To the Right – You Own This One

Normally on a slow Saturday, I like to put together something funny to post here.  A LOLCat post, something light.  Today, I don’t have any sense of humor at all.  It was wiped away by the news from Arizona.    Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot while conducting a public event to meet with her constituents. Six people have died, and they are:

  • John M. Roll, 63, a federal district court judge.
  • Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, Giffords’ director of community outreach.
  • Dorwin Stoddard, 76, a pastor at Mountain Ave. Church of Christ.
  • Christina Greene, 9, a student at Mesa Verde Elementary.
  • Dorthy Murray, 76.
  • Phyllis Scheck, 79.

The shooter has been arrested, and is identified as 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner.  A second person is being sought.   One statement from Pima County Sheriff stands out:

“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,” he said. “And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

There are expressions of shock and horror from politicians across the political spectrum.  Like the sheriff, people are looking back at the rhetoric that has been infesting our political discourse over the past few years, and wondering if that was the cause.  We don’t know the motives of this young man, why he did it.  That will come out in the days ahead, and during the inevitable trial.   It may be simply that he was an unbalanced individual who acted on his own, it may be something else.

But the reaction in some parts is to try to deflect or spin the suspicion.  Erick Erickson over at RedState jumped right on it:

Unfortunately, the left is using this tragedy to score political points. Rep. Giffords was on Gov. Palin’s target list for defeat this past November. The left claims Gov. Palin has blood on her hands. So does the tea party movement.

I’m not buying it.  Not this time.  For the past two years I have listened to right wing pundits like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others use inflammatory rhetoric, calling for a “uprisings.”  I hear reports of Tea Party members gloating about how they intimidated a  congressman at a town hall, gleefully telling each other “did you see the fear in his face?”  I got a newsletter from my own Congressman detailing the threats his staff  received from people around the country.    I watched as you cheered wildly while candidates like Sharron Angle made references to “Second Amendment solutions,”  I’ve seen the threatening signs promising gun violence at rallies, and I read the comments sections of various newspapers.   The news today talks about the threats that Congresswoman Giffords has received, as well as the death threats against Judge Roll.   What I haven’t seen was any effort on Erickson’s part, or any of the other political commentators and politicians in the Republican Party to put a stop to the rhetoric.  To tone it down, to move to civil debate.

Now they want to deflect, to make it seem like “we didn’t mean it!  We can’t be held responsible!”  Yes, yes you can.  I am holding you responsible.  You see, while I’m horrified by this shooting, and I weep for the loss of life, I’m not surprised that it happened.   It’s been something that the Right has been setting the stage for for a while.   You can’t keep up that sort of rhetoric, play the fear and anger game for so long, without someone deciding to take you seriously.  It might not be in this case, but sooner or later, yes.  That’s why the press spotlight immediately focused on it.   Not because they’re “liberal,” and not because liberals wanted to “score political points.”    It went there because all the rhetoric, all the encouragement, the incitement makes it an obvious aspect that draws suspicion.

But think that all the people on the right are horrified?  Think again.  This is a screen capture from Sarah Palin’s Facebook page, a message from one of her supporters:

Yeah, you want to tell me again about how the comments about the Right’s rhetoric are unjustified?  You own this.  It’s up to you to put a stop to it.

35 Comments

Filed under Politics

35 responses to “To the Right – You Own This One

  1. atymins13

    Thank you very much for writing this. I am tired of the Republicans and Tea Partiers in Congress calling actions like these ‘isolated incidents’. It might have been isolated early on, but we can now clearly see the trend. Conservative hate rhetoric is ruining political discourse in our country, and those politicians need to be held responsible. I am ashamed at Sarah Palin and her cronies, and I would hope for an apology soon. There are no words to describe how angry I am right now.
    Thank you.
    Check me out at…

    http://southpawreport.wordpress.com/

  2. Unfortunately, the left is using this tragedy to score political points. You’ll have egg on your face when the facts start rolling in. Is Mark Kerr a friend of yours? Have you seen any of Jared Loughner’s videos?

    • My goodness. Thank you for providing yet another example for me of trying to deflect the blame.

      No, I have no idea of who the poisonous little racist jerk is. Yes, I did see the videos, I was one of the first to go there right after he was identified. Just a little defensive, aren’t you?

      • Get a grip, “No, I have no idea of who the poisonous little racist jerk is.” But somehow you think the Right should own it? This page doesn’t show any hate, vitriol and political dogma?

        • I’m a liberal. You might happen to notice that I direct a lot of scorn against various conservatives, as well as certain liberal groups. I do use sarcasm, and call them various terms relating to my opinion of their intelligence, or lack thereof.

          You might note that I’m not calling for fist-fights, armed rebellion, or calls to make death threats against them. Nice try at a tu quoque though.

        • magurakurin

          Nobody here wishes Mark Kerr dead, or you either. But that doesn’t mean we don’t think you are scum. But vengeance is the Lords, as the good book says, and you will have to meet your maker as we all will. Think about what you will answer when asked about this shit. People have died and it is a direct result of the hatred spewed from your side of the aisle. Your side of history. The same side of history that went to war to defend human chattel slavery a mere 160 years ago. The same side of history that denied women the right to vote a mere 90 years ago. The same side of history that denied blacks and whites to marry barely 50 years ago. And the same side that denied and continues to deny gay and lesbian people equal rights.

          You are wrong. But it won’t be us who judge you in the end. It will be God and History. And the judgment will be harsh.

      • Norbrook, is that the best you can do? And, you do it so patronizingly too. One video clip with one lady that talks about “brewing liberals”. It was unfortunate the lady chose to say what she said. If you think about it, 50 million people and you come up with one lady!!! She didn’t authorize, condone or call for the killing of liberals either. How do you think putting liberals into boiling water is even realistic? Calling this inciting violence is irresponsible at best (you do know that the majority of Tea Partiers are non-politicos).

        Then you send me to an anti-gun site. News: the list would be much smaller if I were to list everything that doesn’t kill people, don’t you think? However, planes, cars, water, medication…surely you know, can all kill people. Are you advocating just the bad guys and wacko’s carry firearms? Ban guns and you increase other murderous methods such as knives, homemade bombs etc. It’s not the guns that kill people, its evil people that kill people.

        So, back to never let a good crisis go to waste. Sheriff Dupnik didn’t have the right to interject his conjecture and political ideology when asked to report on the incident, he should have stuck to the facts.

        I think more vitriolic hate comes from the Left, but let’s not let any facts get in the way, right? Looks like you are grasping at straws, but I have to ask – where is your humanity, where is your moral decency? Instead of grieving and mourning for the massacred and wounded, you’re politicizing a tragedy.

        • No, that’s not the best I can do, and you are being purposely obtuse. Vitriolic hate? Did you look through that list on the gun site? Let me ask you this? How many Tea Party meetings have been disrupted by liberal activists screaming at them, threatening them? How many of them had people calling them at home to threaten them.How many death threats have Republicans received? How many Republican office holders have had their offices and campaigns vandalized, how many “left-wing lunatics” have been arrested trying to go shoot up something? Any? Hmm? Come on, you can obviously pull out a huge number of them right off the top of your head! Bet you can’t. I can come up with a list. It’s the common thing whenever I see the right wing these days. Tell me how many Democratic candidates told people that a Second Amendment option was realistic, or told their supporters to make their opponent’s supporters afraid to leave their house. How many have decided to get their guns and go to a rural county to “take it over”? All that’s real, and it’s all a bunch of right-wingers. So spare me the handwaving and the “oh poor us”.

          You’re still trying to deflect. Heck, you’re even assuming I’m “anti-gun.” Let me put it this way. I’m ex-military. I know, because I’ve done it, that I can hit CBM without a scope 4 out of 5 times at 300 meters. I come from a long line of hunters, and I spend a great deal of time in the woods. I’m an expert in their use, and I have no problem with people having them – if they’re going to be responsible. But that’s why I know that most of the reasons people give for having them are usually complete bullshit, or wishful thinking from having watched one too many movies or television shows. Vitriolic? Please. I call stupid stupid. Which is my personal opinion of you.

        • kittypat

          I believe it is you who is “grasping for straws” when you fail to realize and acknowledge that “words matter”. If you need a recent example of hate speech and it’s capacity to incite human beings to commit inhuman and abhorrent acts you need look no further back in history than 1995 and a country called Rwanda.

          There is something terribly wrong when violent language is paired with mention of firearms, there is something terribly wrong when armed individuals who are not security or police personnel show up at political events , there is something terribly wrong when a candidate for one of the highest offices in the land produces a graphic with gun sites on it, there is something terribly wrong when people who should know better remain silent or try to make excuses for such behavior.

  3. Bobfr

    They own it, comprehensively.

    And, we need to keep that message at the forefront from now on.

    I was so gratified as I watched Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik crystalize the message as just what it is – inciting by vitriolic hate, hour upon hour, day after day, on broadcast radio and tv, brings us to the reality of today – horrific mass murder.

  4. majii

    Erick Erickson gave the only response he could give. He was on the city council here in Macon, GA, until he decided not to run for re-election in November 20110. He brought the same divisiveness and hatred to the city council ( and the city) as he brings to RedState and CNN. Inside, he’s a coward. He published an op-ed vilifying the police officers here because they wanted to join the Teamsters Union and insulted them every way he could think of. If he hadn’t been on the city council, there would have been no way that he would have been allowed to write that type of offensive op-ed and have it published in the local rag. The head of the Middle GA unions attended a council meeting along with @ 100 union members and police officers. They pounded him every way that they could. Erickson did not look up once while they were taking turns speaking. This is the kind of person that he is. He’s very good at making bold, biased, hateful statements behind a computer keyboard, but not when faced with those whom he has targeted. He’s also the one who made the statement last year about using his wife’s shotgun if a census worker showed up at his door asking questions.

    The cowardice of the right was on full display today. They have worked vigorously to foment hatred, violence, and rebellion for the last 30 + plus years, and they have really ramped up their efforts since President Obama took office. Yes, they’re guilty in playing a huge role in what happened to Congresswoman Giffords and the other victims who died/were injured today. Enough is enough, Norbrook. I think that it is time for us to go postal, not in a violent way, but with our activism. I am determined that they not be allowed to weasel out of taking responsibility for this.

    I recall very clearly the warning that Congressman John Lewis issued to McCain and Palin back in 2008, which they and the right tried to sweep under the rug. Congressman Lewis told them that if something bad happened as a result of Palin’s violent rhetoric, they’d be just as guilty as the person that pulled the trigger. The trigger was pulled many times in Pima County, AZ and the right-wing including the politicians in Congress, the mouthpieces on Pox , in rw radio, and in the rw blogosphere are guilty.

    That MSNBC trotted out Trent Franks to speak about Ms. Giffords was especially offensive to me. That Boehner, McCain, and Palin offered their “condolences” to Ms. Giffords’ family and the families of the other victims of this tragedy was unconscionable. These are among those that created the atmosphere that led to this tragedy, and I find it very difficult to believe that anything they have to say about it is sincere. The comments made by Mark Kerr is most likely the way they really feel about all of the death and destruction that their words/actions have caused. Another reason I find it hard to believe they are sincere now is because none of them had the human decency to stop the violent rhetoric/actions that led to this. That Cantor is canceling sessions in the House next week provides no solace to the Giffords family, the families of the injured and the dead, or to me. It’s too little, too late, and besides, responsible people who really love their country wouldn’t have done the things they have done in the first place.

    • I’m not going to go that way. I think the politicians in the Republican Party really never expected it to happen, and yes, to a large extent (particularly McCain and Boehner) are genuinely shocked and outraged by it. Palin, who knows. My hope is that this is a wake-up call for them.

      One can be absolutely against a policy or agenda, without looking at is as the “end of days” or a destruction of the country. One can be deeply concerned over the direction being taken. That’s part of having a two-party system. If you don’t like it, you change it in the next election. If you lose, it’s not the end of the world, it means you go back and work again. Calling for armed insurrection, or encouraging ever-greater violent rhetoric and fear mongering is not the way. As much as I have disagreed with politicians in the past, I’ve never called for anyone to take up arms and rise against them, encouraged violence, or wished them dead. Out of office and in jail, yes.

      • Nathan Katungi

        Right on the mark. Republican leaders are probably shocked as they claim. But you hit the nail on the head: if they are “genuinely” sincere about their “shock and outrage,” then this tragedy should be ” a wake-up call for them.” I am waiting to hear Republican leaders echo the Sheriff’s outrage about the danger of non-stop hatred and inflammatory language dished out on the radio, t.v. and internets. Some of us with gray hair remember the consequences of violent rhetoric that inspired real violence in the 1960′s and robbed this country some of its finest people. Look, no one should be surprised when an unstable person, who is constantly bombarded with the dire news that President Obama and the liberals are destroying the country and sending grannies to death, picks up a gun to kill the people he has been told are destroying the country. I think all the people who spread vile lies such as the claim that the Health Care Reform Act authorized “death panels,” or that the Obama administration was about to send people to FEMA camps, must be held accountable for inflaming lunatics, like this person, to commit heinous acts. The MSM also need to held accountable for their failure to expose the dangerous lies that are aimed at inciting rebellion against the government.

    • ultraviolet uk

      Entirely agree about the condolences from Palin et al. I am still hoping to see someone of note tell them exactly where they can stick their condolences for a mass murder that they have deliberately incited.

  5. Bobfr

    Norbrook, in case you have not seen this remarkable post, I wanted to be sure you had the link:

    http://dagblog.com/personal/thoughts-upon-murder-chief-judge-john-roll-and-shooting-rep-gabrielle-giffords-8511

    • I did see that, thank you! As much as I often decry the histrionics of Keith Olbermann, he has a great special comment about it up.

      He fired today into our liberty and our rights to live and to agree or disagree in safety and in freedom from fear that our support or opposition will cost us our lives or our health or our sense of safety. The bullseye might just as well have been on Mrs. Palin, or Mr. Kelly, or you, or me. The wrong, the horror, would have been – could still be just as real and just as unacceptable.

      At a time of such urgency and impact, we as Americans – conservative or liberal – should pour our hearts and souls into politics. We should not – none of us, not Gabby Giffords and not any Conservative – ever have to pour our blood. And every politician and commentator who hints otherwise, or worse still stays silent now, should have no place in our political system, and should be denied that place, not by violence, but by being shunned and ignored.

  6. Eric

    Majii and Norbrook, I cosign to eveything said, these a-holes need to own it! The sheriff told it like it was, AZ has been a hotbed for this kind of thing for decades! I would like for his Mark Kerr assclown to tell that crap to the parents of the 9 yr old daughter that died as a result of his endorsement of this toxic rhetoric that exists in this country! I am sorry, but I am so angry at this b.s from these folks.

  7. Very true, they own it….Man, a 9 yr. old girl.

    • She had just been elected to her student council, and her neighbor took her to meet the congresswoman because she was interested in government.

      The rhetoric needs to stop. It should never be acceptable to anyone that death threats are made against judges and politicians. It should never be a part of our political discourse that violence is publicly touted as a serious option. Excusing it is tolerating it.

      We can agree to disagree – and I know you and I have – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do so in a relatively civil manner. Heated at times, but without resorting to “either you agree or I will do something really bad to you.” That’s what a lot of the leaders of the far right need to start pushing.

  8. Aquagranny911

    Norbrook,
    My outrage and grief over this violence is intensely personal. We have known Gabby’s family since Gabby was a toddler. From a mischievous cherub, she grew into a lovely accomplished young woman who made her family proud. She was doing good things for Southern Arizona and her constituents.

    I have no doubt that the evil rhetoric of the extremists and the complicity of so called Conservatives who kept quiet while their mouthpieces spewed hatred and violence are responsible for what happened here yesterday. Now, “the whole world is watching” to see how we deal with the political discourse in this country.

    Right now my mind is most focused on sending healing light to this valiant young woman and her family and to the wounded survivors.
    My grief is intense for the deaths of innocent people who just happened to be there. My heart is just so heavy right now but thank you for your diary today.

    • Dorothy Rissman

      Thanks Norbrook, After reading all of the above comments, I agree with your sentiments. At times, I wish all of the hate mongers would die. I have little tolerance for those who would hurt others and incite hatred in others.

      On the other hand I believe that an eye for an eye is not the way to manage the anger and vitriol of the right. If they incite violence, then they should be held accountable in court. (Of course I understand this is difficult to bring about). I think it is easy to feel that we have to answer anger with more anger, and as much as I think the far right has had a lot to do with the uncivil atmosphere that now exists, I do not want to become one of those haters.

      Truth be told, the far right scares me, but I will try to remain above the fray. I personally feel I would rather extend my hand than slap someone. I will not be intimidated by their hatred, but I would chose to follow Gandhi or MLK rather than turning into those who are so fearful that they commit violent acts and resort to the kind of behavior that is tearing this country apart.

  9. Bobfr

    Frank Shaeffer leaves no question to just how completely ‘they own it’:

    http://frank-schaeffer.blogspot.com/2011/01/shooting-of-representative-gabrielle.html

    • Dorothy Rissman

      I first saw Shaeffer on Rachel sometime ago. I am an avid fan of his these days. thanks for the link.

  10. Proud of Obama

    Love and appreciate your blog, Norbrook. And I want us liberals to make sure they don’t get out of this one and push blame on us. We have not carried assault weapons to rallies. We have not jumped in the faces of elected officials like they did at the townhalls last summer. We do not attack with violent rhetoric. Sorry, but we are in no way equivalent.

    Watch tomorrow Joe S. will have gotten the talking points from Luntz and will lead the way getting the lies out there.

    I understand Boehner has called some sort of bipartisan meeting of congress next week. I am not impressed. We need to make sure our democratic leaders get a spine about this and accept no responsibility for this horrific climate. THE REPUBLICANS OWN THIS!

    As for Sarah Palin, the minute she stepped on the stage as McCain’s running mate and I saw how easily and effortless and with such glee that she was able to spew hate, I knew what type of person she was.

    I pray that this results in her exit from the political and reality TV stage. Maybe one of the victims’ families will sue her and leave her broke. It would be fitting.

    • Liberal Librarian

      On the political stage she’s more of a carnival barker than someone with true power. As far as reality show star, Discovery Networks declined to renew her show. So there’s some sanity there, at least.

      • Dorothy Rissman

        Oh, I am so happy to hear that. She is a carnival barker. Someone who takes advantage of people and power.

  11. Adrienne

    Thanks Norbrook nt