at least based on the 2010 election.

              And even if they want it in the 2012 election—presidential elections attracting more “casual” voters—it’s still gonna be a 52-48 split or so. My concept of democratic constitutional republicanism requires something closer to consensus than such brute majoritarianism, which was how Obamcare went down.

              We do have a genuine consensus for FDRism and the “safety net”: Social Security, medical care for our elderly, county hospitals for the indigent, food if you’re hungry, shelter if you’re homeless.

              And the Earned Income Credit if you’re “working poor,” that gov’t payouts can bring you up to Aquinas’ “just wage” is a rare bit of political-technocratic genius.

              But it occurs to whatever clear-thinking Democrats who are left that we’ll be lucky to preserve that much largess and charity. I’m hoping you’re one of them.

              Cheers, mate.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Tom, you’re starting to scare me! Much too much moderation there, friend. (teasing, sort of) And by the way, the whitewashing of one of America’s greatest writer, Mark Twain, of his greatest novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is tantamount to the Taliban blowing up several 2500 year Buddhist statues. It’s repulsive, sickening, ignorant, and inexcusable. There is not a racist sentiment in the entire novel. It is not possible to read this book and come to any other conclusion. And to use “slave” as a substitute is utter artistic butchery. God, it is so shameful. Maybe the ever oppressive politically correct thought police should start covering up breast and genitals in works of art and sculpture. And rewrite some of Schubert’s sexist Lieder. Who are the lunatics who could possibly think this is right? Could a libertarian ever agree with this profoundly anti-artistic “correction?”Report

              • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Heidegger says:

                Mr. Heidegger, I did like my response to Aaron more than I liked yours to mine. I spent much longer on mine, and spent much longer on his than you did on mine. If you can follow that.

                Plus it was on topic.

                Briefly, after hearing a black advocate last night argue his case, I changed my mind on this bowdlerization of Twain. We are dealing with children not adults here, and the rules are different. Any conservative should be good with that principle.

                And kids take advantage of any opening.

                The teacher no doubt will advise the kids—at the proper age—to read the n-word where they see “black” or whatever euphemism, and explain why. This is adult supervision, which I happen to believe in.

                In fact, I think Aaron is arguing for adult supervision among and between adults, if we may resume our regularly scheduled program.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to tom van dyke says:

                This is so incredible. It is abundantly clear to me, and anyone who knows Mark Twain–specifically, “The Adventures of Huckleberry”, that NOT ONE OF YOU has read this book!! Poseurs, frauds, pseudo-intellectuals. Just remarkable. You all sell-out your souls and shamefully ingratiate yourselves to the thoughtless, arid, lifeless, politically correct forces that control and govern your every thought. I cannot begin to express the profound disappointment to know that all of you (is it everyone at LOOG?) have so easily been hoodwinked into jumping on this hysterical nonsensical, guilt ridden, milquetoast, bandwagon. Shame on you. Libertarians? You just about make me puke. You are traitors to liberty. You have destroyed a priceless masterpiece of American Literature. I can just about hear Mark Twain’s laughter and tears. I’m outta here. Enjoy your lovefest with each other. And make sure to not forget to tell each other how brilliant and creative and ‘independently’ minded you are as you hide behind this utterly absurd, idiotic “libertarian” label, while in reality, being nothing but obsequious sheep on your way to slaughterhouse wanting nothing but acceptance from your liberal sophisticates.
                Is there a voice in the wilderness out here that isn’t a sheeple? Please, I’m begging, may I hear from you!
                RTod? Pat? Chris? You very bright guys can’t also be led, mindlessly, off to this politically correct slaughter, can you?
                This book has been in print for 126 years—could one of you dolts please present ONE human being who has been emotionally ‘SCARRED” by this book? Just one….has it possibly occurred to any of you that since this book has been print for 126 years that just about any and every possible emotional trauma known to exist, would have happened by now? And I’m not aware of one single case or incident to ever exist. Do you? You are aware, aren’t you, that you are, despicably, pulling another Theo van Gogh, (murdered in the streets in Amsterdam) don’t you? You are repeatedly stabbing Mark Twain in the back for “offensive” , “insensitive” language just as Islamist fanatics do on a daily basis to blasphemers.
                You are all such huge disappointments! Liberty? Huh…..Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger says:

                There is still hope, everyone!

                Repent now, Philistines!

                “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”Report

              • Avatar RTod in reply to Heidegger says:

                Dude, chill.

                First, I’m not sure why you think everyone here believes Twain should be reworded; I doubt there’s more than 5% of us that do.

                Second and far more importantly, be conscious of the Post you’re commenting on, and what happened today. Save this stuff for any other post.

                And this coming from a guy that you know loves ya…Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger says:

                RTod, thanks, needed that. I was fervently hoping and praying that you folks (and I do love you guys!) were at the very least, deeply offended by the Mark Twain cleansing. I seemed to find nothing but support on this site, of all places. But more importantly, very sorry for going off on this subject on this thread, because today was a day of deep solemnity for yet, another slaughter of human innocents at the hands of another self-righteous psychotic madman. (There are no politics to lunacy) Thanks for the reply, RTod, much appreciated.Report

              • Avatar Aaron W in reply to Heidegger says:

                Stop trolling. It would be one thing if you were funny, but you’re not.Report

              • Avatar mark boggs in reply to Heidegger says:

                AG Ashcroft’s DoJ already had that “covered” back in the day.


              • Avatar greginak in reply to Heidegger says:

                H- “There is not a racist sentiment in the entire novel.”

                Do you want a second crack at that sentence so that it isn’t actually one of the top 10 stupidest things ever said?Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to greginak says:

                Why would I need a second chance? I’m quite honored to remain in the top ten. Gratefully, HReport

              • Avatar Aaron W in reply to tom van dyke says:

                I’m glad we were able to clear that up a bit. I would point out that the Beck in that Slate article is not Glenn Beck, but the head of the Arizona Tea Party. I don’t want to make this into a false equivalence, but that being said, there’s always a tendency to paint your opponents as evil and extremist on both sides, when the reality is that it’s mostly well-intentioned disagreement. (Much as the Tea Party leader said in the linked article) Of course, there’s enough bad actors on the left and right that you can always find someone to hold up and say “See! This is what the left (or right) is really like!” Now, certainly there are some problems and pathologies on the left or right that are unique to each movement that those within each “movement” should try to help alleviate. I think this incident highlights one such on the left, and I’ve tried (somewhat unsuccessfully) to try to dissuade some of my leftist friends on Facebook from setting blame on the Tea Party, as tempting as that can be.Report

              • Avatar Aaron W in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Also, to Obama’s credit, so far at least, he hasn’t gone the route Clinton went with Timothy McVeigh. It doesn’t seem quite his style, anyway.

              • Avatar steve in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Beck is all about the money. That makes him easier to understand.


  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    It’s *NOT* the Kos diarist Boyblue, for the record.

    He’s posted after the shooting (something I presume that Laughner would be unable to do).

    It’s still very creepy that the Kos diary he wrote about the congresswoman being dead to him (he wrote it yesterday!) was flushed down the memory hole… but it’s not him. (I presume that you, the reader, are already familiar with the theory that it was a Kos diarist.)Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

      Tell us more! This is fascinating!Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

        You can find out the barest bones of the theory here:

        Yesterday, there was a diary on DailyKos talking about how this particular Congresswoman was DEAD (emphasis in original) to the diarist. The diarist talked a great deal about how much work he put in for the congressperson and she turned out to be a bluedog who voted against Pelosi.

        The theory was that the diarist also happened to be the shooter (and the shooter allegedly said a lot of wacky stuff on his myspace (since scrubbed) and youtube (since scrubbed) pages.

        I was doing research into this and saw that Boyblue had, in fact, commented since the shooting… which tells me that Boyblue is *NOT* the shooter.

        Since I had thought that he was, I jumped to the conclusion that other folks might think that he was. He’s not. I demonstrated such to myself and now I’ve demonstrated it, I hope, to y’all.Report

        • Avatar mistermix in reply to Jaybird says:

          Let’s be sure to not do the five seconds of work it takes to find BoyBlue’s latest post:

          I searched and couldn’t find the word “dead” in it at all.

          But, of course, even if he did use that phrase, it’s not at all the same thing as former and current candidates of one party using sniper/gun imagery. Any jackass can get an account on the DK and post stuff – nutpicking like that is pointless.

          In general, our political discourse will be a hell of a lot better when these kinds of equivalences (which are usually false) are given the same treatment as any parent gives a child’s claim that “everybody does it”.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to mistermix says:

            Dude. I was posting that it was *NOT* Boyblue and posted a link to a recent comment.

            I wasn’t “sliming” DailyKos.Report

            • Avatar mistermix in reply to Jaybird says:

              Sorry, I should have been a bit more specific. I was responding to this:
              “It’s still very creepy that the Kos diary he wrote about the congresswoman being dead to him (he wrote it yesterday!) was flushed down the memory hole… but it’s not him. ”

              It wasn’t flushed down the memory hole because DK posters, as I understand it, get one post per day, and that was his one post from yesterday.Report

  12. Avatar MFarmer says:

    Gabrielle appears to a positive spirit in the world — I’m glad she is surviving so far and hopefully she will be a miracle case. I feel for the others, especially the 9 year old and her parents — it’s horrible. It’s always deeply confusing and frustrating to imagine the type of twisted mind that does something like this. We want reasons and explanations, but there are none.Report

    • Avatar E.C. Gach in reply to MFarmer says:

      I second all of that. Often, after tragedies like this, the need for dialogue and catharsis leads us to analyze and try to explain away the surprise of it. After Virginia Tech there was hypothesizing about what had led to it, as if trying to superimpose some theory of events with perfect causal chains would change the past. Things became political immediately then to, with people calling for stricter gun laws, and gun owners/lovers feeling blamed/attacked, etc.

      These things are despicable, horrible and tragic. They can’t be explained away or understood, only mourned. If anything hopefully a shared sense of grief will pull people from any side of the spectrum a bit closer together.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to MFarmer says:

      I second that Mike, and think you’ve said better than I exactly what I’m wanting to say. Thanks.Report

  13. Avatar Robert D says:

    Lone gunmen who kill for political reasons often have a lot in common. Leon Czolgosz and Lee Harvey Oswald are so much alike to almost be the same person in a different time era for instance. In this case the shooter appears to be an anarchist with very left wing leanings, according to a high school friend at least, and delusions of seeing the truth of the world that others don’t, and despite the delusions of greatness, appears to be a failure at most everything and rarely recognized by any until his fateful act, and in this he again shares commonality with Czolgosz and Oswald.

    These people aren’t really on any definable side besides their own, even if they imagine differently.Report

  14. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Bill Jones – I usually have a two or three strike policy. But that comment has earned you a ban.Report

  15. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    I spent today with family for a memorial service. I am posting here lest my silence be greeted with suspicion. How fucked up is that? But necessary, I infer.

    My first news of these events came from LarryM, who basically accused folks like me of having blood on our hands, and who called for a mass National Guard mobilization, presumably to round up the likes of me.

    Picture me seeing this in my e-mail on my way home from a funeral. Now go right on squabbling. I’m sure you will. Some things are really important!Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      Jason, I find it as difficult to understand where you’re coming from as you do where I am coming from.Report

      • Odd. I find both Kuznicki and Cheeks forthright, cogent, and refreshingly penetrable.

        [Quiet, Comstock!]Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

        I’ll explain it to you, using short, simple sentences.

        I was out of contact with the news for much of yesterday. I was at a funeral.

        A bit after that, I checked my e-mail using my phone. There I saw a guy calling himself LarryM. He was suggesting that the National Guard round up people like me. He also thought that maybe everyone in the League was guilty too. So guilty he wouldn’t even talk to us anymore!

        Now, at this point I had no idea yet what the crime even was. I just new that something very bad had happened. And that I was being blamed for it.

        What could it have been? A nuclear attack? Some unusually successful militia taking over a military base? Smallpox? I really didn’t know, but I favored the WMD hypothesis. What else could possibly justify martial law? (I’ll just throw in that there is no constitutional provision anywhere for martial law, you know.)

        So anyway, it turns out to be a lone kook with a hangup about grammar. I blame the literacy advocates, and I’m calling for martial law so we can round them all up. Anyone who uses proper grammar is a suspect! I’ll never trust them again!Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          People who use ‘proper’ grammar are usually ok. It’s those think tank types ya gotta watch out for.
          BTW, I thought Larry M was one of your acolytes??Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

            Bob, Jason had a rough day yesterday.

            He’s not a leader of men, he’s not even a think tank guy this weekend.

            He’s a guy having a crappy weekend.

            Surprise him by being compassionate.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

              Of course, you’re right J.B.
              Since my ‘warning’ I’ve turned over a new leaf. Compassion is my middle name.
              Jason, dude, you and me ….palsies?Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jaybird says:

              Thanks, Jaybird. I think you about understood it.

              I’d never pretend to be a leader of men. Many days I wonder what the hell I’m doing at a think tank. Yesterday, and today, I spent a lot of time wondering about more disturbing stuff than that.

              I may or may not post about it soon. I’m not sure. My idea of getting medieval on someone’s ass is not to kill them, but to quote Murray Rothbard at them. So many things here are so alien to my disposition that I don’t even know where to begin.Report

  16. Bob, Heidegger, Erik, and League —

    First of all, my apologies, to Bob and the League both. When Bob said “Yes” I should have left it at that. This isn’t the time or the place, and furthermore, whatever Bob’s reasons for carrying, they’re his and he doesn’t owe me or anyone else any explanations. What follows is offered is explanation, not justification:

    As I said in my previous, I like guns. I like handling them and shooting them. When I lived in Oregon I usually had a rifle and/or shotgun in my car most of the time: and as hunter I have more than a little experience killing things with guns. For me, guns and death are inexorably linked.

    I also have some experience with lawlessness. I’ve been in places where men routinely carry AK47s because they can’t count on the state to protect their families or property. I’ve talked with those men, at length, about what it’s like to live like that, and universally they admire the stability and surety that we enjoy here in the US.

    For these, and other reasons, I’m short tempered when people bring up carrying or “if I had been there” stuff around gunplay. I regard it very much the same way that Rufus seems to regard his non-monogamy — you might have good reasons to carry, reasons that I’d be sympathetic to, but I regard it as impolite in the extreme to bring it up in casual conversation.

    Again none of the above excuses my going after Bob. It’s offered simply to explain why I find the subject provocative.Report

    • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Tony Comstock says:

      Tony, I’m more than happy to accept your apology. That’s rather manly of you.
      However, if your back from a combat tour somewhere, maybe you do need to talk with a professional. I’m not your enemy. I carry to protect myself and family against a more and more violent American society.Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Tony Comstock says:

      That was very gracious, Tony. For that matter, sorry about the wise ass “psychotropic” comments. You are, though, one helluva shot! I had not idea such accuracy from such a distance was ever possible. All the best and always enjoy reading your comments.Report

      • Heidegger,

        There’s nothing extraordinary about my marksmanship. Like driving a nail through a plank without bending it, it’s what the tool is capable of in the hands of anyone willing to spend the time to learn how to use it; and it’s a long way away from from training a weapon at another living being and pulling the trigger.Report

  17. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    Sorry, Mr./Ms. Morzer. Life is too short to rehearse the same script again and again. I’m dishonest, I haven’t thought about it enough, blahblah. I’ve had enough too much with bland ad hom.

    Please do read the entire dialogue with Aaron [and the Slate article and Clinton in the NYT while you’re at it, and look up Fitzsimmons on CNN] and get back if you have anything original to add. I provided plenty of evidence for my position. until then, get off my back.Report

    • Avatar morzer in reply to tom van dyke says:

      So you aren’t actually going to discuss this in a civil and reasonable way? Can’t you manage a few facts, rather than just crying “ad hominem”? People have died here, and rather than talking like an adult about what led to their death you are just going to play victim? That’s astoundingly ugly conduct.Report

      • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to morzer says:

        I’m quite civil, Mr./Ms. Morzen. I’m on to your game. No thanks.

        Get off my back and chew on the leftosphere instead.

        Now you have not only my own arguments and evidence as previously offered, but many more to ignore as well. And after you deal with them in a “civil and reasonable” way, perhaps we’ll have something of substance to discuss. Until then, please don’t insult my intelligence any further.

        Cheers. 😉Report

  18. Avatar Jaybird says:

    On one level, I suspect that the whole political football thing is a way to process.

    This was something awful. How to deal? Well, done bun can’t be undone so maybe we could put effort into preventing the next one.

    If the shooter had particular political inclinations, maybe we could prevent such shootings by publically shaming those political inclinations… oh, he agreed with my opponents? I KNEW IT I FUCKING KNEW IT!!!!

    Oh, that old information was bad? It turns out that he may have had opinions that agreed with “my” side? Well, I think it’s obvious that he was deranged and his political views shouldn’t be used to paint everybody who may happen to overlap. Hitler was a vegetarian, and so on.

    And it feels awful that we can’t do anything to help.
    And it feels awful that it feels like we’re powerless.
    And if only we could figure out how to prevent people like that from doing things like that maybe more people would go to Disneyworld and have an awkward first kiss and go to Prom and read Nietzsche for the first time and learn to play cutthroat at the campus pool hall and maybe get married to someone that knocks their socks off and live happily ever after instead of being shot in a goddamn supermarket parking lot on a Saturday morning.Report

  19. Avatar Bo says:

    Wow, you guys are still going? Don’t worry; as of today, we’re back to just ordinary, everyday people being shot by the tens of thousands each year.Report

  20. Avatar BSK says:

    So, are we going to call this guy a terrorist? Or is that reserved for, um, tanner folks only?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK says:

      I suspect that intention has a great deal to do with the designation.

      If he was ELF, sure. He’d be a terrorist.
      If he was a tea partier, sure. He’d be a terrorist.

      If he’s fighting against the mind control rays of the government? He’s a lone wacko.Report

      • Avatar BSK in reply to Jaybird says:


        That’s sort of my point. The problem is, we don’t extend that same “courtesy” to Arabs or Muslims or whomever the enemy-du-jour is. I hate throwing the term terrorist around, not only because of the political football it’s become and consequently how useless the term now is, but also because it rarely helps better understand the situation. It’s just amazing that it’s the FIRST word used by most of the media and many individuals if the perpetrator is Muslim or Arab and probably won’t even be mentioned for a white guy.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BSK says:

          So your problem is not that we aren’t calling Loughner a terrorist but that we called Hasan one?

          “Terrorism”, as the term tends to be used today, means something akin to rational (we can hammer each of these terms out, if you’d like) violence perpetrated in service to a political goal.

          As such, people could reasonably call George Tiller’s murderer a terrorist (and, I think you recall, they did). They could reasonably call the 9/11 bombers “terrorists”. They could even call the beltway sniper a terrorist.

          Does Hasan count as one? Well… that’s a toughie. (Personally, I categorized his act as “treason” rather than “terrorism”.)

          This new guy? He’s not obviously rational and he’s not obviously pushing for a particular political goal.

          What particular incidents are pissing you off that they got called “terrorism” when they were obviously the acts of just a lone wacko?Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

            My feeling about it is this: there are crazy people. Full stop. In every time and place thus far there have been random, isolated crazy people who have done shockingly horrible things when nobody saw it coming. I have a feeling that, in any large population, there are going to be a small number of random, isolated loners either doing horrible things or, more likely, trying not to do horrible things while also waiting for an excuse to do horrible things. If the trigger isn’t politics or religion or grammatical errors, it’s going to be the neighbor’s dog telling them to do it like the Son of Sam. I agree that it would be unfair and unjust to blame politics or religion or grammatical errors, the next time some lone wacko snaps and does something horrible. But, when it’s some lone, isolated, mentally unbalanced young male (sorry, but about 99% of the time it is a male) who just shot up a mall and the justification is that Osama bin Laden or some cleric has said that random acts of violence are justified against the great American satan? What do we consider that to be? Random acts of violence? Terrorism? A military action in a larger war?Report

            • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Rufus F. says:

              This is a good point and one that I’ve made about the public warnings regarding the threat of terrorism. Since 9/11 there has not been such a coordinated attack in America — that was 2001. There will undoubtedly be loonies with a gun or a poorly designed bomb who do something from time to time and claim association with Bin Laden or others, but the terrorist organizations, and countries that harbor them, know they blew their wad on 9/11, and if terrorism works, as in serial, planned attacks, it fails — if we become truly terrorized by purposeful organizations, and our gloves come off, there will be such a shit-storm military response that no terrorist organization or country is willing to us push that far. The terrorists are now bleeding us in Afghanistan because we are still reminded over and over of the threat, so that we are afraid to demand a withdrawal in Afghanistan. Our continued response and fear is way out of proportion to the actual threat.Report

              • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to MFarmer says:

                Mike, agreed 100% with this.Report

              • Avatar Tony Comstock in reply to MFarmer says:

                I’m not bleeding in Afghanistan. Are you Rufus? Mike?

                Fear is cheap when you pay for it with someone else’s blood.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                Tony, of course, I didn’t mean you, Rufus and I were lierally in the country of Afghanistan bleeding, but I think you get the gist.Report

              • Avatar Tony Comstock in reply to MFarmer says:

                Of course I do, and appreciate the sentiment.

                Did you read James Fallows letter from 1968 arguing against banning the ROTC from Harvard. We’re still paying the price for that, and other stupid, thoughtless outbursts.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                But your righteous indignation that there is no nationally shared sacrifice of actual blood, as opposed to the figure of speech “bleeding”, at this time is duly noted and I will change my sentence to state that young soldiers are dying and literally bleeding for us because of our fear to oppose the war — fear which is nurtured in my opinion (not actally MY fear, but the fear of many, athough the opinion is actually mine). We are figuratively bleedng national resources. By “we”, I mean the American taxpayers, and by “American taxpayers” I mean us or generations of taxpayers to come, because what we are spending is borrowed or printed or whatever and stuff.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                I replied before seeing your response — never mind my joshing — no, I haven’t read Fallows, but I will.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BSK says:

          “Racism”!!!!!! I knew it!Report

  21. Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

    Nothing shows one’s biases, prejudices and beliefs more than one’s first (or second, or third…) reaction to these types of events, with extremely limited information.

    My first reaction: another nut with a gun and his own set of biases, prejudices and beliefs.

    But, everyone seems to immediately think (and write) about the politics of this (the right did it! the left did it! it was neither left or right! etc.).

    I hate to break it to you, but life isn’t all about politics. Neither is death.Report

    • Avatar koedo in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

      JHG, that’s an observation I noticed, too.

      Whatever one’s personal bias, that’s what came out. I heard the blame heaped upon Mexican cartels, Muslim extremists, anti-government militias, scorned lover and psychopath. All good guesses in and of themselves but most revealing when levied against the predispositions of the people voicing those opinions.Report

  22. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    Thoughts and prayers.Report

  23. Avatar Scott says:

    According to this report the shooter’s friends described him as a “left wing pot head.”

    But I’m sure the right will still be blamed.Report

  24. Avatar Scott says:

    It will happen as I predicted, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy readies gun control bill. Why waste a good tragedy for more gun control? Do the Dems have no shame?

    • Avatar ppnl in reply to Scott says:

      Well I’m not a fan of gun control but I’m not sure why this is shameful. This shooting is a perfect example of why some want gun control. Not using it would be perverse.

      Most gun control initiatives will fail politically, legally and as public policy.

      Politically it just isn’t popular. Guns are a poor choice for self protection and represent a major source of danger to the owner. Nevertheless people want the option.

      Legally it is hard to get past the constitution. Even if you don’t agree with the way the constitution is interpreted it will be hard to get past the current set of judges.

      As public policy it will likely be a major failure. It would be ironic to get past the unwinnable war on drugs only to start an unwinnable war on guns.

      Nevertheless the shooting of a congress woman, a judge and a child among a dozen others by some random freak makes as strong a case for gun control as it is possible to make. Not only do they have a right to make the argument but if that is their belief then they have a responsibility to make it. They may be wrong but they aren’t being dishonest.Report

    • Avatar 62across in reply to Scott says:

      That’s a pretty broad condemnation based on the efforts of a single Congresswoman, a representative who’s family was gunned down on a commuter train. You’d think she’d be entitled to have her own unique perspective on guns.

      And you’d think one would need to know what the bill proposes before deciding the infringement on the right to bear arms was untenable.Report

      • Avatar Scott in reply to 62across says:

        So I should feel understanding of her crusade to take away my rights b/c she had a personal tragedy? Gun control is the only reason why she wanted to go to congress.Report

        • Avatar 62across in reply to Scott says:

          No. You don’t need to feel anything, least of all sympathy.

          I’m saying that because she had a personal tragedy, her feelings about gun control are hers alone and don’t represent the feelings of all Democrats about gun control.

          And I am also saying, that to claim even she is trying to take away YOUR rights before even knowing what her bill would propose is premature.

          However, because it is important to you to insist that ALL Democrats want to take away ALL rights to keep and bear arms, you are not going to see it that way. And that’s to your shame.Report

          • Avatar Scott in reply to 62across says:

            I’ll grant you that not every Dem wants to take away my right to keep and bear arms but it seems as if the majority do. As for McCarthy, her gun control record speaks for itself so I don’t think I need to know the particulars of her bill.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Scott says:

              Which Democrats, by name, want to take away your right to bear arms? I don’t mean which want assault weapons bans, or which want to close the gun show loophole, both of which are pretty common Democratic positions, but which want to actually take away your right to bear arms? Because I don’t recall any of them actually stating that. So I wonder if you can provide some names and sources (preferably quotes, their actual websites, or voting records). I’d love to see that.Report

              • Avatar Scott in reply to Chris says:


                So you don’t think that the assualt weapons ban (AWB) was an infringtment on my RKBA, really? Why is that? If support for the AWB is a common Dem position, as you say it is, then I guess I am right after all.

                Somehow I doubt that that the folks that want to ban gun are really going to come out and say it. They are content to continue to put in place “reasonable” restrictions until there is no more 2nd amend left.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Scott says:

                Scott, you didn’t say infringe upon, you said deny. That implies that they want to ban all guns. They don’t even want to ban most of them. At least, this is their public position, and there’s no real evidence to contradict it.

                But since you’ve read their minds…Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Scott says:

              p.s., you know what they really think but won’t say, because you’re psychic, or because you just read between the lines, or because you read the tea leaves, or as a result of any other method of divination, doesn’t count.Report

            • Avatar ppnl in reply to Scott says:

              Yes well in 2009 65 house democrats cosponsored the right to carry reciprocity act and in 2010 the NRA endorsed 61 democrats.

              I’m not trying to defend democrats here. I’m not one. Just saying that unanimity of view to the point of epistemic closure is more of a problem on the right than the left.Report

  25. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    Does anyone around here read Instapundit? Right-libertarian, but the leftards exploiting this tragedy are well-refuted, chapter and verse.

    “Eliminationist rhetoric,” bullseyes and rifle target sights on congressional elections, etc., and more.

    I’d like to think this blog has some contact with reality, is all. I like this blog, but sometimes the silence on the mainpage [and in the comments by the contributors] is deafening.

    I’d really hoped that someone would take up the argument that we shouldn’t wussify our political rhetoric in some attempt to make it psycho-proof as a) unnecessary b) undesirable c) impossible.

    I must say I’m disappointed on these two fronts. I’ve always considered “libertarians” as the unpartisan honest brokers in the American polity and have quoted them as such. But the mugwumpage is suffocating.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to tom van dyke says:

      I think the front pagers and many of the posters are trying to go by the maxim “dont be an asshole.” If you want to engage in a conversation “leftards” is not the way to start. Insults, ad hominums and generally flinging poo is not manly, it is the sign of a lack of any argument. If you need to resort to veiled threats or the language of violence then you are all about ramping up emotion and rage at the price of thought and humanity.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to greginak says:

        I don’t know if it’s that. The thing is, we’re not a professional news source here. We’re not sitting around the news room issuing press releases and deciding which stories to file reports on. So our silence is deafening on any number of issues. Recently, I worried that we still hadn’t posted anything on the elections in the Ivory Coast (seriously), but I haven’t done so. For the record, I think it’s pretty clear that Laurent Gbagbo needs to step down.

        Personally, I spent the weekend watching movies with my wife, working on a painting, and panicking about a conference paper that is due in three weeks time- my silence on that paper is pretty deafening right now. Ask me about the new Harry Potter movie! I’m not sure what the “leftard” argument is that needs refuting. Something about gun sights on posters, right? No, I don’t think gun sights on posters make people shoot each other any more than those Saw movies make people cut each other up. Mentally stable adults can distinguish between words and reality, even if psychopaths cannot.

        I’d imagine that people are already making the “words have consequences” argument right? Well, look, I’ve been saying for some time that people need to conduct themselves with more dignity in public (a position that used to get you pegged as a conservative), but no, I don’t think it’s fair to blame some public figure on the right for these shootings, any more than I thought it was fair when a handful of cranks tried to associate the 2001 terrorist attacks with “unamerican” speech on the left- and given the memory of that, you’d think the left wouldn’t rush to return the disfavor! A democracy needs to have a vigorous debate and attempts to shut down or silence that debate will have consequences too, and ones that I’d rather not see happen. So I think we agree on that, but frankly, I haven’t any idea what the left is saying on the news/blogosphere.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Rufus F. says:

          I agree with Rufus F and wish him well on his paper.
          Leftist ideology fails as a noetic movement simply because these people can not recognize it as a theophanic event.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

            Yeah Bob, that’s exactly what I was trying to say!

            Okay, you’re right about the paper- I’ve got to go sweat through that now. Fun, fun, fun.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

            I think you’ve just summed up my atheism, Bob.

            I have never recognized a theophanic event. And, for reasons I’m sure you’ll understand, I’m not inclined to take another’s “I’ve just recognized a theophanic event” as gospel (if you’ll pardon the pun).

            One would think, if there were a Holy Spirit, He’d manifest Himself from time to time.Report

            • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jaybird says:

              I’m curious about something–I have absolutely no stats to support this, but my intuitive guess is that there are a disproportionate number of atheists/agnostics who identify themselves as libertarian compared to the number who identify themselves as theists. I say disaproportionate in the sense if you were to poll the general population of the United States, almost 95% of the population identify themselves Theists, believers in God. Even in the realms of science, the Pew Poll numbers show that about 51% of scientists, natural and social, believe in a deity of some kind. I’m guessing at this blog, maybe 10% of posters and readers believe in a deity, with the rest either atheist or agnostic. Perhaps, it a logical extension and transference of an ideology which prides itself on the merits of not answering to a higher authority–government in this case– with God of course, the highest authority of all. I would even be willing to say Marxists would be more inclined to believe in God than Libertarians. Everyone attends some kind of church. Maybe not literally, but certainly metaphorically. The atheists simply attend a church whose ‘god’ they worship is nothingness. A kindler, gentler, nothingness. To believe in nothingness certainly takes a leap of faith that is every bit as irrational and hard to prove as any theistic religion. All things considered, it’s probably takes a much greater leap of faith.Report

    • Only wimps and pussies say “wussify”.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to tom van dyke says:

      Tom, honestly, what does this comment say? That the authors of this blog should make a concerted effort to criticize liberal bloggers who say intemperate things about the right? Is that their purpose? It’s never seemed to me to be that, or to make a concerted effort to criticize conservative bloggers who say intemperate things about the left. Once again, you seem to be doing little more than butting up against the edge of trolldom.Report

      • Avatar tom van dyke in reply to Chris says:

        If you say so. I’d really hoped that someone would take up the argument that we shouldn’t wussify our political rhetoric in some attempt to make it psycho-proof as a) unnecessary b) undesirable c) impossible.

        To me that’s rather an area of interest and germaneness to libertarians, whom I’ve always looked to for an unpartisan—but not neutral—take on things. But I’ll content myself with reading what Chait and Hilzoy and Mother Jones think. [And Balko, although completely tangential. At least he’s a libertarian.]Report