The Arizona shooting on Saturday was heartbreaking. I’ve cried a few tears over the death of the 9 year old girl, Christina Taylor Green, who was born on 9/11, as well as others who were killed, and have sent out my own silent wishes and prayers for the recovery of Representative Giffords and all the people shot that day. And, let’s not forget the judge who was shot and killed, Judge Roll, a largely conservative Federal judge by all counts.
However, from everything I can see, Sarah Palin had as much to do with this as she had to do with the assassination of John Lennon. Apparently, the shooter had an obsession with Representative Giffords that went back to at least 2007, before Palin was even in the national spotlight. Politically, he appears to be a strange mixture of elements, being equally fascinated by Mein Kampf and The Communist Manifesto , which is actually not surprising at all since both are extremist statist propaganda. The guy was mentally ill, psychotic, end of story. Any one who has viewed the YouTubes he put up can easily see this, and trying to make political hay with this tragedy by blaming the Tea Party or Sarah Palin, or Glenn Beck is wrong. Jared Loughner never mentions Palin, Tea Parties or Beck in any of his rants and if anything, as the left-oriented blog Talk left believes, he is an anti-government anarchist. I have met a few of these and at least one who melted in and out of psychotic states and who babbled a lot like the shooter, without the violent intentions. But I’m not trying to place the blame on anarchists, but on mental illness — this guy was nuts and violent and like the man who shot John Lennon he got some kind of weird obsession with Giffords going and acted out. Giffords, while voting for Obamacare, was a blue dog Democrat and had been Republican earlier in life. She was a moderate and supportive of strong borders as well as a gun rights supporter.
Jeralyn at Talk Left writes:
Loughner was considered pretty normal by those who knew him until 2006 when he dropped out of high school after his junior year. That’s when he started to change. That’s when he became obsessed with lucid dreaming. As Loughner’s interest in dream life grew, his interest in reality decreased.
According to a female friend who was interviewed on the show, it was during this time, in 2007, that he met Rep. Giffords, and asked her the question. “What is Government if words have no meaning.” When Rep. Giffords didn’t give him a satisfactory answer, he decided she was a fake, and his grudge against her began.
Nightline then showed Mark Chapman being interviewed in prison in 1992 by Barbara Walters. In discussing why he killed John Lennon, he tells her he had decided John Lennon was a phony.
And, really now, let’s get real. How many signs in past San Francisco anti-war demonstrations have I seen that depict George Bush decapitated, or that show murderous intent in very graphic language toward Palin or Condoleeza Rice or any number of right wing figures? Let’s not be coy lefties, you know what I mean. Sarah Bernhard “joked” not so long ago that she wanted Palin to be “raped by her black brothers” if she visited New York. There have been cartoons of Palin being socked in the jaw by a male fist, she was hung in effigy in West Hollywood for Halloween in 2008, and it goes on.
Michelle Malkin has an exhaustive list of these threats and violent innuendos directed against the right:
I. PALIN HATE
Flashback — pointing a fake gun at the head of a Sarah Palin likeness sitting next to a cardboard cutout of her daughter in a museum display:
But what about the fact that Palin famously created that map with what many believe are gunsights on a list of names of congress targeted by the Tea Party for removal from office at election time? While some in Palin’s camp are stating that these are not gunsights but surveyor’s symbols, I honestly don’t think it matters. After all, as
Glenn Reynolds writes in the Wall Street Journal, politicians often use gun or shooting or target metaphors since politics is a kind of war, after all. Reynolds reminds us of the fact, now conveniently forgotten, that even President Obama has used gun metaphors politically, stating during the 2008 campaign, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”. He writes here:
With only the barest outline of events available, pundits and reporters seemed to agree that the massacre had to be the fault of the tea party movement in general, and of Sarah Palin in particular. Why? Because they had created, in New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s words, a “climate of hate.”
Pima County, AZ Sheriff Clarence Dupnik held a press conference during which he blamed vitriolic political rhetoric for provoking the mentally unstable, and lamented Arizona’s becoming the “mecca of prejudice and bigotry.” Video courtesy of AFP.
The critics were a bit short on particulars as to what that meant. Mrs. Palin has used some martial metaphors—”lock and load”—and talked about “targeting” opponents. But as media writer Howard Kurtz noted in The Daily Beast, such metaphors are common in politics. Palin critic Markos Moulitsas, on his Daily Kos blog, had even included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s district on a list of congressional districts “bullseyed” for primary challenges. When Democrats use language like this—or even harsher language like Mr. Obama’s famous remark, in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”—it’s just evidence of high spirits, apparently. But if Republicans do it, it somehow creates a climate of hate.
This onslaught of convenient blaming of the Tea Party, Palin and even Glenn Beck is simply another attempt to muzzle free speech, particularly non-left speech, and end open edgy debate. Politics is nasty and there will always be nuts around who might act out on their fantasies or in this case, on their lucid dreams. There’s always a psychotic pineapple in the bunch. That’s what we have law enforcement for, to watch out for these roving loons.
And, about Palin finally… One of the reasons I have always loved Sarah Palin, in spite of some disagreement with her (gay marriage, abortion), is because she is so provocative. While she is certainly a politician, as politicians go – she does not pander. From the beginning, she was larger than life, marching like Wonder Woman on to the stage at the GOP convention to make her first national speech accepting the VP nomination, saying all the things about Barack Obama that no one else, even most Republicans, could quite bring themselves to say. She appeared to me to be fearless. She talked about the fake columns at the Democratic National Convention, those tacky columns that when taken down would reveal that Obama was all flash and no substance. She was unabashedly pro-American, pro-liberty and well, she just was — who she is, a gun toting, caribou killing mother of five from Alaska who was outspoken and unapologetic. The left just could not deal with that, not one. little. bit. And, for that – ya gotta love the woman. She was the real thing, an anti-statist and the anti-Obama, the antidote to the Obamabot chorus of empty, saccharine promises of “hope and change”. And, for that, she is hated by lefties like few other public figures.
So, I hope she doesnt’ tamp it down. I hope she keeps on being herself and being provocative. This guy was a lunatic, a nut, not even necessarily a right winger, or a left winger for that matter- although there are reports that he was a left wing — at least not long ago in high school. He was, unstable, crazy, loony tunes. He borrowed from the political rhetoric of both sides and let it fuel his rage and indiscriminate paranoia and odd fixation on Giffords. The left should not make hay with this tragedy, to do is political opportunism of the worst kind.