Broader Implications of Giffords Attack

The assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords and shooting and deaths of bystanders is not merely a tragedy. The targeting of a political figure is intended to stifle opposition. Anyone thinking of running for office or working for a government official will have to now consider personal risk.

Another aspect that is troubling is the reaction of some members of the right wing. YouTube videos prepared by the shooter John Loughner have vague ramblings and enough paranoid-sounding “they are watching” references to suggest that he was disturbed. Some articles linking to the videos have comments at the end arguing, in effect, that because Loughenr was off beam, by implication no one is really accountable. For instance,

A looney. Sad when people cannot express their ideas and discuss anything rationally, however you will always have people like this in any society (left right and center) regardless of what precautions you take.

Yet news reports as of this AM indicate that Loughner did not act alone, which suggest that various exhortations against Gifffords had an impact.

There have also been calls to cool heated violent political rhetoric, as well as a postponement of upcoming Congressional vote to repeal the Obama health care plan (Giffords’ support of the bill was a proximate cause of opposition to her).

It is hard to know what to say about this event except to express outrage and extend sympathy to those who have suffered from this event. What do you see as the broader ramifications of this attack?

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  1. CC

    As a resident of Tucson with mutual friends of someone killed, this hits very close to home.

    I hold complicit the justices of the Supreme Court who voted in favor of corporate power and special interests in overturning settled law by allowing unlimited monies from anonymous sources to promote their special interests via hysteria and misinformation.

    Many citizens in Tucson remarked that the Arizona mid term elections had hit a new low of unintelligent discourse and degenerate tabloid absurdity funded with something like half a billion dollars flooding in from unknown domestic and international origins. Congresswoman Giffords was a frequent target.

    And while I’m venting…our bankrupt state legislature spent their time on nonsense like enacting new gun laws where by anyone can carry a concealed weapon without any licensing or handling training into a bar or restaraunt or public area. I am sick of gun worshipping politicians who use inflammitory rhetoric like Sarah Palin to pander for sound bites like ‘don’t retreat, reload’ and with crosshair graphics over the photos of opposing politicians…..including Ms. Giffords!!


      “I hold complicit the justices of the Supreme Court who voted in favor of corporate power and special interests in overturning settled law by allowing unlimited monies from anonymous sources to promote their special interests via hysteria and misinformation.

      Many citizens in Tucson remarked that the Arizona mid term elections had hit a new low of unintelligent discourse and degenerate tabloid absurdity funded with something like half a billion dollars flooding in from unknown domestic and international origins. Congresswoman Giffords was a frequent target.”

      Very well said. The connection you make is slam-dunk obvious.

      1. anon48

        The handle should have been “anon48”. My apologies if there is such an email address as above.

    2. William

      Yes the vast amounts of corporate money into the media and politics is at the root of this. That we are seeing is how well classic propoganda works. We all have ideas on how we’d like the world to be different, but the rich have the means to actually make big changes. Unfortunately, the rich are often the least enlightened. There’s not much interest in enlightenment and knowledge when you you are focused your whole life on achieving power and wealth.

      Hate radio talkers incited the Rwandan genocide. It never would have happened without hate radio. This is rarely mentioned in any discussion of that event, and so that important lesson has been mostly lost. They certainly did not act alone, though.

      1. Ringaroundthecollar

        There is a problem here when we talk about hate speach.
        You said:
        Hate radio talkers incited the Rwandan genocide. It never would have happened without hate radio.

        The United States isn’t Rwanda, and uless we want to become like that African State, we need to respect our Bill of Rights. Hate speach isn’t new to the United States. The American Civil War wasn’t because of hate speach, it was because the vested slave owners also owned the media. 80% of the Souths’ Soldiers didn’t own slaves, so why did they fight? State Rights was the Red Herring sold to the average person by the plantation owners who also owned the media of the day. So nothing has changed. If we don’t support freedom for everyone than we don’t support freedom at all.
        We have all heard this before, and this is a dangerous trend to start down the path of forbidden speach. We have already lost our rights to unresonable search and siezure, and the second amendment is itself heavily under attack, just look at these comments, and the list goes on. I believe this discussion blaming hate speach is extemely dangerous. Personal accountability is what has always been the foundation of a free society. Tread carefully because it isn’t an accident that the discussions are being directed on to a sneak attack on free speach. Remember, the nazi’s used the exact same methods. Evil loves to use good to achieve the self destruction of good. Again, this is extremely dangerous ground.

        1. JTFaraday

          “We have all heard this before, and this is a dangerous trend to start down the path of forbidden speach.”

          Well, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, advocacy of a gold-backed currency and criticism of the Federal Reserve marks one as a dangerous extremist:

          “In the text on one of the videos, for example, Mr. Loughner states, “No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver.” He also argues that “the current government officials are in power for their currency” and he uses his videos to display text about becoming a treasurer of “a new money system.”

          The position, for instance, that currency not backed by a gold or silver standard is worthless is a hallmark of the far right and the militia movement, said Mark Potok, who directs research on hate groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

          “That idea is linked closely to the belief among militia supporters that the Federal Reserve is a completely private entity engaged in ripping off the American people,” Mr. Potok said.”

          But, seemingly inciting violence against individual House members is a different matter, no?

        2. Schmoodya

          Inciting a riot, yelling ‘FIRE!!’ in a crowded theater… protected rights? There is always a ‘line’ somewhere that must be drawn or we degenerate into chaos.

      2. Eric

        William, the role of Rwandan hate radio is discussed in nearly every account of the events there that I have ever read. It doesn’t serve to make a point by starting out with a tremendous and easily disprovable assertion like this.

    3. wallyfurthermore

      “I hold complicit the justices of the Supreme Court who voted in favor of corporate power and special interests…”

      I absolutely agree with that. The notion that you can take your money or publicity and go into somebody else’s Congressional district – where you do not work or live or eat – and blow out their Congressperson with your money is absolutely wrong. You see this all across the country now and it is Supreme-Court approved, 100%.

      1. Ringaroundthecollar

        I can agree with you on these things, and especially the Supreme Court matter, which should tell us all something. The Court also returned a supposed fugitive slave to the owner, and that too was a critical turning point to the last Civil War. Nothing has changed, the 15% to 20% at the top of the heap who now own 85% of all the wealth in this nation are now making themselves superbeings! All the while creating chaos and extemeist attitudes with the near complete ownership of all the media in the United States.
        Now they even have you being strip searched at airports, the next destruction slated is free speach, as demonstrated by the endorsments found here! Think this all accidental? We have them slicing ourselves up for easy control. Keep co-operating, soon we can be goosestepping if we don’t stop and think about the Great Words and ideas found in our Bill of Rights. Ubber corporations making you contribute to your own IRA, while you already susposedly have Social Security, and making you buy company health care, even though your forced to pay for workmans comp, and on and on…and I know this because as a former contract employe of a service provider to the Federal government that is exactly what I was compelled to do! All perfectly legal according to the EBSA, which had the corporate rights inserted just before that act, the Employees Benefits Security Act became law in 1974. Well I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m up to here with the corporate subversions of my civil rights, the theft of my wages, the invasion of our government, the control of our media, and what now seems to me like an outright design to completely destroy our nation!

        Then their lobbists write the laws and their financed political choices back their desires. The mistake Americans have made is putting up with this by following along with the two party system which clearly is being financed by big money. That’s why this political climate is so rotten, it’s we the people who have to change. We have to stop contributing and supporting life long politicans, eliminate careers in politics as some kind of job, when it’s supposed to be a duty you may chose to do once and then go back home and leave it to the next guy. Geeze!

  2. Jim Haygood

    At least the attack has not been attributed to an organized terrorist group — my first worry upon hearing of this ugly event.

    Loughner’s shallow, syllogistic truisms are obviously the product of an unhinged mind, disengaged from reality and freewheeling dangerously. If this were merely the classic ‘lone nut’ assassin scenario, it would be just a very unfortunate event.

    Hints of an accomplice, though, raise the unpleasant possibility that someone more mentally stable than Loughner may have been manipulating the young schizophrenic — a disturbing possibility indeed.

    1. kievite

      “Hints of an accomplice, though, raise the unpleasant possibility that someone more mentally stable than Loughner may have been manipulating the young schizophrenic — a disturbing possibility indeed.”

      It looks like personality profile of Loughner is somewhat similar to personality profile of Lee Harvey Oswald. From Wikipedia:

      As a child, Oswald was withdrawn and temperamental.[3] In August 1952, while living with half-brother John Pic, at the time a U.S. Coast Guardsman stationed in New York City, Oswald and Marguerite were asked to leave after Oswald allegedly threatened Pic’s wife with a knife and struck their mother, Marguerite.[2][4][5]

      Charges of truancy, in the Bronx (NYC), led to psychiatric assessment[2] at a juvenile reformatory, the psychiatrist, Dr. Renatus Hartogs, describing Oswald’s “vivid fantasy life, turning around the topics of omnipotence and power, through which he tries to compensate for his present shortcomings and frustrations.” Finding a “personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive-aggressive tendencies,” Dr. Hartogs recommended continued treatment.[6]
      … … …
      Though he had trouble spelling[2] and writing coherently[12] he read voraciously, and by age 15 claimed to be a Marxist, writing in his diary, “I was looking for a key to my environment, and then I discovered socialist literature. I had to dig for my books in the back dusty shelves of libraries.”

    2. William

      “the unpleasant possibility that someone more mentally stable than Loughner may have been manipulating the young schizophrenic”

      Sounds like what the FBI and CIA have been busily doing getting such persons to attempt a “terrorist” attack. Not much different, except the governmental agencies are supposed to be working for the public trust and interest, and that makes their activities in manipulating the weak solely for their own interests even more criminal.

    3. Psychoanalystus

      You mentioned that the shooter is schizophrenic. For your information, the United States has one of the worst systems of mental health care in the world, and schizophrenia in particular in the US in receiving either the most barbaric and destructive treatment or a no treatment at all. The irony is that this individual could have probably benefited from this new health care law, or “Obamacare”, that the right wingers are so vehemently opposed to (because it threatens to cut into health insurance profits, of course).


    4. Jack thomsen

      All these shooter complain of mind control – yet nobody ever looks into whether they were being manipulated.

      The photo of the older gray haired man with the shooter just before the event – may be a real insight… if the powers that be allow an investigation.

      Remember McVeigh’s ‘handler’. a German national.. disappeared into Mexico and the Feds let it be.

      I NEVER trust the official version of these events.

      the Diana murder was the epitome of media hypocrisy on this … the world saw her handwritten letters TELLING US HER HUSBANDS FAMILY WAS GOING TO KILL HER IN A CAR ACCIDENT.

      If that wasn’t enough evidence of a conspiracy …. what is our threshhold?

      This kid may have had ‘handlers’… that’s the MO, over and over again. How come every assassin complains of mind control??? — may be they are a victim of mind control???

  3. Hrm

    I hope it will cause us to consider giving all politicians and vulnerable public figures Pope-style bulletproof bubbles. Neither gun control (disarm the populace) nor ownership laws (armed society polite society stuff) are enough to stop people from doing these things. The next level is simply to make them physically/logistically more difficult. The next step may have to be to only allow remote speeches/town halls, etc. No more close physical proximity to these figures, unless it’s behind bullet and bombproof glass.

    1. here it comes

      I hope it will cause us to consider giving all politicians and vulnerable public figures Pope-style bulletproof bubbles. Neither gun control (disarm the populace) nor ownership laws (armed society polite society stuff) are enough to stop people from doing these things. The next level is simply to make them physically/logistically more difficult. The next step may have to be to only allow remote speeches/town halls, etc. No more close physical proximity to these figures, unless it’s behind bullet and bombproof glass.

      This is possibly where things go, and it will be a very bad step. There is already too little access between the public and their elected representatives, and this access makes it very difficult for the public’s views to hold any sway whatsoever. I don’t see how further reducing this will help democracy any.

      The “popemobile” was designed for a figure who dictates to followers and who is, really, meant to be inaccessible. An elected representative is not supposed to function in the same role, and therefore should not (although inevitably will) expect the same type of security apparatus.

      1. Robert Dudek

        John-Paul II was not at all inaccessible. He widely traveled and had masses attended by tens of thousands (though I’m sure there was adequate security). He led weekly masses in front of thousands in Vatican City.

        I don’t think there are many (if any) heads of state that were/are as accessible by the general public as he was.

      2. Billy Bob

        Isolation of any kind – physical, financial, moral, intellectual – for politicians is a really bad idea. Politicians, especially those at a low level like US Representatives, both want and need to get close to people, especially their constituents and each other.

        The simple logistics of a bullet-proof environment like the Popemobile would make this contact impossible. How would a Congressperson: 1) attend a school play in the district? 2) attend a funeral in the district? 3) get around Capitol Hill?

        A Congressperson does not only hold public audiences like the Pope, they also have a lot of meetings with lots of different kinds of people where the location and duration are decided upon on the fly. A Popemobile would make this impossible.

  4. poopyjim

    One of the broader implications is that this will be used as an excuse to further clamp down on Americans’ civil liberties. Get ready for more naked body scanners and the end of Internet anonymity and free speech.

  5. Mark G.

    I think the political aspect of this is being blown way out of proportion. Some 22 year old unstable man snaps and murders six people. It’s happened before and it will happen again. Granted, it makes great news fodder for the cable channels and sleaze ball politicians and they will without a doubt beat this to death for ratings increases and ticks in their approval numbers. Which will likely lead to even more heated rhetoric as one side of true believers point their fingers at the other side of true believers.

    Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto were listed as the favorite books by the deranged shooter. Rabid right wing reading favorites? I think not. Heated political rhetoric is a symptom. not the disease. The disease is a crumbling society that manifests itself in many different ways for many different people. Six people gunned down is just a little over half of the daily count in Juarez Mexico. Do we ever hear that covered? The body counts in Mexico as the drug cartels and the Mexican local and Federal governments fight for control of the multi-billion dollar US drug trade?

    As long held beliefs in US institutions continue to fade, expect more scenes like this. A nation and a society that is nothing more than a imitation of previous imitators won’t last. Buckle up. It will be a long, bumpy ride to the bottom.

    1. Sufferin' Succotash

      “Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto were listed as the favorite books by the deranged shooter. Rabid right wing reading favorites? I think not.”

      Mein Kampf not a rabid right-wing reading favorite?
      I suppose The Turner Diaries aren’t either.

      1. BS

        “As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy,” the former classmate….

    2. Jason

      Mark G, I absolutely concur. This is being played like some right-wing conspiracy when it now looks as if his co-conspirator was the cabbie that drove him to the mall. The comments here are astounding in their over-reaction and frothiness to confirm whatever bias THEY have.

  6. Foreclosures are about Peace

    Actually,Yves, they are watching. Doesn’t necessarily mean there is a living individual monitoring your blog, but rest assured dog is hunting. (data is mined)

  7. Eric Cantor

    “Security” means kickbacks, lucrative contracts, survelliance, revoked civil liberties, prisons, racism, xenophobia, insanity and finally, the smothering of any remaining semblance of democracy. The major networks, who never conduct any serious analysis of anything 365 days a year, suggest that violence has no place in a “Democracy”.
    That’s right, violence is best purveyed throughout the rest of the world, drone strikes, 2 wars, a President and Diplomat flying around the world as salesman for Defense Contractors and an offshore floating gulag.

  8. moslof

    “you will always have people like this in any society (left right and center)”

    I think we should consider the view that when “social mood” breaks down groups move away from the center. In addition to left and right there is movement toward anarchy and totalitarian extremes.

    1. kievite

      There is also an old concept of “authoritarian personality” Just try to impersonalize Glenn Beck, Rush or similar pundits and fill the form at and see what F-score would you get. From Wikipedia:

      The authoritarian personality is an influential theory of personality developed by University of California, Berkeley psychologists, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel Levinson, and Nevitt Sanford and the German emigre sociologist and philosopher Theodor W. Adorno, in their 1950 book of the same name. The personality type is defined by nine traits that were believed to cluster together as the result of psychodynamic, childhood experiences. These traits are conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intraception, superstition and stereotypy, power and “toughness,” destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity, and exaggerated concerns over sexuality (sexual repression).[1] In brief, the authoritarian is predisposed to follow the dictates of a strong leader and traditional, conventional values.

      The authors of The Authoritarian Personality, having escaped from Europe during WWII, became interested in the study of anti-semitism. They advertised for volunteers and administered a battery of questionnaires. They selected the most anti-semitic and least anti-semitic of the volunteers and discarded the mid-group. They then contrasted the remaining two groups, coming up with the F-scale, which measures the basic traits of the authoritarian personality.

      Recently, John Dean made use of the theory to analyze the contemporary political climate in his book Conservatives without Conscience. The updated refinement of the authoritarian personality concept is the concept of Right-wing authoritarianism brought forth by Robert Altemeyer in 1981.

  9. psyvhohistorian

    The Guifford shooting is not surprising and is a continuation of the SOP of the puerile and rabid right. I say puerile because I can’t understand how a mature human would act out their cognitive dissonance in this manner. I say rabid right because they represent a sick and developmentally retarded portion of society that has either chosen to remain ignorant or allowed themselves to be brainwashed/programmed by those in control of our world.

    That said, the rest of us have a breaking point. When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. I believe that more folk are getting to this point. Think about the hundreds of thousands of military with brain injuries from our sick wars that are being denied mental health support. Our government recently changed the guidelines to deny more of these folks who served their country the help they deserve. You have to have been unconscious for 30 minutes to qualify for an increased level of support. As someone who was “only” unconscious for 10 minutes from a car/bicycle crash I can tell you I think their criteria are BS. The point I am trying to make here is that the clock is ticking on some of those folks with TBIs from our sick wars. They are not getting the help they need and deserve. At some point those folk are going to lash out at those they think are hurting them or keeping them from getting help. Not all of them are as ignorant as those thinking us old DFH are the problem.

    My breaking point will come if and when they try to gut Social Security. I paid into it for 45 years and now am more reliant on it than I should have had to be. If the rich and their bought government take it from me I will react because I will have nothing more to lose…..and I will not be alone.

    1. scraping_by

      Are you the regular poster “psychohistorian” and is that “v” in place of the “c” just a typo? Otherwise, I’d think some right wing troll’s vandalizing the site the create an equivalence.

      1. psychohistorian

        I posted a correction but it did not take and so gave up.

        DFH is Dirt Fucking Hippies

  10. Trillions for Violence

    There is zero “investment” in Democracy these days.
    The wealthy are frequently unequipped to see this.
    Perhaps ,when a congress person mixes with the unwashed masses there needs to be a massive G20 style multi departmental strike force complete with heavy weapons, riot gear, sonic cannons, and tons of tear gas. Everyone within a 5 mile radius needs a thorough background check, including credit ratings and psychiatric history, a “security clearance”, must be a US Citizen, and must be processed with public TSA scanning booths, of which citizens must report each time any “important” person is with a tactical 5 mile range,” Kraft durch Freude!

  11. mezcal

    It is hard to know what to say about this event except to express outrage and extend sympathy to those who have suffered from this event.

    I believe you have it correct right there, Yves.
    In fact I wish you’d have just left it at that and skipped the ‘right wing’ comment.
    There’s no shortage of hatred and vitriol spewing from both sides these days.

    1. PQS

      Really? “Both sides”?

      Please provide concrete examples where anyone on the “Left” has called for the political assassination of an opponent, even in vague terms, or has said their opponent needs to be “taken out” by force or by a bullet.

      Bloggers with no national audience don’t count.

      I fail to see how this equivalency works.

      If you’re talking about the generally overheated nature of political talk in America, you’re correct – there is a lot of big talk. But big talk isn’t the same thing as calling for the extermination of an opponent.

      Glenn Beck, nightly AM radio, and the rest of that crowd remind me of Radio Rwanda, just more subtle and with more lawyers to tell them where the line is.

      But dont’ those with a national audience have a responsibility to tone down the rhetoric, knowing that this is a big country with a full contingent of the unhinged?

      Where is the responsibility to not only uphold, but also respect the power of the 1st Amendment?



        “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama said at a Philadelphia fundraiser Friday night.

        Anything else?

        1. PQS


          And are you seriously saying that one comment (if such a comment was even made) from a President at a private event in two years of elected office is somehow “the same” as hundreds of comments from not only elected officials on the right, but also their supporters, talk radio and television personalities, and so forth? Comments that include things like “we need to take them out,” “water the tree of liberty with blood,”, and such?

          Try harder.

          1. Joe Rebholz

            Yes. Every one of these killing, war, knife, ‘take em out’ metaphors adds to people’s mindsets that killing is AOK. Words matter. Ideas matter. Stable or not, people absorb them and they influence behavior.

          2. Duh

            It’s not just violent metaphor, it’s the eliminationist language of the hate talkers — Democrats are a cancer, corrupt, Marxists, destroying the country, helping the terrorists, etc. The right wing has been inciting anger and dehumanizing its ideological opponents, which leads to violence.

        2. Paul Repstock

          Are you conveniently forgetting the ‘left wing’ suggestions about disposing of Mr. Assange??

      2. Ishmael

        First let me say I looked at the accused shooter’s facebook page shortly after the event (it has now been taken down). Pictures of people he admired included Barack Obama, Che and Hugo Chavez. No pictures of right wingers so I have a hard time coming to the conclusion that he is a right winger and believe this is a very unsupported statement by Yves.

        With regard to lefties making comments about violence let us look at Daily Kos statements just two days before the shooting. Note, Daily Kos comments have since been taken down so you have to go to Hillbuzz where the comments were captured. Many comments were made on Daily Kos that this Congresswoman was “Dead” made two days before the shooting.

        Daily Kos has a long history of scrubbing things like this, so those are the screen grabs above for a hit piece Kos ran on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday January 6th, 2010.
        The article, entitled “My CongressWOMAN voted against Nancy Pelosi! And is now DEAD to me!”, was written by someone calling him/herself BoyBlue.
        It eerily presaged the assassination attempt on the Congresswoman, with the Kos author angry Giffords opposed Nancy Pelosi’s radical agenda.
        Daily Kos, DemocraticUnderground, and other George Soros-funded Leftist sites routinely use turns of phrase that seem to encourage bodily harm towards their political opponents. If someone at Kos, in particular, does not like you, stories will appear there urging Kos readers to teach you a lesson in physical ways, to get you to either shut up or toe whatever line the Left is insisting on that day.
        It remains to be seen if the gunman involved in today’s shooting of the Congresswoman and a dozen others is directly connected to Daily Kos, but it would not be at all surprising if he was.
        UPDATE: It’s hard reading the amount of hate accumulated in a single thread on Daily Kos, but in comments beneath this BoyBlue article the author engages several other readers who keep REPEATEDLY using the word “Dead” when talking about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. They do this at least three times in the thread…which is strange. How many times do you, on a daily basis, use the word “dead”? When you do, how many times does the person you keep aiming the word “Dead” at come under an assassin’s gunfire two days later?
        It’s all spooky and too on the nose to be coincidental.
        Can anyone make sure the police in Arizona know about this Daily Kos journal by BoyBlue and the comments made therein so they can make sure there is no substantive connection between Daily Kos, its writers

        1. anon

          1) Since the individual in question said Giffords was “already” dead to him, why would he need to take things any further? To say that someone “is dead to me” is often used when disowning a family member. It’s used to indicate that a relationship has ended. See:

          2) The person who posted that diary at DailyKos has since written to explain the situation. He states:
          “1. i fully apologize to all the victims in this shooting, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, for my poor choice of words in that diary.

          2. i fully and respectfully apologize to this blog and to Markos himself for the bad publicity amongst the right wing this has caused, including the NYT.

          3. i apologize to the DailyKos membership and readership for being maligned by the far right blogs.”


          “i was the person who deleted MY diary of three days ago, under NO pressure from anyone at DailyKos. It was certainly NOT “scrubbed” by the site’s moderators of Markos. I chose to delete it because i thought it being in existence after the horrific event on Saturday was in poor taste.”

          1. Ishmael

            anon — your response is totally off target and my post had little to do with the KOS post being taken down. My response was to the number of posts here that say lefties and especially lefty blogs never say things like people should die. Your comment that saying the person was already dead means that there is no reason to kill them is so over the top that it is not worth responding to.

            Also, as I noted this guys facebook page indicated that everyone he admired ranged from liberal to very liberal == Obama, Che and Chavez.

            In additon, during the sheriff interview this morning I believe they said he was invited to the gathering and the following was on Yahoo. “Court documents also show that Loughner had contact with Giffords in the past. Other evidence included a letter addressed to him from Giffords’ congressional stationery in which she thanked him for attending a “Congress on your Corner” event at a mall in Tucson in 2007.”

            There was also further documents from people who knew him saying he was very left wing.

            My only reason for posting any of this was I found Yves comment about the right as unnecessary and unsupported. It was in my opinion guilt by inference.

          2. Mike Bell

            Which is the exact same reason Palin removed HER “target” image. Many on the left are using that act as “evidence” of Palin feeling responsible. Nonsense. It’s just that after the fact, it’s obviously in very bad taste to leave it up. (Though, just to be clear, I think it was a really dumb thing to put up in the first place). Remember when Lynyrd Skynyrd had the plane crash? They removed the flames from the album cover. Same type of thing.

        2. Clodene

          I too saw that FB webpage right after the event. It was gone very quickly. I think it was bogus: not one friend – no other comments. It looked to me like it was created to give the impression that the shooter was a “leftist” (whatever that is). It praised Obama and the Progressives and also was under the misspelling of his last name which came out first as “Laughner” then later in the media corrected to “Loughner”. It even had Obama’s photo as his profile.

          I wish I had taken a screen shot.

          As far as the web postings that seem authentic, they were so incoherent it is hard to see what he really believed but he did shoot a moderate democrat so we have to start there, I guess.

          1. Ishmael

            Clodene — I agree with everything you said. I rarely look at Facebook and just thought it might be he did not spend much time on it. I do maintain a Facebook page so I am not sure.

            However, with that said as more and more info comes out it is obvious that this guy has some serious mental problems and having him attached to either right or left is a mistake.

        3. Glen

          You can run as hard as you want with the “equivalence” BS, but we’ve all watched the right wing go freaking nuts since Obama was elected.

          So we’re just not buying it anymore. There is a whole cable news channel devoted to 24/7 right wing hate. We’ve seen the pictures of the Tea Party signs. We’ve seen Sarah Palin’s web page targeting politicians. We watch Glenn Beck go nuts on a regular basis. We’ve got twenty years of Rush. We’ve got a whole political party calling for “Second Amendment” solutions, and reloading, blah, blah, blah…

          This is what conservatives WANT, this is what they’ve been calling for – you mean they’re not proud of their efforts that this point? How unfortunate – because they certainly help create it.

          1. Robert Dudek

            In response to IShmael.

            Obama, liberal? Che and Chavez very liberal?

            What have you been smoking?

          2. Mike Bell

            “You can run as hard as you want with the “equivalence” BS, but we’ve all watched the right wing go freaking nuts since Obama was elected.”

            As opposed to how calm, rational, and peaceful the left was during Bush’s two terms?

            Can you please get a clue? Anyone who think “their side” is better than the other, is being a fool, and exposing their clear political bias. Both sides do the exact same things, but people filter out the bad of their “own side”. Sad.

        4. Lidia

          The fact that individuals on the right insist on mistaking the phrase “dead to me” (a social shunning) for the equivalent of an actual death threat only proves that they are, in fact, incapable of distinguishing the appropriate measure from the inappropriate one.

    2. Tao Jonesing

      “There’s no shortage of hatred and vitriol spewing from both sides these days.”

      I don’t know what you define as “hatred and vitriol,” but the right wing has mainstreamed eliminationist rhetoric through its politicians and pundits. There really is nothing to compare that to on the left.

      That being said, we shouldn’t be treating this event as a political one, nor should we accept any calls for further curtailment of our civil liberties. We already have too much of a police state as it is, and there’s going to be a push by “both sides” to increase the footprint of the police state through greater surveillance, “security,” and gun control laws, none of which are necessary in a civil society. We as a people can accomplish what needs doing by simply ratcheting down the rhetoric and engaging with each other in real discourse instead of treating those we disagree with as if they were cardboard cutouts of some iconic nemesis. Liberals and conservatives are far more alike than they are different.

      1. PQS

        Yeah, we used to say quaint things like “We are all Americans.”

        With the way things are going these days, I’m not so sure everybody believes that any longer.

        1. Sufferin' Succotash

          A good many people on the political Right don’t seem to believe that the President of the United States is an American.
          But I hasten to add that the Left is just as bad (without specifying how)!

      2. mezcal

        I don’t know what you define as “hatred and vitriol…

        Try posting something even slightly to the right of Che on any random thread at HuffPo to create your own examples, Tao.
        Suggesting, for example, that perhaps we need to rethink our border security will immediately result in 100 people attacking you as an violent, ignorant, intolerant, uneducated, gay-hating racist.
        I find this vitriolic myself but others may not.
        I can’t speak to your point on the pundits since I don’t generally do tv or radio any more.

        The rest of your post is spot on imho and that was really all I was trying to say in my earlier comment.
        Attempts to leverage this tragedy to a political advantage or a gun-grab or whatever are unlikely to produce desirable results.

        The oligarchs enjoy nothing more than watching us destroy one another over stuff that is of absolutely no consequence to them.
        We need to stop falling for it.

    3. jimmy james

      Can you find a left-wing politician who put gun sights over her opponents?

      Watch out for the false equivalencies. The “hatred and vitriol” is much, MUCH worse on the right.

      1. Ishmael

        Jimmy, in response to your question please see my post from the Daily Kos above where two days before the shooting there was a long discussion of this Congresswoman being “Dead.”

        1. John L

          Actually, the quote was “she is dead to me”, which to everyone but apparently you, means that the person will no longer even consider the Congresswoman as existing, and will ignore her from now on. It certainly doesn’t mean “I want to kill her”.

          1. Transor Z

            “Dead to me” predates Colbert’s usage by quite a bit, commonly used in melodramatic Sicilian mafia-speak, The Godfather style.

      2. Paul Repstock

        Think about what you said Jimmy. The difference you note between the right and the left is only a quatitative difference in the amount of “hatred and vitreol” they spew??

        1. ggm

          Right… and someone who tells a racist joke once is no different than the leader of the KKK. It’s all the same thing, no shades of gray anywhere.

          Sarah Palin tells her followers to reload and puts crosshairs on her opponents, Ann Coulter wishes McVeigh had blown up the New York Times building instead, Rush Limbaugh says kill all liberals, but leave a few alive to make an example of them — but Obama used a metaphor about bringing a gun to a knife fight, so it all evens out in the end.

          1. Joe Rebholz

            No it does not all even out in the end. Each reference, use, statement put out over the TV, internet or however matters according to how many people hear it, see it, read it etc. and absorb it more or less. The number of people counts as well as the celebrity, influence, persuasiviness of the speaker etc count as to how many people accept and the degree they may be inclined to act on the information they have received. The amount of emotion counts too.

    4. scraping_by

      Equivalence is one of the right wing’s favorite smoke screens. Its widespread use in the MSM shows where the traditional corporate media stands, rather than any legitimacy of the viewpoint.

      Another is some variation on “violence is only a metaphor.” Much like the handbill accusing JFK of capital crimes spread around Dallas the morning of his assassination. And the poster the John Birchers put up around the city then, as noted in William Manchester’s Death of a President.

      It may just be bombast, as the right wing hate talkers contend. However, not everyone can pretend to be so far above life as it is lived to ignore the ones who take this literally. Not every bully shouter is content to just repeat the latest slander they’ve heard on Fox and its imitators.

  12. Edwardo

    “When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.”

    Or as Gerald Celente says, “When people have nothing to lose, they lose it.”

    Sanity is, indeed, in short supply, but I am not necessarily inclined to believe that, however deranged the shooter was/is, that this is just another “lone nut gunman” case. No, I’m afraid I have to say not so fast to the Lee Harvey Oswald narrative. The whole scheme, right down to the convenient loony You Tube vids is just a tad too pat for this citizen of the crumbling republic. This is especially the case when a high ranking member of the AZ judiciary was killed in this attack.

    In the meantime, consider this attack, however monstrous it was, and it was quite monstrous, as one made on the entire political system, which is an ongoing massive failure, that is engendering little else but a progressively fouler mood-where it is not inspiring abject apathy-amongst the citizenry.

    1. Sufferin' Succotash

      Actualy, Roll was a Federal District Judge who recently ruled in favor of immigrants in a land dispute, a ruling that drew a lot of nastiness down on him via local AM talk radio, etc.. But of course all the nastiness had nothing whatever to do with Judge Roll getting shot.

      1. Mike Bell

        “But of course all the nastiness had nothing whatever to do with Judge Roll getting shot.”

        That’s 100% correct. Unfortunately, you were being sarcastic. See how you jump to conclusions when you let your biases get in the way of reason? The judge was there by accident, and he was nearest to the congresswoman when the shooter attacked. The congresswoman was the target, as revealed by the information found in the shooter’s home. He wrote the word “assassination” and “Giffords”. Poor judge was in the wrong place at the wrong time – just like the others.

  13. Percy


    Look, this nut killed six, including a nine year old child, and shot nineteen altogether. The Chief of Police there immediately blamed it on overheated political rhetoric, saying “Free speech has consequences,” arguing that this was one of them. (It must be really great to live in Tucson with a fellow like this — seemingly bright, but of firm convictions about how dangerous our political discourse is, telling us angrily and more than once, before the blood was dry or anyone could possibly know much of anything about motive, what he regarded as the main causal factor: overheated political speech — running your police department.) Was the Chief referring to the left or the right? Sounded like the latter to me, since the left has no talk radio.

    How can this be? If one has to get into politics here at all, and it seems twisted and inappropriate to me to do so at all, how come no one suggests that, rather than speech from the right opposing what was done while the left was in unquestioned power, it might have been what the left did with that power that tipped over this nut’s apple cart? No doubt we will hear lots more about both sides of this for a few days, until something else replaces it in the news. Like a Verizon iPhone or a new high for gold or whatever.

    We used to round up nut cases, just because they were thought by reasonable people to be clearly nuts, not because they had harmed anyone. We put them away until their status could be sorted out. We don’t any more. Indeed, we no longer even have places to put them. This state of affairs has civil liberties roots. (My, my, how those roots continue to grow!) As a result, we now have more nuts running around loose than ever before, frightening the hell out of normal people all over the country. Now and then one of the loose nuts goes off. Only then do we put them away — and then only after satisfying elaborate procedures for involuntary detention. It was better for the rest of us before. It would have been better for the nineteen victims here, too.

    It’s not political speech, or readily available guns (not yet mentioned as part of this, but it will be), that is the problem here. (One wonders if the damage here might have been less if at least one of the attendees at the Congresswoman’s constituent meeting had been armed.) It’s loose nuts and toleration of them.

    1. Naked Investing

      Agreed – you sound twisted and inappropriate. I say we round up management at every TBTF financial institution, we used to round up the “mafia”, not anymore.

    2. ArmchairRevolutionary

      Percy, you sound a little off base. I think someone should round you up and put you away for little while until we determine your true status.

      1. Paul Repstock

        Agreed! Rounding up loonies and other malcontents has never been a profitable exercise. It certainly has never stopped violence. At best it reduces dissent with the status quo.

        I hate to mention anything so insensitive, but did anyone else note the remarkable ‘kill ratio’ of this amateur shooter? He would be the envy of every trained police force in the country. They normally expend hundreds of rounds for a few hits??

    3. Externality

      Percy said:

      “We used to round up nut cases, just because they were thought by reasonable people to be clearly nuts, not because they had harmed anyone. We put them away until their status could be sorted out.”

      The problem with “rounding up nutcases” is that the definition of “nutcase” varies between cultures, eras, and psychiatrists. During the 1950s and 60s, Americans were routinely involuntarily committed to psychiatric hospitals because they:

      * Were LGBT. Homosexuality and transsexuality were officially considered mental illnesses that needed to be treated for the good of the community. Mental health professionals debated on the proper combination of electroshock, surgical lobotomy, surgical castration, and drugs to “cure” homosexuals. Even psychiatrists who felt homosexuality was not treatable used these techniques to make patients institutionalized for homosexuality more manageable and compliant.

      Well into the 1990s, parents found psychiatrists willing to treat LGBT youth demonstrating “gender inappropriate behavior.”

      * Annoyed their husband. In many states, women who were “difficult” could be committed by their spouse for treatments intended to help them “adjust” to marriage life. Other states required the formality of getting a psychiatrist to agree with the husband. ECT was a favorite approach as it made women less able to verbalize complaints, and terrified women who underwent the procedure without anesthesia. Psychiatrist Peter Breggin has written extensively on this subject. Lobotomies were also popular:

      In some cases, patients’ families pleaded for doctors to perform lobotomies so that the victims— mostly women— would stop worrying so much and do their housework or so they would quit having homosexual thoughts.

      * Made religious choices that upset their families. Families were able to have their children institutionalized or place under conservatorship because they converted to Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, evangelical Christianity, or other “non-traditional” religions. Protecting the reputation of the family from embarrassment outweighed, in the minds of the establishment, the civil rights of the patient.

      * Expressed unpopular political views. Americans who (correctly) challenged the official narrative regarding our involvement in Vietnam were diagnosed with paranoid delusions. The government would not, after all, lie to get the US into a war. Patients who felt their life was too important to be lost in a nameless rice paddy would labeled pathological narcissists.

      This practice has continued: In 2003, the Bush administration tried to cover-up its warrantless wiretapping program by having a doctor falsely label a whisteblower a “paranoid psychotic.” After the NY Times and other newspapers covered the story in 2005, the Bush Administration changed its story, telling Congress that no one in Congress was cleared to hear what Mr. Tice wanted to tell them.

      1. bob

        Added to this-

        The current support that doctors, both medical and psychiatric, are “giving” to the government to torture people.

      2. Externality

        Should be:

        Made religious choices that upset their families. Families were able to have their adult children institutionalized or placed under conservatorship because the children converted to Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, evangelical Christianity, or other “non-traditional” religions. Protecting the reputation of the patient’s family outweighed, in the minds of the establishment, the civil rights of the patient.

  14. anon

    “There’s no shortage of hatred and vitriol spewing from both sides these days.”

    No, there isn’t. Show links for people on the left advocating gunning down elected representatives of the people, please.

    Show links of leftists with signs like these:

    What about this timeline:

    Or what about this call to reason from Nancy Pelosi and the response from Glenn Beck:

    There is no equivalence here and it’s disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

  15. jaymaster

    Too early to tell.

    The guy is just as likely to be a left wing nut job as a right wing one.

    She was a moderate Democrat, and Jewish, which puts her out of favor with many radical leftists.

    Organized or lone actor? Hopefully, we’ll find out soon enough.

    1. Dan_in_KC

      ‘The guy is just as likely to be a left wing nut job as a right wing one.’

      That is a false dichotomy which, sadly, is taken for ‘logical argument’ these days.

      While I’ll grant that there is a ‘possibility’ that the shooter is a ‘left wing nut job’ it would be irresponsible to claim equal probability (50/50)to him being one or the other (which is what you are claiming when you use the words ‘just as likely’) unless you have evidence to back that statement.

      He might also be neither a ‘right-wing’ or ‘left wing’ nut – but implying there is a third option (none of the above) cannot be interpreted as meaning that there is only a 33 and 1/3rd percent chance of the shooter being a ‘right wing nut’ (though I am 90% confident that Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh would make such a statement if it served their agenda).

      All that has to be satisfied is that the sum of the probabilities add up to 100%. If you do not, in fact, actually have any statistical evidence then please refrain making such statements.

    2. aletheia33

      “hopefully we will find out soon enough.”

      hopefully. we will not still be debating exactly what happened and cui bono exactly for the next 50 years or so.

  16. Joe Rebholz

    “A looney. Sad when people cannot express their ideas and discuss anything rationally, however you will always have people like this in any society (left right and center)…”

    So where did Loughner get the idea to kill someone? Whether he is crazy or not, can we point a finger at one or more people and say they put the idea out there and Loughner picked it up and so they are acountable or should be blamed? We can’t make a direct causal link. Rather we and Loughner live in a sea of ideas and many of these are violent ideas; that it’s OK to kill other human beings who do things, say things, or believe things you don’t like or you do not approve of. He got his ideas from somewhere. He got them from the sea of ideas we all live in. If there wern’t so mny ideas floating around in our culture saying it’s OK to kill, maybe Loughner would not have killed.

    “… you will always have people like this in any society …” is false. People with mental problems can be helped. And in the longer run, our society could evolve (with help from thinking people) to one where the number of “it’s OK to kill” ideas pumped out and floating around is reduced to almost zero.

    Gabrielle Giffords is my congressperson. I met her once at a fundraiser. I can only hope that an effect of these shootings is that we change our supersaturated culture of killing.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      First, condolences to your community and all families involved. Really, really shocking.

      Second, I wholeheartedly agree with your statement that ideas in the environment affect behavior. There is a reason that Madison Avenue has been paid so much money through the years; persuasion and rhetoric are highly paid in certain parts of US culture.

      IIRC, the Financial Times reported that Glenn Beck made about $23,000,000 in 2008. What kind of ‘value’ did he create for that money? Did he empower anyone to understand their local school bond election? Did he help anyone see a judge – a sworn **public servant** – as the kind of person who swings by the grocery store, and has to sometimes make really, really tough complicated decisions? Did Beck, or O’Reilly, or any of the other ‘talkers’ help one single American understand how to understand how a law actually is developed (committee structures, legislative structures, etc, etc)?

      Just yesterday, I went to a movie. One of the previews was for ‘Spartacus’ (IIRC, which I’d rather expunge from my memory). The previews showed swords, gore splattering all over the ginormous theatre screen – with Surround Sound to make even more ‘impact’. It was grisly, and I averted my eyes and felt furious that I was even exposed to it during my efforts to find a good seat for the movie I’d paid to see.

      When I think of some of the computer games that I’ve seen — unbelievable how some of those games completely dehumanize everyone but the ‘hero’.

      What we’ve allowed — and paid Beck $23,000,000 to promote — is the dehumanization of groups of people (i.e., anyone who is ‘not me’). Then, we’ve offered up ‘news’ in 2 minute sound bites as if all ‘solutions’ are black-and-white simple.

      This process of dehumanizing other people, and being paid obscene amounts of money to do it, is dangerous to the entire society.

      We need to tell better stories, and those are almost always about the quirks of each individual, the problems they face and overcome; there are surely millions (billions!) of these stories, but unfortunately I don’t see the right wing media as capable of the kind of curiosity, empathy, humor, focus, and diligence that are required to tell really, really compelling stories.

      We have to ‘outlaw’ sound bite style news. It is killing us.
      Maybe some hope lies in the 10 minute podcast; I sincerely hope so.

      1. psychohistorian

        I read the rest of the comments 89 and rising before commenting to you….including your subsequent ones.

        I commend you for your efforts and wish you the best. I want to be realistic with you though. Unless we learn to “live” within the constraints of the coming/existing social/economic system we will be eliminated. While I am willing to be cannon fodder for positive social change I would like to do so in consort with like minded folk. It will be interesting to see if some local governments represented by a majority of folks like you can “break” from the federal control enough to crate enclaves of social sanity….may the force be with you.

        After reading the comments I guess I want to note that along with dehumanizing being a problem there is a semantical problem in our discussion that we all fall for, including myself. Left and Right is very misleading as identifications of the poles of socio-economic thought. We need to have a better way of representing the poles as between those that think the now current structure of society is ok and needs to continue under those rules and those strongly disagree. These are the poles that people are gravitating toward, there is no clear concise representation of this polarity and the old terms like left/right, liberal/conservative make little sense in a country that refuses to admit its imperialistic hubris for the past 50+ years and has met most of the tenets of fascism for the past 10+ years.

        How much longer are my fellow Americans going to be in denial about the moral/ethical decay of our country?

        Onward….we can grow beyond the Enlightenment period yet! 500 years is just a minor setback.

      2. Jason Rines

        What you are referring to and lamenting is the focus on Social News which are opinions of talking heads and the media organizations that skew to the left or right.

        What is is missing is Event based news with Social Media being the trailer rather than the leader.

        A third flavor of media that draws people toward the center is currently a largely unmet market demand.

  17. effem

    The US has successfully concentrated 80% of its wealth among the top 10% and continues to pursue economic policies that enrich the wealthy while stimulating inflation in basic goods.

    With this at the core, is there any question that we will see an increasingly despondent group of “have-nots” lash out?

  18. Wyndtunnel

    America is a political tinderbox. If this lightning strike doesn’t trigger a firestorm it won’t be long before another one does. If this incident proves anything it is that Congress and the media that pander to it are pretty much indifferent to anything that happens to “ordinary” people. How much more serious and newsworthy is a mass shooting that targets a politician from one where students, coworkers or soldiers are targeted?

    And with the debt ceiling crisis approaching things are likely to get more heated, not less.

    I hate to bring it up but in my estimation the horror to brace for would be a rash of copycat shootings which would surely plunge the country into a deep political crisis.

  19. effem

    Why are we surprised when a country that has tolerated the killing of 100,000 Iraqi civilians breeds violence? Put yourselves in the shoes of an Iraqi family and now tell me how much you really care about the murder of one US civilian.

  20. mitchw

    Sorry to say it, but I am not surprised by violence today. How many bankers in Manhattan have security out front? (It’s amazing to me that more nuts haven’t just sprayed ceratain streets in financial districts around the world; wait till govt supports for individuals run out.)Didn’t a governor of Punjab just get assassinated last week? Look at the rioting in Europe. Why are we Americans so out of it? Violence is normal. Don’t even get me started about drug violence and conditions in poor areas where youngsters live in daily fear, and lose friends.

    A year ago I stood on line for thank my Congresswoman in NY. Her whereabouts were well publicized through email. When she arrived there were dozens waiting. It would have been so easy for someone with a gun, and let me be clear, many on line were very angry with their representative.

  21. Samson

    I don’t believe there are any broader implications. This guy was a one-off, unique, insane man, who will not be repeated.

    You say that Loughner “intended to stifle opposition,” but his incoherent writings give little clue which of Giffords’ policies he might have opposed. I doubt there was any coherent rationale behind his intentions. His YouTube videos suggest that, in his bizarre cognitive world, he was as likely to be saving Middle Earth from the Orcs by shooting Representative Sauron as he was to be making a policy statement.

    I don’t agree that other officials will have to worry more about personal risk. John Lennon’s assassination didn’t start a trend, and neither will Giffords’ shooting. They were meaningless acts by crazy individuals.

    You say you find some right wing reactions troubling. I’ve found the left wing reaction more troubling, especially the presumption in many blogs that Loughner was a Tea Partier, when in fact the evidence suggests he leans left. Krugman and the National Organization of Women have published particularly vile reactions, drawing “implications” that are completely out of touch with reality.

    1. here it comes

      don’t believe there are any broader implications. This guy was a one-off, unique, insane man, who will not be repeated.

      Well, yes, that is likely true. But “broader implications” arise depending on how the government and courts and so on respond to this event.

    2. PQS

      What is so “vile” about pointing out that violence, hate-filled speech can lead to violence?

      What is vile about pointing out vile behavior on the part of our elected officials?

      Please explain why NOW’s statement so deeply offends and is so detached from reality.

    3. Karen

      I agree, Sampson.

      The only thing we should do besides expressing our condolences to the victims is see if we can learn anything more about how to handle people (are they always guys?) like Loughner.

      His college expelled him for behavior issues, and at least one of his fellow students seems to have thought his problems were obvious. If more than a certain percent of people who give warning signs like he did go on to kill and maim, we as a society might want to develop a system for getting them into treatment, or at least off the streets, before they do.

      Involuntary commitment raises difficult Constitutional questions, but maybe application of strong persuasive pressure by one or more psych professionals (and the offer of free treatment) might be worth the investment of tax dollars?

      1. Jim Haygood

        Responsible families, friends and associates are the first line of defense when mental illness strikes. What went wrong in Loughner’s case, when his parents were alerted that he was being expelled from college, but apparently took no effective action to deal with his advancing schizophrenia?

        I’m personally acquainted with a situation paralleling Loughner’s — a young man expelled from college after threatening suicide. He came home to live with his parents and began committing a series of arsons, starting with haystacks and ending with occupied houses.

        After being arrested, he sought effective treatment, took responsibility for his mistakes, and decided to straighten himself out. But even after his guilty plea to a reduced sentence, his father (apparently for the sake of his own ego) maintained that the confession had been coerced and might be illegitimate.

        When the young man completed his parole with flying colors and married a very respected young woman, his parents boycotted the wedding. It just goes to show how pathology can be transmitted from one generation to the next, and sometimes acted out against innocent bystanders. And sometimes other innocent bystanders, despite having no obligation to do so, reach out to help before it’s too late. That’s where you and I can contribute.

      2. Indigenous Centurion

        Karen says:
        January 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

        I agree, Sampson.

        The only thing we should do besides expressing our condolences to the victims is see if we can learn anything more about how to handle people (are they always guys?) like Loughner.

        His college expelled him

        Yes! It has to be done. We can’t just pass the buck. We can’t just expel the outliers. We can’t just dump them off onto the next victim. We need to be ready with a legal process, ready and waiting for the next *Ted Bundy*. Ready to put him into a separated environment, somewhere separate from the rest of us. You can recognize these *guys* when they are 5 years old, recognize them then put them away. Do you see also some *gals* doing same thing. No! What you see is an illusion. You see a gal fall under the influence of a male trainer. Women have entirely different chromosomes. Yes crime is hereditary in a sense; isn’t it.

        We do have legal processes for most of them. We put them into schools, crime universities. Later they are let loose to feed on the rest of us after they have graduated. Then we lock the rest of us up into prisons. We lock our doors each night. Our locks keep all of the honest people out.

          1. Indigenous Centurion

            rejected by one of the armed services


            You bet! He was a fnikcug freak at large. Should induction centers slough off their rejects? Dump them into the street? Call the cops? Should the cops investigate the freak then throw the book at the freak? Or is it better to let him kill the astronaut’s wife? Let him kill the Philadelphia Phillies granddaughter? Did induction center drop the ball?

            You are my people, Populous. Start thinking, people!

    4. Dan_in_KC

      Samson states “..Krugman and the National Organization of Women have published particularly vile reactions, drawing “implications” that are completely out of touch with reality…”

      Here is what Krugman said (link at

      “..But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.”

      In concert with PQS: What is so vile about this statement? That it associates a climate of hate with the GOP? If you believe publicly pointing out behaviors (which can be substantiated – and have been within this thread) that are detrimental to society is considered ‘vile’ then, I guess from your point of view it is. But I do not accept that it is a healthy point of view and I (nor many others) would consider what he said to be ‘vile’.

      What I would concede is that Mr. Krugman might have assumed too much too early in associating the actions of the shooter with the climate created by the GOP over the last few years – the shooting might have nothing to do with them at all. But that does not diminish his message that the GOP leaders should tone down the rhetoric that they have unleashed in their goal to take back control of government.

  22. mitchw

    Since when does our democracy function? This shooting is just one more step down. Judges have long lived in fear; remember the woman whose family was killed in Chicago by someone whose case she ruled on? I hope I don’t get sick watching the politicians all get the vapors for the next week or so.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Have you ever stopped to chat with someone you know, just outside of the grocery store? When you did that, did it cross your mind that someone might come up to you with a gun and shoot?

      Your comment literally took my breath away.

      My impression is that you aren’t really thinking this through fully yet.

      I do not for one instant agree with the ‘it’s always been a problem, let’s move on’ notion.

      To me, this incident is like someone spotting a tumor: Houston, we have a problem. We need to analyze, figure it out, identify strategies, and get on it. No time to waste.

      In my mind, that does not automatically require clamping down on civil liberties, but when a judge can’t chat with his representative outside a grocery store, we are in big, big trouble.

      Think about the role of a judge in the lives of us all — we want the best, most analytical, most decent, most courageous people to be judges. This has always been an honored role in any culture. We want the most talented, principled people to be judges and electeds.

      There is an implied social contract, in my view.
      I do my job; you do yours. If someone is out of work, or harmed, everyone pitches in to help out till they get on their feet.

      If someone has made a big mistake (and people do), the role of a wise judge in determining how that person’s case should be handled is critical to the well-being of the community, to that individual(s), and to those who have been injured.

      That kind of complex thinking is critical in keeping society balanced, so that all those of us who are not judges can go on with our lives in relative confidence.

      I would really encourage you to think more deeply about the critical, essential role of a judge. This would be bad enough if the incident did not include a judge. The fact that it does has me just absolutely ill.
      Things cannot go on ‘as usual’ and any politician who doesn’t get a few ‘vapors’ over this is simply not a serious person.

      1. Paul Repstock

        Reader..You have much right. However, your preferences and those of most of us will have little weight in our present government systems. The ovious ‘kneejerk reaction’ of government is bound to be a security clamp and a further errosion of civil liberties.

        Your best point as that we should ‘never’ accept violence as a solution on any side of any question. Violence is never normal. And worse yet it is cyclical and lends itself to tit for tat responses.

  23. Jim Haygood

    Since Giffords called for a 5 percent pay cut for Members of Congress in her last interview with Bill Hemmer on Friday, I’m guessing that it will be enacted with overwhelming support as ‘Gabby’s Law.’

  24. Mikes Market Info

    My Heart Goes Out to Congresswoman Giffords and the Families of Judge Roll and the Others Killed Today, George Washington

    This article includes comments about first attempts to place blame and an excellent video about how the incorrectly alleged culprit has been subverted from their original mission.

    The world would be a much better place if such senseless mass violence against innocents was more often mourned and renounced on such a wide scale, regardless of where it happened. Why isn’t outrage so broadly expressed every day against those who very frequently lead far more brutal and cowardly acts against innocents, even if it happens to be a government doing so with resources stolen by force from its population, who, if given the choice, would not help pay for many thousands of cruel murders and maiming? They try to hide their acts, and lash out at any like WikiLeaks who expose them for what they are. Reflect on those similar situations that happen almost every day in far away places as we witness US government leaders’ hypocritical comments about this particular insane murder, and their likely opportunistic reaction to take advantage of this tragedy to steal even more of your liberty.

    Really do appreciate your site Yves and link to it often.

    1. KFritz

      Yes, it’s designed to implement their incoherent, illusional vision of America. May we all be spared the worst of it. Even they barely deserve what they’ll implement.

  25. LeeAnne

    There’s lots of blame to go around; all those in politics and the media owned and charged by the PTB with reporting their hate filled remarks calling for violence whether against other politicians, judges or journalists like Julian Assange.

    The more unbalanced this young man is found to be, the more blame is due to those in power calling for violence. How else would the young man have known where his pathological need for attention could be aimed to get the media attention he so craved.

  26. Blurtman

    The shooter appears to be unbalanced, perhaps schizophrenic. What contributed to his acting is unknown.

    What is the contribution of poisoned political rhetoric?

    What is the contribution of the US killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    What is the contribution of the obvious two-tiered justice system in the USA?

    Perhaps it all adds up with illogical and tragic consequences. Perhaps not.

  27. bob

    Palin and her “folksy” rhetoric is now history. What will happen with all of her Disciples? I somehow doubt they will fall in with less radical groups.

  28. Armand G Eddon

    There ARE inferences and implications even if the shooter is ‘just’ a lone-wolf nutcase:

    (1) There are a lot of these people out there.

    (2) They are all influenced by the general atmosphere fomented by Fox News (by far the most powerful influence in this regard. You have to listen to Fox to know how incendiary it is – you could not guess without direct exposure). And Fox is the largest-audience, most trusted (by their many true believers) name in news these days.

    (3) Fox’ news director has been, for years, Roger Aisles – media consultant for Republican presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, as well as Rudy Giuliani – a major right-wing figure; not to mention Rupert Murdoch.

    (4) Aisles and his ‘cabinet’ are STRATEGIC thinkers – they make decisions every week on their news’ content and ‘flavor.’ They KNOW the fruit of their decisions will drive such acts; indeed their objective is to foment this kind of atmosphere.

    (5) They don’t really want people shot, but they do want the attendant results: heightened bunker-mentality, siege-mentality, coup-mentality, etc.


    I watch Fox very occasionally just to see what other people are seeing, and vividly remember writing an email two years ago, just after Obama was inaugurated, that I saw the scariest shit I’d ever seen right on Fox – that they are cultivating the ground for a Fascist movement.

    You HAVE to see that Murdoch, Aisles, and their ‘cabinet’ are strategic, deliberate thinkers with an agenda. This assasination is not just an unfortunate tragedy beyond anyone’s control. The aftermath – not the deaths, but the ATMOSPHERE which is just beginning to gel – is premeditated.

    1. Michael H

      I tried watching Fox news once, sometime last summer, and Sean Hannity was interviewing the rock star, Ted Nugent. (don’t ask why)

      I remember this long introduction from Sean Hannity “So how do you introduce Ted Nugent? etc” (which I had to mute, using the remote control, after one or two sentences) and then Ted Nugent said something like “It’s Uncle Ted, Sean. I love you.” And Sean Hannity responded something like “How are you my brother? Good to see you!” And Ted Nugent responded something like: “Back at you!” and this kind of thing went on for quite a while.

      After a few minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore and had to stop watching.

      And I’ve had friends tell me that CNN, in an effort to increase viewers, is getting to be more and more pure entertainment, like Fox News. Which is hard to imagine because CNN was already bad enough a few years ago when I stopped watching it.

      I guess that means we’re doomed.

    2. Joe Rebholz

      I agree. Re

      “(5) They don’t really want people shot, but they do want the attendant results: heightened bunker-mentality, siege-mentality, coup-mentality, etc.”

      the trick for them is to keep most of their viewers at just the right levels of fear and anger. When people are afraid or angry, during periods when they are emotional, their thinking is degraded. They then more easily accept otherwise crazy propaganda “solutions”, “answers”, etc. for anything. Too much fear or anger and they become totally incapacitated; too little and they can still think straight. If someone already has mental problems, then a medium level propagandistic stimulation can produce crazy and violent behavior. Emotion is integral to thinking. But the amount of emotion matters. If our media and culture wern’t supersaturated with fear and anger and ideas that promote killing, there would be less killing.

    3. Tim Goswell

      And yet, despite all the right-wing lunacy, one thing that Fox News and talk radio have done successfully that no one else in the media has done, is to tap into the anger of the working class and the disenfranchised.

      Obviously, connecting with the disenfranchised working class should have been the job of the left-wing, or the liberal class. They should have been doing everything possible to reach out to workers, but let’s face it: just like the right-wing, the liberal class sold out the working class for corporate money a long time ago.

      And so, if Fox News and right-wing talk radio are the only ones who understand the motivating power of hatred, then we should not be surprised if working people increasingly support right-wing ideologues and lunatics working against their own interest. It’s simply because these right-wing ideologues have connected with the workers legitimate anger, but instead of focusing it towards Wall Street, Goldman Sachs and the bankers, they’ve managed to direct this anger towards the liberal class itself.

      1. Lidia

        It’s appealing to the individualism aspect (mentioned here earlier) on purpose, and it is not going to allow that justifiable anger to come together in any constructive way, as viewers are taught to hate unions, hate “socialism”, hate any public or even private entities that are working for the common good (like the environment) out of fear they might be asked to “give up” something.

      2. Lidia

        Furthermore, if one is trained to suspect one’s neighbor because of their non-conformity (not being the right color, religion, sex, ethnicity) then you have an atomized populace ripe for exploitation and extraction purposes. They’re doing their god-damdest to see to it that people don’t actually band together.

        The right wants there to be “two Americas”; Palin (a creature of FOX) in particular emphasized white conservative enclaves as the “real America” at the same time she was careful never to step foot in the America that the majority actually lives in.

        1. Tim Goswell


          Yes, I agree with both of your comments: it’s “appealing to the individualism aspect” as well as “two Americas”, as in, divide and conquer.

          However, the problem I was trying to point out, and what I’m more concerned with is the total disconnect that I see in America between the “liberal class” (as opposed to a true left-wing) and the working class. Because I don’t see how it’s possible to have a meaningful left-wing without the support of the working class, the poor, the unemployed, the disenfranchised.

          When you say “the right wants there to be “two Americas”, I completely agree, but it’s not only the right, if you are limiting this right-wing mentality to Republicans and FoxNews, etc. In my view the problem has to include the entire corporate media (even what some refer to as the “liberal media” CNN, ABC, NPR, etc) as well as the Democratic party and the liberal class itself.

          Because in the United States, all power rests with corporations and when it comes to selling out for corporate money, there isn’t much difference between Republicans and Democrats. Remember that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were expanded while Democrats were in the majority.

          The Democratic Party has proven, over and over again that (just like the Republican party) it serves Wall Street first, and not the working class or the disenfranchised. And Democrats have also proven time and again, that they are no more serious about ending these permanent wars than the Republicans are.

          And so we’re on our own, as neither party can be relied on to change anything.

          Or would you disagree with my analysis?

          1. Michael H

            I agree that the US political system is corrupted beyond all hope of meaningful reform. And that the propaganda (whether supporting the endless wars, the bankster bailout kleptocracy, the health care charade or whatever) is by *no means* limited to FoxNews and right-wing talk radio. Those are just the most obvious and extreme examples. Anyone with a functioning braincell can recocognize that FoxNews is nothing nothing but propaganda within five seconds of turning on any of their so-called news programs. But even if you listen to NPR or Charlie Rose, it’s not much different, only a more sophisticated form or propaganda: the invited guests are nearly always corporate elites and they would never dream of saying anything that is not 100 percent approved and endorsed by their corporate sponsors.

            So yeah, the only hope I see is for something unexpected to disrupt the system, such as a stock market crash that spirals out of control and brings the economy down with it, or a peak oil crisis that happens so fast, the ruling elites are not unable to control it.

  29. Joseppi

    ” An attack against one of us, is an attack against all of us.” Rep. Boehner

    Boehner expresses the siege mentality of politicians who have become entrenched in the atmosphere of fear and distrust of those who disagree with them. Accusing those who are critical of Washington elites pathologically lacking in patriotism.

    This shooting will only add fuel to the political passions and illogical reactions to the misguided policies of Washington. This does not bode well for a country in which:

    We live in a country where the political elites are insulated and unresponsive to the needs of it’s citizens.

    A country that allows torture and executive ordered assassinations around the world.

    A country that engages in illegal wiretapping of it’s citizens.

    A country in which a citizen can be arrested and held without due process of the law.

    A country where the citizens feel the political process is broken and beyond their democratic control.

  30. Hugh

    We are a violent society. A gun culture, elite looting, imperial wars, the ravages of class warfare. Loughner is a reflection of the violence in the Tea Party movement which is a manifestation of violence in the greater society.

    A kleptocracy is an inherently unstable structure. It undermines its own foundations. The question is whether an act like Loughner’s is sporadic or part of the falling apart. My own view is that kleptocracy and its effects, greater social instability, high unemployment, job insecurity, few opportunities, poor healthcare, poor education, and retirement uncertainties create a reservoir of dissatisfaction, anger, frustration, fear, and yes, potential violence. It does not necessarily create Loughners. Rather it gives them the milieu in which they swim.

    It is in the kleptocrats’ interest to focus on Loughner’s mental instability, to portray his action as isolated and sporadic. By concentrating on his violence, they distract from their own.

    1. Joe Rebholz

      “The question is whether an act like Loughner’s is sporadic or part of the falling apart.”

      It is both. Assuming that he has mental problems rather than being ideologically motivated it is sporadic. But the act, shooting and killing people, will increase the fear and anger in all the ideologicals, and since this was directed against a politician, it will increase fear and/or anger in some of them and perhaps aggravate our society’s excess fear and anger, degrade thinking, and thus it adds to the falling apart.

  31. readerOfTeaLeaves

    FWIW, at one point I’ve been one of those (appointed) ‘public officials’.
    I’ve been a person who read reams of reports and studies (on top of my ‘normal’ work, plus parenting), then showed up to public meetings.
    At some of those public meetings, armed, uninformed officers had to be ‘a presence’ because tempers were going to get so hot and you never know who is going to show up. (Count me a big, BIG fan of local law enforcement folks.) After several of those meetings, I’ve been followed – and that kind of intimidation is infuriating. But what right-minded person would follow another? People in their ‘right minds’ do not behave in that fashion.

    I’ve thought about these issues a lot – particularly given the fact that I’m outspoken, opinionated, and a policy wonk.

    I think there are a mix of factors that a decision like ‘Citizens United’, and the problem of out-of-control campaign finance only make worse.
    1. If you are in a decision-making role, and you try to be conscientious, trying to explain decisions is really, really important. If you have to rely on local news sound-bites, you are toast. The complexity is simply not possible to shrink into two-or-three-minute teevee stories. And very few enews outlets seem to allow reporters to develop enough expertise so that they have a good body of knowledge going into an issue — it is amazing to watch how hard a good reporter has to work to get a story that can actually explain something complex; it takes time, resources, and more money than our current media outfits seem to budget.

    So if you are in this kind of role, you make yourself a target for anyone with a grudge. You become something that is easy for them to ‘blame’, even though they don’t know you. They don’t want to know you – they just want the emotional satisfaction of believing that they have been harmed by your politics, when in fact someone like myself worked my butt off to try and be fair.

    No matter how fair and reasonable you try to be — IF AND ONLY IF you have good leadership, a way to connect with people and listen to them and explain the process, then things work out okay.

    But if you are in an information environment ruled by the short sound bite, where the partisan hacks are primarily interested in promoting a very specific political agenda, no matter how hard you work or how fair you try to be, well… in my case, let’s just say that it didn’t seem worth it.

    People will run for office, but who will they be?
    Will they be the people we WANT running for office?
    Or will they be the most angry, the most vehement, the most partisan, the least able to listen, the most ideological? That’s where I fear that we are.

    And frankly, my kids, and everyone else’s kids deserve much better than the chaos and venom of today.
    And that 9 year old child absolutely deserved better.

    People learn by watching.
    IF what they watch is all about dehumanizing other people, we are in big, big trouble.

    This judge and this representative were outside a grocery store; there is no more common, less-threatening location for two people to be. The people who helped dehumanize a representative are, in my mind, accessories to a crime. They didn’t realize the implications of their actions, but they set the stage for something like this to happen.

    I say this as someone who has had to walk into rooms where it took uniformed, armed law enforcement to keep a lid on the passions: this nation has got to expect more responsible media, and the acceptable range of political conversation MUST change.

    People need government.
    And government NEEDS to work for everyone.
    It can’t do that when people are dehumanized, when the political process and the complicated decisions involved are treated as tabloid entertainment.

    Yves, I sincerely apologize for such a long, ardent comment but as I’m sure is quite evident, this whole issue has me just gasping for breath.

    This IS the wake up call, and people really need to wake up and discuss the extreme importance of civil conduct, and also of how to protect the perceived fairness of the electoral process and also the judicial process. You don’t just turn a blind eye to the death of a judge.
    That would be dishonorable, and in my view a morally depraved reaction to an absolute tragedy.

    1. ArmchairRevolutionary

      You seem to believe that all judges are honorable. When there are rocket dockets where judges routinely deny due process, I think you can conclude that there are many judges that are not so honorable.

      Last week, I thought about commenting on this blog that I believed we would soon see violence. This stemmed from my belief that if I had gone through one of those rocket dockets, lost my life savings and potentially faced homelessness (especially if I had kids); that I would not take this lying down. I guess I was wrong about where the violence would surface, but if I were one of those rocket docket judges, I would take precautions.

      1. Psychoanalystus

        After reading your comment I can’t help but wonder whether there may be a connection between the high foreclosure rates in AZ and the rubber stamping provided by the courts and this incident.


      2. readerOfTeaLeaves

        AR, I agree that not all judges are honorable. But we have to start somewhere, and pointing out the importance of judges seemed a good step for me.

        Like you, I’ve been very concerned about the social (and political) outcomes that result from what appear to be entrenched criminality that take advantage via the ‘rocket dockets’ to perpetrate fraud. But I also believe the hate radio and simplistic media have poured gas on the fire, in order to obtain ratings; the media role (including Palin putting ‘targets’ on individual races or names) is inexcusable and is not acceptable.

        Not all judges are honorable, but all of them still need to be safe and secure to do their jobs. I think we both agree upon that point.

  32. McPhilip

    FYI, BreakingNews just tweeted that the individual identified as a person of interest is no longer a suspect. Perhaps the shooter did act alone…

    1. Tom D

      Sorry, that’s the SECOND amendment which says every American has the right to bring a gun to a political rally.

  33. Tom D

    Pardon if someone has already mentioned it, but during the last campaign, there were many events where people brought guns to political rallies and the Fourth Amendment crowd loudly celebrated their right to do so.

    I am not in favor of a “security state” or an over-reaction, but these isolated incidents seem to be not so isolated anymore.

  34. Tom Hickey

    On one hand, it is a gift to the far right in that it will stifle opposition and intimidate many controversial figures from interacting with the public, furthering their goals.

    On the other hand, a lot of people are going to see the far right as an extreme fringe that is dangerous to the US. If the right doesn’t run away from this enough they are toast politically with the center.

    So it is a mixed bag. In the end, this too will probably pass, unless the US follows the route of Germany between Weimar and Hitler.

    1. jaymaster

      On one hand, it is a gift to the far left in that it will stifle opposition and intimidate many controversial figures from interacting with the public, furthering their goals.
      On the other hand, a lot of people are going to see the far left as an extreme fringe that is dangerous to the US. If the left doesn’t run away from this enough they are toast politically with the center.

      So it is a mixed bag. In the end, this too will probably pass, unless the US follows the route of Germany between Weimar and Hitler.

      Makes about as much sense, considering the facts as we know them….

    2. Andrew Bissell

      … unless the US follows the route of Germany between Weimar and Hitler.

      Jeez, what if some random nut reads what you just wrote?

  35. Psychoanalystus

    As a psychologist with forensic experience with violent criminals, I am appalled by the response of the media as well as that of the public figures who have been giving their opinions about this incident. I see the same individualistic nonsense being spewed out, the same “blame the individual” and the same labeling of the perpetrator as crazy, all of these intended only to remove all responsibility from society and those who shape it for their own gain. Yes, this individual is a murderer, and he will be tried and convicted. However, nothing occurs outside of context. Developmentally speaking, human beings are primarily the product of the environment, and the environment of the United States today is one of extreme senseless violence and extreme near-Nazi level rhetoric, combined with a systematic dumbing down and infantilization of the entire nation to the point where only very few individuals are able anymore to think analytically or to engage in even the most basic objective introspection.

    As such, I think that what will likely happen once again is that this particular murderer will be labeled as a “monster,” an “extremist,” a “terrorist,” while the greater forces that created this malignant environment in this country will be able to once again escape scrutiny and continue their systematic destruction of American democracy and the destruction of the American people. I am not referring to Sarah Palin, as she too is yet another individual product of the same malignant environment. I am referring to the entire American media misinforming and dumbing down this nation, the corporatocracy selling violence across the airwaves and across the screens, and about a government bent on engaging in global war and arrogantly glorifying its own crimes as “exports of democracy.”

    Once again, it is the context, not the individual. Will we be able to change this context, or will we go down the road of Weimar Germany, and perhaps in 2012 elect a Sarah Palin or another gun-loving extremist nut job to “lead” us out of our problems? Personally, I am not optimistic.


    1. Joe Rebholz

      “Developmentally speaking, human beings are primarily the product of the environment, and the environment of the United States today is one of extreme senseless violence and extreme near-Nazi level rhetoric, combined with a systematic dumbing down and infantilization of the entire nation to the point where only very few individuals are able anymore to think analytically or to engage in even the most basic objective introspection.”

      The individual and the community in which he or she develops are inseparable both in theory and in practice. Each concept is meaningless without the other. Yet in our culture the individual is put upon a pedestal as the beginning and end, the one and only thing that matters. This is part of our problem. This idolatry of the individual is absurd, yet it continues. None of us ever does anything totally by ourselves. If we create something, some art, some science, some engineering, any useful work, we can only build on, construct upon the ideas, the creations of others living and dead. We stand on the shoulders of those who went before us. We are social creatures. A person stripped of all human communication would wither and die. Solitary confinement drives people crazy. Will we ever learn?

    2. craazyman

      Mostly true.

      What also distinguishes this act, psychoanalytically, from previous “assasinations” is the nature and import of the target herself. A woman and a relatively low level politician.

      Most such acts are directed at Priest King/Pater Familias types — the Lord and Master of a new and victorious cultural super-ego structure. As such, they draw on Oedipal energies, although only in part and not exclusively, to be sure. And they stand as de-facto acts of revenge against the Pater Familias metaphorical rape of the assasin’s previously nourishing cultur. In that respect, the individual is indeed a toxic and distilled embodiment of a more general communal soul which has been destroyed — John Wilke’s Dixie or James Earl Ray’s White South.

      In this case, the target was not a Pater Familias/Priest King but a relatively low-level functionary of the culture’s bureaucracy. And, in a perverse dialectic, a female.

      It really is different this time.

      While all such acts contain and project larger cultural forces, this one harrowingly embodies the social rage at the failure of a dysfunctional system, not the rage of the vanquished at the omnipotence of a new Priest-King and the world view he embodies.

      The Mater-Familias is the target and the failure of the female world soul, the anima mundi, to nourish its children is the catalyst.

      Metaphorically, it’s like killing your own mother. Strange days indeed.

      1. Psychoanalystus

        I agree. Yesterday, when I first heard about this incident, I too thought it was no accident that the victim is a woman. Perhaps there are some serious unresolved Oedipal dynamics at play here. I would be curious about the type of family this guy was raised in.


  36. ArmchairRevolutionary

    To all of those jumping to conclusions trying to attribute this to something you believe is wrong (tea party/right wing rhetoric, income stratification, lack of opportunities, a Lee Oswald redo):

    I would suggest that we wait to assume we understand this shooter’s motivation until we hear words spoken directly from his mouth. Every piece of information that is being placed in the media could be easily manufactured. He could be just some crazy. He could have acted as part of a conspiracy. Regardless, I would suggest we make sure he has an opportunity to speak, so that this does not end up being another mystery … the lone gunman that is later assassinated and cannot tell the real story.

    1. Joe Rebholz

      “He could be just some crazy”

      If he is, he is still a product of our present societ. We could have helped him or possibly prevented him from acting violently. He got his idea to kill from somewhere, crazy or not. Where did he get it? Why did he act on it? To say someone is crazy is to give up on trying to understand him. To say that this shooting and killing was just the actions of a nut is to try to dismiss it as either an unsolvable problem or as unimportant.

  37. Paul Tioxon

    This assassination of political office holders is one of many targeted by the right wing in the last 2 years. The murder by an American Nazi at the DC Holocaust Museum, the murder of the IRS employee and Viet Nam War Vet at the IRS building crashed into by the texas computer programmer. What distinguishes these political murders is the target. If the killers were just killers, walking into the any donut shop or close by park, just to kill would suffice. The Nazi drives to Washington DC and goes into the primary Jewish site in all of the US Capitol. The driven over the edge techie, not so crazy that he could not fly his plane, perfectly targets the IRS offices in building. And of course, the self avowed YouTube Terrorist, find himself not so impaired to post on the internet. Not unlike Al Queda or any other Anarcho Type Terrotists leaving their video rants. On a de-escalated basis, James O’Keefe, republican dirty trickster of US Senator Mary Landrieu infiltration/sabotage attempt and acorn pimp provacateur, 24 years old and son of republican Dept of Justice US Attorney, shows how the child warriors of the right make their bones. Their more responsible elder counter parts attribute their actions to roguish, youthful zeal and poor impulse control, not dissimilar to writing off politically targeted killings as the result of a mentally sick loser, with no connection to society at large or any political group in particular, a lone gunman. So many lone gunmen, so many dead or wounded politicians, it’s amazing. The MoveOn female protester was brutally assaulted by US Senator Rand Paul activists, the entire episode caught on video for the world to see. The assault on Alaskan newspaper man by TEA Party security forces of US Senate loser Joe Miller is another example of the paranoid style of right wing republican politics. And of course, the State of Arizona, Barry Goldwater’s Dessert Mecca of John Birchers, MinuteMen, Racists disavowers of Martin Luther King day, daily parades of concealed and unconcealed firearms in public, a culture of anti government activism since Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist stood at voting sites to stop unqualified Black voters from usurping White Hegemony, as a young attorney. As a major figure in the reactionary politics of this most reactionary of states, he wrote a memo as clerk of the US Supreme Court Justice Jackson, against the integration of Blacks into schools during the landmark Brown School Board case.

    The national leadership of recent American conservatism, as a movement has recruited its major figures from the fertile pool of right wing talent in this state. As it becomes ever clearer that capitalism has been buried by the capitalists themselves, and the holding actions of democratic socialism serve to soften the blow of America’s fall from prosperous middle class paradise, to disproportionately stratified quasi domestic police state, the reactionary outposts like Arizona, in shock over a Black president and still, a Democratic female Congressional representative choose bullets over the ballot box. Since the Sarah Palin Jacksonian Democracy initiative is failing, violence will increase as more and more democratic socialist policies are enacted as a safety valve to manage the populace used to a higher standard of living and then having it taken away from them. The right wing will see the end of their vision of individual liberties go up in smoke with the value of their homes and the class status of their employment, if they still possess either. And those mealy mouth responsible main stream reporters will not try to politicize an assassination and mass murder by calling it an assassination. The clear references to unconstitutionality, false money and the need for a gold standard are incoherent. Well, when RAnd and Ron Paul say it, it seems to not be the ravings of marginal, alienated, goofballs, it is respectfully unchallenged. It is respectfully over reported, over inflated and over analyzed. The young killer from Arizona is dismissed politically yet immediately diagnosed by non medically trained or licensed experts as crazy, insane, mentally disturbed out of touch with reality. How do they medically make that statement unchallenged when any mention of politics clearly written in English expressing his state of mind as a terrorist against the monetary system and a unconstitutional government is immediately warded off as out of bounds due to lack of knowing the full and complete facts?

    Conclusion: The Sarah Palin Brand has blood all over of it, and it’s not Bambi’s blood this time. She is further diminished as more than a niche media personality for a shrinking market of white people who still don’t know the America they grew up in. POTUS will weasel his way out taking any leadership on this that has a scintilla of partisan gain for his side. He will dutifully instruct all WH minions under the pain of death to do likewise. In the deep back ground miles of piano wire will be ready for night of the long knives. Unfortunately for us, this night will take years to fight out.

    1. Joe Rebholz

      What you say makes much sense. I hope your conclusions about much comming killing are wrong. And not all of us living in Arizona fit your descriptions of our sorry state.

    2. Lidia

      There’s an excellent (long) list of recent violent activities here:

      It’s always the “lone nutter”. But these “lone nutters” all seem to listen to the same radio shows and spout the same teabag talking points.

      If the guy was a “lone nutter” he would have gone to the Safeway and killed the stock boy. This, instead, was a targeted assassination as particularly suggested by Sarah Palin, among others.

      Sarah Palin tweet of 11/4/10:
      SarahPalinUSA: Remember months ago “bullseye” icon used 2 target the 20 Obamacare-lovin’ incumbent seats? We won 18 out of 20 (90% success rate;T’aint bad)

      95% success rate now, sweetie.

      I don’t see how the Right Wing can easily step away from this. The recent RNC head candidates were asked to state how many guns they owned, that being a positive measure of fitness, apparently.

  38. flory

    There will be no longer term implications.

    In the short term there will be entirely bogus expressions of outrage and sympathy from the Teabaggers in Congress. Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk will lay off the violent rhetoric for a month or so and Sarah Palin’s spokesbot will be forced to try and spin the “Reload” map for another few weeks or until the last victim is buried.

    There might be another brief flurry of interest when and if Guiffords makes it back to work.

    But the first time Obama or Harry Reid does something that outrages the teahadists we’ll start hearing the “take them out” and “second amendment remedies” rhetoric all over again.

    And there won’t be any mention, ever, of gun restrictions. Not even from the Democrats.

    It’ll be “Gabrielle who”? in six months.

  39. Jeff Larson

    It is sad that we have to make this into a political mudslinging about left and right. There are extremists on both sides of the fence, but the vast majority on either side honestly want the best for society. I would call myself a constitutional conservative, but I don’t own a gun, I go to a mixed race church and I believe we need policies that protect the interests of the people vs. the interests of big business and banks. Sadly we live in a totally corrupt society, and the only hope is for individuals to stand up for honesty, truth and the well being of our neighbors. Government isn’t going to do it for us.

    1. Sufferin' Succotash

      How can “standing up for honesty” have any practical impact whatever unless it’s done via the political process and government action? Subtract that and you’re left with honesty which is like the proverbial tree falling in the wilderness. This visceral aversion to government not only renders government ineffective and illegitimate; it also undermines democracy itself. It is, after all, ultimately their government, and if “government is the problem” then the people turn out to be “the problem” as well.
      Isn’t it interesting that the past 30 years have witnessed a steady diminution of the economic independence and solvency of the American middle class? Interesting, because it’s been the same 30 years in which the “Government Is The Problem” thesis has held a prominent position in American politics. This, to coin a phrase, is no coincidence and we have to ask, “who’s gained from all this?”
      Maybe it’s time for people who call themselves conservatives and who really care about the future of democracy in this country to rethink some ideological priorities.

    2. scraping_by

      There’s a lot of backpedalling going on over this.

      One is in George Washington’s blog linked above. In it, he says “Denninger says that the original intent of that group was to peacefully protest the big banks ruining the economy, and to call for criminal fraud by the banksters to be prosecuted.” However, I remember them as entirely and absolutely anti-tax, and only anti-tax. Hence, the evocation of the Boston Tea Party. Sort of mass-movement on Grover Norquist’s plan for the GOP.

      The political violence came as the summer when on. Tea Party groups were bussed into congressional town halls about the health bill where they inevitably used organized chanting to shout down opponents, the members of Congress, the press, and anyone. They basically shut down the process. Acts of individual violence, the bit-off pinky, sucker punching old women in Arizona, etc., followed.

      I suppose accurate history is political. Orwell’s 1984 was fiction only in form.

      Anyway, what’s the equivalent group on the center? Or the left? I realize that beliefs are entirely internal, but this is a view of the objective world.

      There’s a lot of new-found innocence going on here, and more will be discovered soon. Thanks again for stating a position rather than attacking a person.

    3. Lidia

      Jeff, I appreciate your call for honesty. So please be honest and do not propagate the “extremists on both sides of the fence”. Because one side of the fence is doing the shooting, and the other side is doing the dying in modern America.

  40. Frobn

    There appears to be 3 questions at issue:

    1) can violent political rhetoric push a mentally unstable person to violent acts?

    2) was violent political rhetoric a trigger for Rep. Giffords’ shooting?

    3) is either the right or the left more guilty than the other of violent political rhetoric?

    The first question is central. If violent political rhetoric can be a trigger for violent acts or even if it is just possible that it can be then it should be universally discouraged on the right the center and the left then the other questions are academic and dilute the need to change.

    1. Joe Rebholz

      Since violent political rhetoric can push presumably mentally stable people to violent acts (for example the Iraq war — we’ve got to kill them before they kill us), violent political rhetoric could also push mentally unstable people. Well constructed propaganda can push people to do anything.

  41. Jon Smith

    Using this crime to bash “right-wingers” and “hate radio” while promoting aspects of Obamacare is sick. This crime has not changed my will for the United States to have a limited government with low taxes, a strong defense, and tighter control of illegal immigration.

  42. CC

    As mentioned in earlier post, this was the first mid term election heavily funded by unknown special interest from per Supreme Court ruling and the atmosphere was overwhelmingly toxic, perhaps because of many controversial issues.

    Many tea party and extremist types were elected or nearly elected and as previously mentioned, Congresswoman Giffords and other moderate politicians were attacked visiously with extremist rhetoric for support of health care or what have you.

    Our state is bankrupt and now it will be interesting to see how the tea partiers ‘walk their talk’. Personally I feel most of them are stooges for special interests who wind them up with simplistic slogans like ‘small govenerment’ so they can further trash the environment and in general be the foxes guarding what is left of the hen house as elite interest has been dying to dismantle social security and whatever they can’t make enourmous profit on.

    So now they will get busy with the hatchet slashing public services yet from what I have seen, when asked if THEY will abide by the same health care coverage, elimination of subsidies and benefit restrictions they impose on others….noticable squirming is already appearant.

    Our governor ‘amnesia’ Jan Brewer (huge dead air gaffs in her election campain debate) is another question mark. She’s made great headlines with the immigration SB1070 which probably won her re-election (she was appointed to replace Napolitano for Homeland Security) but eveidently she is heavily funded by the private prison industry (in Az we have enourmous complexes) and some rumor about next there will be factories attached to these prisons…isn’t that China’s model?

    My personal feeling is big agribusiness, hospitality and construction loved the huge profits of cheap labor from undocumented immigrants while not having to contribute anything toward the medial and educational system they inevitably used. Now that the party is over, that population is being criminalized….to fill these private prisons instead of deporation?

    The cartel activity is a HUGE escalating problem, lots of drug gang related homicides and drug and people trafficing.
    But here again, we are hog tied by special interest….the NRA. Arizona is the number one source of arms going to Mexico for the cartels. The gun shows here are sometimes held in two football field sized areas and just about anyone can get loads of automatics and other weapons.
    The NRA has just gotten congress to eliminate the sources of these weapons being obtained by cartels from the freedom of information act and has prohibited centralized data bases on purchased weapons.

    My father was a gunsmith and I own a gun for protection and a shotgun for skeet shooting. I am familiar with responsible use of guns but the gun worshipping culture of these extremist politicians, like Sarah Palin is very dangerous. I got certification to carry concealed back when you needed certification and now you don’t need any training at all….just go out and by a gun and take it almost anywhere. It is insane yet this is how the extremist politicos pander here in Arizona and elsewhere.

    My husband is Canadian and is still shocked with this weaponized climate. Vancouver BC had 9 murders last year, Tucson with 500K has something like one murder-shooting a week (or more). Alot of it is cartel-gang and the NRA certinly makes it difficult or impossible to curtail their destructive capability.

    It all lends to a deteriorating environment that provides fuel for the unstable.

    1. CC

      Oh yes…re: the tea partiers ‘walking their talk’…
      since the US has a bigger military budget than the rest of the world combined and the military consumes more oil than any other country…..let’s see them put that boondoggle sacred cow on the chopping block for TRILLIONS as a priority (not 78 billion over 5 years…puleaseee).

  43. aletheia33

    @ ishmael:

    could you please explain in what sense you believe nancy pelosi’s agenda to be radical? (and what you think is her “agenda”?)

    or just give some general examples of what “radical” means to you.

    this would help clarify your thinking.

    1. Ishmael

      aletheia33 — I do not know if you are referring to me but I can not see any other Ishmael. I do not see what you are referring to, but yes I do believe Nancy Pelois’s agenda was radical and so do the majority of Americans other wise we would have not seen one of the largest change overs in the House in US history.

      It would take too long to post here everything that is radical about Ms. Pelosi, but I could refer to her speech just a few days ago to the Black Caucus where she said she believed in Economic Equality. This is basically a continuation of her redistribution message. It should also be noted that at the same time Ms. Pelosi said she did not believe Wall Street was to blame.

      1. Sufferin' Succotash

        ‘we extend a hand of friendship to create jobs, grow the middle class, and reduce the deficit. We look for common ground to solve the problems of the American people–their health, their housing, their jobs, their savings, their children’s education.

        “But where we cannot find common ground, we must stand our ground on behalf of the pledge we take every day: ‘With liberty and justice for all.’ And that includes economic justice for all.’

        I believe this is the relevant passage from Nancy Pelosi’s speech to the Congressional Black Caucus.
        “Nazi” Pelosi is truly a dangerous person.

      2. Psychoanalystus

        And, if I might ask, could you possibly entertain the idea that by “Economic Equality” she may have meant something along the lines of “equality of economic opportunity”?… Any chance that you might consider that?

        But no, she must have meant Communism! Right?

        The other day I spent the afternoon at a Barnes and Noble bookstore, and browsed a book called “Obama and the Empire” written by no other than Fidel Castro. In his book, Castro was attacking Obama, Pelosi, and other democrats as ruthless imperialists and propagators of a capitalist system of unfairness and injustice. Strange talk coming from a communist about other communists, don’t you think?…

        Might I suggest you read a little more about other systems of organizing a society before buying into the FoxNews soundbytes, especially those pertaining to the association of capitalism and democracy and the idea of American exceptionalism (which you may have read about in Sarah Palin’s latest book, I imagine)… Just a suggestion… :)


        1. Robert Dudek

          Fidel is a socialist. “Communist” is really a misnomer, as very few socialist nations had communes (i.e. a largely self-sufficient small group of people who share their wealth equally – e.g. a kibbutz). Neither did they refer to theier countries as “communist” – it was invariably “people’s republic” or “socialist republic”.

          Anyhow he’s broadly correct about Obama and Pelosi.

          Remember, judge not by their words, but by their deeds.

      3. aletheia33


        you wrote above (3:11 p.m.): “Daily Kos has a long history of scrubbing things like this, so those are the screen grabs above for a hit piece Kos ran on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Thursday January 6th, 2010.
        The article, entitled “My CongressWOMAN voted against Nancy Pelosi! And is now DEAD to me!”, was written by someone calling him/herself BoyBlue.
        It eerily presaged the assassination attempt on the Congresswoman, with the Kos author angry Giffords opposed Nancy Pelosi’s radical agenda.”

        could you perhaps explain what you consider to be Pelosi’s “redistribution message”? –in what sense do you believe that she is advocating–what, exactly, to do with “redistribution”? and what do you mean by “redistribution” exactly?

        i honestly don’t understand and hope you will enlighten me on these points.

        1. Ishmael

          alettheia33 — I did not write that. I clipped it off of the hill whatever blog which are hillary supporters. That is why I put the hyperlink above it but with that said I will repeat myself, it is not only I that believe Pelosi was a total failure and radical it was most of America.

          Since I was a total George W Bush the Idiot hater I believed the Republican Party was dead for a generation. It takes true talent by the Obama-Pelosi-Reed triumphant to raise the dead!

      4. bob

        Calling someone you disagree with a radical is relatively new. The question was asked, what makes her a radical? You can’t come up with an answer.

        I hate her, disagree with just about every word that comes out of her mouth, but to call her a “radical” is insane. Do you really believe that a “radical” gets elected to office? If she is a radical before, does she lose the title when she gets elected?

        It’s usually uttered in the same breath with calling Obama a Communist, which also couldn’t be further from the truth.

        They are both FASCISTS. They bow to, worship and serve the corporate elite. It’s that simple. Please look into the business and personal relations of both of the aforementioned “radicals”. They share a lot more money and interest with Wall st that they do with Communism, however you may define that word.

        1. JTFaraday

          So, are you saying that Pelosi, one of the wealthiest women in America, by snowing the Congressional Black Caucus with economic equality-talk, is simultaneously confusing Teabaggers by creating the impression of a radicalism that is at odds with her actual performance fronting a corporatist legislative agenda as House Speaker under the corporatist Obama Administration, but which will nevertheless increase Bagger hysteria?

          Should she just can the act then?

          “As witnesses not of our intentions but of our conduct, we can be true or false, and the hypocrite’s crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.” –Hannah Arendt

  44. Jim the Skeptic

    It concerns me that we have evolved 2 definitions for mental illness. For example, a very strict definition of schizophrenia which keeps us from locking up those with easily recognizable dangerous symptoms. And a very loose definition which allows liberals not to hold the individual accountable for his actions.

    Unless eyewitnesses are lying, this man is guilty of multiple murders.

    He may well have listened to propagandists spouting nonsensical garbage. He may have heard politicians get a little over the top. If he was listening to someone making direct inflammatory attacks on that particular Representative, then that person bears some of the responsibility. Otherwise it serves no useful purpose to spread the blame.

    1. Paul Repstock

      Whoa Brother Jim, me’thinks you are a bit off base here.

      A general “lack of accountability”, appears pervasive in all aspects of our society.

      As for “a share of the blame”, I think most of us can take an armfull. Whether it be in promoting violence, accepting xenophobia, or just condoning antisocial behavior from our elected representatives; very few will ever accept their personal complicity in this tragedy. The American Nation has again defiled itself and the only result is childish fingerpointing from that great majority who have never stood up to be counted.

      How many of you read or even saw the ‘News’ story about Moslems acting as human sheilds to allow Coptic Christians the right of religious freedom in Egypt? How many people in North America have that sort of moral compass and courage?

    2. Joe Rebholz

      “If he was listening to someone making direct inflammatory attacks on that particular Representative, then that person bears some of the responsibility.”

      So only if Loughner heard the inflamatory attacks is the inflamatory attacker responsible for anything. And if only individuals can be “blamed” our social system which allows free floating inflamatory attacks and says it’s OK to kill people you really don’t like, people you fear and hate, that social system need not be looked at? Yes individuals, stable or not, must be accountable for their behavior. But our supersaturated culture of fear, hatred, and violence needs some fixing too.

      1. Jon Smith

        Perhaps Loughner listened to some angry rapper talk about going ‘rat-a-tat-tat,’ and became inspired. Perhaps he read the koran and decided to go jihadi on a few infidels. Perhaps he was really mad @ the Democrats for losing the House in the 2010 election and sought some payback. All of these theories are as supported by evidence as the numbnutz who would use this violence to blame those on the political right.

    3. Psychoanalystus

      Please see my comment above about the central role the environment in shaping individuals and their behavior. There are thousands and thousands of solid studies supporting this idea. This extreme American individualism is an anomaly that is being pushed on us simply because it serves the interests of this degenerate form of capitalism/consumerism we now have in this country.


      1. Jim the Skeptic

        Psychoanalystus said: “This extreme American individualism is an anomaly that is being pushed on us simply because it serves the interests of this degenerate form of capitalism/consumerism we now have in this country.”

        Good heavens!

        It is extreme for the individual to bear the responsibility of his acts! Only a bleeding heart liberal Democrat could believe that!

    4. Jim the Skeptic

      If he was sane enough to be left on the streets before than he is responsible for his actions.

      At a minimum this man should spend the rest of his life behind bars. HE IS DANGEROUS, HE WILL ALWAYS BE DANGEROUS.

      We are treated to dueling psychiatrist’s in these sort of cases. Any psychiatrist who argues for his release should be held civilly liable for all his future acts!

      If someone made a direct inflammatory attack on this particular Representative, then they should also be held partially liable. I would blame them. Otherwise it serves no useful purpose to spread the blame!

      I don’t care if this man’s mother dropped him when he was a baby! I don’t care if he was taught the there is no higher calling than to kill people. His motivation is completely irrelevant when assessing his guilt and deciding his punishment!

      I have complained about the Republican’s faults. This is one of the Democrat’s faults, As a group they are much more likely to make excuses for very bad behavior!

  45. bob goodwin

    Shame on liberals for exploiting this tragedy. The tea party has no more responsibility for this than Jody Foster had for inciting John Hinkley to shoot Reagan.

    Power attracts violence, and always has. There is not a shread of ideological benefit to be extracted from this tragedy unless you are preposterously cynical.

    1. Tao Jonesing

      Liberals have felt under constant threat of violent assault by increasingly enraged conservatives since the end of the first term of Dubya’s reign. They’re not exploiting the situation except as an opportunity to give voice to their fears, and not all of them are doing so.

      In other words, you ain’t gonna make anybody who is casting aspersions on the tea party for what happened feel ashamed about it. I think they’re misguided, too, but I understand where they’re coming from, just as I understand where regular tea partiers are coming from. The eliminationist right wing rhetoric was ratcheting up before the tea party came into existence, and most tea partiers don’t agree with it (the fact that something gets a lot of airplay in the MSM doesn not mean it is actually a prevalent phenomenon).

  46. Fucking Crazy

    So called mental illness is diagnosed from a manual (DSM), that the authors admit is a political document. Each time this country starts a war they want the public to know about, there is usually some so-called “mentally unstable” leader that’s used to tie the imperial action together for public consumption.

  47. Jackrabbit

    The comments here provide a lot of good perspective. It seems likely that hateful political rhetoric played a role, but if that was such an important factor, it seems there would be many more political shootings. What does seem clear at this point is that this was a troubled young man who was identified as mentally ill and needed help.

    What steps did the parents take after being called to Pima college in October and being told that their son could not return until he had been examined by a mental health professional?

    Big wake up call for any parent who might have been otherwise clueless.

    Did the guy get examined? Did he start therapy (but there wasn’t time for an effective response)? If not, why not? Did the parents lack healthcare? Did they lack a job? Was there some other reason that they couldn’t or wouldn’t have sought out the proper care for their son?

    Did the son refuse care? Did the parents threaten to throw him out (prompting this violent response?)

    1. Jackrabbit

      I might also add that some things don’t seem to add up.

      For example: The guy was mentally ill, his youtube videos indicate that he wants a wider audience for his views, and he left explicitly incriminating messages at home . . .

      but we are told he immediately evoked his 5th amendment right?!?!?!/i>


    2. Paul Repstock

      Rabbit..I don’t know whether you have kids?? I do suppose you were once a teenager/young person.

      We raised two sons. I do know it is a difficult and sometimes frightening job. I as lucky, I never got a call saying that my sons were emotionally unstable. I do know that at times they were. They would get so frustrated and angry that the line to physical violence was probably very thin. The same was true of myself and everyone i’ve known.

      We as a culture so venerate violence, in support of ‘higher morality’, that it becomes an instinctive response to anything we disagree with.

      1. Jackrabbit

        Yes I have kids and my siblings have kids.

        I noted that hateful rhetoric probably played a part. But there are other important issues, which *MAY* be as important or more so (given what we know so far). How we treat/don’t treat the mentally ill and physically handicapped, for example. This ties into healthcare as a social/community concern or a service to individuals that can afford to pay for it.

        The mental illness of this guy makes it all-too-easy for conservatives to dismiss the accusations that their rhetoric was responsible (until information that ties the attacker more closely to the rhetoric). A more effective approach might be to challenge their conception of healthcare.

        One argument FOR univeral healthcare (that seems to have been lost) is the increased safety to all given the possibility of a pandemic. In the wake of this shooting, a similar argument might be made in regards to the treatment of the mentally ill.

        1. Paul Repstock

          Well, as a Canadian I agree that your country would gain from a good “Universal” health care. Your new system appears to be a fraud. What influence it might have had here is unknown. But, at least the effort would have been worthwhile.

          You must understand that health care plans (like any government or large scale programs), are not able to satisfy everyone or protect against large scale disasters. Cost and budgetary restaints require a one size fits all approach and a cautious response to outside threats. In the pandemic scenario, there is little evidence that any actions would be effective. All the last scare did was to make a few people lots of money.

          1. Ken


            Universal healthcare is not meant to be an answer for everything. The Canadian healthcare system isn’t perfect *but* it fulfils a incredibly important role in helping everyone, all are equal in the medical system. It seems odd that in the US, the Canadian system is flawed because of ones inability to spend money to get special treatment. If my treatment is delayed because someone else who was worse off was treated – that is the compassionate thing to do. Canada isn’t perfect but in it’s social safety net it is a place I am very proud to live.

  48. Dan Duncan

    Yeah OK, this is a “Rightwing thing”.

    And The Stones are to blame for Mark David Chapman taking out John Lennon…and the Director of Taxi-Driver, by casting Jodie Foster, is to blame for David Hinckley, Jr shooting Reagan.

    It is pathetic to use this heinous crime as a vehicle to spew political frustrations.

    1. Ishmael

      Dan — you posted the most accurate statement of all of these comments and that refers to Yves original blog!

  49. AP

    I’m sorry Yves, but statements like: “The targeting of a political figure is intended to stifle opposition.” is one of those I can point as to why I don’t read this blog nearly as much. The whole thing doesn’t add up, and to make such a bold statement merely exacerbates the over-reaching position (placing on a pedestal) of mere partisan interests… whereas both parties are wholly corrupted by the same banking interests – two ‘sides’ of the same evil team.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Point to me a single example of anything even remotely comparable as far as a right wing figure being targeted, let alone shot, is concerned.

      And this is NOT the only instance. There was a case in CA about six weeks ago of a guy being intercepted on his way to shoot a left wing fundraiser, and we are not talking a highly visible person, but a very effective behind the scenes salaried type. This put a big chill among a lot of politically active lefties about the risks of their positions.

  50. PQS

    Here’s a good timeline of the violence over the past two years:

    This is in response to the poster upthread who asked me to prove my assertions about the connections between violent, often very specific rhetoric, and subsequent violent actions by often unstable people.

    Propaganda works. It’s why Madison Avenue is still employed even during the Second Great Depression.

    I would never say we need to curtail free speech – that is not my assertion. However, I think those with the loudest megaphones ought to be more responsible with their power.

  51. aletheia33

    (please forgive length)
    at a time when too many people have had and are having too much taken away from them, including their hope for their future, for reasons they mostly do not understand, the media’s brutal entertainments simply express the realities now occurring.

    readily available guns; rage; raw fear; deprivation; rudderlessness; lack of social cohesion of the family and community, now under intensifying survival pressure; lack of adequate treatment for the mentally ill; widespread alienation of young males; young adults living at home with nowhere to go, no one they can be; what a toxic mix. we have already seen unprecedented and numerous violent acts by young people who, it turns out after they act out, have become too isolated, lost, confused, destabilized, and ignored when they most needed help. a mental “health” “care” system that defies belief in its insistence on (literally) exercises in futility and bogus quantifiable “results”. good point about the liberals abandoning the workers. so many male workers who do have jobs addicted to meth now. arizona a powder keg, with mexico cartel violence beginning to spread its poison across the border.

    just a rough snapshot of our society on this day. we must have the courage to look into these mirrors and see ourselves. what to do? there seem to be so many among us now whose minds are completely adrift. a new situation.

    it might be a good time to reflect on what roles one might want to commit to as a participant in a disintegrating society. is there a way to stand up or stand out for basic respectfulness, maintaining evenness of temper, civil discussion?

    one has always wondered what would i have done in 1930s germany? as an ordinary german or ordinary professional, would i have had the courage even simply to not participate in the unfolding madness, and to what point? just that may not be easy to do when things start to get scary and one may feel one’s own livelihood, even life and family may be at risk.

    the relatively enlightened and “civilized” german aristocracy hated and despised hitler. that was not enough to get them to foresee or to act effectively to prevent the outbreak of social insanity. their members could have made a huge difference had they had the will.

    after the mass hysteria has finally exhausted itself, what kinds of individual actions are remembered or revealed later and cherished, for the sake of human sanity going forward, as having been islands of truth and integrity in a sea of moral squalor and fear? perhaps today is an especially good moment to contemplate what such actions would look like now, and consider taking same.

    clearly, congresswoman giffords, and judge roll, did.

  52. eric anderson

    I have heard more than one mention in the media of “hate radio” and “vitriolic” comments on the right.

    What’s missing in these sound-bite attempts to put conservative radio in the crosshairs (heh heh) is a list of examples of what they consider vitriolic rhetoric that could trigger violence.

    I listen fairly regularly to the Limbaugh show, usually a segment or two, a couple of times a week. I can’t think of anything I’ve heard I would describe as vitriol. Disgust at times. Non-stop ridicule and belittlement of lefties at other times. But not vitriol. What I hear is merely an airing of facts and opinions about the agenda of the left and the Ruling Class. I don’t listen to Hannity anymore, but I never heard vitriol from him, either. Medved is very calm and measured. Glen Beck may swerve into the absurd, but again, I do not hear vitriol. I hear serious disagreement with policies and agendas.

    The only right wing talk show host I have encountered who comes close to vitriol would be Michael Savage. I guess the name gives it away.

    Let’s see some examples. Where is this vitriolic speech? Palin’s “don’t retreat, reload” is obviously a competitive metaphor and nothing else. And I have not found Palin presenting her views with rage and anger.

    Are these accusations of incitement like rain clouds with no water?

    1. Lidia

      I guess you don’t recall Ann Coulter’s frequent calls for executing liberals, Muslims and the staff of the New York Times? Yet they let her walk around like a normal person, and even continue to pay for her to write columns and go on TV.

      I guess you missed Sharon Angle’s calls for “Second Amendment solutions” to the problem of losing an election.

      Guess you missed the Tea Party references as to how they were going to reach for the bullet box if they didn’t get what they wanted at the ballot box.

      This is all now normalized, integrated political speech when it should clearly be beyond the pale in a civil society. America is not a civil society; it has jumped the shark.

      1. eric anderson

        I guess you missed Alec Baldwin’s call on national TV a few years ago to kill then-Representative Henry Hyde AND his family!

        And he’s still walking around, with a big TV contract.

        So it is only one side of the political spectrum coarsening the political discussion?

        1. Lidia

          If he said that, that is unfortunate indeed, but he was not promoted for the second-highest (and now being promoted for the highest) office in the land. He’s a friggin’ actor! He’s not being bruited about as Presidential material!!

          The threats coming from the Teabaggers are threats not only on but BY elected officials!!

          While on FOX news, in addition to having every single Republican contender on their payroll, they are paying Beck to mime setting people on fire and “poison” Nancy Pelosi. This is ongoing, scripted, and concerted, not some actor nut spouting off.

          Michelle Bachmann wants her supporters to be “armed and dangerous”. You don’t find that disturbing?

        2. Lidia

          Remember the Senate candidate who recommended “Second Amendment remedies”? How about the congressional candidate who fired shots at a silhouette with his opponent’s initials on it? Or maybe the congressional candidate who declared, “If I could issue hunting permits, I would officially declare today opening day for liberals. The season would extend through November 2 and have no limits on how many taken as we desperately need to ‘thin’ the herd”? Or how about the congressional candidate who said he considered the violent overthrow of the United States to government an “option” and added that political violence is “on the table”?

          All four of these examples came from 2010 — and all came from Republican candidates for federal elected office. And this doesn’t even get into Republican activists and media personalities.

          (links to statements in text at original post)

    2. Lidia

      Not seeing the vitriol…

      Will this do?

      “Giffords’ 2010 Congressional opponent Jesse Kelly held a June 12 gun event that was billed as follows on the Pima County Republican website:

      Get on Target for Victory in November
      Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office
      Shoot a fully automatic M15 with Jesse Kelly

      1. eric anderson

        That’s a lovely innuendo. But people were not coming to that event to learn to shoot the opponent with an automatic weapon. The candidate believes in gun rights. This was an appropriate way to communicate that point. There were not targets of the opposition for people to shoot at, were there?

        You’re making connections that don’t exist.

        In any case, the Arizona shooter was not a conservative. He was not looking to the Tea Party for messages or advice. Was he?

        1. Lidia

          Are you just pretending not to see?
          Here’s Mrs. Palin just today:
          “Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence.”

          Notice the veiled threat of violence inherent in her very “call for peace”??

    3. bob

      “sound-bite attempts to put conservative radio in the crosshairs (heh heh)”

      Fucking Hilarious.

      Another flag waving, freedom loving AMERICAN, who can’t wait to see it all come undone. Tell us the truth, you are enjoying the show aren’t you?

      1. eric anderson

        What I want to see come undone is the power of the ruling class, which exercises its power through the current Big Government system — both GOP and Democratic Party arms.

        So far I haven’t seen smaller government. So no, I won’t start enjoying what’s happening until we see spending, taxes, regulations and government power reduced, and that power returned to individuals and communities.

    4. Hugh

      Vitriol is defined as cruel, bitter criticism. It is also an old name for sulfuric acid. So you could probably add in the current context that vitriol is criticism which has a corrosive effect on our political discourse. Sounds like Limbaugh and crew to me.

      1. eric anderson

        I think Barack Obama’s criticism of our system is corrosive. Same for Pelosi and other left leaders. I think if you listen to liberal talk show hosts, who constantly complain about how horrible this nation is: racist, sexist, homophobic, materialist, destroying the planet, bigoted, and whatever else we are… is that not corrosive to the discourse?

        Honestly, I live in Iowa, and I do not recognize the America liberals talk about.

        1. Hugh

          The joke is on you. Obama and the Democrats have continued and expanded on Bush and the Republican agenda across the board. So if you see corrosion, if you see a country you no longer recognize, well, you can thank its architects, people with names like Bush and Reagan. There hasn’t been a leftist in the White House since FDR, and he only went moderately left to avoid revolution.

          Conservatives live in a permanent state of denial. We have been subjected to their economic policies for the last 35 years. And they don’t work. They simply, massively don’t work. Rather than face up to reality, conservatives blame anyone and anything that disturbs their fantasies. It would all work if only those mean old Democrats had not polluted it all with their dirty leftist ways, ignoring as I said above that the Democrats embraced a long time ago the same conservative, corporatist agenda as the Republicans.

          I don’t expect this to have any effect on you. If you still prefer the fantasy at this point, I doubt that anything will make you give it up. Just don’t expect the rest of us to play along.

        2. Lidia

          “I do not recognize the America liberals talk about.”

          Well, for what it’s worth, I don’t recognize the “liberals” America talks about.

    5. Oy veh

      “I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus – living fossils – so we will never forget what these people stood for.”

      – Rush Limbaugh

  53. joe

    It’s not a coincidence that he killed someone who Palin had in her cross hairs. Palin admitted this by pulling down the cross hair graphic from her face book page.

    Palin & many of her followers misunderstand the 2nd Amendment to give citizens the right to kill politicians who oppress them.

    They talk about 2nd Amendment rememdies, reloading, hold up guns as if they’re toys. They’re responsible for inciting violence and they are 100% responsible for these deaths.

  54. Pete Davis

    I have two thoughts.

    First, this is just a tragedy. Regardless of her ideas, Guifford in no way deserved anything like this, nor did any of the bystanders wounded and killed. The whole thing is just totally senseless.

    From a broader perspective, this is certainly a commentary on the state of affairs in our country. We have a completely broken monetary and political system, which systematically enriches the politically and financially connected at the expense of everyone else. Underlying this is a culture of rampant fraud, theft, usury, corruption and outright lies. Nobody in Washington seems to have the slightest interest in even discussing the truth, which is that our entire Fed-based system is corrupt and broken.

    Instead, our airwaves are filled with people shouting at each other, far more content in tearing each other down than in having anything remotely resembling an intelligent discussion about how to solve our very real problems.

    And on the sidelines are people, increasingly marginalized by a government that has shown zero inclination to do anything beyond paying lip service while acting to consolidate even more power behind the scenes.

    And while I in no way condone the shootings, I can certainly understand the anger, frustration and sense of helplessness many people feel. Our current economic mess isn’t some 100-year storm, as many pundits have professed. No, it’s the direct and predictable result of a corrupt and broken system within a fading, and increasingly uncaring, empire.

  55. Psychoanalystus

    This too is part of the “circuses”. FoxNews, Rush Limbaugh, and their ilk deliberately create a paranoid environment in which people like Loughner eventually snap. And, while we are all transfixed to the tube and are blogging here about this event for days and days, Goldman Sachs and gang probably stole another trillion of our “bread”.

    So there, while the Romans provided their chumps with endless bread and circuses, the US empire offers free circuses while the bread is taken away.


  56. Matt

    The one person of suspicion has been interviewed and released. He was a taxi driver who drove the shooter to the Safeway and then walked into the store with the shooter when the shooter did not have correct change.

  57. Advonlal7

    We tell ourselves stories in order to live. The princess is caged in the consulate. The man with the candy will lead the children into the sea. The naked woman on the ledge outside the window on the sixteenth floor is a victim of accidie, or the naked woman is an exhibitionist, and it would be “interesting” to know which. We tell ourselves that it makes some difference whether the naked woman is about to commit a mortal sin or is about to register a political protest or is about to be, the Aristophanic view, snatched back to the human condition by the fireman in priest’s clothing just visible in the window behind her, the one smiling at the telephoto lens. We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely… by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria — which is our actual experience.

    – Joan Didion “The White Album”

    1. Larry Elasmo

      Advonlal7 says: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live…”

      Yes, but here are a few reasons why I could never take Joan Didion’s writing all that seriously: For one thing, she is child of the privileged upper class, someone whose lavender love seats matched exactly the potted orchids on her mantel, someone who had porcelain elephant end tables, someone who chose to burden her daughter with the name Quintana Roo.

      She was a writer beset by migraines that could be triggered by her decorator’s having pleated, instead of gathered, her new diningroom curtains. These, and other assorted facts – such as the fact that Didion chose to buy the dress Linda Kasabian wore at the Charles Manson trial at I. Magnin in Beverly Hills.

      She always made it a point of honor not to struggle for meaning. Nothing matters, according to Didion. Or, for her, only surfaces matter.

      Didion, who lives somewhere in Ayn Rand country, once made fun (in Run River) of the character who “stood up for the little fellow and for his Human Right to a Place in the Sun”; she makes no apology for the character whom she quite truthfully describes as a “robber land baron.”

      While it’s true that Didion occasionally ridicules the rich; it ought not to follow that this gives her any right to express contempt for the poor.

      In this age of kleptocracy and class warfare, when everyone must choose sides, Joan Didion simply isn’t that relevant anymore, assuming she ever was.

      What she always returned to, of course, was her own personal angst. But Joan Didion’s personal angst is not the center of the universe.

      So please, spare us the Joan Didion quotes.

  58. Deus-DJ

    Of course incitement by those like Glenn Beck caused this tragedy. Conservatives like to point to the fact that this person was mentally disturbed, but that is precisely why political vitriol must be avoided. When lunatics like this loser hear it they go unhinged. That you right wing losers are unable to understand something so simple shows that you should keep quiet when I or others say you incite hatred, and if you do understand this and think we’re stupid enough to fall for your pathetic arguments then I again urge you to just STFU.


  59. plschwartz

    1.I went to checkout the details of the special citizenship that was given to Murdoch to satisfy the FCC requirements of media ownership. It was non-existent in the Wikipedia Murdoch article and hard to find anywhere!
    2.I like many others voted for Mr Obama hoping no expecting him to deal with the Bush amorality. There was among many an expectation of another Camelot. Alas he is a small person.He shied away from the moral crusade needed.
    I was taught that a sin of Omission was as bad as a sin of Commission. From this viewpoint he is as guilty of the Tucson shooting as is Sarah Palin.
    “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity”

    1. John

      Didn’t Murdoch just pay to become a citizen so the could work his magic destroying this country?

    1. CC

      Yes, this Jesse Kelly tea party type was considered previously unknown by most Arizonans and yet had enourmous funding from unknown private interests running an extremely negative, emotionally hyped, slander, misinformation campaign against Giffords who’s campaign was ‘respectable’ by contrast not resorting to those tactics whether or not one agreed with her positions.

      To my absolute shock, Jesse Kelly seemed to be getting traction, I guess that’s what vast amounts of funding from anonymous sources can do, but his blunt statments on PBS interviews about dismanteling Social Security fell him.

      He tried to recouperate by ‘restating’ that position, that what he really meant was he wanted seniors to have a ‘choice’ with Social Security, code for Wall Street should be able to pick over of whatever is left of Social Security so retirees can choose to loose it in fees and gambling by Wall Street or can choose to just have it hacked apart.

      1. JTFaraday

        You keep coming back to this–and I think I agree with you that this connection between outside money, a product of the Supreme Court decision, and these “targeted” districts ought to be pursued more thoroughly.

        We need to know who is behind the “right wing extremists.”

  60. KFritz

    Yet another opinion.

    It looks as though the Radical Right is culpable in this matter on 2 major counts:
    1) Their incendiary rhetoric has created an environment that enables and supports violence like this assassination.
    2)Not only do they create the environment, they compound it by blocking any and all sensible curbs on a gun industry which produces far too many lethal weapons for hunting AND recreation combined. This also enables the horrific violence of the Mexican cartels’ low level insurgency.

    Without the abundance of lethality, it would be much more difficult for a shlub like Loughner to wreak so much havoc. Yes, it’s true that a a shlub like Gavrilo Princip triggered WWI, but he was part of an organized group, and the Archduke’s driver was a shlub who made the job easy. Here in the US, the entire Radical Right pitches in to make handiwork like this easy.

    And BTW, it’s reassuring to the see bots fr/ the Radical Right spewing their venom here. Dependability is good.

    1. TNO

      THer are probably some people who goes to to see W. by Oliver Stone, and congratulate themselves for being understanding, unbiased and non-partisan. Self rightous, finger-pointers probably have nothing to do with racheting up the rancor do they?

    2. bob goodwin

      One man’s incediary rhetoric is another man’s free speech. All the rhetoric I see from the right (even the nuttier stuff) involves over throwing the government through such manacing techniques as: “disagreeing” and “voting”.

      I cannot imagine that the right ever would have embraced Timothy McVeigh, yet Obama hangs out with Bill Ayers. So unlike the incendiary right, the left actually fails to purge violence from its ideology.

      1. KFritz

        The target of the assassination was pictured in a crosshair by Sarah Palin. Bill Ayers WAS an advocate of violence. 40 years or so ago. Because the right wing doesn’t EMBRACE Timothy McVeigh, they’re absolved?

        1. bob goodwin

          Absolved of what?

          Ayers and Obama have met quite recently, which I take to mean that liberals tolerate violent radicals.

          The use of crosshairs is a fairly common icon in the business community, and is a common metaphor in the english language. I have never thought of it as violence.

          I don’t think you have either.

        2. Lidia

          Actually, underneath some of them do embrace McVeigh.

          On one Sean Hannity show, he joked about his audience being Tim McVeigh “wannabes”, and they laughed and applauded.

          Then you have Bill O’Reilly’s non-stop attacks on “Tiller the Baby Killer” until someone took care of that for him. (This doctor saved countless women’s and fetus’ lives was of no importance to Bill-O).

          “Who will rid me of this meddlesome doctor/politician/president/government agency?” is the question they are asking. They know someone out there will respond sooner or later.

          FOX’s license to broadcast should be revoked, imo. They are accessories to murder.

          1. KFritz

            The unstated stance of ‘a nation under threat.’ They imply the Constitution is under threat. From whom? The implication is that it’s from the left, and their attitude is that THEY know why it’s under threat and what to do about the threat. Again without a clear definition of the ‘Threat.’ That’s paranoia. And fear mongering.

            If they’re not on the Right, please enlighten me/us.

          2. Andrew Bissell

            Ah it’s their “unstated stances” and whatever “implications” can be read into their purposes. Yes, quite incendiary, those.

            And clearly the concern for the Constitution can only be born of paranoia, because everyone knows the U.S. government is careful to respect it at all times, especially when it comes to matters involving the military and law enforcement.

          3. KFritz

            Who’s threatening it & how are they threatening it? What’s the mechanism to prevent &/or reverse the (ostensible) threat?

          4. Skippy


            Most of the men’s gripes revolve around policies that began under President Bush but didn’t scare them so much at the time. “Too many conservatives relied on Bush’s character and didn’t pay attention,” founder Rhodes told me. “Only now, with Obama, do they worry and see what has been done. Maybe you said, I trusted Bush to only go after the terrorists.* But what do you think can happen down the road when they say, ‘I think you are a threat to the nation?'”

            In Pray’s estimate, it might not be long (months, perhaps a year) before President Obama finds some pretext—a pandemic, a natural disaster, a terror attack—to impose martial law, ban interstate travel, and begin detaining citizens en masse. One of his fellow Oath Keepers, a former infantryman, advised me to prepare a “bug out” bag with 39 items including gas masks, ammo, and water purification tablets, so that I’d be ready to go “when the shit hits the fan.”

            When it does, Pray and his buddies plan to go AWOL and make their way to their “fortified bunker”—the home of one comrade’s parents in rural Idaho—where they’ve stocked survival gear, generators, food, and weapons. If it becomes necessary, they say, they will turn those guns against their fellow soldiers.

            PRAY AND I DRIVE through a bleak landscape of fallow winter fields and strip malls in his blue Dodge Stratus as Drowning Pool’s “Bodies”—a heavy metal song once used to torment Abu Ghraib detainees—plays on the stereo. Clad in an oversize black hoodie that hides his military physique, Pray sports an Army-issue buzz cut and is seriously inked (skulls, smoke, an eagle). His father kicked him out of the house at age 14. Two years later, after working jobs from construction to plumbing—”If it’s blue collar, I’ve done it”—he tried to enlist. It wasn’t long after 9/11, and he was hell-bent on revenge. The Army turned him down. Blaming the “THOR” tattooed across his fist, Pray tried to burn it off. On September 11, 2006, he approached the Army again and was accepted.

            Now Pray is both a Birther and a Truther. He believes he is following an illegitimate, foreign-born president in a war on terror launched by a government plot—9/11. He admires soldiers like Army reservist Major Stefan Frederick Cook, who volunteered for a deployment last May and then sued to avoid it—claiming that Obama is not a natural-born citizen and is thus unfit for command. Pray himself had been eager to go to Iraq when his own unit deployed last June, but he smashed both knees falling from a crane rig and the injuries kept him stateside. In September, he was demoted from specialist to private first class—he’d been written up for bullshit infractions, he claims, after seeking help for a drinking problem. His job on base involves operating and maintaining heavy machinery; the day before we met, he and his fellow “undeployables” had attached a snowplow to a Humvee, their biggest assignment in a while. He spends idle hours at the now-quiet base researching the New World Order and conspiracies about swine flu quarantine camps—and doing his best to “wake up” other soldiers.



          5. Andrew Bissell

            Well the Oath Keepers’ founder, Stewart Rhodes, was in 2004 arguing that Bush’s military tribunals of “enemy combatants” were unconstitutional. You can read all of his unhinged rantings here:


            Given the clear Ron Paul influence of the group and its founders, I doubt they have much love for Bush or the mainstream GOP. Some other common concerns of Oath Keepers members are no-knock SWAT drug raids, the widespread disarmament of New Orleans citizens in the wake of Katrina, and in general the increasing domestic deployment of the U.S. military. You know, paranoid stuff. Probably best to just trust the SPLC that this is some weird militia group.

            Their mechanism to prevent further erosion of the Constitution is pretty clear, it’s a list of the 10 orders they refuse to carry out, and it makes no reference to whether the orders are given by a Republican or a Democrat.

            Even this blog has had the subtext of “a nation under threat” from day one (notice the “Banana republic” tag on this post?). That’s not, in and of itself, something which should be cast out of public discourse.

          6. KFritz

            @ Andrew

            I stand partially corrected. Thanks!

            HOWEVER, as written, #5 smells like very, very, very bad fish.

      2. Tao Jonesing

        I don’t understand how anyone’s freedom of speech is threatened here. As you know, the First Amendment only bars the government from making laws abridging the freedom of speeech. It does not allow bar other citizens from criticizing or even denouncing what you say.

        Also, you obviously haven’t been paying attention to the types of speech that folks on the right have been engaging in and mainstreaming for quite some time now. Apparently, you no longer notice when somebody like Glen Beck pretends to poison a “liberal” government official. And what kind of reaction do you think someone intends when they tell you that “liberals” have created death panels to kill you and your grandma? Do you think that is meant to engender warm fuzzy feelings? And what about those cute “liberal hunting licenses?” Those are just a joke, right? Just like carrying guns openly while wearing a “let’s water the tree of liberty” t-shirt to a political rally? There’s NO intent to intimidate, only a desire to show one’s love of country in an open, friendly manner. The right wing is just showing its love of trees!

        Come on, man, the real intent is obvious to anybody who has a brain, and you insult your intelligence more than anybody else’s when you insist on ignoring the obvious.

        You need to get out of your metaphorical bunker and take a hard look at the rhetoric of the right.

        Please notice that I’m responding only to what you’ve said. I have no opinion on what motivated this Loughner guy. All we know about him is what the government has told us, and the man appear to be a cypher for all poltical points of view (i.e., right wingers can say he is a left winger, left wingers can say he is a right winger, statists can say he is an anarchist, and anarchists can say he is a statist). I see no reason to trust what the government is telling us about this person, nor do I care about what he does or will do now that he is in custody. What I am concerned about is what will the government do in the wake of this event, and what we’ve been told about the guy seems tailor made to allow for a “bi-partisan” push for a further roll-up of our civil liberties.

        1. bob goodwin


          you are obviously a smart person, but you should get out more. Conservatives are not violent, and Glenn Beck is not proposing violent overthrow of anything. You can easily find whack jobs on all sides of any debate, but the tea party rallies in particular have been middle aged family types. This is not the same as the militias and the weather underground.

          I hope you are not so paranoid to believe that there are any hidden messages being encoded to the masses.

          I don’t like everything Beck says, but he is nothing like what liberals say about him. He gleefully takes down far lefters on shaky evidence, but that is part of our politics on both sides.

          1. ella

            Many on the left believed that Bush 43rd stole the election. And yet no lefties went to rallies brandishing guns, no lefties threatened succession, no lefties physically attacked a rightie politician or killed innocent bystanders at a political event, no leftie claimed that the 2nd amendment provided a remedy, no lefty claimed that if the ballot box did not work they would take the country back by the bullet box, and no leftie TV host had mock up poisonings of politicians or used the rhetoric of target, or images of rife sites on a district.

            Words matter. Billions have been spent with advertising political or otherwise to convince others of the truth contained therein. People act on what they see and hear. The rhetoric and images of violence can in fact cause violence. People on the fringe react to this as though the violence will be condoned.

            Debate without violent rhetoric is necessary, as is dissent. Threats of violence, the poisoning of public officials, attacks against the government and the attempted violent over through of the government is not

          2. Tao Jonesing


            Go back and read what I wrote and tell me where I said or even implied that conservatives are violent people? You’ve employed a straw man rather than address the fact that the rhetoric of the right has been violent and eliminationist for years.

            And did I say Glenn Beck was arguing for the violent overthrow of anything? You think I’m defending the government by pointing to the fact that he had a skit where he pretended to poison Nancy Pelosi? And I just heard a clip from the guy’s radio show in which he stated that Michael Moore should be killed and contemplated whether he should do it himself or hire somebody to do it.

            Regarding the attempt to establish equivalency between right and left, who the hell is the Weather Underground? Yeah, I’ve heard about them, and understand that they’re some kind of long defunct leftist organization that engaged in some bombings. But were they ever MAINSTREAM? Did they have their own television “news” network? Did they have radio pundits across the country picking up their talking points? Did they have congress people using their talking points?

            This is where your attempt at false equivalency fails. When the whacko goes mainstream, whacko is the new normal.
            Through your defense of Glenn Beck, you have just proven my thesis regarding the cognitive dissonance that is preventing you from taking a hard look at what other “conservatives” are saying in your name. The fact that you are not whacko does not change the fact that you are enabling the whackos.

            Look, I’m not agreeing with those laying the blame on the tea party. I think they’re wrong because the violent rhetoric was part of the landscape before the tea party came along and because none of the tea partiers that I know embrace that kind of rhetoric. But that does not meant that NONE of them do, nor does it mean that such rhetoric has not been widely covered by the mainstream media. In this context, then, it is easy to understand why some would make the connection between the violence and the violent rhetoric. If you cannot see that, it is because you refuse to do so.

            I strongly suggest you read Robert O. Paxton’s “The Anatomy of Fascism.” The fact that right wingers can turn an attempted assassination of somebody they view as a political enemy into a victimization of the right wing is a stunning development that is completely consistent with the precursors necessary for the rise of fascism. Also read Milton Meyer’s “They Thought They Were Free.”

  61. chad

    I don’t think this event was politically motivated at all but if anything happens to anyone on the far right, even just a car accident, this could really spiral out of control.

  62. Numb Nutz

    Perhaps Loughner listened to some angry rapper talk about going ‘rat-a-tat-tat,’ and became inspired. Perhaps he read the koran and decided to go jihadi on a few infidels. Perhaps he was really mad @ the Democrats for losing the House in the 2010 election and sought some payback. All of these theories are as supported by evidence as the numbnutz who would use this violence to blame those on the political right.

    1. KFritz

      Rappers mostly talk about street warfare between gangs & affiliated rappers. Not insurrection. The left-wing of American (or facsimile thereof) is NOT filled w/ Jihadists. What does this have to do w/ right wing vitriol & ACTING OUT against our ‘left?’

  63. Elliot X

    Mongoloid Alert! RNC chairman candidate Saul Anuzis says his hero is “Ludwig von Mises of FreedomWorks”…


  64. 60sradical

    Because I live in CA., hence PST, and get to have the last word, or so it seems, I echo the idea of “strange times”, and the Chinese curse of “interesting times.” But I feel compelled to say that the Arizona incident which seems to have shocked many Americans and will forever change security issues around politicians,, is simply a routine, everyday event in Iraq, The Sudan, Afghanistan and Somalia, for example. Many years ago, while I was in the peace corps living in southern Philippines there were up to 200 political assinations in a single year.
    Now it is obviously our turn to go sideways and any incident which captures America’s 2 day attention span serves merely to take us inexorably towards 3rd world status due to internal political conflicts.
    Conspiracy buffs claim that this is what the “owners” of the world want–since Amerca, per se, means nothing to globalists. I”m only sure of vey few things–universal physical constants and too damn many sheeple.

    1. Skippy

      Ha, your time ends and mine begins (was typing comment before your submissions publication).

      Might I say that as a fellow traveler I concur with your statements in whole.

  65. Kristin

    Where are we moving as a society. It is not just a barbarian act but more of signifies our learning from cultures that are not so up there.

  66. Skippy

    One lesser individual takes out two individuals of some social note (herd management). The ringing…far out lasting the perpetrators implement of choice…must be the specious ricochets of thought that abound with in the tubes…we call the internet. Does the charged individual even have ability to self internalize his thoughts in such a way as to be able to construct a coherent and transferable thesis to his deeds. And if such is possible will all facts be disclosed to the herd for mastication or will the polemic dyslexia which is the American norm hold sway, it is Murdoch’s and others meat and potatoes, stuff that makes fortunes…herd perception control.

    A stage has been set by MSM, politicians and others, lone actor decides to make a grand entrance, some silently applaud whilst others cringe in horror, beset by 19 peoples introductions to life’s absurdity.

    Skippy…if one was to scan the world, with in one day, this event would pale in comparison but, it happened in America, the western world, a better place…sigh.

    PS. resume nashing of teeth, wailing and waving of arms over ones head…the rest of the world is becoming entertained by the vainer slowly peeling back, the exceptionalism microns thick.

    1. KFritz

      Not just in the Third World. There were nearly 1000 murders in Oakland in the last 10 years. Only 2 or 3 attracted much local outrage. The highest profile victims were policemen and a journalist.

    2. psychohistorian

      I liked the exceptionalism, microns thick description. How fitting.

      Unfortunately, we are the reserve currency and have all the nukes. If the rich sociopaths and their bought government stay in control the rest of the world is NOT going to be entertained for long. Once they subjugate Americans and get full control of the nukes, taking over the rest of the world is a cake walk.


  67. Jebbie

    All this political wailing and gnashing of teeth over an act that wasn’t politically motivated. The big question for me is, How was someone as unstable as this guy allowed to buy a hand gun? That’s just asking for trouble.

  68. Parvaneh Ferhad

    Isn’t this to be expected in a country in which the government doesn’t think it wrong to assasinate people – even its own citizens – just because it disagrees with them or thinks them somehow dangerous; or have them extraordinary renditioned to a place where they can be ‘legally’ tortured just to get a phony confession that reinforces their paranoid world view?
    If the government teaches people this kind of behaviour is ok, it’s no wonder if at some point some people start acting the same way.
    You reap what you sow.

    1. Lidia

      Thank you, Parvaneh Ferhad. This is indeed the gruesome situation we are mired in.

      It seems as though countries, like people, can sometimes “go insane”. A Pol Pot has not yet emerged out of the Hannitys, Becks, Coulters, et al., but they have been approaching Radio Rwanda.

      Jay Severin, who was on the air back when I lived in Boston, always had some information for us, like suggestions to “kill all Muslims”, and that Mexicans were “millions of leeches… come here to leech off you”. He had a big following, moving up in the ratings rather than down with this type of fare.

  69. Mike Bell

    “Yet news reports as of this AM indicate that Loughner did not act alone, which suggest that various exhortations against Gifffords had an impact. ”

    Yeesh. Not YOU too, Yves! Another extremely disappointing post by an otherwise rational blogger.

    I wish the left-leaning financial bloggers would use some of that strong intellect of theirs and apply it to this admittedly emotional subject.

    For example, it is now clear that Loughner DID indeed act alone, and was a total nutjob with somewhat of an obsession with the congresswoman.

    C’mon! You’re breaking my heart.

  70. Keith

    I can only say this was a terrible and tragic incident. That this has been spun into a left/right issue seems to be due to one of the victims being a politician. Yes, bad things happen to people, even politicians. This killer had mental issues. A more pertinent and possibly fruitful line of questioning might be to do with why this person was in possession of a firearm, when he was already known to police, and had expressed some homicidal thoughts.
    I know the “political ramifications” discussion seems to be much more sexy at the moment, but really, the basics of this case and previous police interaction with this person really need to be established.

    All I will say about American politics as an outsider looking in, is that the kind of vitriolic attacks and rhetoric over the last 15 or so years from whatever side has been pretty abject and deplorable. That politicians and their families are subject to such verbal abuse and threats, simply for expressing ideas and views is beyond deplorable.

  71. Brick

    Firstly let me echo Yves sentiments in expressing outrage and extending sympathy to those who have suffered from this event.

    What concerns me is that everyone is extrapolating on insufficent data to promote their own personal pet peeves, whether its guns, nut jobs, education, banks or politics. For me there are a few interesting facts. In Loughner’s first encounter with Giffords she responded to his question in spanish. In his safe with the letter of intent to assinate was the invite to that first encounter. The US army rejected his application because he failed a drugs test and fellow pupils described him as a conspiracy theorist.

    The general feeling I get is of a solitary disallusioned man who has fallen through the cracks of society. There is not much suggestion of orchestration and most likely this will be attributed as a one off event. I feel there will be some knee jerk reactions and very little proper examination of the potential flaws in policy which contributed to his angst. Just like the reactions to the banking crisis, and foreclosure problems this will all be swept under the carpet fairly soon. Even if this is a symptom of policy which is open to doubt, you have to say this act was completely the wrong way to go about addressing the issues, and hinders the promotion of discussion and free speach.

  72. Conscience of a conservative

    I’m no fan of Sarah Palin. There is a legitimate issue about civility in Politics across all political spectrums and the media. It is also true that what occurred in Arizona was a terrible tragedy, but it seems to me that the shooter(who was deranged and had leftist leanings) had no nexus to Palin.

    The climate for discourse is terrible, but I’m reminded of Ron Emanuel saying, “don’t waste a crisis”, and it seems in watching Paul Krugman, Keith Oberman and others on TV reacting with outrage against political figure they didn’t much like in the first place within moments of the shooting, the left’s response feels contrived, impulsive, and self serving.

    We still don’t fully know what motivated the shooter who is reported to have mental problems. The media didn’t react this way when Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinkley. I don’t understand why Conservatives or more specifically a ten month old Palin facebook posting bear more responsibility in the shooting than Arizona’s lax gun laws or the system not recognizing a mentally disturbed individual.

  73. Ignim Brites

    The reactions to this event demonstrate that the nation is lost. It is way past time for responsible public intellectuals to lay the foundation for peaceful secession.

    1. Conscience of a conservative

      The reaction was basically Democratic leadership faxing out talking points to all their surrogates and using the tragedy to score political points. Of course Republicans would have done likewise. I found the whole media kerfuffle disgusting. Worst of all was Keith Olberman screaming at Sarah Palin in monologue.

  74. Mickey Marzick in Akron, Ohio

    What is even more disturbing than the actual assassination attempt itself is the seeming incredulity of those here and elsewhere who refuse to see it as a political act, but instead merely the isolated act of a deranged individual. It’s almost as if “political assassination” is something foreign to the United States, something that happens in other countries but not here. American Exceptionalism again?

    Yet beginning in 1963 with the assassination of JFK, followed by those of MLK and Kennedy’s brother, Robert, in 1968, then the attempted assassinations of George Wallace and Ronald Reagan, and others that were foiled, etc. that we don’t know about, it is clear that political violence/terrorism is inherent to our political culture and not just confined to the last 40 years.

    Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley were three US Presidents assassinated while in office. Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford survived attempts on their lives. Indeed, when the political landscape is widened, whether it’s the genocidal warfare waged against Native Americans, slavery and then racial lynchings and cross burnings, labor violence and assassination of many an IWW organizer by vigilantes, from Haymarket Square to Homestead onto Ludlow to Matewan to Black Mountain and the “sit down” strikes of the 30s, up to and including the bombing of abortion clinics, VIOLENCE is endemic to American politics.

    We just refuse to see it. Saturday was just another reminder.

    1. JTFaraday

      Well, in this instance, I can see why people would deny that this incident is political, what with both camps in the culture war already determined to shove Loughner in the other camp, despite the cryptic/ contradictory nature of the evidence with regard to his own political leanings. If they can’t sucessfully shove him over the dividing line, they’ll deny that it’s political.

      And should his political leanings evade the framework that ALL those people use to understand EVERYTHING, is it any wonder they might resort to attributing his actions, in the end, solely to insanity? If it doesn’t articulate in their framework–if they can’t blame Sarah Palin, as in the NY Times, or call him a communist atheist, as Fox News was eager to do– it simply doesn’t exist.

  75. constantnormal

    the sheer number of responses deterred my own … for a moment. I’ll try to hold the bloviating to a minimum, aiming instead for sound bites.

    Americans are not taught to gracefully lose, or even to compromise — all through our culture is the meme of “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. I don’t expect that to change. It’s how lotteries do so well here. All or nothing.

    Guns represent the illusion of control — in a world where the illusion is growing increasingly thin. Take away the guns, and we as a people will still cling to whatever offers support of that illusion.

    I find a disturbing parallel to the socio-economic set-up leading to the French Revolution. Wealth was increasingly concentrated into the hands of a hereditary minority, with the middle classes pushed back into poverty. Stir the pot with a variety of inflammatory firebrands, and eventually it boils over. Our pot is only beginning to bubble, with the lunatics popping first, being the more volatile fractions of our culture.

    Once you get past a certain point (which we passed a long time ago), I think that the course of events is unstoppable. Things must play out the rest of the tragic story line.

  76. Moon Pie

    Why is it that when Reagan was shot there were no ties in the media made to any leftist groups or political movements? What about when JFK, RFK, Lincoln were killed (all ostenbsibly and arguably by leftists) was there not a witch hunt for ideological opponents such as we are seeing today in the very unfortunate violence against the Honorable Ms. Giffords, Judge Roll and others? My conclusion is that people then were wise enough to rightly discern that the actors, murderers, were mentally unstable people who committed horrific crimes. Period.

    What is different today? The discourse politically has become so poisoned and heated that people will use this tragedy to gainsay, discredit and demonize others. This has percolated all the way up to the MSM and devotees of one camp or another eat it up like so much honey.

    This is a terrible tragedy committed by a sad, despicable case of a human being. It seems he is or was beyond redemption and why or how that came to be should be the real focus. That and hopefully a large amount of introspection individually and wholesale as to who and what we are as American citizens.

    Our children are being entranced by candy coated drivel for entertainment, not being challenged to lead virtuous, decent lives. They are fed the pap of nonsensical “feel-good” tones with no meaning or worse – political correctness.

    Our financial instituions have waged war on common citizens for the gain of ill-gotten booty and power as more and more property owners and investors are coming the the realization that the 3-card monty table has just moved to a new corner.

    Our leaders in DC have been seeking their own prominence and gain (in large part) and the public be damned, which also are under the yoke of the banks. Our currency is in steep decline and the public debt is really just inconcieveable – if not unconscionable.

    I don’t know what it will take to restore and regain some of the common sense qualities that at one time defined the essence of being “American”. It certainly can be argued that we have not progressed as a nation or a society from 20, 50 years ago. And I don’t see it improving any time soon until and unless some fundamental things change, primarily in discourse.

    Having major media outlets and individuals blame totally unrelated groups or media figures for this awful act will only divide us further. More government intrusion into our lives for the sake of “security” will alienate further also.

    “He who would trade temporary security for liberty deservers neither.” – Benjamin Franklin

    Yeah, ‘ol Ben lived 200+ years ago and so forth…he wouldn’t understand, right? Wrong. He, Jefferson and others, while they could not anticipate industry and technology changes (although some would argue they could), understood very well the nature of man (and woman…the former very well) and is is precisely because they did that we wound up with the republic that we did. Lincoln nudged it closer to perfection. It is not unwise to look back before going forward. There is not one good leader who has not.

  77. Ishmael

    OK, for all the people who are so quick to blame the right. Besides the information listed below I also saw an email from a person who said he lived a couple blocks from the shooter and his parents. This email described the shooters mother as a unreconstructed hippy and a hoarder – the neighbors have been praying for years that they would leave.

    The sheriff is a Democrat and works in a sancturary city and said he will not enforce the new Arizona law. His mother works from the city and is reported (but not confirmed as a hippy and a Democrat). The kid sit around smoking pot and going to concerts. There were also unconfirmed reports that he was very left wing. Now in my mind there is nothing to point to a conservative or the tea party.
    The Cholla Jumps
    by James Kelley
    Jared Loughner is a product of Sheriff Dupnik’s office

    This is the report that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has been dreading since the tragic event on Saturday January 8.

    The sheriff has been editorializing and politicizing the event since he took the podium to report on the incident. His blaming of radio personalities and bloggers is a pre-emptive strike because Mr. Dupnik knows this tragedy lays at his feet and his office. Six people died on his watch and he could have prevented it. He needs to step up and start apologizing to the families of the victims instead of spinning this event to serve his own political agenda.

    Jared Loughner, pronounced by the Sheriff as Lock-ner, saying it was the Polish pronunciation. Of course he meant Scott or Irish but that isn’t the point. The point is he and his office have had previous contact with the alleged assailant in the past and that is how he knows how to pronounce the name.

    Jared Loughner has been making death threats by phone to many people in Pima County including staff of Pima Community College, radio personalities and local bloggers. When Pima County Sheriff’s Office was informed, his deputies assured the victims that he was being well managed by the mental health system. It was also suggested that further pressing of charges would be unnecessary and probably cause more problems than it solved as Jared Loughner has a family member that works for Pima County. Amy Loughner is a Natural Resource specialist for the Pima County Parks and Recreation. My sympathies and my heart goes out to her and the rest of Mr. Loughner’s family. This tragedy must be tearing them up inside wondering if they had done the right things in trying to manage Jared’s obvious mental instability.

    Every victim of his threats previously must also be wondering if this tragedy could have been prevented if they had been more aggressive in pursuing charges against Mr. Loughner. Perhaps with a felony conviction he would never have been able to lawfully by the Glock 9mm Model 19 that he used to strike down the lives of six people and decimate 14 more.

    This was not an act of politics. This was an act of a mentally disturbed young man hell bent on getting his 15 minutes of infamy. The Pima County Sheriff’s Department was aware of his violent nature and they failed to act appropriately. This tragedy leads right back to Sherriff Dupnik and all the spin in the world is not going to change that fact.

    At this point little is known about Loughner’s home life or youth. He lives with his parents in a middle-class neighborhood in southern Arizona. His mother, Amy Loughner, works for Tucson’s Parks Department. The employment history of his father Randy Loughner remains unknown.

  78. Bernard

    fascinating to see the unwillingness to own up to the power of the vitriol. that says more than i could ever say or think.

    This is America’s payback. all the bits and pieces are there, like the previous poster said. the “loner” is the sacrosanct American hero. The Rugged Individual. Gosh the script is so well written.

    and those who refuse to even see what lies before them, merely encourage more of the same.

    America’s Weimar Republic!!! indeed. just where it will evolve into is what time will show. Gosh i will i could leave. Land of the Doomed

  79. no comment

    The Tea Party is on top of things!:

    “It is quite clear that liberals are trying to exploit this shooting for their own political benefit. … You can make a contribution online right now to the Tea Party Express – CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE.”

    1. Lidia

      (although I loathe the HuffPo) I would offer:

      The conservative hate-mongers don’t create psychos. We get that there will always be disturbed individuals out there. But the right-wing directs these lunatics to a source. They channel their fear, anger and paranoia — and they point them toward the Democrats. They use them as hate seeking missiles.

      They load them up them up with violent imagery, whether it’s talk of cross-hairs or second amendment remedies or the tree of liberty being refreshed with blood. Then when they get a violent reaction they pretend to be surprised and outraged that anyone would suggest they were the least bit culpable. The reality is that it is a simple formula — violence in, violence out. Violent imagery in, violent results out.

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