Sunday, January 09, 2011
Losing patience is too mild a way to say what I am feeling right now. I am enraged actually. This tragedy in Arizona is what many have said would happen when the rhetoric had gotten so far out of line and lately mostly coming from the tea party and far right types but I've heard it from the left also.
When you say the government is evil, that it's out to get people, that it should be destroyed, is it really shocking when someone who is mentally unhinged takes it literally and does something about it with a weapon?
When Sarah Palin put the map up with various Congressmen that should be in the cross hairs of the right wing (and she used scope gun-sights to make her point), what exactly was she saying should happen to Gifford, who was one of those targeted? When Sharron Angle used the same kind of violent rhetoric in her campaign for a senate seat, what was she expecting? Oh they will claim not me-- but reality is many people were saying this was coming due to that kind of rash talk and use of imagery that appealed to the violent mind. The loose talk pointed the gun but didn't pull the trigger. That makes it okay? Certainly Palin never wanted this to happen but when you stir up a whirlwind, and she's been part of that, anybody can be the victim.
When I read one right wing blogger saying this was just another tragic killing, I felt the anger surge through me. It's not just another killing. It is an attack on our system, and that person has not only put out some of the same anti-government talk but has commenters who go further. Sure right wingers today don't want to see it as being about them. They will reassure their supporters that it's not. It's got to be seen as unconnected because anything else would give them some responsibility for what they write or say.
Yes, we have to have freedom to speak our minds to express our views when we are furious at a government policy; but can't that be done directed against the 'policy' and not an individual? Can't it be done without enemy lists? Can't it be done as a desire to fix government, not destroy it?
The thing is this kind of violence doesn't just go one way. In my lifetime right wingers have been targets also because when you encourage a time of violent threats, it can go either direction with somebody who is, at the least, mentally unstable.
Most of the assassinations in this country have been done by someone who is borderline schizophrenic if not clearly over the edge. The more we learn about the Tucson shooter, the more this seems to be the case. They are angry at the world. They see threats everywhere and they can just as easily turn their violence on a rightie as a leftie. Read a little of his thinking (if we can call it that) and you see someone who has become enraged against a political system and the people who support it.
Representative Giffords had just been through what has been described as a brutal reelection campaign against a tea partier but she was not a leftie in her views. She was what is called a blue-dog democrat which means pretty conservative generally. She did though vote for the health care bill and that led to threats against her life earlier as well as vandalism to her office in Tucson.
What Giffords represented though was government and to some government has been the evil. They want to strike out against it and they will choose what target they can reach.
The killer in this case not only wanted to kill her but also those who supported her. It is looking more and more like his targets were all in the audience of those coming to meet her. A nine-year old girl who wanted to be in politics, a right wing judge who just wanted to say thanks for help Giffords had given, retired people, just those who care about politics and wanted to see someone who was their representative in Congress. When I think about one of my grandchildren being at such an event, they are also interested in politics because of their parents' teaching, I am furious at the ones who have talked in ways that led to this.
The guy who did the shooting is clearly mentally unstable if not actually insane. So who was mentally stable who talked in a way that gave his mind a direction that led him to go with a gun to that Safeway store I know so well? Who gained power from that kind of rhetoric?
This guy didn't shoot randomly. He shot a United States Representative and those who support her. To shoot that little girl in the chest, he had to have aimed for her. She was nine. He was trying to shoot our whole system and anyone who supports it. If you read anything about what he had said on his Internet pages, you see a disturbed mind who has picked up bits of this and that ending up becoming a killing machine.
He got directed by angry rhetoric and whether someone is saying a rightie should be killed or a leftie, they should be ashamed of themselves today. We have seen these tragedies too many times in our history and we should not be part of them happening. Oh the people who said the violent things, they didn't do it. They just directed someone else to feel they must!
And our whole system is their victim for it unless something is learned from this. I won't count on it.
[This is another link that I saw after I had posted the above. I think it's worth reading for more possible insights into what led to this tragedy: Hate group a factor?]