Congresswoman’s Shooting, Mass Murder is a Tragedy, Not a Partisan Opportunity

Prayers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her family, including my fellow USMMA alumnus Mark Kelly, and to those who lost people in the horrific shooting in Arizona earlier today. Such a tragedy, especially when we may never be able to make sense of the actions of a deranged man.
But boy, don’t we try–and unfortunately, not for the right reasons all the time. Among those, is RI Future’s Brian Hull [UPDATE: the post has mysteriously disappeared–here’s the Google cached version of the original post’s heading off of RI Future and here is the version re-posted by RI Feeds–nice try, but the proper action is to apologize and retract, not to make it disappear.], who should be ashamed of himself. I’m surprised at this display of despicable partisanship by Hull and didn’t think he would stoop this low. It’s clear he’s mindlessly parroting the DailyKos line–and a few Democratic Congressmen–who have decided that the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the related mass murder by a deranged individual is a political opportunity to be seized. Hull:

My guess is that the gunman was a right-wing Tea Party zealot who buys into the “Democrats are destroying America” messaging.

FL Rep. Alan Grayson:

I know nothing about the man who shot Gabby, and what was going through his mind when he did this. But I will tell you this — if he shot Gabby out of hatred, then it wasn’t Gabby he was shooting, but rather some cartoon version of her, drawn by her political opposition.

William Jacobson reveals some of the hypocrisy going on here. Elizabeth Scalia does, too and reminds us that it’s just not the time to do this political crap. It really isn’t.

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brassband
brassband
10 years ago

Just a few days ago DailyKos contributor “boyblue” lambasted Rep. Giffords for voting against Rep. Pelosi in the election for House Speaker, describing her as “dead to me:”
http://www.atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c60bf53ef0148c76d84e5970c-pi
The controversial Pam Geller posted this screenshot — Kos has allegedly taken it down.
It’s never wise to jump to conclusions in cases like this. The shooter was probably deeply disturbed and would not fit neatly into any ideological category.

Justin Katz
10 years ago

Following the developments throughout the day, I’ve been struck by how one could hardly have designed such a tragedy to better negate knee-jerk politicization. Giffords is a Democrat, but more of the blue-dog variety. She received some heat for ObamaCare votes, but as brassband notes (and for other reasons), was surely not a darling of the left.
The shooter, for his part, listed both Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto as favorite books. (I almost posted on this literary/ideological aspect, given related debates in our comment sections, but decided it wasn’t so immediately worth posting.)

glockster
glockster
10 years ago

This guy shot an innocent person in the head from a meter away. He’s nuts, plain and simple. No need for the libs to dive into this guy’s potential right-wing ideology.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Rep.Giffords and her husband are patriotic Americans involved in public service.I actually mostly agree with political stances-gun rights,secure borders,no Federal suit against Arizona,pay cut for Congress,and control of the public debt.Her vote on health care was like a lot of others who voted on health care-she wasn’t a radical bt any stretch.
Frankly,she isn’t a polarizing figure at all.The Federtal judge,who had been seriously threatened,turned out to be a chance attendee at the event.
The 9 year old girl is the worst tragedy of the day.
Brian Hull at RIF,who I thought was a saner voice there,has blamed right wing zealotry and Sarah Palin.that’s the kind of crap one expects from Crowley or some others there.
If this had been Barney Frank or Rand Paul,then political exremism might come to mind fast,but Rep.Giffords?i don’t get it.
It seems like this shooter was (a)crazy(b)crazy and being nudged because of talk of a second suspect(c0or angry at Gifford because of some non political issue,seeing as how he’s a local.the last may be combined with crazy also.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

I was going to post on RIFuture how disgusted I am with Brian Hull for blaming the “Tea Party” and “Republicans” for this tragedy, but I’d rather not give that cesspool the activity so I’ll do it here:
Brian, I am surprised and disgusted at your knee-jerk politicization of this sad event.

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

When they questioned her father about any enemy she might have, he said “the tea party”

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

Swazool,
Is that supposed to justify the ludicrous partisan blame game? You’re smarter than that. Those comments came from a father whose daughter’s life may have just been snuffed out. Cooler heads should have been behind those keyboards. This was the work of a lunatic.

Joe
Joe
10 years ago

Of course it’s inappropriate for anyone to use this sort of tragedy for political gain. But should these situations not cause people involved in public debate to consider the tone of their rhetoric? Shouldn’t it make people reconsider using phrases like “the firing line” and “don’t retreat – reload”? Shouldn’t it make Sarah Palin reconsider using crosshairs as imagery for political campaigns?
Y’all are right that Democrats jumped on this before any evidence suggested this disturbed man was motivated by Tea Party slogans. Indeed, right now, it seems he was not. So the Democrats were wrong. But tragedies like this always provoke reflection, and it’s a good time for people to reflect on what imagery they use in their political speeches.

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

Oh no Joe. Please stop. Those references you speak of are so deeply entrenched and intertwined in all facets of society far beyond political rhetoric. We would need a political filter. You’re grasping at straws.

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

Judge John Roll, was killed in this attack
Judge Roll received hundreds of
death threats in 2009 after denying a rancher’s motions to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of illegal immigrants who said the rancher detained, assaulted and threatened them, reported.
Conservative radio hosts stoked outrage over the ruling, and Consevative critics posted personal information about the judge online.

Joe
Joe
10 years ago

Do people who endorse the use of “crosshairs” as a political metaphor seriously think they’re walking away from this morally clean? Yes, this guy was disturbed, but violence has long been part of the Tea Party’s rhetoric. For instance, the Tea Party posted the addresses of congressmen who voted for healthcare. Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother’s gas line got cut because the Danville, Virginia Tea Party organizers posted the wrong address. After the vandalism, the Tea Party apologized for posting the wrong address.
After the passage of health care, people put bricks through the windows of those who voted in favor. Tea Party protesters threatened violence in their picket signs (e.g., “We came unarmed…this time,” and “Revolution Montana: Armed and Ready”). Catherine Crabill said “we have a chance to resolve this at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box.” And don’t forget about Joe Stack flying his plane into an IRS building. Scott Brown’s response turned it into a chance to point out how frustrated people were with the status quo in Washington.
None of this impugns the ideals conservatives stand for, but now is probably a good time to consider the language we use in political discourse.

bella
bella
10 years ago

Palin loves to say actions have consequences. Said consequences probably include a mentally disturbed young man with access to a gun who hears and sees rhetoric putting rifle sights on Congresspeople and flowery speech about Second Amendment solutions and watering the tree of liberty.
Did Palin put the gun in his hand? No. But when somebody sees a politician turned into a heroine spouting the kind of babble you hear in a gangsta rap video, he figures shooting an elected official and killing innocent people (including a girl born on Sept. 11, 2001) is just his patriotic duty.
Based on some of the rhetoric I’ve heard flying around this state over the past few days, I fear such tragedy can happen here, too.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

sammy-the judge apparently just stopped by because he was a friend of Gifford’s,but leave it to a lowlife like you to try and make him the intended target when it’s obvious he wasn’t.
bella-go stick your head in the toilet with that nonsense-we aren’t about to stop exercising 1st amendment rights regarding Chafee because of this inasanity in Arizona.
I haven’t heard or read a single line about violence directed at him.Just that he’s a miserable excuse for someone to “lead” the state.
Suggesting a recall is asking for something that’s in our laws.
You haven’t said one constructive thing since you slithered in to this site.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

“people put bricks through the windows of those who voted in favor.”
I think -everyone- in their right mind, even those who ‘talk tough’ or speak anonymously over the web agrees that shooting people isn’t democracy, and that anyone putting a brick through a window ought to be prosecuted.
Bella & Swazool, ‘violent imagery’ isn’t limited to the right. I attended several political events for progressives where wingnuts could be overheard in the crowd, talking about killing the rich; I’m not kidding. I had lefty friends on Facebook (people involved with campaigns) posting praises for British students tossing bricks at government buildings and harassing cars with unarmed people in them. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “I hope someone puts a bullet between Bush’s eyes” over drinks.
You’ll never be able to make the message bland enough where the occasional wingnut doesn’t do something insane, so you may as well not go down that path.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

It looks like the RIFuture story just made like Nikolai Yezhov and disappeared.
Hey, someone’s got to stay awake all night and keep an eye on the local internets!

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

I just read a news report where someone (a politician) is quoted as saying her murder was the result of bigotry. The term bigotrry is used at least three times in the quote. It seems unsaid, but understood, that the bigots were tea party/Republican types. Since she is also a Jewish woman, there are two other possible causes for bigotry.
Personally, I think that is all crap. Since the shooter seemed to care nothing for his own safety and likely escape, I expect he was delusional and I am not particularly concerned what philosophy he might have ascribed it to.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Joe Stack,the suicide pilot,had no connection to the Tea Party-he was delusional about the IRS and some other stuff.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Anyone who thinks this was a “right vs left” event should read two sentences from the shooter about how the government is using “mind control” and realize he was a complete lunatic with no grasp on reality. Shameless how some people will politicize anything.

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

It is ludicrous to try and connect this shooting to any partisan rhetoric. If that be the case then explain Columbine, Virginia Tech, and the scores of workplace violence incidents over the years. What rhetoric incited those people. We’re always too quick to try and find a reason or to lay blame. Instead, maybe we should be looking at the signs that may have been missed rather than the words of others.

bella
bella
10 years ago

“Stick your head in a toilet.”
“Go piss up a rope.”
Thank you, Mr. Bernstein, for raising the level of political discourse well beyond what Mr. Hall has offered us.

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

I do not believe all tea party or republicans are homophobic, racist, or any of the multitude of things the left say about them. What I do believe is when you find someone who is homophobic, racist, violent, ect. You can bet dollars to donuts that person will be a tea part member or a republican.
Does anyone really think this kid was a liberal, or could have possibly voted for Obama?

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

“It’s never wise to jump to conclusions in cases like this. The shooter was probably deeply disturbed and would not fit neatly into any ideological category.’
Brassband’s comment about jumping to conclusions is right because this shooting is still being investigated. There is some evidence that there may have been another person involved. Opinions and speculation should be put on hold until there is more known. Trying to link angry rhetoric from conservative sources with this violent act is a stretch at this point. (I wish some here would apply this to people of Middle Eastern descent accused of violent acts too.) I also do not see how opinion about a suspects mental condition at this stage serves any purpose except to deflect attention from the irresponsible voices that have been all too prevalent in political discussion lately. Let’s remember that those charged with crimes coming out of this attack should be considered innocent until proved guilty and for all others let the chips fall where they may.

EMT
EMT
10 years ago

Bella- this guy’s favorite books include Mein Kampf and “The Communist Menifesto. Go ahead, tell me again how he’s a Tea Party representative.
I’d quote Lincoln about being thought a fool rather than proving it, but, well, it’s a little late for that now isn’t it.

EMT
EMT
10 years ago

What I do believe is when you find someone who is homophobic, racist, violent, ect. You can bet dollars to donuts that person will be a tea part member or a republican.
What I just said to bella? Yeah, goes double for you.

bella
bella
10 years ago

EMT, I think you confused me with someone else re: Communist/Tea Party.
And I certainly disagree with the RIF post linked here – this shooter was beyond partisan politics. Unfortunately, the Republicans who are responsible enough to speak out against this kind of thing and keep the rhetoric and a reasonable level are the ones condemned as RINOs.

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Shootings of political figures are by definition “political.” That’s how the target came to public notice; it is why we say “assassination” rather than plain murder.
EMT your point?

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

Swazool,
By your logic, the shooting of John Lennon must have been musical? Sharon Tate’s theatrical?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

swazool-you think this guy even voted?
And I guess if I didn’t vote for Barry I must be a homophobic racist or at least show some potential.
Not all shootings or stabbings of politicians or activists are political.
Hinckley shot Reagan to impress Jodie Foster.
Squeaky Fromme shot at Ford for ???? reason(probably to make Charlie Manson not forget her)
Bremer shot Wallace for no definable reason.
Some of these people are apolitical(in any sense we’d understand)and want to be “famous”.Or maybe their alarm clock had an off tone that morning.Or the eggs were too runny.If you’ve never dealt with violent mentally disturbed people(I have)it’s hard to explain.
bella-if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.Just because you are presumbably a female(although I’vemet males named Bela)I don’t feel any necessity to be touchy-feely in the way I address you.Women on blogs have unloaded on me with some really nasty comments on political issues.It’s modern times-a level playing field.
I can’t even repeat some of the filth and false allegations thrown at me.
$ 1/2 years in the military and 27 years in law enforcement have made me impervious to name calling.
phil-when the terror acts come from Middle Easterners or other Muslims,should we ignore the truth?
The Fort Hood massacre was sanitized by the left and even the US government,trying to treat it like a Post Office mental breakdown instead of Muslim extremist terrorism by a traitor.
Apologies to all the good postal workers-it’s just a term.I don’t get offended when I hear someone say”I jewed him down”.Bargaining is endemic to a lot of cultures,not just Jewish,but we got the hat on that one I guess.haha
Hey,the Irish have to put up with the drinking stereotype,whatever.

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Joe,
Again. I Will say you are not homophobic or racist ect. If you are a republican or tea partier, but if you are homophobic, racist, ect. You are more likely than not a republican or tea partier.
The logic is not difficult to follow.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Swaz: And what social science certifications do you hold and what empirical statistical studies did you perform to come up with that opinion?
Or is this just your conservaphobe bigotry expressing itself?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

I have known racists who are neither Republican nor Teapartiers,although the latter is something brand new.
I am neither.
People don’t get vetted when they join political movements so the whole premise is silly.
As far as homophobes,I’ll bet you can fined them anywhere.
Anyway,what’s racist?I conssider a lot of “progressives” to be hypocriticl racists and patronizing scum.They have that old attitude-don’t matter how high you get,just don’t get too close.
I think Chafee and Whitehouse are exactly the type.
I myself have a family that I’d say looks like the UN,except I truly hate the UN.
phil-my sister in law just married an Iranian who is a naturalized US citizen-he isn’t a Muslim though-he’s a hell of a lot better than the piece of sh*t she was married to for 27 years.
he’s one of those Iranians the “religion of peace” just wouldn’t tolerate.It’s just not about race in my brief time that I’ll be here.I gotta have a better reason to really hate someone.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

If it’s anecdotes you want, the vast majority of racists that I have met in my life have been leftist/progressive. I’m talking about affirmative action and identity politics, of course, which are the most widespread and institutionalized forms of racism in America today.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Alan Grayson should shut his damned mouth.His rhetoric is exactly the kind of garbage he’s complaining about.

Lee
Lee
10 years ago

It does not take a degree in clinical psych to immediately understand that this 22yr. old killer is psychotic. No politics, no ideology; just pure delusional state of mind. Sadly, signs were missed: military rejected his application; community college (as reported) abided his request in part, to suspend him, which they did and get him a psych eval. Too bad that seemingly didn’t happen.
Yes, shame on RI Future for failing to show common decency. If so moved to post then the post should have simply expressed thoughts and prayers for the murdered and injured.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

“racist” & “homophobic”
I note, particularly from Swazool that racism is identified with Republicans. Well, that has certainly switched. With my very young years spent in the South, and a lot of time spent there since, all of the truly overt racists I ever met were Democrats (there were no Republicans in the South, a legacy of “radical Republicans” and “re-construction”). I recall “Jim Crow” and things like Blacks getting off the sidewalk because I was on it. Still, individual interaction was usually courteous. Using racism as any sort of political identification is ridiculous, such beliefs are rarely announced,or admitted. I have seen it in action at the Providence Athenaeum (by members, not staff)
Homophobic. That one really offends me for some reason. I suspect the word was developed as a slur. “Phobia” implies fear. To describe most people I know with strong feelings in that area, I would much prefer “homo averse”.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
10 years ago

Drudge offers these head lines. Despite the rhetoric, I note that people who actually know the shooter describe him as “left wing”
BRIT PAPER BLAMES ‘RIGHT WING’…
Leftist blog points finger at Palin, while scrubbing ‘dead’ rant…
Described by Classmate as ‘Left-Wing Pothead’…

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Warrington, people familiar with him said he was a pot smoking loner. Loner and liberal are not interchangeable.
Also the FBI is investigating his connection to white supremacy and anti immigration groups.
So warrington, tell me again how this kid is a liberal, must be a new breed of white supremacy anti immigration liberal I am not familiar with.

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

When the President of the Pea-Party says “if we can’t win at the ballot box, there is always the second amendment option” and then spouts slogans like “don’t retreat, reload,” don’t be surprised if a few of those people actually shoot someone, in the future.

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

sammy-the judge apparently just stopped by because he was a friend of Gifford’s,but leave it to a lowlife like you to try and make him the intended target when it’s obvious he wasnt.
Posted by joe bernstein at January 9, 2011 2:12 AM
Joe I never said or even implied, That
Judge Roll was the intended target, why do you always put words in other peoples
mouths ??
I was just relayin a few facts about
Judge Roll, who was well respected here in Arizona, What the Pea_Party and the kooks on talk radio did to him, and his family,was just awful.
Again why do you insist on calling people names ??
And what makes me a lowlife??
Sammy, in the very saddened state or
Arizona, USA

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

sammy-me put words in your mouth?What a joke.You assign the worst motives to people with no proof whatsoever every time you post here and then mockingly send “greetings”and “thanks”.You’re a beauty.But I think everyone here is on to you.

Tim
Tim
10 years ago

The Left’s reaction to this mass murder is straight out of their playbook, i.e. smear and demonize the opposition in an attempt to weaken/silence them. If you will recall this exact same reaction came about when that wacko in DC shot up the Pentagon a year ago. (Hull made a fool of himself back then too. So predictably unstable lol)
Here’s a little newsflash for you libs. You can smear and demonize and yell and scream and wimper all day long but the Tea party isn’t going away and the strident criticisms coming from the Right will not be silenced. You’re not taking our voices and you’re not taking our guns. Deal with it!

WarringtonFaust
WarringtonFaust
10 years ago

Posted by Swazool
“Loner and liberal are not interchangeable.
Also the FBI is investigating his connection to white supremacy and anti immigration groups.
So warrington, tell me again how this kid is a liberal, must be a new breed of white supremacy anti immigration liberal I am not familiar with.”
“Loner and liberal are not interchangeable” To the best of my knowledge, loner and conservative are not interchangeable. So why is it assumed he was swayed by Sarah Palin?
“the FBI is investigating his connection to white supremacy and anti immigration groups” The FBI is a bureaucracy, without doubt they fear criticism if they do not look under every rock, or leave anything undone.

Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Warrington you sure are funny. I never said Palin.
This can go on forever, especially when people keep putting things in other people’s mouths.
I will be done commenting on this post.
God Bless Congresswoman Gifford and the families of those involved.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
10 years ago

Let’ see:
22 year old longhair hippee look
hates God
doper
loves das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto.
Goes to book fairs
hates Blue Dogs
classmates say he is “left wing political radical”
From the Phoenix New Times
As long as you let me know by the end of the week-say Friday.
Really hope you can make it-it will be nothing but booze, laughs, eating and smoking. Bring your bathing suit-they have a beautifull heated indoor pool with a glass ceiling right overlooking the Boardwalk with a huge Jacuzzi.
Given the “miseria” the 2 of us have been through in life this is something we really owe to ourselves!
Don’t let money stop you-if I have to scratch up another 20 or 30 I can do that-I was a decent winner in Reno.

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

While the right views this as an abomination committed by a whack job that was unaffected by political motivation, you libs it seems just can’t deal with the fact the one of your own would do something like this. Get off the blame bus girls and boys, when it comes to mental illness, partisanship and political rhetoric is not the issue.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Back to one of the original points of Marc’s post, I find it a little troubling the way someone at RIF simply took Brian’s post down with no apology or anything. Apparently, someone else found his post to be in poor taste. At least when AR posts something incorrect, it is simply struck through, not deleted. Hull and RIF instead simply chooses to hide.

Sammy
Sammy
10 years ago

I just watched the vile and repulsive Speaker of the House, John Boehner, Talking about the Arizona Massacre on TV,
He did not shed a tear… go figure

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

Of course, if this were a Muslim the right would have no reservations about politicizing the incident or with blaming al Qaeda without waiting for the facts.
Interesting how circumspect some become when it’s a white male with a middleclass upbringing involved.

George
George
10 years ago

Russ,
I think when a Muslim is involved in a violent attack against innocents, there is good reason to consider, or suspect Al-Quada. It is Law Enforcement and the media’s job to pursue the angle and start asking questions.
But when has the right jumped to the kind of conclusions you allude to above?
Where are the “dots” that justify connecting a “white male with a middleclass upbringing” to Sarah Palin and the Tea Party?
There are plenty of well established “dots” when it comes to Muslim bombers and terrorist organizations.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

Oh come now, you’re not suggesting that the Tea Party isn’t largely white, angry, middleclass (and prone using to bad gun metaphors).
What’s clear though is, yes, you would jump to conclusions were the situation not a white, suburban guy. I think it’s understandable, but it is an interesting lens with which to view the current debate.

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