A Closer Look at Jared Lee Loughner

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Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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  1. Avatar JohnR
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    says:

    “..this will appear to conservatives as an attempt to use the emotion of the moment to stigmatize them.”

    He says this as if _every_ attempt to hold the right-wing rage machine accountable for the direct connections (viz the Pittsburgh shooter or the Holocaust Museum shooter) doesn’t draw exactly the same reaction. Can you find a single example of any “legitimate” attempt to use an event as a spur to stop the wild-eyed ranting that doesn’t “appear to conservatives as an attempt to use the emotion of the moment to stigmatize them.”?
    There is just no distinction made. Ever. It’s as if a whole group of people never got past the four-year-old’s view of the world. “I’m rubber, you’re glue!” “It’s not my fault!” “They made me do it!” “They do it too!” Did any of these bozos have parents. or were they all just raised by wolves?Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to JohnR
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      says:

      1. You didn’t mention the Tennessee church shootings, for which there is by far the most direct connection between right-wing popular rhetoric and actual violence. That case, in 2008, occurred before the Tea Parties existed in any meaningful way, before Sarah Palin had hit the national scene, and thus before the meme had developed that the right’s anti-government rhetoric was dangerous. There were some bloggers who tried to push this point at the time, and there was no more than minimal pushback from the Right on it if you check memeorandum.

      2. The Pittsburgh shooting had some evidence going for its attempts to connect rhetoric to actions, and while there was some pushback – and more than in the Tennessee church killings – it was fairly mild by comparison. However, in that case, the fear-mongering at issue was far from the types of fear-mongering that allegedly is relevant here. That fear-mongering was simply the fear-mongering that Democrats were intent on grabbing guns, a meme that had actually reduced significantly in recent years, and additionally a meme that is hardly beyond the pale of acceptable rhetoric. It’s no different from the oft-heard meme that Republicans want to destroy Social Security, education, etc.

      3. The Holocaust museum shooter, while “on the Right,” in the sense that neo-Nazism is considered “on the Right,” had no connection drawn to mainstream right-wing rhetoric whatsoever, unless you want to count the fact that he was a Birther (though that clearly had no real relevance to what he actually did), and in fact there was evidence that he intended to also attack FoxNews and the Weekly Standard – some of the very outlets purportedly responsible for the rhetoric allegedly contributing to his actions. But even there, there wasn’t much of an attempt to blame right-wing rhetoric so much as there was a determined debate as to whether he was a left-winger or a right-winger.

      But even if all of the above showed otherwise, none of it would justify using an incident such as this where there is no evidence yet that the attacker was even so much as aware of right-wing rhetoric in any meaningful sense.Report

  2. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    “Yet they fail to understand that this will appear to conservatives as an attempt to use the emotion of the moment to stigmatize them.”

    This is absolutely right, of course. Allowing me to veer slightly off-topic, my wife does a lot of therapeutic work with couples and one thing that I’ve learned hearing about that which is amazing helpful is that, when couples are bickering and trying to hurt each other, it’s almost never about anger- it’s usually that they’ve been hurt and feel helpless in the relationship, but it’s a lot harder to say you feel helpless than “screw you!”

    I realize how people take it if you say that they’re “hurt”, so let’s use the word “insulted”. Right now, the right has good reason to feel that their political opinions, which they came to honestly and with nothing but the best intentions for their country and its political discourse, are being unfairly associated with a psychopath and that they’re being blamed for violence in a way that is beyond the pale. The left, meanwhile, has good reason to feel that, all violent acts aside, when people talk about “second amendment solutions” and carry signs reading “we’re not armed this time” or “it’s time to water the tree of liberty”, there is at least a suggestion that, if you don’t do what they want, they’re ready to use violence. And the use of violence, if carried out, means the end of democracy.

    It’s really hard for me to think that, were the tables turned, the left wouldn’t be deeply insulted by being associated with acts of violence for criticizing the government (which, you know, happened quite a lot in the years directly following 9/11); and certainly the right would have some issues if, say, Harry Reid suggested that the Obama agenda could be better imposed by “second ammendment solutions”. At some point, both sides need to listen to each other, because the core of what they’re saying is reasonable. And maybe try for five seconds to understand how their arguments might sound if they were directed at themselves.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s really hard for me to think that, were the tables turned, the left wouldn’t be deeply insulted by being associated with acts of violence for criticizing the government

      And would be frantically scrubbing their web sites to remove violent images directed towards the victim, and claiming that images of gun-sight cross-hairs are surveying signs? No. That wouldn’t be necessary.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        Kos deleted a diary discussing how this particular Congresswoman was DEAD (emphasis in original) to the diarist.

        (I mean, it wouldn’t be a political discussion without pointing out how both sides do it.)Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        Let me put it this way: did you know that there were anti-war protesters with signs suggesting that violence towards President Bush or American government and military officials was a good idea? I do. And I do because right around 2004-2006 I head quite a lot that my misgivings about the war were absolutely of a sort with the more extreme signs held up by anarchist protesters in Berkeley. Absolutely the same thing. You disagree with the war and you might as well be calling for Bush to be assassinated. So I had a lot to “answer for”. All I’m saying is that I can imagine it’s about the same for someone who gets associated with the most extreme Tea Partiers and their signs. It’s a way of telling someone to shut up.

        Now, your point about elected officials is a whole other kettle of fish, isn’t it? There’s a difference between some black bloc teenager in Berkeley or the bassist for Rage Against the Machine shooting their mouth off and the governor of your state saying the President is an “enemy of humanity”. I get that. I’m not saying they’re the same thing at all. I’m just saying that, if I didn’t call the President (Bush, Obama, whoever) an enemy of humanity or talk about watering the tree of liberty with the blood of our tyrants, I don’t want to have to answer for everyone who says things like that.Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      “Right now, the right has good reason to feel that their political opinions, which they came to honestly and with nothing but the best intentions for their country and its political discourse, are being unfairly associated with a psychopath and that they’re being blamed for violence in a way that is beyond the pale.”

      Right, especially the emphasis on unfairly. Sometimes we’d like to think that certain things will rise above the partisan back-and-forth of the day. But in the end, if it doesn’t work out that way, I don’t think we can get too upset. My problem with what we’ve seen so far isn’t necessarily that they’ve tried to blame the Right for the Arizona shooting, it’s that they’ve done it in a way that makes no sense and is contrary to what we know of the facts so far. Yet this hasn’t stopped the other team from trying anyway.Report

  3. Avatar Tony Comstock
    Ignored
    says:

    How about this:

    I do somethings that bring unfamiliar risks into my and my family’s life. These things might not be actuarially more risky than driving a minivan on the LIE at rush hour, but the risks are less accepted as a part of modern life, and are voluntarily taken on in addition to (largely unavoidable) risk of driving a car.

    So one of the things I ask myself as I lay out various safety schemes is, “How is this going to look to the outside world — to friends, family, other parents — when it all goes pair-shaped? Will I look like a jerk who killed his family? Or will I look like an unfortunate victim of circumstance?”

    Through that lens, I’m glad I’m the person who thought up crosshairs graphic, or said “Don’t retreat. Reload!” Yeah, I’ve got a couple of those machine guns and bikinis videos, and it’s cute when a MILF starts talking all butchy/gunny. But things turn pear-shape, more often then people realize (if we really looked at the actuaries, we’d never leave the house!) So why take the downside risk just to be cute?Report

  4. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    One thing I find interesting about Laughner is that I assume when he talks about “conscience dreaming”, he means lucid dreaming. As someone who has lucid dreams, I’m somewhat familiar with the sensation of suddenly realizing that everything you’re percieving as reality is a self-generated dream. I actually had one the other night in which I asked another person at Grand Central Station, “You know, this is my dream we’re in and I was wondering, is this dream just boring and insipid?” Anyway, if one was losing their grip on reality, I can imagine wondering how much of our perception of waking life isn’t self-generated too. It’s actually an interesting question, although I wouldn’t dwell on it for too long.Report

  5. Avatar Tony Comstock
    Ignored
    says:

    How about this:

    I do somethings that bring unfamiliar, multi-variable risks into my and my family’s life. These things might not be actuarially more risky than driving a minivan on the LIE at rush hour, but the risks are less accepted as a part of modern life, and are voluntarily taken on in addition to (largely unavoidable) risk of driving a car.

    So one of the things I ask myself as I lay out various safety schemes is, “How is this going to look to the outside world — to friends, family, other parents — when it all goes pair-shaped? Will I look like a jerk who killed his family? Or will I look like an unfortunate victim of circumstance?”

    Through that lens, I’m glad I’m not the person who thought up crosshairs graphic, or said “Don’t retreat. Reload!” Yeah, I’ve got a couple of those machine guns and bikinis videos, and it’s cute when a MILF starts talking all butchy/gunny. But things turn pear-shape, more often then people realize (if we really looked at the actuaries, we’d never leave the house!)

    So why take the downside risk of looking like just to be cute? It’s not like we don’t know every now an then some nutjob reads something and may he does or maybe he doesn’t take that as a cue to go do something awful.

    But when that happens, wouldn’t you rather look like J.D. Salinger?Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Tony Comstock
      Ignored
      says:

      I can agree with all of this, and agree that this was all stuff that should have been taken into consideration at the time, and hopefully will be taken more into consideration in the future, while still recognizing that the response to it is unfair and only likely to make matters worse, and to make it less likely that this sort of thing will be taken into consideration in the future.

      It’s one thing to say, when some outrageous paranoid statement is made, “hey, that’s an outrageous, paranoid statement that could inspire someone to violence if they take you seriously.” It’s another thing to say, months down the road when something completely unconnected to the outrageous, paranoid statement occurs, that “hey, remember that outrageous paranoid statement you made? Maybe you should have listened to me then, huh? Maybe it’s time you start listening to me, huh? Maybe it’s time you shut the hell up with your outrageous, paranoid statements, huh?”

      It shouldn’t be surprising if their response to that is “hmmm, maybe I wasn’t so paranoid, after all. Maybe these people really are out to silence me by setting me up for scapegoating for things we had nothing to do with.”

      If you think someone else is paranoid, generally the worst thing you can do is to hold them responsible for something they had nothing to do with.Report

    • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Tony Comstock
      Ignored
      says:

      Politicians in general will probably be more sensitive about using military language in campaigns as a result of this, but both sides have done it for decades, and everyone understood — but now, things will be different for both sides. If it helps to push the debates toward substance rather than images and slogans, then that will be a good thing.Report

  6. Avatar Collin Brendemuehl
    Ignored
    says:

    Such a seemingly academic way to blame Sarah Palin (or Glenn Beck or the Tea Party) for this shooting is quite predictable. Palinophobia seems all the rage these days.

    I’m still trying to figure out what makes Sarah Palin so evil. Is it because she makes to room for leftist ideals? Or was it that famous turkey processing video? (Your Thanksgiving turkey did not come from the store, you know.)

    Let’s be sensible.
    http://www.verumserum.com/?p=13647Report

    • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Collin Brendemuehl
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      says:

      I have a feeling this will destroy any chance she had of running for president. But the left should be careful to not overplay this connection to Palin, because it can backfire big time, especially when examples are shown of left politicians with similar ads, targets, military rhetoric, and so forth. This is the Internet Age — no one has an advantage on spin and revelation — political closets are full of old skeletons.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to MFarmer
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        says:

        So far, many on the left have been careful. Most of the blogs I read, for example, have pointed out that this guy had no obvious connection with Palin or Beck, but was just crazy. Doesn’t mean that Palin and others don’t need to tone things down a bit, though.Report

      • Avatar Boonton in reply to MFarmer
        Ignored
        says:

        I agree connections shouldn’t be ‘overplayed’, but rightly played. Then I wouldn’t even say that this is a connection, I would say it’s more like an illustration.

        But just out of curiousity what happened to the ‘overplayed’ connections the right so glibly made about liberalism and John Walker (American Taliban guy) and even the unabomber or the pronouncements today that the shooter was, in fact, a ‘leftist’? Did that come back to bite them? If so I forget where exactly.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
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          says:

          What were the indictments made against the left regarding John Lindh? That hippie parents ought to spank more? That multiculturalism (commonly associated with the “left”), when taken to an extreme, is morally anchorless?Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            That liberalism is amoral and leads to results like The American Taliban, a creature so evil that we need to torture him into a confession and lock him away for life.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
              Ignored
              says:

              “That liberalism is amoral and leads to results like The American Taliban, a creature so evil that we need to torture him into a confession and lock him away for life.”

              I don’t recall that.

              Well, the “liberalism is amoral” thing *IS* something that I’ve heard with regards to multiculturalism but I’m pretty sure that we could come to some sort of agreement that hard multiculturalism does, in fact, assume some form of cultural relativism (which entails some degree of moral relativism). Such are the fruits of our post-colonial world.

              As for “a creature so evil that we need to torture him into a confession and lock him away for life”, I’m pretty sure that even Ann Coulter would agree that he shouldn’t be tortured into signing a false confession. (I’m sure she’d argue that he wasn’t tortured, and the confession he signed was true.)

              As for “locked away for life”, I understand that he violated Executive Order 13129.

              fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo/eo-13129.htm

              If you would like to discuss the awfulness of Executive Orders and how they’re clearly unconstitutional, we could have that argument. If, however, you want to table that particular argument, I think it’s pretty clear that John Lindh *DID* violate it.

              And now we can argue about prison sentences and the limits of Federal Jurisdiction.Report

    • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Collin Brendemuehl
      Ignored
      says:

      > I’m still trying to figure out what makes Sarah Palin so evil.

      She’s not evil (just about as stupid as a brick). All of her idiotic blowhard rhetoric had probably zero effect on this event, however. Crazy people going crazy happens so infrequently that the motivators involved can’t be generalized. What makes one nut turn into the Unabomber isn’t going to make another blow up the OK City Federal Building or a third fly his plane into an IRS building or a fourth go on a shooting rampage at a supermarket.

      Put another way, if “Don’t Retreat, Reload!” really was an effective enticement to violence, you’d see *lots* more acts of violence against government entities than the few we’ve had in the last few years. Not to mention the fact that many, many, many fans of George Carlin (or Eminem, or Ice Cube) would have flipped out and shot their representative a long time ago.

      Also, I can’t imagine anyone listening to Sarah Palin and regarding her as a motivational speaker would shoot a 9-year-old, even accidentally. I might find Palin to be a ridiculous public figure, but she’s clearly pro-children, for Christ’s sake.

      This guy is an isolated nut. Arizona’s CCW didn’t have anything to do with this, either. Perhaps a bit more background checking might be in order for people who are batshit insane, but we got the government out of the business of taking care of crazy people a while back.Report

      • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Pat Cahalan
        Ignored
        says:

        The George Carlin thing brings up an interesting point.

        I mention it because I’m still Facebook friends with some people I went to grade school with, and a lot of what they post is, frankly, crazy. Absolutely bonkers, paranoid claptrap, cut through with various re-contextualized pop cultural artifacts: fictional movies treated quasi-religiously, comedy routines – Carlin in particular – overlaid with menacing music, comparisons of campaign logos to occult iconography, etc.

        But the thing is, it also has a relatively internally-consistent ideology behind it that is neither “Left” not “Right” but contains bits sampled from the overlapping fringes of both. And this stuff about Loughner absolutely reminds me of that.

        I’d be shocked if he watched Glenn Beck, but I’d be equally shocked if he didn’t listen to Alex Jones.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Remember Ari Fleischer?

    I’m aware of the press reports about what he said. I have not seen the actual transcript of the show itself. But assuming the press reports are right, it’s a terrible thing to say, and it unfortunate. And that’s why—there was an earlier question about has the President said anything to people in his own party—they’re reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.

    Here’s my question:

    Was Ari Fleischer right?Report

    • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t want us to become so careful that we become timid, dull and submissive, afraid of exposure if we speak passionately on issues and use colorful language or biting satire — the responsibility goes both ways — listeners in the political arena have to be responsible for knowing when something is figurative, satirical, purposefully hyperbolic to make a point, passionate, and when what is said is flatly wrong and stupidly inciteful.Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to MFarmer
        Ignored
        says:

        Unfortunately, the part of the problem with the Left is that they are so gratuitously nasty. Let’s deal with examples that have nothing to do with the Arizona crap or even violence in general. Chase a few links from here:

        http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2011/01/what_is_cornuco.html

        What DeLong and Krugman do doesn’t even work as satire because there is no background of humor or absurdity to riff off of. And in fact that’s most of the point. If there were something else there, DeLong or billmon or John Cole or whoever wouldn’t work as a group bonding ritual for some part of the Left, which is what they are primarily used for.Report

    • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Jaybird, yes, Fleischer was correct. He wasn’t trying to stifle anyone’s right to free speech despite the left going into an apoplectic, hysterical hissy fit over these remarks. He was merely stating there can be consequences to words, and Bill Maher’s case, the consequences were , all his sponsers dropped his show after his statement about the 9/11 terrorists being “courageous” or something like that. That’s certainly within the rights of those sponsors. If Maher wants to out and make ridiculously asinine statements, fine, go ahead. I’m not aware of a single writer, actor, musician, plumber, lumberjack, mechanic, whatever being silenced or serving prison time for “thought” crimes committed during the “Bush Purge.”Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Heidegger
        Ignored
        says:

        Heidegger, the standard (from the last post) has gone from public officials criticizing “anti-government rhetoric” to people being put in jail? Forgetting for a moment that peaceful protesters were put in jail, and that law inforcement agencies actively infiltrated peaceful protest groups, you seem to have moved the goalposts. But whatever. I’m not sure why I’m responding to you anyway.Report

    • Avatar Boonton in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Was he referring to a show where Bill Mahr said that if capitalists succeeded in getting social security turned into a 401K type system someone should apply a ‘2nd amendment remedy’ to downtown Manhatten? If so he was right.Report

  8. Avatar Boonton
    Ignored
    says:

    So would it be ok today for a right winger to talk about ‘2nd amendment remedies’ to, say, a failure to repeal the health bill or use ‘don’t retreat, reload’ rhetoric when it comes to winning elections? Or can we at least say this is in bad taste?

    Do we have to wait for a crazy to shoot someone while wearing a Sarah Palin t-shirt? I say this because I don’t recall the right missing a beat to link, say, John Walker Linh to fuzzy ‘liberalism’….I believe even the unabomber was linked to the left by the right because his anti-technology ranting (which seems about as incoherent as this guys ranting on ‘mind control through grammer’) might have been sorta like some environmentalists.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
      Ignored
      says:

      The time to criticize all that and warn of its perceived consequences is at the time the rhetoric is made. And yes, that criticism should be made, and typically is. But upping the criticism in response to an event that has nothing to do with it quite rightly comes across as an attempt to politicize the event. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and all that stuff.Report

      • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        But the event does have something to do with it in that rhetoric like that is like a ‘dog whistle’ to crazies. If this particular crazy wasn’t drawn by such rhetoric then so be it, why keep playing with fire though?

        It seems odd to me that the ‘right thing to do’ is so highly contingent on the nature of one person’s insanity. If they discover this guy was a Sarah Palin/Tea Party fan then all in the sudden upping the criticism of the rhetoric will be ok? What if he was an Obama fan? Will the ‘2nd amendment remedy’ rhetoric suddenly become ok?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
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          says:

          My first thought upon hearing that an Arizona Congressperson (and former State Senator) was shot was that a Republican Congressperson (and former State Senator) was shot for reasons related to Arizona’s Immigration Law.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
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          says:

          Because you have to actually make the case that rhetoric is a dog whistle to crazies. If you use as evidence an instance where rhetoric was not, in fact, a dog whistle to crazies, then you’re undermining your case and making it look like you’ve got an ulterior motive.Report

          • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
            Ignored
            says:

            The case is that ideas have consquences. Harping on rhetoric that likens the current political situation to one where armed revolution is justified does put the idea out there that violent action is justified. Whether that meme is taken up by a person that is pure crazy or taken up by a person who is not crazy but willing to act on it doesn’t really matter. It’s a bad idea to be putting out there to begin with.

            “making it look like you’ve got an ulterior motive.”

            This would assume that the Tea Party/Sarah Palin types are unable to effectively articulate their positions without ‘bullets and 2nd amendment remedies’ rhetoric.Report

            • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
              Ignored
              says:

              While I can agree with all of this, it does not justify doubling down on that argument in response to a situation where it appears irrelevant. The time to point out that threats to Congress have increased dramatically and that this is tied to allegedly increasingly violent rhetoric is not in the wake of a tragedy that appears to have had no basis in that increasingly violent rhetoric, and definitely not by virtue of tying that rhetoric to the tragedy when in fact it has no ties. If you want to make that point every day, and if you want to make that point with respect to specific occurrences where the connection can readily be made (e.g., the Tennessee church shootings), then that’s absolutely worth doing. That is not what’s happening here.

              While I get the argument about “climate,” there has to at least be some evidence that the case you’re trying to tie to “climate” is one where the attacker was meaningfully affected by that climate.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                If you heard tomorrow that an old friend had died horribly in a car accident, you might yell at your kid for not buckling up. Your warning would not be irrelevant if it turned out your friend’s death wouldn’t have been prevented by wearing a seat belt.

                Likewise when you stoke the fires things like this happen, even if this particular thing didn’t happen from stoking the fires. The idea you seem to be articulating here is that we either waited too long to say something (as if the November elections happened years ago) or we have to wait until people have forgotten about this story unless we can find that somewhere this crazy person was a Sarah Palin fan just seems silly to me.

                Now this isn’t to say that the counter reaction can’t possibly veer too far, motivated by ‘ulterior motives’. I think Rep. Brady’s bill to ban ‘crosshairs’ in political ads is over the top, for example, even if not particularly self serving.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                And, of course, the squirrels.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
                Ignored
                says:

                See my second comment below in response to Shannon’s Mouse. A big difference between your seat belt hypothetical and this situation is that if you wrongly blame your friend’s failure to buckle up, you don’t reinforce the reasons someone may choose to not buckle up.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                The reason to buckle up is so you don’t die in a car crash. The purpose of citing or using the friend’s death as motivation is a reminder that such things are not just imaginary hypotheticals but real things that happen in the real world.

                Your right, the anti-seat belt person may counter that your friend didn’t die because he didn’t buckle up. But then what? Translating back to the real world because this looney didn’t shoot the woman because of the health care law then it’s ok to talk about ‘2nd amendment remedies’ because no crazies would actually shoot anyone over such a thing? Your counter seems to be that the right may say because this guy wasn’t motivated by insane right wing rhetoric, the right should keep up the insane rhetoric. I say if they really want to go there then they will go there.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                Boonton, by continuing to argue, you’re creating tension where there need not be any.

                I mean, jeez. Someone shot a Congresswoman yesterday! Do you really want to contribute to that climate?

                Therefore you ought agree with me.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                If Jaybird won’t agree with my arguments he may argee with my bullets.

                After all since the shooter doesn’t seem to have ever read or cared about this blog nothing bad could ever happen by encouraging such rhetoric here. If you don’t agree then you’re just exploiting the tragedy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                If Jaybird won’t agree with my arguments he may argee with my bullets.

                And now the left shows its true colors by using words like “argee”.

                Anyway, the new theory is that violent rock and roll is behind it.

                salon.com/news/jared_loughner/index.html?story=/mwt/feature/2011/01/10/drowning_pool

                Surely we all can argee that no one ought to listen to Drowning Pool?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                Translating back to the real world because this looney didn’t shoot the woman because of the health care law then it’s ok to talk about ’2nd amendment remedies’ because no crazies would actually shoot anyone over such a thing?

                I don’t seem to recall saying that at all. I do seem to recall saying that the time to do that is either when the offending statement is made or when a causal link between the offending statement and a particular action is established.

                Your counter seems to be that the right may say because this guy wasn’t motivated by insane right wing rhetoric, the right should keep up the insane rhetoric.

                No, my counter is that falsely tying the Right’s paranoid rhetoric to an event will in fact serve only to justify the paranoid rhetoric. “See, the Left really is out to get us – look at how they’re blaming us for something that we had absolutely nothing to do with – and they even know we had nothing to do with it!”

                And guess what? That’s a pretty easy conclusion for anyone to come to when they feel they are being falsely linked to something that they, in fact, had nothing to do with.

                Look, it would be lovely if humans responded to everything in the world rationally, without any emotion, and fully aware of the actual intents of others. That is not the world we inhabit. Ask yourself how you respond to what you reasonably perceive are false accusations – do you respond defensively, maybe even make a counter-accusation? Do you ignore them? Do you simply confess to them even though they are false? If you respond defensively, does that tend to come across as aggression or as conciliation?Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                “No, my counter is that falsely tying the Right’s paranoid rhetoric to an event will in fact serve only to justify the paranoid rhetoric. “See, the Left really is out to get us – look at how they’re blaming us for something that we had absolutely nothing to do with – and they even know we had nothing to do with it!” ”

                And that did happen after the OK city Bombing. G Gordon Liddy got a ‘free speech award’ from the right and they cried that they were the victims. But saner heads prevailed and for a while at least the right did tone down the ‘black helicopter’ / “The President better have lot of bodyguards if he wants to speak in my state” BS.

                Again what the right does is the right’s business. The left should stop censoring itself on the grounds of what it imagines the right will do. The right will happily take a pass offered by the left on their rhetorical violence and turn it around on the left. We already have the right declaring this guy a ‘left winger’.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                And that did happen after the OK city Bombing. G Gordon Liddy got a ‘free speech award’ from the right and they cried that they were the victims. But saner heads prevailed and for a while at least the right did tone down the ‘black helicopter’ / “The President better have lot of bodyguards if he wants to speak in my state” BS.

                Is it possible, even probable, that they calmed down in spite of the finger being pointed at them, despite any evidence that McVeigh was one of their listeners, or at least that he was a listener to any programs with an audience of any significance? Tragedies tend to have a humanizing effect in and of themselves; they tend to remind us of the humanity of our opponents and so we treat our opponents with a little bit more compassion. Is it also possible that things started to tone down around that time because Republicans had just taken over control of Congress, so there was less a feeling of powerlessness than there had been?

                Again what the right does is the right’s business. The left should stop censoring itself on the grounds of what it imagines the right will do. The right will happily take a pass offered by the left on their rhetorical violence and turn it around on the left.

                Two wrong don’t make a right. Falsely connecting the Right to something the Right had nothing to do with is wrong in and of itself. And the fact that it’s wrong in and of itself is precisely why it will only serve to justify paranoia. Meanwhile, justifying it on the grounds that “The right will happily take a pass offered by the left on their rhetorical violence and turn it around on the left” is no different from censoring yourself based on what you think the Right will do – the fact is that you have no idea how the Right would respond to a refusal to make a false connection between it and this lunatic, just as you had no idea how it would respond to making such a false connection (which has quite clearly been made over and over at this point).

                We already have the right declaring this guy a ‘left winger’.

                I have seen far, far more attempts to paint him as a “right winger,” than as a “left winger.” And most of the attempts to paint him as a “left winger” have, so far as I’ve seen, been directly in response to claims that the Right’s rhetoric is linked to what happened. In other words, the very justification you’re giving for why it’s appropriate to link the Right’s rhetoric with this shooting is itself a response to linking the Right’s rhetoric with this shooting.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                I would say an illustration may be a better phrase to use than a connection.

                Your dates are backwards in regards to the Republicans ‘calming down’ after taking the Congress rather than as a result of the OK city bombing. The bombing was in 95, the Republican Revolution was 94. Helms’s infamous statement about Clinton needing a bodyguard if he ever came to his state was in Nov of 94. Winning the Senate and House didn’t seem to have been sufficient to ‘calm him down’. AFter the OK bombing, though, Helms did calm down a bit even though Tim McVeigh’s obsessions over Waco were not shared as much by Helms. He nonetheless saw the unwisdom of continuing on as usual with the ‘illustration’ of what can happen when you encourage such things.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                Likewise I disagree its about two wrongs making a right. My point is that giving the right a pass on the gounds that we see no clear connection to this psychotic killer is not justified and wouldn’t be appreciated by the right. Being that such rhetoric is over the line it should be criticizied and when a good illustration appears it should be used.

                Returning to the analogy of your firend getting killed in a car crash, you’d use that to illustrate the need to be safer to your kids even if that particular crash couldn’t have been avoided. There’s no good reason to assume that nutcases who do things like phone in death threats over ‘2nd amendment remedies’ rhetoric would never go a step beyond that.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                My timeline was not wrong – although Republicans won the election in ’94, they did not start governing until Jan. ’95; obviously the bombing was several months later. Regardless, a change from that election wasn’t going to happen overnight, and definitely not until the Republicans started actually doing things to make conservatives happy.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                Even if they didn’t actually take over congress yet one would think that the ‘feeling powerless’ would have at least been partially dispelled by taking control of not one but both houses of Congress. I think there is something odd about the way Republicans view the White House, it’s almost as if they feel entitled to it at all times and if they don’t get it they veer towards the nutty zone. But they are more apt to cede Congress to Democrats without feeling as they the country’s been ‘stolen’ from them.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                By ‘take control’ I mean win the mid-term election. It was a historic win after all since the Dems had the House for decades. If over the top rhetoric back then was due to feeling powerless that should have helped a lot. What more could they have reasonably asked for? Have the states pass a Constitutional amendment ousting Clinton two years into his first term and installing Bob Dole as President?Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                It should have helped, and it likely did help. But that doesn’t mean that it got better over night. It’s especially difficult to shift from campaign mode to governing mode overnight.

                Regardless, the point I was pretty clearly emphasizing was the natural effect of tragedies to humanize opponents and thus result in us actually thinking and speaking better of them.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                Likewise I disagree its about two wrongs making a right. My point is that giving the right a pass on the gounds that we see no clear connection to this psychotic killer is not justified and wouldn’t be appreciated by the right. Being that such rhetoric is over the line it should be criticizied and when a good illustration appears it should be used.

                Why does it matter whether it would be “appreciated on the right”? Why is criticizing them for their over the top rhetoric pretty much all the time, but abstaining from that criticism when there’s no evidence that it played a role – or even that any outside rhetoric played a role – is “giving them a pass”?

                And you still haven’t made the case as far as I’m concerned that this is actually a good illustration. Right now it seems equivalent to having the big takeaway from 9/11 being that Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson needed to chill on their religious fundamentalism. They certainly should have chilled on their fundamentalism; certainly the notion that their fundamentalism would cause some sort of violent act at some point (and, at least in the case of George Tiller, probably did eventually do so) was hardly outlandish; and there wouldn’t have been anything wrong about talking generally about the dangers of religious fundamentalism (though, in this case, there’s not even evidence that rhetoric played a role at all yet). But saying at the time that the 9/11 attacks should have been a warning to them of the potential consequences of their fundamentalism would have been deeply unfair; to make that warning the primary focus of the aftermath would have been unthinkably irresponsible. It would have quite rightly sent the message that scoring points against them was more important than trying to recover from the tragedy.

                Making this weekend’s tragedy primarily about the Right’s rhetoric sends the message that scoring points against that rhetoric is more important than recovering from the tragedy.Report

          • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
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            says:

            And in terms of a case it already happened. During the Clinton years we had the ‘black helicopter crowd’ combined with talk radio artists who argued it was ok to shoot ATF agents if their warrants were unconstitutional (determined, of course, not by a court but by the person who is subject to the warrant) and then we had OK City where Tim McVeigh directly linked his attack to Waco (back then a favorite hobby hoarse of the radical but not too radical to be Republican right).

            According to Krugman today (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/opinion/10krugman.html?ref=opinion) documented threats against Congressmen surged 300% last spring (running up to the election). Is that just random crazies who think the gov’t is controlling people’s minds with grammer rules who just happened to peak at a random time that just happened to be during an election year? Or might that be crazies motivated by over the line rhetoric pushed by the right who peaked with just making anonymous death threats and petty vandalism but very well could have peaked with something as insane as what this one crazy did?Report

      • Avatar 62across in reply to Mark Thompson
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        says:

        This is a critical point. We should be able criticize SPECIFIC rhetoric as provocative and harmful. It’s when we then try to use those SPECIFIC instances to GENERALLY indict whole groups or ideologies that is more troublesome.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
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      says:

      Or can we at least say this is in bad taste?

      ABSOLUTELY.

      Good God, I *WISH* that people would return to that sort of thing.

      I believe even the unabomber was linked to the left by the right because his anti-technology ranting (which seems about as incoherent as this guys ranting on ‘mind control through grammer’) might have been sorta like some environmentalists.

      “Which rant was written by Ted K, which rant was written by Al G.?”

      Yeah, that was a good one.

      Do we have to wait for a crazy to shoot someone while wearing a Sarah Palin t-shirt?

      How about someone crazy shooting someone while yelling ‘Allahu Ackbar’? Would something like that allow folks to reach conclusions about Mosques being built in the shadow of the Twin Towers?

      Or would such a conclusion be so obviously wrong that even asking the question is obviously inflammatory if not downright racist?Report

      • Avatar Shannon's Mouse in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        We don’t have to wait for followers of Osama bin Laden to fly planes into buildings to condemn his jihadist philosophy. Likewise, we don’t have to wait for a writer from Conservatives4Palin to shoot up a health care town hall to condemn her wingnut dog whistles.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Shannon's Mouse
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          says:

          No, you don’t. But if you’re going to condemn her, then at least don’t do it by trying to tie her to something where those purported “dog whistles” are by all appearances irrelevant. Again, if you’re problem is that the rhetoric invokes paranoia, the worst thing you can do is validate it by tying it to something where it’s not relevant. That will only increase the paranoia.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shannon's Mouse
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          says:

          “Likewise, we don’t have to wait for a writer from Conservatives4Palin to shoot up a health care town hall to condemn her wingnut dog whistles.”

          And thus that is why it’s okay to protest the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque”?

          How many more Hasans are you willing to tolerate, Mouse?

          It’s a simple question.Report

          • Avatar Boonton in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            This deserves a bit more serious thought. Protesting the Ground (near)Zero (non)Mosque as a result of 9/11 would be over the top. Likewise I’d say standing outside Sarah Palin’s office with signs saying “You have blood on your hands” would also be over the top. Unlike Mark, though, I think it would be over the top even if we discover a slew of material that indicated that this crazy person was in love with the Tea Party and Sarah Palin.

            Maybe a better analogy, though, would be to say as a result of the OK City Bombing and first WTC bombing, police are on the lookout for trucks and vans that are parked unattended near gov’t buildings and ‘trophy’ targets. That policy was implemented soon after the OK City Bombing. Using Mark’s reasoning, though, this was exploiting the tragedy. We should have only targetted vans and trucks being parked by lone white guys and ignored, say, a van parked by an Asian guy with a t-shirt that says “Lord Buddha ends the world today!”

            All that needs be said is that the over the top “let’s overthrow tyranny”, “reload and lock” rhetoric should be knocked off because this incident reminds us that we have crazies who will gravitate towards such ideas and they can do things just like this even if this one particular crazy would have acted this way no matter what. If someone wants to say the Tea Party is responsible for this then I’d say that is unfair.Report

            • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
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              says:

              Unlike Mark, though, I think it would be over the top even if we discover a slew of material that indicated that this crazy person was in love with the Tea Party and Sarah Palin.

              I don’t know where you got this impression. I’d actually be quite fine with this. But right now, there’s absolutely no evidence to support any kind of connection between Sarah Palin/The Tea Party and this killer.

              Maybe a better analogy, though, would be to say as a result of the OK City Bombing and first WTC bombing, police are on the lookout for trucks and vans that are parked unattended near gov’t buildings and ‘trophy’ targets. That policy was implemented soon after the OK City Bombing. Using Mark’s reasoning, though, this was exploiting the tragedy. We should have only targetted vans and trucks being parked by lone white guys and ignored, say, a van parked by an Asian guy with a t-shirt that says “Lord Buddha ends the world today!”

              This is not my reasoning at all. It’s one thing to increase security measures across the board and to prevent particular types of attacks, regardless of the source. It’s something different altogether to explicitly draw connections between people who have perhaps acted abhorrently in other contexts and the actions of others that have absolutely no connection to the first group of people. There’s a huge difference between a response to this tragedy that results in an increased security presence for government officials and a response that demands specific behavior from a group that had no apparent connection to the attacks, particularly when there’s no evidence that behavior similar to their independently condemnable behavior was relevant.

              All that needs be said is that the over the top “let’s overthrow tyranny”, “reload and lock” rhetoric should be knocked off because this incident reminds us that we have crazies who will gravitate towards such ideas and they can do things just like this even if this one particular crazy would have acted this way no matter what.

              That’s just it, though – there’s no basis by which we can conclude that this case should “remind us that we have crazies who will gravitate towards such ideas and they can do things just like this….” At this point, there is really no more evidence that this should remind us of that than any other murder by a crazy. Meanwhile, it is potentially emblematic of other problems that can and should be solved, and it becomes pretty much impossible to talk about those problems if we keep trying to make the case about something of which there’s no evidence.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                Is there no evidence? We have had a spike in ‘rhetorical violence’ and a spike in threats on Congressional representatives. Even though a threat is not the same as an actual shooting it is a criminal act and people who do such things do indeed tend toward nutty. I see no reason to assume that the reason one or more such people haven’t taken it a step beyond anonymous threats and low level incidents like vandalism is anything but luck on our part.

                Likewise we have seen in other times and other places that spikes in ‘rhetorical violence’ do indeed bring out nuts who are willing to one up the rhetoric with real action. For example, you have Rabin’s assassination in Israel and the Ok. City bombing. Both preceded by escalating rhetoric of the sort the right has flirted with over the last two years.

                I agree this should be criticized when it happens but when something that is a real potential consquence of this happens it is proper to cite it as a caution about what we might be unleashing if we continue to probe certain roads.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Shannon's Mouse
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          says:

          Put it this way:
          1. When a radical Islamist releases a statement calling for violence against the US (with the difference being of course that he probably actually means it), is it right to condemn radical Islamism for calling for violence? Absolutely.
          2. When a radical Islamist undertakes a terrorist attack against the US, which he justifies with reference to radical Islamism, is it right to condemn radical Islamism for calling for violence? Absolutely.
          3. Now what about when a radical anti-Semite with no connection to Islamism attacks the Holocaust Museum? Is it then right to double down on your condemnations of radical Islamism for calling for violence? To make the question a little tougher, let’s posit that instead of being a white Supremacist American, he’s a Lebanese Christian or even a Druze? If you do so, what will be the likely effect – making radical Islamists rethink their rhetoric, or ensuring that radical Islamists reinforce their convictions that they are being persecuted and scapegoated and thus should increase their anger and vitriol?

          All I and others are trying to say is that right now we’re almost a year removed from the most prominently cited causal rhetoric, and the evidence thus far points far more strongly to situation 3 than situation 2.Report

          • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
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            says:

            This is an amusing stance since the usual criticism of our post 9/11 actions is that we focused too much on trying to prevent an exact replay of the 9/11 attack (looking for terrorists trying to hijack an airplane with knives and such). Wouldn’t it be more intelligent to use the incident as a call to ‘wake up’ for related possibilities as well? Say cultist religious groups that might be planning a terrorist attack or different styles of new attacks like truck bombs at major buildings? Or is the only proper reaction to raise a cry about the exact incident that happened and only that incident? In this case maybe to call for better screening & treatment for mental illness in this country.Report

            • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
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              says:

              I think this misses the boat completely. We are in fact focusing too much on preventing one type of attack, but that is not relevant to whether we are focusing prevention efforts enough on one group. Indeed, one of the major criticisms, albeit not one made by me, is that our response effectively holds groups responsible for 9/11 who had no connection to it and from whom there is little or no risk of an attack; indeed, think of the huge numbers of people who have been placed on “no-fly” lists who have no connection to Islam at all, much less radical Islamism, so I don’t think anyone makes the argument that our security response to 9/11 (as opposed to our international policy) focuses too much on finding only radical Islamists.

              Moreover, one criticism, with which I happen to agree, is precisely that we are too focused on finding things that could theoretically be used improperly than on finding the people who might use things improperly. Changed to the present context, the criticism would be phrased that we are too focused on finding the rhetoric that could theoretically be used improperly and insufficiently focused on finding the people who might use that rhetoric improperly. In this criticism, looking to blame inflammatory rhetoric becomes equivalent to looking to blame box cutters.

              But even beyond that, there’s a giant difference between discussing the effects of radical Islamist rhetoric and implementing security procedures, which probably should be somewhat independent of that rhetoric in the first place. In the former, you’re concerned with finding the proper group of people to blame, in the latter, you’re concerned with finding the proper physical things (ie, box cutters, bottles of any meaningful size, etc.) to blame. Things don’t have emotional responses to being blamed; people do.

              We tend to quite properly talk a lot about how the Iraq War and the runup to it destroyed our national unity in the aftermath of 9/11. Why is that? It’s in no small part because the Iraq War involved casting blame on the wrong party. But even beyond that, how much more quickly would that unity have been destroyed if we spent more time talking about how evangelicals needed to consider their role in creating a “climate” where religious extremism was acceptable than we did trying to focus on the actual proximate cause?

              Except it’s worse than that here in many ways, because we don’t even have evidence at this point that anyone’s violent rhetoric had permeated this person’s head, with the exception perhaps of two notable books published many decades ago.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                I think you’re making a logical fallacy here. You are correctly noting that its quite possible for there to be an over-response or wrong response to a tragedy but from that you are incorrectly concluding that any response that is not addressing only the exact circumstances of the tragedy is wrong.

                A proper response to 9/11 is to examine all areas of vulnerability to terrorism, not just airplanes. Likewise it would also be proper to look at all groups that have or are likely to engage in terrorism (not just Al Qaeda, not just Islamist groups). But it is possible to take this sensible reasoning too far. Questioning evangelical groups because some of their rhetoric about abortion *could* be construed to justify terrorism when there’s no indication that they are going in that direction would be taking things too far. But, say, Homeland Security opening up folders on radical right groups that posted that they admired the 9/11 attack and wish they could pull something similiar off (and that did happen) would be justified.

                Throwing the body of a 9-yr old girl at the feet of Sarah Palin or the Tea Party would likewise be totally unjustified here, but pointing out the “2nd amendment remedy” shit leads to real tragedies like this one (even if it didn’t lead to this particular one) and should be knocked off is totally justified.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                No. I’m saying that if you’re worried about paranoia, the last thing you should do is something that will largely serve to reinforce that paranoia.

                I am not in the least bit saying that the only response to a tragedy must only be a response that addresses the exact circumstances of that tragedy, though I would certainly hope that discussing at least some of the circumstances of that tragedy would be the first priority (whereas here, it doesn’t seem to be a priority at all, but instead the only topic of discussion seems to be something that appears to have no connection to the event whatsoever).

                Fact is that the Tea Party has existed now for nearly two years; Sarah Palin’s been on the national stage for 2 and a half; Rush Limbaugh’s been on the stage for 22 years; and Sharron Angle’s remarks are many months old. Yet we haven’t had an outbreak of political violence in this country in any kind of meaningful manner, nor does there appear to be any threat of that happening. Sure, there have been occasional instances, but they’ve been extraordinarily few and far between, and typically they’re tied to such fringe causes as to be generally outside the reach of even the nastiest mainstream rhetoric.

                Meanwhile, as Balko pointed out, we’re more hung up on the casualties of anti-government rhetoric than we are on the casualties of pro-government rhetoric. If anti-government rhetoric is ratcheted down, does that mean that dissent is ratcheted down? Why should we government be treated with more respect than it treats, for instance, Drug War victims? That doesn’t make it wrong to call out “eliminationist” rhetoric or to point out the types of acts it may encourage the crazy to commit; it just means that the dangers of rhetoric should be kept in perspective. People aren’t evil for using that kind of rhetoric, and it’s just as likely to be used out of very real frustration as it is to be used to manipulate.

                One final thing – although there’s an assumption that increased threats on Congress and the President are a function of increasingly violent rhetoric (and they quite likely are, at least in part), I think there’s a need to be careful about making this assumption. We, coincidentally, have a uniquely terrible economy right now; we have at the same passed a major overhaul of a massive section of the economy that affects people’s very ability to live on a daily basis; we are fighting two increasingly unwinnable wars; a major mainstream cable channel purportedly dedicated to non-fiction has been running millenialist BS about 2012 non-stop for four or five years; and it’s probably safe to assume that because of the intensity of anger over several of the above, government officials are more likely to report threats than they used to be.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
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                says:

                “No. I’m saying that if you’re worried about paranoia, the last thing you should do is something that will largely serve to reinforce that paranoia. ”

                The paranoid have a moral duty to address their mental illnesses. The sane cannot try to proactively appease the paranoid by avoiding real truths. The real truth is such rhetoric should be avoided so as not to encourage things like this. If someone wants to say something like “this guy was just an incoherent nutbag therefore I’m still going to say if they don’t vote to repeal the health bill we should look at 2nd amendment remedies” then instead of appeasing him or her they should be booted from the field of respectable voices.

                “Yet we haven’t had an outbreak of political violence in this country in any kind of meaningful manner, nor does there appear to be any threat of that happening.”

                Well actually the increase in death threats and such is violence.

                “Meanwhile, as Balko pointed out, we’re more hung up on the casualties of anti-government rhetoric than we are on the casualties of pro-government rhetoric. If anti-government rhetoric is ratcheted down, does that mean that dissent is ratcheted down? ”

                Just imagine for a moment that the shooter was really motived by Tea Partish concern for liberties, say because the congresswoman supported the health care bill. Is dissent helped? No its not, as you can see the repeal bill has already been put on hold a while. So clearly actually shooting those you disagree with doesn’t help dissent.

                Why would you think that just rhetorically flirting with the idea of shooting those you disagree with would be more helpful? Some Founders like Jefferson flirted with the idea of periodic uprisings to secure liberty but the more sensible ones thought it was more sensible to diffuse passions in the cumbersome machinery of gov’t. Look at what happened with the whole ‘Waco Black Helicopter’ meme. Those that were happy to flirt with violent rhetoric to bash Bill Clinton on civil liberties almost all pounced harder than ever on civil liberties when they got a Republican in the White House and had 9/11 to motivate them. Notice today how those who applaud the rhetoric on ‘overturning tyranny’ happily and casually consent to things like abridging the freedom of religion for Muslims in NYC or having wikileaks attacked as a terrorist organization.

                But fair is fair, if you have someone in the Obama administration saying, say of the individual mandate in health care, that people who refuse to buy insurance are traitors or are helping the terrorists then I’d be happy to condemm that ‘pro-gov’t violent rhetoric’ too.

                “Why should we government be treated with more respect than it treats, for instance, Drug War victims?”

                Well for one we see here if someone does take anti-gov’t rhetoric a bit too seriously and, say, tries to kill a congressperson it’s not government that is getting hurt but innocent people. As a result of this it will be harder to, say, walk up to your congressperson unnanounced and try to talk about drug war victims or if you stand up at a meeting and start talking to him or her about it in a loud manner people aren’t going to listen fully to you since in the back of their heads they are going to wonder if you’re going to be the nutcase who pulls the gun out. So yea the victim here isn’t some vague gov’t but you, esp. you who wishes to press a relatively offbeat criticism of gov’t policy.

                Maybe this nutcase was unavoidable but if toning down the rhetoric a notch does allow us to avoid a few other nutcase incidents maybe the damage won’t be so bad.

                “I think there’s a need to be careful about making this assumption. We, coincidentally, have a uniquely terrible economy right now; we have at the same passed a major overhaul of a massive section of the economy that affects people’s very ability to live on a daily basis; we are fighting two increasingly unwinnable wars; a major mainstream cable channel purportedly dedicated to non-fiction has been running millenialist BS about 2012 non-stop for four or five years; and it’s probably safe to assume that because of the intensity of anger over several of the above, government officials are more likely to report threats than they used to be.”

                You absolutely right, however if the wiring in your house is bad you still shouldn’t smoke in bed next to a bucket of gasoline. I can’t easily fix all the wiring in the house but putting the can of gas outside is really easy so I should do that. We should try to address all the above issues but in the meantime avoiding ‘2nd amendment remedies’ to not getting your way in an election is really easy (unless you have no other way to communicate your policy desires) and something you should do all the more if you can’t fix the other issues easily.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
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                says:

                The paranoid have a moral duty to address their mental illnesses. The sane cannot try to proactively appease the paranoid by avoiding real truths.

                The paranoid, by definition, do not know that they are paranoid; this is particularly true of those whose paranoia does not rise to the level of mental illness, which is the overwhelming majority of cases of paranoia. So how would you propose that they address it? In reality, if you think someone is acting paranoid, then you have to decide if you’re willing to (1) tolerate the paranoia, (2)leave the person completely, or (3) try to set their mind at ease by showing their fears are misplaced. Last I checked, (2) is not an option since secession is off the table, and if you’re sincerely worried that right-wing paranoia is actually going to end in violence, then (1) is off the table as well. So that leaves (3). And the way to show them that their fears are misplaced is to tell them the truth; but if the truth turns out to be consonant with their fears….well, they’re not terribly paranoid, are they? If you’re trying to simply say that right-wing rhetoric leads inevitably to tragedies like this even though this tragedy does not appear to have a nexus with anyone’s rhetoric at this point, you’re either telling them something demonstrably false or you’re using the tragedy to make accusations at the Right, both of which are precisely examples of why the Right says it distrusts the Left.

                Well actually the increase in death threats and such is violence.

                No, it’s not. Even if it is, you have to prove that this is tied to the rhetoric of the mainstream Right rather than, say, the rhetoric of fringe figures who don’t fit well into the political spectrum at all, like Alex Jones and Lyndon LaRouche (who, by the way, was responsible for a huge chunk of the worst rhetoric at the town hall meetings during the health care debate), combined with all sorts of other factors that I’ve mentioned elsewhere.

                Just imagine for a moment that the shooter was really motived by Tea Partish concern for liberties, say because the congresswoman supported the health care bill. Is dissent helped? No its not, as you can see the repeal bill has already been put on hold a while. So clearly actually shooting those you disagree with doesn’t help dissent.

                But he wasn’t motivated by Tea Party concern or even, it would seem, by any violent rhetoric. And yes, clearly, actual violence hurts dissent, as do direct and serious threats of actual violence – where have I said or implied otherwise?

                Why would you think that just rhetorically flirting with the idea of shooting those you disagree with would be more helpful?

                I never suggested that rhetorical flirting with the idea of shooting those you disagree with would be helpful in any way, shape, or form. That doesn’t mean that it’s so harmful as to be worth more concern than the actions of the body it opposes.

                But fair is fair, if you have someone in the Obama administration saying, say of the individual mandate in health care, that people who refuse to buy insurance are traitors or are helping the terrorists then I’d be happy to condemm that ‘pro-gov’t violent rhetoric’ too.

                How often do you read Paul Krugman? How often does the Obama Administration defend the wars it oversees, including the drug war? How often do we hear fearmongering about the things that will happen if government isn’t allowed to do something? That the rhetoric doesn’t always use violent metaphors is kind of irrelevant (although it certainly often does….or is calling something a “War on Drugs” not a violent metaphor?), because it is always backed by the threat of actual violence, which the government has no qualms about actually exercising. Why be more concerned about whether anti-government rhetoric may someday result in someone going on a rampage than about whether reflexive support of pro-government rhetoric actually results in real violence every single day?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
                Ignored
                says:

                Just imagine for a moment that the shooter was really motived by Tea Partish concern for liberties, say because the congresswoman supported the health care bill. Is dissent helped? No its not, as you can see the repeal bill has already been put on hold a while. So clearly actually shooting those you disagree with doesn’t help dissent.

                It would have made your point stronger had you pointed the gun at yourself.

                Imagine if you had argued that we should imagine that the shooter had shoot the congresswoman because she was a bluedog. Or have us imagine that an Undocumented Worker had shot her because of the Immigration Law.

                How much stronger would your point have been in the minds of your opponents!Report

    • Avatar Koz in reply to Boonton
      Ignored
      says:

      “Do we have to wait for a crazy to shoot someone while wearing a Sarah Palin t-shirt?”

      Out of considerations of prudence, that’s probably a good idea. Like many people associated with the liberal-Left, careful inference is not your strong suit so err on the side of caution.Report

  9. Avatar Kyle Cupp
    Ignored
    says:

    I detest violent rhetoric and wish we’d see much, much less of it. Not a trace of it, really. It is something worthy of daily opposition. However, a connection between violent rhetoric and an act of physical violence cannot just be assumed. It has to be investigated and demonstrated. Mark’s point is exactly right: There’s not at this point any evidence that Loughner was even aware of right-wing conspiracy theories, much less that he was actually influenced by them. While there may be independent reasons for complaining about rhetoric, there is in fact no evidence that rhetoric, or even for that matter the “rhetorical climate,” played a role here. If evidence comes to light, that changes things, but until then, violent rhetoric should be opposed for the violence it itself possesses, and not because of an assumed connection to this particular tragedy.Report

  10. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    By the way, people on the left aren’t the only ones blaming the other side for this shooting:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/01/tea-party-group-blames-leftist-for-giffords-shooting/69153/Report

  11. Avatar Robert Cheeks
    Ignored
    says:

    Is the League going to have someone check for ‘hate’ speech, or ‘heated rhetoric?’
    Hey, this guy has three names!Report

  12. Avatar Boonton
    Ignored
    says:

    I think in spite of all the back and forth over the ‘rules’ that should apply, one fact belies Mark’s claim that because the shooter had no coherent Tea Party political stance, no criticism of overheated rhetoric is merited by this incident.

    Before it happened, we had the right saying things like ‘2nd amendment remedies’, ‘reload’ and placing sniper cross hairs on representatives. Now no Republican will go near such rhetoric for quite a while. Why? The answer is not unfair left wing blogs pinning the blame on them unfairly. I think the answer is the moment it happened a little voice went off in many heads that said something like “ohhh shit, this is the last thing we need, I better take it down a notch”

    But why did this little voice go off? If this shooter was just a nutcase why would it be necessary for the idea to spark immediately that a little toning down was a good idea?Report

    • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Boonton
      Ignored
      says:

      Boonton, the military images come from both sides — this is being shown in both MSM and new media, so it’s likely a backlash against false associations is already happening — I think people will be sensitive to the issue about heated rhetoric because so much is being made of it, but it still has nothing to do with the shooting, and the rhetoric will be just as heated when ealthcare repeal comes back up — there will just be more careful use of images, not because any big lesson is learned, but because of the loudness of the media. On the other hand, conservatives might sense the public has their back and go forward wth even more heated rhetoric – there has to be a legitimate problem before these types of discussions change hearts and minds and not just create a superficial change in marketiing strategies. “Heated rhetoric” is not really a problem, it’s as American as apple pie.Report

      • Avatar Boonton in reply to MFarmer
        Ignored
        says:

        Boonton, the military images come from both sides —

        Errr no its not. Look I’m sure you might be able to find ‘cross hairs’ somewhere on a powerpoint deck on Democratic election strategy or people using the word ‘target’ a lot and like sports politics does lend itself to military metaphors nicely (‘outflank Republicans by veering right’, ‘Tea Party insurgents ousting the choice of the establishment’ etc.) But no it doesn’t just come from ‘both sides’. Keith Oberman is not simply a left wing mirror image of Glen Beck. ‘2nd amendment remedies’ are not casually dropped by left wing leaders when, say, the DREAM ACT fails.Report

        • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Boonton
          Ignored
          says:

          Attacks (actual acts of violence) against political entities do not correlate well with the climate of political rhetoric. Hate mail is a very bad metric for threat; I bet executives in Big Oil got more hate mail after the last oil spill than all of our politicos have gotten in the last few years, and there were zero incidents of attacks against oil platforms.

          Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber, etc., they’re all cases of lone nutbars going nutty for a wide assortment of nutty reasons.

          See my comment above; crazies do crazy shit *for crazy reasons*. Not because some politico said something intemperate.

          Not to say that violent language ought to be part of the political discourse, but I don’t find the evidence that there is any sort of real causal consequence to be very compelling.Report

          • Avatar Boonton in reply to Pat Cahalan
            Ignored
            says:

            I think you’re being a bit too coy here. The unabomber does appear to be a case of a crazy person doing something for a crazy reason that’s barely a reason. Tim McVeigh, though, does not. He seemed to have a very clear, very definate reason and I think he was quite sane. His moral calculations were evil but he was under no delusions IMO.

            Now I think its fair to say that some of the rhetoric at that time was over the top and wrong. Does that mean if people were more restrained when going on about Waco that McVeigh wouldn’t have done what he did? No, he might have anyway. But like I said if your house has bad wiring you don’t make the problem worse by smoking in bed with a bucket of gas in the bedroom.Report

            • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Boonton
              Ignored
              says:

              > The unabomber does appear to be a case of a
              > crazy person doing something for a crazy
              > reason that’s barely a reason. Tim McVeigh,
              > though, does not.

              Okay, fair ’nuff. Although I regard Tim as a nut, he’s certainly not as crazy as Ted by any stretch of the imagination.

              Now, Jared seems to be a heck of a lot closer to Ted (likely even farther down on the crazy side, spectrum-wise), at least as far as preliminary evidence goes. So at the very least we have the “calculated but non-insane perp” who might be inspired by rhetoric (causally) and the “calculated and batshit insane perp” who isn’t causally inspired by rhetoric at all. Both are very small populations.

              > Now I think its fair to say that some of the rhetoric
              > at that time was over the top and wrong.

              Sure, but as other people have pointed out you can (a) make that argument about the generic political climate, either party, and (b) over the top and wrong for the sake of civilized society isn’t the same thing as inciting actual violence.

              > If your house has bad wiring you don’t make
              > the problem worse by smoking in bed with a
              > bucket of gas in the bedroom.

              Bad wiring is a fire hazard. Smoking in bed is, but not on the same scale and it doesn’t make the first problem “worse”, in a risk analysis.

              Having a bucket of gas in the bedroom is just stupid; more to the point, it’s demonstrably a much riskier practice than either having bad wiring *or* smoking in bed. I don’t think “rhetoric that uses violent imagery” is comparable.Report

        • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Boonton
          Ignored
          says:

          Boonton, you are sounding like a closeminded partisan, denying the reality of your side. Just saying your side is different and better doesn’t make it so.Report

          • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer
            Ignored
            says:

            Do you think the left will cool down its rhetoric? I can give example after examplae of hyperbolic, hateful rhetoric from the left. This is a ridiculous stance to take, for anyone — the evidence can be looked up by anyone doing a simple search, and you can’t erase the facts.Report

            • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to MFarmer
              Ignored
              says:

              > Do you think the left will cool down its rhetoric?

              No. Or rather, they’ll cool it down for an appropriate length of time to appear sensitive, and then go right back to doing it just like the right will. I give it about 30 seconds after the health care debate opens again, tops.

              > I can give example after examplae of hyperbolic,
              > hateful rhetoric from the left.

              Sure. But, in the interest of fairness, Mr. Farmer, I think you’d have to admit that while both sides can be both hyperbolic and hateful, the “general” right is going to have a higher tendency to use language that evokes violence in particular. This is pretty transparent and normal, given that the right supports gun rights. Guns are evocative of violent imagery/language.

              This is kind of like saying that lefties will use language that’s more evocative of being an impractical tree-hugger or a animal-rights nut.

              Maybe I’m unusual in that I don’t find using “language that evokes violence” as particularly interesting, from a meta-standpoint.

              “I’m gonna beat your brains out” said jovially from one well-dressed participant to another at the podium of a political debate doesn’t mean the same thing as the same words uttered by a pissed-off drunk ruffian at a dive bar. It’s not the verbal language that matters; it’s the body language.

              This whole thing is much ado about nothing.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
      Ignored
      says:

      Now no Republican will go near such rhetoric for quite a while. Why? The answer is not unfair left wing blogs pinning the blame on them unfairly. I think the answer is the moment it happened a little voice went off in many heads that said something like “ohhh shit, this is the last thing we need, I better take it down a notch”

      Maybe, maybe not – you don’t really have any idea what’s going on in their heads, and neither do I, though I agree that if they do cool the rhetoric (and I think they will), it won’t be because of left wing blogs pinning the blame on them unfairly. My question to you then is: so why pin the blame on them unfairly? If they pull back, isn’t it likely that they did so in spite of being blamed unfairly, and that being blamed unfairly will decrease the amount they pull back?

      But it’s also not necessarily the case that the reason they will likely pull back is because ” the moment it happened a little voice went off in many heads that said something like “ohhh shit, this is the last thing we need, I better take it down a notch.” This tragedy brings home the humanity of political opponents; that, in and of itself, makes strong disagreements seem a lot more trivial, and a lot more understandable, and it makes the basic human emotion of empathy a lot more likely to come to the fore. And this applies outside of the political realm, as well – in the wake of 9/11, how many people who had been spewing venom at each other for an extended period of time suddenly decided to forgive each other or at least back off of each other, even if only for a few weeks or months? I certainly know my share.Report

      • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
        Ignored
        says:

        My question to you then is: so why pin the blame on them unfairly? If they pull back, isn’t it likely that they did so in spite of being blamed unfairly, and that being blamed unfairly will decrease the amount they pull back?

        I agree they shouldn’t be blamed unfairly. Like I said, if someone wants to show up at a Sarah Palin speech with a sign that says “You have blood on your hands” I think that’s unfair. If they want to say Engle should have said “2nd amendment remedy” I’d agree. If they want to say she facilitated murder I’d say that’s wrong.

        If they ‘decrease the amount they pull back’ because some on the left unfairly blame them….well they should know two wrongs don’t make a right and if they don’t know it then they should be booted out of respectable discourse.

        In terms of why they pulled back….well we don’t know but you know I do think its interesting that a lot of people had an ‘ohhh shit’ reaction when they first heard about the shooting and I’m sure the first thought that leaped into their head was something coming from the right. There’s a reason for that, it fits the picture and makes sense and the reason it does is because the rhetoric and antics have been ripe for a while now.

        Now it appears that it didn’t go down that way. That’s not unprecedented. In ’63 there was a lot of fear about JFK visiting Dallas and when it happened the assumption was something from the right. But God enjoys making fun of assumptions and it turned out that Oswald was, if anything, coming at JFK from the left.Report

        • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Boonton
          Ignored
          says:

          If they ‘decrease the amount they pull back’ because some on the left unfairly blame them….well they should know two wrongs don’t make a right and if they don’t know it then they should be booted out of respectable discourse.

          But what if they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong by pulling back? Again, the point is that unfairly associating them with the attack validates the very rhetoric they use and that you are criticizing them for using. You ignore the possibility that they actually feel like liberals are out to get them, and actually believe the sentiments behind their statements , even if they’re hyperbolic about the extent to which they feel that. It’s been said many times that this past Congress was remarkably successful in passing its agenda, and that much of that agenda was quite ambitious and definitely not remotely consonant with movement conservatism; it’s also clear that the economy is still in terrible condition; and it’s also true that the major “bipartisan” achievements of the last several years have basically been gigantic giveaways to elites, regardless of whether those giveaways ultimately prevented the economy from getting even worse. Given those facts, it should not be remotely surprising that anger and fear on the Right is at an all time high, regardless of whether it’s misplaced.

          The one small good thing that could have come out of this attack would be for the Right to recognize the basic humanity of the Left and that, because of that humanity, maybe the Left really isn’t out to get them. Coming after them for this attack when it has nothing to do with them deeply undermines the possibility of that by suggesting that, no, the Left really does care more about hurting the Right than it does about doing what’s right.Report

          • Avatar Bo in reply to Mark Thompson
            Ignored
            says:

            Tomorrow’s Headline: Right Denies Humanity of Left; Liberals to BlameReport

          • Avatar Boonton in reply to Mark Thompson
            Ignored
            says:

            “But what if they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong by pulling back? Again, the point is that unfairly associating them with the attack validates the very rhetoric they use and that you are criticizing them for using. ”

            How does it validate the rhetoric? Let’s say I go around saying the President should be shoot for continuing an illegal war in Afghanistan. Then one day someone actually shoots the president. People look at me and say I should knock off that bullshit. But then it comes out that the guy who shot the President did it not because he hated the war in Afghanistan but because he thought Spongebob Squarepants was telling him to do it from the TV. How am I now ‘validated’?

            “You ignore the possibility that they actually feel like liberals are out to get them, and actually believe the sentiments behind their statements , even if they’re hyperbolic about the extent to which they feel that.”

            So they get a pass because they insist on having paranoid feelings? How about expecting them to can the paranoia in addition to canning the rhetoric?

            “It’s been said many times that this past Congress was remarkably successful in passing its agenda, and that much of that agenda was quite ambitious and definitely not remotely consonant with movement conservatism”

            And the Congress before that approved the Iraq War, passed massive tax cuts & created Medicare Part D which was Bush’s idea. Last time I checked the last Congress was there because they won an election just like the Congress before that.

            “Given those facts, it should not be remotely surprising that anger and fear on the Right is at an all time high, regardless of whether it’s misplaced. ”

            Whether or not its misplaced is irrelevant. Those who are angry or fearful do not get an excuse. If you’re touting ‘2nd amendment remedies’ you should be booted off the stage and I don’t care if you say it because you’re cynically trying to score votes or if you’re honestly angry and fearful.

            “The one small good thing that could have come out of this attack would be for the Right to recognize the basic humanity of the Left and that, because of that humanity, maybe the Left really isn’t out to get them. ”

            And why would that come out of this attack? Because when you don’t respect the basic humanity of the people you disagree with you lower the barriers against things like this happening. But as far as the left goes, having the right recognize its ‘basic humanity’ is not a negotiating point or a ‘nice to have’. It’s expected to be a default position and the left should angrily demand it, not ask for it politely as if its some type of favor. If the right is so emotionally immature that it cannot grant this unless people come begging on their knees then we have a very serious problem in this country.Report

  13. Avatar Steve S.
    Ignored
    says:

    “this will appear to conservatives as an attempt to use the emotion of the moment to stigmatize them.”

    I wouldn’t doubt that. Much conservative American identity is tightly wrapped up in the notion that a left-wing intellectual elite is disparaging them on a minute-by-minute basis, so those feelings are already there.

    Which brings me to Sheriff Dupnik’s remarks: “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

    The institutional Right is extremely defensive over these generic remarks, which I find very telling.Report

    • Avatar Boonton in reply to Steve S.
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t buy that the shooter was totally uneffected by the rhetorical environment. When you have the idea in the air that the gov’t is illegitimate, that force may be necessary to right things if elections don’t work, there’s no reason to think this message doesn’t travel. Recall Keynes’s well known quote:

      “Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”

      Madmen can also distill in their frenzy ideas being articulated by the mainstream political discourse. If shooting is a possible response to the healthcare mandate then why not a response to ‘mind control by grammer’?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
        Ignored
        says:

        But what if he was unconsciously more reacting to the immigration debate than the health care debate?

        Aren’t you racist for even raising that as a possibility?

        I, for my part, decry racism.Report

        • Avatar Boonton in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          We may never know. Maybe if there was *more* extreme rhetoric in the air he would have shot no one and instead buried himself in his moms basement making youtube videos and writing thousand page books about the evils of ‘mind control grammer’.

          But in general a good case is there that violent rhetoric does not help just as wearing seat belts helps lower car crash deaths. It may well be that this doesn’t apply to one particular shooting or car crash, the opposite may even apply in particular cases but as a rule I think this should be taken as a warning.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
            Ignored
            says:

            I see “violent rhetoric” as the equivalent of pr0n.

            With the advent of ubiquitous pr0n, would you guess that violent sexual assaults against women have gone up or down in the last 10 years?

            Would you say that our rhetoric is more or less violent than the rhetoric found in the 1960’s?

            Because I guarandamntee you that there were more politicians assassinated in the 1960’s than will have *ATTEMPTS* in the 2010s.Report

            • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Heck, go back to the early 1900s when there were actual anarchists throwing actual bombs about.Report

            • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I’d say they’re about equal.

              “I guarandamntee you that there were more politicians assassinated in the 1960?s than will have *ATTEMPTS* in the 2010s.”

              I sure hope you’re right about that, Jay, but I have almost no confidence that you are.Report

            • Avatar Boonton in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              1. I don’t think violent rhetoric is really just like porn.

              2. The question isn’t whether or not there was violent rhetoric in the 60’s when there were more political assassinations, the question is would the 60’s have been less or more violent if more people in repectable positions had flirted with violence.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
                Ignored
                says:

                I certainly think that they’re analogous.

                As time has progressed from the 60’s to the 70’s to the 80’s to the 90’s to the 00’s and now to the 10’s… would you say that we are trending towards *MORE* political violence or *LESS* political violence?

                At the same time, would you say that there has been *MORE* heated rhetoric or *LESS*?Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Most people require some regular form of sexual release. Do most people also need to call for ‘2nd amendment remedies’ on a regular basis? Are you saying the right is just a form of mass intellectual masturbation?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Boonton
                Ignored
                says:

                Are you familiar with popular entertainment?

                I saw True Grit yesterday. I’m doing a quick count in my head of how many people we saw die on screen (or corpses that died of violent causes, for that matter).

                There was the triple hanging… and in the interest of keeping this from turning into a “DON’T SPOIL A BOOK THAT WAS WRITTEN BEFORE I WAS BORN AND DON’T SPOIL A MOVIE THAT IS A REMAKE OF A MOVIE THAT WAS MADE BEFORE I WAS BORN” discussion, I’ll just keep a silent count in my head…

                I’ve got a dozen.

                For the number one film in America today.Report

              • Avatar Boonton in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Again behavior often reveals more truth than words.

                As soon as this happened, a lot of the right immediately recognized that they should move away from the rhetoric. Why? Because they knew. As was pointed out, as soon as the sheriff made his statement, the AZ Tea Party went ballistic. Why? He never singled out the right? Because they knew.

                Now tomorrow if you read that someone got raped in the park near you, you’re probably not going to erase TheHun from your browsing history. While porn might be analogous it’s only partially so.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So let’s see.

                A law enforcement official thinks that people need to tone down anti-government rhetoric.

                Let me guess: He also thinks that his job would be easier if he and his were the only ones allowed to carry weapons.

                I’ll extrapolate from there: The Southern Babtist minister probably thought that if only more people had a decent, Christian, upbringing there’d be fewer shootings.

                The Butcher thought that the problem was one of vegetarianism.

                None of this is particularly surprising.

                Additionally: None of it addresses the fact that the shooter was concerned with grammar and conscience dreaming.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jaybird: I did a similar count after I got home from watching that movie and came up with 17, although I counted bodies that were already dead from an act of violence when they first appeared on screen in that count.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                17???

                I’m missing five people.

                In any case, I think that we can easily point out that popular entertainment is more violent these days than in, say, the 60’s. (I ain’t seen John Wayne’s True Grit in the last year so I don’t trust any mental accounting of bodies for that one.)Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, definitely at least 16 that I can remember off the top of my head. I think 17 may have been a significant non-human.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, yeah. I wasn’t counting him.Report

              • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Boonton
                Ignored
                says:

                Having just watched El Dorado the other night, I can say the body count in old westerns was probably comparable to the body count in the average movie nowadays. People did die quite a bit less graphically, though.

                Discounting the psych research (of which there is quite a bit on this topic), all you have to do is ask yourself why Japan’s murder rate is lower than ours, given that they produce some of the most ultra-violent, realistic, horrifying entertainment in the world. And that’s *just* their porn, not even mentioning their actual action movies.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pat Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                I recently watched a Roger Corman western from a ways back and people indicated that they had been shot by grabbing their shoulder or, in other cases, slumping over dead. Two scenes later, wearing the same shirt, no bullet hole in the shirt, no acting wounded on the part of the actor.

                Perfectly appropriate to bring the kids to that film.Report

              • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Pat Cahalan
                Ignored
                says:

                I remember when a younger fella finally saw Saving Private Ryan. After the first 10 minutes of the movie were done, he turned to me and said, “That makes war look a lot worse than The Longest Day did.”Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          (And, somewhat seriously, the Immigration Debate in Arizona was *EXCEPTIONALLY* acrimonious. One of my friends who moved out to Rhode Island told me that *NOBODY* was talking about Arizona there. “Arizona? Where’s that?” he joked. Everybody out in Colorado was talking about Immigration like it was the Superbowl. He told me that his region didn’t even have an opinion… of course, later on, when “the Mosque” became the topic of debate, *EVERYBODY* was *SCREAMING* about that… in any case, the Immigration Debate was/is the really big debate on a State level out here. As for Colorado, it pretty much is the same as my take on Arizona… the Immigration Debate is the one that bares teeth and gets one into shouting matches. The Health Care Debate is one where people start talking policy until eyes glaze over.)Report

      • Avatar Koz in reply to Boonton
        Ignored
        says:

        “I don’t buy that the shooter was totally uneffected by the rhetorical environment.”

        Maybe not, so what? What the government does matters. It does things that cause people to be upset. We shouldn’t expect that this is something we have complete control over, or close to it.Report

      • Avatar JosephFM in reply to Boonton
        Ignored
        says:

        Sure, but I don’t think he was affected in the way people are saying he was.

        There’s a whole other fringe mediascape out there, that makes Beck’s show look positively staid and boring and logical by comparison, but it still contains bits and pieces of mainstream ideas and even mainstream figures, they’re just reorganized to signify different things than they do to most people.Report

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