Words have meaning and consequences, and once again the anti-governments rhetoric from the right may have again claimed innocent victims.
The shooting on Sunday of Democratic U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona that killed six people and wounded 13 others by an apparently deranged college student may not have been committed by a right-winger, but the hateful anti-government rhetoric launched by tea baggers shortly after the President took office could certainly have violent effects. I don’t see it as much different than the Oklahoma City bombing.
Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff, hit the nail on the head at a news conference when he said it was time for the country to “do a little soul-searching.”
“It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” Dupnik said in the New York Times. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”
I got into a brief exchange with a rightwing on Facebook yesterday, and when I looked at her page, this was her tag line to describe herself: “Our country is in serious distress. There are dangerous people in charge, and every step they take, provides that much more control over the American people. We must stand up to this socialist agenda!”
Constant crap like that could certainly lead a deranged person to violence.
That anti-Obama and anti-government rhetoric took an uglier turn in March when the historic health care insurance reform bill was passed, including cutting the gas line at the home of a legislator’s family, making death threats and violent phone calls, and shouting malicious verbal insults. Several Democratic Congressmen were spit on and subjected to racist and homophobic insults as they prepared to vote on the bill.
In fact, Giffords herself suffered some of that violence when her office was vandalized after the vote. Giffords appeared on MSNBC to talk about being targeted by the PAC of half-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin after Giffords voted for health insurance reform. Palin had circulated a "hit list" - just removed - of political targets, which included Giffords. A map had been circulated with crosshairs placed over Giffords’ district and others.
Palin should have been called out for using inflammatory phrases like “Lock and load” and "Don’t retreat, reload.”
Giffords’ opponent in the general election was a tea bagger, and he used some of the same symbolism and hateful rhetoric Palin used. In June 2010 her opponent organized an event where supporters could shoot assault rifles with the candidate. A promotional advertisement for the event said, "Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."
Right-wingers are already spinning the shooting, claiming just because the alleged shooter was not a tea bagger they bear no responsibility for their hateful anti-government rhetoric that has created an atmosphere of threats of violence and actual violence.
Over at wrong Michigan they are trying to make the claim that the same kind of rhetoric hateful comes from the left. Simply not true. They are trying to make the claim that Dupnik’s comments are hate speech. Again, not true. Only in their word is calling them out on their MO is it hate speech.
It’s hard for them to find examples to prove that lie, so they dug up a comment on Daily KOS where a campaign volunteer for the Blue Dog Democrat said he will not only no longer campaign for Giffords but will not vote for her because she voted against Nancy Pelosi for House Minority Leader, saying “And is now dead to me.”
Please explain to me how this constitutes a death threat or hate speech. We keep hearing about angry liberals, but I have never heard of a liberal blowing up a building, murdering a doctor or shooting a Congresswoman.
What may be even funnier are right-wingers falling back on the old standby lie of the “liberal media.” That favorite false political strategy will never die, and they can always fall back on it.
Is this a Second Amendment solution teabggers like to talk about?