General Question

Ron_C's avatar

US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) was just shot in Arizona. Is this a direct result of the hate speech in the recent campaigns?

Asked by Ron_C (14298 points ) January 8th, 2011

The great majority of talk radio is dominated by some real nutcases like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Sarah Palin, had Giffords in her“crosshairs” as a targeted district. Is this just the tip of the iceberg for an armed rightwing insurrection? I fully expect one or both of them to say something like “I don’t condone the shooting, but I understand it”.

I also expect the congress to run scared step up their personal security, maybe even adding restrictions in Washington, D.C. It could be a good thing if lobbyists were restricted from access to the capitol

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

52 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think it’s way to early to tie it to politics. We don’t know what the motives of the shooter were at this point and from what I’ve read so far, he seemed more completely anti-government than rep/dem/tea party or whatever. Hopefully he’ll open up and tell us (well the authorities) why he did it.

MissAusten's avatar

In this case, I don’t think so. I think the shooter is mentally ill and suffers from delusions. Check out his videos on youtube.

It’s not surprising that people would connect such a terrible act with the kind of hatred seen lately from teabaggers or whatever they’re called. I wondered about the same thing, but after seeing what this kid (he’s only 22 I think) posted on the internet, I don’t think he was acting on political motivations. He just had some serious problems and thought the government was trying to brainwash people through grammar control and currency.

iamthemob's avatar

I would feel comfortable in dismissing anyone who thought this was part of a coordinated effort to attack the liberal elite by right-wing crazies as suffering from more than a bit of liberal paranoia.

I would in turn be horrified if anyone in the major media outlet (well, besides Glenn Beck – I actually think he’s fully insane) on the right wing or otherwise would say something like that. I don’t expect that at all. If it happens, I hope appropriate action will be taken by the host station.

Regardless of who did it or what the purpose is, it’s an easy thing to latch onto and start pitting groups against each other through an appeal to ideology and fear.

These things become the beginning of something, more often than not, because people say they are the beginning of something.

choreplay's avatar

Rightwing or Leftwing, no, just a sick idiot that should have been in a mental institution before this ever happened. Thats a lot of guilt by association your wielding.

laureth's avatar

I’ve been looking at Andrew Sullivan’s live blogging of the event. From what he’s been posting, the shooter is a nutcase, but not necessarily a Tea Party™ brand nutcase. He’s got a combination of weird conspiracy theory and he sounds like a Gold Standard fan, and who knows how he was affected by Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck style “entertainment,” but he seems to have his own special kind of nuttiness.

Not_the_CIA's avatar

@MissAusten – I don’t doubt that the guy was batshit crazy. I just think that Palin and Beck need to be responsible with their words. I think they were that little nudge he needed to end up going to jail in a botched assassination where a 9 your old is killed.

wilma's avatar

I don’t think that it is a result of “right wing” idiocy any more than it is a result of “left wing” idiocy.
I think it’s a result of criminal mental illness.

zenvelo's avatar

the problem with the political rhetoric is that unbalanced people can’t understand the nuance, and think that people like Palin and Angle, Limbaugh and Beck give them permission to be violent.

Free speech lets you say it. It doesn’t absolve you of responsibility.

Not_the_CIA's avatar

@zenvelo – And Palin realizes that. That is why she is removing the map with targets from her sites.

TexasDude's avatar

Spoiler alert:

The shooter listed The Communist Manifesto among his favorite books. Hardly what I’d call an “insane rightwinger’s” choice of reading.

Also, Gabrielle Giffords is as blue dog as blue dog gets. Pro gun rights, pro border security, etc. Not what I’d call a choice target for a “crazed rightwinger.”

The shooter’s rambling web postings don’t reveal any coherent motive or relation to Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, or any of the conservative du jours referenced in this thread.

Let’s all cool it with the presumptuous evil republican circle jerk for a sec until more information is released.

Flame suit on.

wilma's avatar

Thank you @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard, for your always reasonable input.

Joker94's avatar

No. This isn’t a result of right-wing anything, this would be a result of a sick mind.

flutherother's avatar

Jared Loughner wasn’t politically motivated. I get the impression he is mentally ill and the question is how did he get hold of a gun?

chyna's avatar

Just the actions of a sick person. He actually posted a youtube video dressed as Death.

absalom's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard

And also Mein Kampf, and We the Living. And but also Animal Farm, Brave New World, Farenheit 451. And Siddhartha, which is one of my favorites.

Anyway, I think you’re right. This guy has no politics but is merely and vaguely anti-government, in a confused way.

Also crazy.

I would hate to see anyone try to use this violent event, a consequence of his delusions, for making some political point. (If a grizzly bear mauls Sarah Palin in the Alaskan wilderness, no one sensible is going to argue that the bear must have been an irate left-wing nutcase.)

missingbite's avatar

@absalom Actually they probably would. The title of this thread and the other thread about this topic is totally aimed at Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. They are hoping it is related. Sad but they are.

Jaxk's avatar

This question is the lowest of partisan politics. Thanks for showing us how low someone can stoop to take a cheap political shot.

josie's avatar

Cut the crap.
People can say what they want, and they do.
The person responsible is the moron who pulled the trigger.

Ron_C's avatar

@Jaxk I heard that there was a congressman shot in Arizona on the television when I was checking into a hotel this afternoon. I told the clerk that I bet that the congress person was a Democrat. To my dismay I found out that she was.

Since Arizona has been grand central for the Palin attacks, immigrant hatred, and gun rights, I just assumed that a right winger killed a Democrat. I could be wrong but none-the-less it would be quite likely that would be the case. After seeing the web comments of the 22 year old nut-case, that might not be true.

However, given the rhetoric of Limbaugh, Palin, and Beck, it may become a trigger for further violence. No matter what you say, the “Tea Party” is made up of deluded people voting against their best interests.

Besides, why can’t I take a cheap shot? Progressives have been getting them since Reagen ran for president.

Winters's avatar

The shooter was a left wing, anarchistic, radical with a history of mental problems who held a grudge against Congresswoman Gifford since 2007.

faye's avatar

@flutherother How did he get hold of a gun? I’m really surprised you would say that. I thought it was pretty easy to get a gun in the States.

Jaxk's avatar

@Ron_C

The violence in Arizona to date has been almost exclusively pro immigration protesters (liberals). Violence by the tea parties is virtually non existent. It is creation of the deluded left.

You can scream all you like, I just find it particularly offensive to use this sort of a tragedy to to try and push some far left agenda. Apparently you don’t share that opinion.

Mamradpivo's avatar

So far as I can tell, yes. She was explicity targeted (as in “in our crosshairs”) by Sarah Palin. I hope to whatever deity you believe in that the Secret Service is going to offer 24-hour coverage to the other 19 legislators that Palin and her mentally challenged servants wants to target.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard

Thank you for adding a bit of sane balance to the dingbats on here pointing fingers at any rightwing commentator or politician they don’t like.

Yeah, like putting crosshairs on a map is going to be sufficient to make people shoot representatives they don’t like. Right. Get a grip!

Symbeline's avatar

From what I can tell of the shooter and what is said of him and his online material, he was obsessed about the idea of bringing down the government. It seemed an outlet for a passion, rather than any specific political ideal. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but there was no actual specification on the killer’s views about any political affiliation. Not that I found anyways, other than that he doesn’t like the government.
Kind of like admiring Hitler because actually, you just love the idea of mass death, which Hitler caused, rather than admiring him for the ideas behind said deaths like Neo Nazis do, if that makes any sense.
I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with Gabrielle’s recent actions and what came of it, although I could understand the links made to that idea, since she’s been sent threats and had vandalism directed at her. If it is, it’s some scary conspiracy shit…but I kind of doubt it.
I mean, did her political adversaries not like her? Probably. But I don’t think that shooting had anything to with them.

Winters's avatar

@Symbeline it is known that he had met the Congresswoman in 2007 and immediately hated her and held a grudge against her. Also, yes, he has shown that he is anti government, however he has also been known to be in the public’s eye as a radical left winger with some strong indications of being mentally unstable.

I think this may have been more personal than anything.

Symbeline's avatar

@Winters Thanks for the info, didn’t know he was actually known as a left winger. That’s the first thing I looked for before answering this, too lol XD And he met her? Didn’t know that either. :/ What I’ve seen from his peers is that he was alone and quiet alla time, but nobody said anything about his political views.

TexasDude's avatar

@CaptainHarley, thank you, sir.

mammal's avatar

@Jaxk you adopt the moral high ground, in some flimsy pretense at recognising the human tragedy but cannot then resist getting in a political low blow of your own. The bodies are barely cold and the vultures are squabbling.

laureth's avatar

I wouldn’t necessarily call him a left-winger; is that what the Right’s propaganda machine is spinning out just as the Left is calling him a right-winger? He had crazy views (including conspiracy theory about government control of thought through grammar), favored a return to the Gold Standard, and seems to have been a sui generis nutcase.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth I would guess most here would say that Fox News is right wing nuts so I will tell you what they have been reporting. All morning they have been saying that it is very difficult to determine what his political beliefs were as he is all over the place. Some left views some right views. I have not heard them label him at all. But that is Fox…the right wing political machine!

choreplay's avatar

He was anti government and anti religion!

flutherother's avatar

@faye That’s my point, it is too easy to get a gun even if you are mentally unbalanced.

faye's avatar

His youtube video said he was an army recruit- any truth there?

Winters's avatar

@faye He tried to enlist but was rejected.

CaptainHarley's avatar

From: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_congresswoman_shot_gunman;_ylt=AhoLqv6s3vhlkpw2S8DS35YUewgF;_ylu=X3oDMTNhdTBhaXNzBGFzc2V0Ay9zL2FwL3VzX2NvbmdyZXNzd29tYW5fc2hvdF9ndW5tYW4EY2NvZGUDbXBfZWNfOF8xMARjcG9zAzIEcG9zAzIEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNzaG9vdGluZ3N1c3A-

“Mistrust of government was his defining conviction, the friends said. He believed the government was behind 9/11, and worried that governments were maneuvering to create a unified monetary system (“a New World Order currency” one friend said) so that social elites and bureaucrats could control the rest of the world.”

laureth's avatar

Indeed it looks like the Right has started to blame the Left. Link.

choreplay's avatar

@laureth, Have you read the beginning of this thread. It starts with a huge blaming of the right. Everyone is pointing their fingers in all directions for the horrific acts of this moron. This was an individual, acting individually. Please realize when anyone points fingers, what ever direction, they are actually attacking freedoms, like speech.

Winters's avatar

Can people stop blaming the right already?

The guy has been identified with an anti-immigrant neo-Aryan anti-government anti-capitalism group which has made several threats especially towards moderates of both parties.

BoBo1946's avatar

He is just a sick human being. Think it will be real interesting what part this other suspect played in this tragedy. I’m thinking it’s about an adult putting thoughts into the young person’s head to promote this event.

laureth's avatar

@Season_of_Fall – I have indeed. Did you read my comment above, in the middle of the fray, where I point out that he seems to have been a nut acting on his own?

Ron_C's avatar

@Jaxk and everyone else that thinks this question is just a “cheap shot” at the Tea Party. I disagree. Like I said in the discussion part of the question, seconds after I heard the news that a congress person, in Arizona, was shot I assumed that the person was a democrat.

Say what you will, there were no Progressives putting political opponents “in their cross-hairs” in this last election. There were no high profile Leftists suggesting that we “reload”. There are no left wing radio stations calling the president a gangster or suggesting that he is not even an American.

These kinds of comments, on a 24 hour news cycle, particularly affect the mentally challenged and the unbalances. Look what they did to a genuine independent, John McCain. Prior to Bush painting him as unstable and dangerous, he would actually act independently from his party. He even tried to curtail corruption with campaign donations. Now, after listening to all the character assaination and hate speech, he’s as far right and hateful as the rest of his party. Just imagine what affect this type of speech has on a teenager and young adult raised in a state that hates immigrants and loves guns.

Jaxk's avatar

@Ron_C

I’ve been reluctant to respond to this type of irrational debate. But look at your own post. Rather than toning down the rhetoric, you’re escalating it.

“Now, after listening to all the character assassination and hate speech, he’s as far right and hateful as the rest of his party.”

If you believe that hate speech is a problem then stop using it.

missingbite's avatar

@Ron_C I am guessing you will say this is completely different but you may want to re-think your idea that Leftists don’t use the same “target” or “cross-hairs” analogy. @Jaxk has it correct. You are the one propagating crap.

BTW…the link is from 2004 in case you missed it. Long before anyone outside of Alaska had any idea of who Sarah Palin was.

Do you care to change your story? Maybe to include the Leftists?

josie's avatar

Who was the guy (in 2008) that, in reference to a political campaign, said “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”? It’s right on the tip of my tongue-somebody help me out here…

missingbite's avatar

@josie Not sure if you are joking or not but it was Obama.

Ron_C's avatar

@Jaxk and @missingbite there are wackos on both sides of the political spectrum. The difference is that the right has the bully pulpit. Frankly, I consider myself as a progressive. Stalin was a leftist, Hitler was far right. What both ends want is complete control of the system. I have seen much of that from the America right and little or none from the progressive side.

I resent my speech being described as hate speech. The most violent thing that I have ever written on this or any forum is that I intend to outlive Geo. Bush Jr. (we are about the same age) that I can visit his grave and piss on it. Of course I want him to live a long time, for two reasons. The first is that it postpones my trip to Texas, I don’t like it. Second I figure that an old man is not likely to spend time in jail for that reason.

Hate speech, definitely not, what I said is the truth as I see it.

missingbite's avatar

Well @Ron_C President Obama considers himself a “Progressive” too and he used the analogy of bringing a gun to a knife fight. (quote from The Untouchables) He also just a couple of months ago call Republicans his “enemies.” I believe he has the “bully pulpit” you speak of. You may not consider him a Progressive. You may not consider what you spew as hate speech, others will disagree. You singled out Palin but failed to mention anyone else including democrats that consider themselves “progressives.”

Ron_C's avatar

Well, @missingbite what do you call people that publicly state that all of their actions in congress are addressed to insure that Obama’s failure as president? Enemies seems to be a pretty good description. As for “bringing a knife to a gun fight” what could be more appropriate to describe attempts at debate and compromise with a right wing that are avid gun advocates, and dedicated to “targeting and wiping out” congressional seats of Democrats?

Why do I not have any Progressive examples of hate speech? The arguments, I see, are the left using reasons and statistics for their proposals and the right uses emotion and propaganda to counter them. If that isn’t bringing a knife to a gunfight, nothing is. You can’t fight radicalism with reason. We are losing our ability to reason as a nation and it is not the fault of the right.

Additionally, the right has consistently fought funding to help people with mental illness. They also allowed the Assault rifle ban to lapse. Who else could be more responsible by both speech and action for what I would call a political assignation? Who else but the right is actively distancing themselves from and act which they know they are complicate? Apologist like you only exacerbate the problem.

missingbite's avatar

@Ron_C First of all you got the quote wrong. It was “bringing a gun to a knife fight.” Not “a knife to a gun fight” like you wrote. So your example was completely wrong. It was your anti gun Obama that stated he would bring a gun to a knife fight. Hard to argue with those facts.

I showed you the map of the DNC using targets and you had an excuse. I have showed over and over the hatred coming from the left like these toward Bush…the one whose grave you want to Piss on…..and they don’t represent you.

Good luck selling that crap. Maybe 2% of the population is with you.

iamthemob's avatar

If you believe that hate speech is a problem then stop using it.

What @Jaxk said above is a good mantra. Hysteria promotes hysteria, and we need to be cautious how we phrase things. We’ll fail – but that’s why it’s a mantra. Ideals are something we strive for.

Hate speech, definitely not, what I said is the truth as I see it.

But, @Ron_C, that’s the argument that people will use – it’s not hate speech, it’s just how I see it. The danger of “it’s my opinion” rhetoric is that it assumes all opinions are equal. Those overgeneralizing, oversimplifying, and overdemonizing are the ones we need to shoot down – intelligently. And this is what you said:

Now, after listening to all the character assaination and hate speech, he’s as far right and hateful as the rest of his party.

How can anyone in the rest of the party respect anything you say after that – “far right and hateful.” That statement forecloses any future discussion – and seems by it’s intent to attempt to foster hatred and disdain for an entire group.

cletrans2col's avatar

Not at all

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther