Sunday, January 09, 2011

Losing patience

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?]


Willy said...

Great tragedy that should not happen. However, lets put blame where blame is due. He pulled the trigger, he has problems.

10-4 Willy

Rain said...

Oh he deserves the blame all right and he should go to prison or get the death penalty if he's not mentally insane legally; but the people who put out the threats, who talk about somebody else should be killed, how the government is evil, they deserve some of the blame also. Words have meaning and to say they cannot incite to violence is to ignore reality. AND that means lefties too. It's time that Americans got out of this blame the individual and stick to the issues that inflame them so. Making someone into a villain is irresponsible and I mean that for left wingers also. An atmosphere of violence will lead to violent attacks. Responsible talk is in order from all Americans.

Ingineer66 said...

The left is stretching by trying to blame Palin's map for this. The Democrats put out a similar map that said something about targeting and being behind enemy lines. As for creating the climate in the first place, I would say Nancy Pelosi has played a very big part. And Obama did not help when he said the reason he was not meeting with Republicans in his health care plans was because he won. Now he is dialing the rhetoric down and trying to do a better job of being bipartisan like he said he would during his campaign.

Rain said...

We are NOT stretching things. We saw that map when she put it out and most of us thought it was irresponsible given the gun carrying wackos out there, the shootings that have taken place time after time. She now says it didn't mean a gun. Give me a break. Do you guys really buy that?

I said myself it might not be her rhetoric that has stirred this young man to a homicidal act, but who will know. He was feeding from even worse garbage from his actual quotes.

Palin though was like this during her run for the Vice-presidency. She was vile in how she talked and it was the main appeal she had to the right wingers. They loved it but you listen to her for awhile at one of those venues and it was full of a desire to stoke anger. She didn't deal with issues. She dealt with insults and still does.

The point here is that the fiery rhetoric, from either side, is detrimental but only the right defends it. What is that telling you about who the people are on the right? They like it is what I think and one of the weird wackos was saying this guy was a hero just as they earlier had some saying the guy who flew his plane into an IRS building killing innocent people was a hero.

It is time for right wingers to quit defending the extreme elements of their parties and yes, left wing needs to do the same thing when they hear someone say someone should apply the second amendment to fixing our country's problems as Sharron Angle did during this last campaign. QUIT DEFENDING THOSE KIND OF STATEMENTS! And don't go saying it is Pelosi, for heaven's sake. That would be like blaming Boehner. Not all the leaders use this kind of threatening language and we need to separate out those who do.

Incidentally Pelosi has said they included the Republicans a lot in the health care debate but they only wanted it their way. And a lot of it went THEIR way frankly with the diluting down the bill to satisfy Republicans who still acted like spoiled brats.

Rain said...

Incidentally, I don't blame Palin as much for what she says as those who have cheered her one, encouraged her, wanted what she puts out. If they weren't applauding it, she'd find another way to express herself! All of these righties have groupies who support their rhetoric, encourage more of it. The leaders have to show leadership and resist the temptation to get carried away but people need to do the same! Next time it might be one of their heroes that some nutcase decides to take out. It benefits none of us to have that kind of talk out there that involves threats of harm.

Kay Dennison said...

I agree that the shooter bears the bulk of the blame. However, there are factions/individuals whose irresponsble, inflammatory rhetoric incited this tragedy and deserve the censure they are receiving.

I am losing patience, too!

Ingineer66 said...

I agree with you that Palin's map or Angle's second amendment language was not appropriate. But the last Congressman that was shot was Leo Ryan down in Jones-town Guyana in 1978 and before that it was Senator Bobby Kennedy during his Presidential campaign. So the political assassination of people in Congress has not been a recent or widespread problem.

As for a leader using inflammatory language about this one: "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." Barack Obama – June 2008.

ps now they are saying the gunman was left wing not right wing. I do not think political party has anything to do with it. The guy was a nut-job. And I saw an interesting article today asking if the shooter would have been Muslim, would the reaction from the media been the same? Would they be blaming the Muslim leadership for the shooting?

Rain said...

We've had other government officials shot though. The people who serve get death threats routinely. Now we have some of our Congresspeople who are not going to do Town Halls because they have become yelling tournaments and no real dialogue takes place.

Maybe Americans need to learn how to actually discuss issues. It can be done without character assassinations. You and I do it all the time.

I am fed up with any place that has insults accepted, where threats are put out and where people attack the character of someone simply because they disagree on an issue. When someone says our whole government is corrupt and should be eliminated, what does that mean to the sick mind?

There is no reason for us to give up our freedom of speech. We might have to learn how to use it.

There is no doubt if this guy had been Muslim, they'd be yelling terrorism; but shooting 20 people in a mall isn't terrorism if the shooter is white American. That doesn't make sense at all. This was definitely an act of terrorism. If all he had wanted to do was shoot her, he could easily have done that. None of us can protect ourselves from such an assault when it's a sneak attack. Even if she had been armed, it would have done her no good.

Arizona could do what other states have done and limit the size of the magazines. It was when he had to put in a new magazine that someone had a chance to jump him.

Ingineer66 said...

If a person is going to shoot 20 people in cold blood do you really think they are going to worry whether the clip in their gun is legal or not? It is kind of like blaming Columbine on guns. If the trench-coat mafia could not have gotten guns they would have made better bombs. Luckily for the students the bombs they made did not go off or there would have been even more carnage, maybe over 100 dead. Blaming the instrument used or trying to pass more laws is not the answer. Focusing on the real problems (mental health) and enforcing the current laws (murder and attempted murder) will do a better job.

Ingineer66 said...

And as much as it goes against most of my beliefs maybe we do need more security for our Congressmen when they are in their districts. Not an entire detail like the President, but maybe 1 armed officer assigned to each member while they are making public appearances. In England many of the officials and Royal family have an assigned detective. Maybe something like that would work. Just one per Congressman.

Ingineer66 said...

As for the Muslim angle I was thinking the media would be calling for restraint and understanding for the Muslim community instead of jumping on the attack and trying to find blame with them like they are Republicans.

Rain said...

On the jumping on the right, the difference with what you are suggesting versus how the Muslims would be seen is one side would be yelling for the heads of all Muslims. Wonder which side... not. What the left is saying is that some have gone too far in their rhetoric. Not that they should be arrested for it but they should not be doing that and should stop it. Does that sound the same to you? The left is looking at what it considers a contributing cause-- fiery rhetoric not based on fact-- like all lefties hate this country and are trying to destroy it. Prove that by a fact-- not. They aren't accusing though all right wingers of doing this.

On the magazine, they are illegal in our state and Farm Boss thought they were everywhere. Apparently not. I bet this kid would not have known to buy it on the black market. Admittedly others would know that but he doesn't sound functional enough to get it if it hadn't been easy to get. Don't let them be sold mail order or in the states. That will stop a lot of the low hanging fruit at least. There is NO reason to have one short of killing people and how many times do we need such? If anybody breaks into my house, I depend on a .357 with 6 bullets. I figure if the first two didn't do it, the last four probably won't either. I sure don't need more than that. I want stopping power and hopefully one shot to do it. Those magazines are for a different purpose than personal protection.

Rain said...

And I have said many times that the Muslim community should put down those in their community who talk violent. They should not accept it as okay because it's their side. They should not nod their heads and say I understand why they have done this. That is is the issue here. We need to be where nobody thinks it's okay to vilify even when it's their own side doing it. If it's not okay to say somebody should be killed, it's not okay to say anybody should be-- whichever political view they might espouse. AND if we need a symbol of why that's not okay, go no farther than the photo of the nine-year old girl.

Ingineer66 said...

The big clips are outlawed here too. At least I think they are. There are so many gun laws and they change regularly I am not really sure what is illegal and what is not. I agree with you that there is no purpose for them other than killing people, but I do not think banning them will really help anything. I have a .357 too and you are correct unless I get robbed by an army, two shots should be plenty. I have a friend that is a Sheriff and he only carries a 7 shot clip in his pistol. He said he is quicker at changing them with the smaller ones, but if he needs more than 7 shots, then he needs a SWAT team with him.

Rain said...

Some want to see us stop gun ownership as part of this. I disagree with that also. This kid could have gotten close enough to her with a machete at his back to kill her and those nearby. Bomb making stuff for someone willing to die with it would accomplish the same goal.

The better solution is try to catch these guys before they act out what is going on inside their heads. Assault rifles though let them shoot at more of a distance and more people as we have seen many times.

Some of it we can't stop and you do see it around the world. We can do more than we are right now though. And I agree an armed guard when these leaders are out doing town halls or events like this would at least stop it before as many got killed. It might not be able to save someone like her though ;( That's the sad part and price we pay for trying to have a government open to the people. Some leaders hire their own security but not everyone has that kind of money.

Ingineer66 said...

I heard a Sacramento area Congressman on the radio that is now the chairman of the committee that is in charge of the Capital Police Force and he said that all Congressmen are given 1 officer from the local Police Department when they make public appearances in their Districts. But he said most of them do not request or utilize this service. I bet many more start now.