Horrible

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

This is just awful.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and six others died after a gunman opened fire at a public event on Saturday, the Pima County, Ariz., sheriff’s office confirms. The 40-year-old Democrat was outside a Tucson grocery store when a gunman ran up and began firing indiscriminately. The suspect was taken into police custody.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head and killed outside a grocery store in Tucson while holding a public event, Arizona Public Media reported Saturday.

The 40-year-old Democrat, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.

Other news outlets are reporting the shooting, but as of 1:15pm ET, NPR and Reuters are the only two I can see that have reported Giffords’ death. The suspect was reportedly detained by bystanders and is now in custody.

MORE: There are now reports both confirming and contradicting the early reports of Giffords death.

MORE: A surgeon at one local hospital has confirmed at a press conference that Giffords is still alive, and that he is “very optimistic” about her recovery. Great news for her and her family. He also confirmed that there were other fatalities, and that at least five people at his hospital are in critical condition. He also confirmed that a nine-year-old girl shot at the event died at the hospital. I’m going to stop the updates for now. Feel free to post links to new developments in the comments.

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107 Responses to “Horrible”

  1. #1 |  Jay | 

    And now we wait for daily kos to claim it’s a teapartier because he owned a gun and Glenn “Let’s nuke North Korea” Reynolds to claim it’s an eco-terrorist because he once ate a vegetarian dish.

  2. #2 |  Jenn | 

    #1 – he already has.

  3. #3 |  Jenn | 

    And by he I meant Markos Moulitsas.

  4. #4 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Far less horrible but incredibly irresponsible: some on teh interwebz are pointing out that Giffords was on Sara Palin’s “hit list” and implying that she may somehow be responsible for Giffords’ death. I’m no Palin fan (not by a long shot) but to suggest that Palin was calling for somebody to assassinate Giffords because she voted for the health care overhaul is a disgustingly opportunistic politicization of a tragedy.

  5. #5 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Damn. Fucking dammit.

    RIP

  6. #6 |  John Jenkins | 

    How long will it be before someone tries to use this tragic, random event which, by its nature as an outlier, is neither preventable nor foreseeable, in a call for some greater oppression. [I would think the least intrusive thing likely to happen is USSS protection for congresspersons at all times, or maybe just HLS protection].

  7. #7 |  claude | 

    Im hearing she was shot in the head but is alive.

  8. #8 |  John Jenkins | 

    As of 2:46 pm EST, KOLD TV in Tucson is reporting that she is alive and in surgery, so that’s good news.

    http://www.kold.com/Global/story.asp?S=13807790

  9. #9 |  Elliot | 

    The Washington Post is reporting that she was “the subject of harassment” during the Health Care Deform debate, her office window smashed. The “Window War” was supposed to be limited to Democratic Party offices (since Congressional offices are federal property, thus a much bigger criminal charge). And, the man who called for window breaking repeatedly begged people not to engage in violence against people.

    But I suspect much of those details will be ignored in the days to come.

    I’m just waiting to see which vultures will be exploiting this mass murder for their own agendas. The scumbag who did the shooting is probably going to empower whoever he opposed.

  10. #10 |  Rune | 

    At least we can rule out the shooter being of middle eastern appearance, or the head lines would be overflowing with it.

  11. #11 |  claude | 

    Was the federal judge that was shot killed as well?

  12. #12 |  claude | 

    Nevermind, MSNBC just reported he died.

  13. #13 |  luvzbob | 

    ” to suggest that Palin was calling for somebody to assassinate Giffords because she voted for the health care overhaul is a disgustingly opportunistic politicization of a tragedy.”

    Sarah palin’s website had (until earlier today) a map with a crosshair drawn over Gifford’s district:

    http://www.commondreams.org/further/2011/01/08

    It’s time to call a spade a spade.

  14. #14 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    @#4:

    She wasn’t calling for assassination, but she was willing to pander to those who were.

  15. #15 |  EH | 

    Consider the dog whistle. Palin knows how this stuff can work, evidenced by her removing the crosshairs from her website.

  16. #16 |  luvzbob | 

    When you couch your political rhetoric in the language of the gun (“hit list”, crosshair graphics,”don’t retreat, reload”) you are less than subtly encouraging violence. Palin is likely too stupid to realize this, but many on the right are, yet they condone the language and embrace the speaker anyway.

  17. #17 |  EH | 

    I’m sure she’ll say that by “hit list” she meant the Dick Clark version.

  18. #18 |  Elliot | 

    Just browsing CNN & FNC, hear “…too many guns…” and ranting about “tea party members”.

    Curiously, much of the anger at Democrats during 2009 was at those who were ducking public appearances or controlling their “town hall meetings”. If current reports are accurate, Rep. Giffords regularly held public meetings like this. Also, Giffords is an immigration hawk and opposed the gun ban in DC. So, at least on those three things, Giffords wasn’t among the Democrats most despised by vocal critics.

    But she was apparently an easy target, even though she seem to be a more moderate Democrat. Not that targeting a more radical Democrat would have been any less destructive to the cause of reason and freedom.

    A young child is one of the dead.

    This is just horrible.

  19. #19 |  Radley Balko | 

    When you couch your political rhetoric in the language of the gun (“hit list”, crosshair graphics,”don’t retreat, reload”) you are less than subtly encouraging violence.

    How about the gay rights activist and Daily Kos poster who said the congresswoman was “dead to him”? Or Kos himself calling her a “target” for a primary challenge? The DNC also put bullseyes on GOPers they were targeting for defeat.

    I have no love for Palin, and I think much of her rhetoric is overblown and stupid. But blaming her in any way for someone’s decision to open fire at a political rally is asinine. It’s like saying Ozzy Osbourne is responsible for teenagers committing suicide in the 1980s.

  20. #20 |  Elliot | 

    I see the vultures are already circling in here: “luvzbob”, “Stormy Dragon”, and “EH”.

    So, your “solution” to the problem of heated rhetoric is to start making inflammatory accusations, to exploit this tragedy before many facts are known?

    Dumb.

  21. #21 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    But blaming her in any way for someone’s decision to open fire at a political rally is asinine.

    Let me be clear: I’m not blaming Palin. I just think she is frequently irresponsible in her word choice and that, like many politicians, she is too willing to pander to fringe individuals. While that does not make her responsible for the actions of those fringe individuals, it is something that makes her unworthy of respect.

  22. #22 |  EH | 

    No, my solution is for psychological dissertations like Sarah Palin to be ostracized. That said, comparing her to Dick Clark is obviously a joke, right?

  23. #23 |  EH | 

    Fun Stuff:
    http://wildcat.arizona.edu/perspectives/palin-reloads-aims-for-giffords-1.1654164?MMode=true

  24. #24 |  samjcarroll | 

    Help me out here. She was a gun owner, and for border control and they are spinning this against the tea party. help me understand.

  25. #25 |  a different brian | 

    ya know, i spend way too much of my time explaining the libertarian philosophy of personal responsibility to people that just as tirelessly explain to me that it’s fine in theory but completely impractical.

    i beg them to check out the agitator and reason and others in the hope that they’ll get a better insight than what i am able to impart and that a life and limited government based on that ideal would indeed work. i only hope they never read the comments.

    ok, here goes, i’m going to type this slowly and use small words: the only person responsible is the one who pulled the trigger. the only person who knows the motive is also the one who pulled the trigger.

    now please, stop embarrassing me.

  26. #26 |  Elliot | 

    @samjcarroll (#24): Vultures exploit tragedies and crises to try to find some advantage in the misery of others.

    I’m no fan of Palin or the bulk of the self-described “tea party” members, but they don’t deserve to be blamed for the acts of this shooter any more than the Daily Kos people cited by Radley.

    How about we all get some facts before pointing fingers, at the very least?

  27. #27 |  Marty | 

    condolences to the families and I hope the wounded have a full and speedy recovery. horrible.

  28. #28 |  Paulus | 

    While slightly condescending Brian’s statement at #27 is accurate. Most (all?) ideologies can inspire violence, but ultimately the one with the sword drops the blade.

  29. #29 |  Paulus | 

    Or Brian at #25 rather.

  30. #30 |  MassHole | 

    I’ll second #25. Based on his alleged myspace and youtube pages, this guy is most likely very mentally ill. It pains me to know a 9 year old girl was killed. I hear my wife and daughter pulling into the driveway right now. I’m going to go give them a hug.

  31. #31 |  Shane | 

    @ a different Brian — so Jim Jones had nothing to do with his followers’ mass suicides; Pol Pot’s rhetoric had nothing to do with the Killing Fields; Osama bin Laden has no sway over jihadists; loosey goosey rules of engagement have nothing to do with indiscriminate and wholesale killings of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan; War on Drugs propaganda doesn’t make for trigger-happy SWAT teams. I deliberately did not mention Hitler … but he was a charismatic cat, too. I’m with you; one has nothing to do with the other.

  32. #32 |  TC | 

    The young man has some serious challenges. Supposedly these are some of his words. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittenstoe/5337086764/sizes/o/

    This is his You Tube site. http://www.youtube.com/user/Classitup10#p/a/f/0/3L1lsLU-kUw

    WZ’s site has lots of info-opines and links. http://weaselzippers.us/2011/01/08/dem-congresswoman-gabrielle-giffords-shot-in-arizona/

    Seems like he fit better in Bill Ayers living room than Palins!

    Rep. Gabrielle Gifford was seemingly much more of a DINO than a libtard dem.

    Confirmed that Federal judge John M. Roll has also died.

    Very possible that the judge was the primary target.

    More info will of course come out, I do hope it comes out straight.

  33. #33 |  EH | 

    Some publicly visible people use violent rhetoric for political purposes. It not like anybody’s saying (as I read elsewhere) the dude yelled “FROM PALIN’S HEART I STAB AT THEE,” but let’s call a spade a spade. I’m not calling for speech codes or anything like that, but incitement is a real thing. Crazy Boy is only the first frog to boil.

  34. #34 |  FridayNext | 

    I don’t hold Palin personally responsible. Nor Sharon Angle who called for “second amendment remedies” or any of the rest of the ever more violent rhetoric emanating from certain quarters the last couple of years. But that doesn’t mean they should be let off the hook either. You want to advocate for the tree of justice to be watered with blood? Look at that dead 9 year old over there. That’s what it looks like. Happy? Why not? It’s what you have been advocating. Hey Mr. Talk Radio Host who urged your listeners to phone in death threats to a federal judge because you didn’t like his rulings. You must be happy right? You got your way. You can’t express regret now. Own it.

    And while I respect and agree with Radley in comparing the activist and Kos poster to these other statements to a certain extent, is it really too much to ask that elected officials, and those who wish to be elected officials, to a higher standard? At the end of the day, how many Americans know or care who Kos is? Michelle Bachmann once told her constituents to get “armed and dangerous” over the Obama tax plan. She is a sitting representative who also wants to investigate un-American members of Congress and is now on the intelligence committee and privy to the biggest secrets the executive chooses to share. I won’t apologize for being more disturbed by her violent, intolerant rhetoric than some Kos poster. The same reason I am more disturbed by police violent behavior than an average citizen. As Spiderman says, with great power comes great responsibility.

    I was disgusted with the violent rhetoric with our discourse before this event, or the bombs in MD and DC this past week, and I would have been disgusted had they never happened.

  35. #35 |  Elliot | 

    Yes, the quality of political debate is abysmally bad. That is a direct result of how the exercise of political power has more intensely affected the lives of citizens. Voters recognize how all the government programs, laws, regulations, taxes, etc. are dominating their lives and threatening their futures more and more each day, so they are understandably alarmed and getting more desperate to stop the “other side” from taking advantage of them.

    All of this is the predictable result of putting moral questions up to a vote, of rulers making election contests into mock battles, pitting one “side” against another. (Warren mentions the “Coke vs. Pepsi” mentality, which is spot on.)

    Around the 2010 election, I read somewhere that an election is nothing more than two or more armies getting dressed up, marching to the battle field, then counting which side has the most soldiers and awarding the spoils of victory to that side without actually drawing blood. And, as Billy Beck has pointed out for many years: “All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war.”

    My solution? Stop voting. Stop giving your permission to politicians to wield power over your neighbors. Work with your neighbors to solve problems via reason and persuasion, instead of resorting to force. Government, by definition, is the use of force.

  36. #36 |  Shane | 

    radley, what gives with the boo hoo comment?

  37. #37 |  Cappy | 

    Ya’ll can deride me all ya want on this, I don’t care.

    Coupla thoughts.

    When the state uses force to exert their will, they should not be shocked when it’s returned in kind.

    I’m expecting to see more of this.

  38. #38 |  Mike H | 

    Cappy, that’s a pretty crappy sentiment. When did that dead girl ever “exert her will” on you?

  39. #39 |  RomanCandle | 

    So FridayAfterNext, the Tea Party and uncouth rheotoric is indirectly responsible for this mass murder? The guy hated the constitution and listed the Communist Manifesto as one of his favorite books. Connect those dots for me.

    Any reasonable person who looks at this man’s beliefs will see not a coherent political philosophy, but the unhinged ramblings of a madman.

    You’re assuming that a more “civil” public discourse would prevent these kinds of attacks. It’s human nature to see patterns where none exist and to assume a logical reason must exist to explain seemingly random events.

    It is a faulty assumption.

  40. #40 |  tjbbpgobIII | 

    It seems very apparent to me that this is another violent leftist with no self control over his actions. The left always projects their type of anger over to the right where it very seldom comes to fruition.

  41. #41 |  Cappy | 

    No, Mike, it’s not a crappy sentiment. It’s irrelevant that it was a child that was killed. I’m sure the gunman didn’t intend the child to be killed by his actions and for that he should be punished.

    The point of the matter is this, words do not work with government. The only thing government understands is force.

  42. #42 |  Elliot | 

    Cappy, there are alternatives. The government also understands when they lose the support of the majority.

    Massive non-violent civil disobedience can create change more effectively than violence or voting.

  43. #43 |  Roberta X | 

    Elliot: ” as Billy Beck has pointed out for many years: ‘All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war.'”

    You and brother Billy, much as I love ‘im, forget that’s what all politics is, all the time. It’s what we substitute for digging trenches and shooting at one another and most of the time, it works pretty well, though one could wish it kept the legiscritters even busier thwarting one another than inflicting laws on us.

    This shooting is tragic but the evidence so far points to schizophrenia, not too much Sarah Palin taken too literally.

    And only a paranoid would read too much into Jared Lee Loughner being another horrbily successful lone gunman with three names.

  44. #44 |  Mattocracy | 

    All tragedies are used by politicians for gain. Reagan’s assassination attempt, The OK City bombing, 911, the collapse of the housing industry, etc. No one will blame the one person responsible for this, the asshole shooter.

    Everyone will blame their boogy men. Luvzbob will blame conservatives, The Tea Party, and the NRA, while Glenn Beck will blame liberals, illegal immigrants, and the radical gay agenda.

    The shooter is full of shit and unfortunately causes everyone else to spew bullshit as well.

  45. #45 |  FridayNext | 

    @RomanCandle: I never said that. I took the opportunity of this thread to voice my disgust at leaders who use the rhetoric of guns, violence, and war to gather political power and make money. It trivializes guns, violence, and war and the victims thereof. Today’s events and the bombs sent to MD and DC office building this past week have no effect on my opinion in that regard.

  46. #46 |  Bill | 

    The guy is an asshole and deserves whatever he gets after he gets his due process.

    To try and make this into a bigger political issue about anything is a serious mistake.

  47. #47 |  mantooth | 

    When the Cappy’s revolution comes I’m sure he’ll give us the play by play from behind his computer.

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  49. #49 |  Elliot | 

    Roberta X (#43): You and brother Billy, much as I love ‘im, forget that’s what all politics is, all the time.

    So, in response to a citation from years ago, which I cited a year ago or so, your response is to say that we “forget”?

    Look, if you want to accuse someone of forgetting that democratic politics is a bloodless form of war, you might try to find some people who didn’t write or cite a statement making that point.

    It’s what we substitute for digging trenches and shooting at one another…

    Don’t say “we”. That’s a lie.

    …and most of the time, it works pretty well…

    Have you seen the national debt figures? Have you seen the messes in Iraq and Afghanistan? Have you seen the prisons filled with non-violent drug offenders, and the ubiquitous SWAT raids?

    Wow. Just, wow.

  50. #50 |  delta | 

    #4 | ClubMedSux: “…to suggest that Palin was calling for somebody to assassinate Giffords because she voted for the health care overhaul is a disgustingly opportunistic politicization of a tragedy.”

    Of course, the victim herself said that prior to being shot. “Disgusting”, eh?

    “Giffords expressed similar concern, even before the shooting. In an interview after her office was vandalized, she referred to the animosity against her by conservatives, including Sarah Palin’s decision to list Giffords’ seat as one of the top “targets” in the midterm elections.

    For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said in an interview with MSNBC.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_congresswoman_shot

  51. #51 |  nospam | 

    Speaking as a (now former) smoker, divorced, non-custodial father and someone who has to work for a living, am I allowed not to care if one of the class that made me a political red headed step child got capped? The fact that bystanders were injured or killed during this attack is horrifying, but the politician…is this going to mean that new episodes of “House” are going to be interrupted?

  52. #52 |  celticdragonchick | 

    nospam.

    What is like to experience life as a sociopathic asshole? You sound like a great source to start some anthropological field work on the subject.

  53. #53 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I don’t know this Congress woman and don’t particularly think that her death is anymore tragic than any of the others who were murdered today, although by watching the news, one could actually get he impression she was the only one who was shot (and she was a hero, unlike the other bystanders who were essentially nameless peasants).

    Presumably she was killed for political reasons. That is very unfortunate, because we’re supposed to be a country where you can speak your mind without having to fear for your life. Summary execution is a power that is reserved solely for the government and freelancers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    If you’ve been listening to the comments from various officials, you’ll notice that some of them are blaming these murders the aggressive language used by activists, protesters, and ordinary citizens when it comes to political discussion these days. I detect an acute lack of understanding by these officials that words are not the same as actions. In other words, what I’m hearing is the suggestion that angry words should be regarded as “warning signs”.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we soon see the introduction of a Gabrielle Giffords Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act which will place people who bad mouth the government on a special watch list for use by local and national law enforcement agencies. If you just happen to be one of those extremist kooks who aggressively denounces government on internet forums (just as an example), your name might be included on that list. Then, if you try to buy a gun (just as an example), a red flag will pop up and the government will pay you a visit (probably after you actually take delivery of the weapon so they can “discover it” when they search your house).

  54. #54 |  Elliot | 

    delta (#50) :Of course, the victim herself said that prior to being shot. “Disgusting”, eh?

    Yes, that was a case of disgusting opportunism. Just because she was the victim of a nut doesn’t absolve her of guilt in that.

    It remains to be seen how the shooter’s bio is going to shake out, but there are mentions on the web now that he was described as “left wing” by people who knew him. He most definitely didn’t fit the profile of the “tea party” type one would expect to be taking marching orders from Palin.

    Not only that, there were posts and comments on Daily Kos (some scrubbed now), mentioning Giffords as “dead to me”, “bullseye”, and other such language. That doesn’t mean the shooter was inspired by Kos, either.

    So, why don’t you quit being a ghoul, delta? Let the facts settle before you try to exploit this tragedy some more.

  55. #55 |  nospam | 

    celticdragonchick

    You know, if just not caring about one of the class who sees people like me as little more than one step above chattel makes me a sociopath, than so be it. And here I thought I had some kind of zen thing happening because I wasn’t giddy about the event. How should I genuflect to show the proper amount of respect for the fall of one of my betters?

  56. #56 |  RWW | 

    I’m with you, nospam. I can’t pretend to feel bad when a tyrant — be it a king, congresswoman, or cop — is subjected to a more direct form of the violence he or she inflicts on others.

  57. #57 |  Roberta X | 

    Aw, Gee, Elliot, I love you, too. Meanwhile, all the dead people the crazy guy short are still dead.

    Billy was citing pilticis-as-rehersal-for-civil-war as a change; like many folks, sometimes he slips into thinking things were better once, possibly ‘cos they keep getting worse. (Hint: how small does a crap sandwich have to be before it tastes nice?)

    And if it’s a lie that “we” — inhabitants of the States generally — play politics instead of warring on one another, why are you here debating instead of on a rooftop with a rifle? White feather, or just not crazy enough?

    Yeah, the country’s in killer debt and we have boots on the blood-soaked ground in a lot of places, but where have you been? We still have the .mil in Cuba. Or if you’d like more recent history, sub “Germany.” And fedgov started out on kited checks — that bug in the beta version is why “not worth a Continental” means what it does, and it is howcome they initially promised to deal only in clinking money in the revised version. They never did really do a straight-up job of that.

    So far, there aren’t any extermination camps here and most folks are eating well; there are plenty of fat poor people (do you realize how major that is? Seriously?). I can read most anything I can pay for or borrow, and write and say almost anything I like. By my standards, that’s doing pretty well. You may want a more perfect Union than that; me, I figure the bastards could do us a lot worse.

    Looking back at politicians being shot or credible tries to do so, my rough count only finds two where the shooter wasn’t mentally bent: Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Truman. I could be convinced otherwise in the case of Booth. The folks blaming Palin, chat-show pundits or deeeeeep cover operations from the White House, the KGB or the Vatican for this most recent tragedy are hunting up patterns that aren’t there, perhaps to maintain an illusion of control.

    Me, I enjoy the ride — and look for chances to spit in Authority’s eye. I’m through trying to fix the mess; there’s no fix to it.

  58. #58 |  Elliot | 

    @celticdragonchick (#52), I don’t agree with your “sociopath” crack. Thousands of people died today from disease, accidents, and even murders. Who has the emotional capacity to care about each one?

    Decent people have no obligation to feel sympathy for a member of the aristocracy, no matter how pretty they were or how pleasant they were in conversation.

    When Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd died, I was actually happy, because those rotten bastards saddled us with billions in debt and further limits on our freedoms. The people who opposed their policies but suddenly decided Ted and Bob were wonderful people after they died were fools.

    I don’t have any particular antipathy towards Giffords, beyond the fact that she’s a politician. I’d rather she decided not to go to Safeway today, tendered her resignation, and found an honest job.

    And, while I’m playing the wishing game, I wish the shooter had just shot himself alone in his bathroom to save everyone the trouble.

  59. #59 |  Roberta X | 

    Nospam: darned few people die unmourned. You’re not obliged to join in — who was the judge or the little girl to you? — but it’s considered gauche to show up at the service waving a big sign that says “YOU HAD IT COMING.”

    Gosh, why does that scene seem so familiar?

    The reality is, any of us could get shot. Even in places where it’s all illegal to possess or carry the means of so doing. Even if the injured or killed had been [insert name of least-fave pol here], I wouldn’t be cheering.

  60. #60 |  Elliot | 

    @Roberta (#57): Most of what you wrote in response to me was a straw man. There’s so little pertinent information that I’m not even going to bother trying to untangle it.

    You’re quite wrong about Beck, as well. He doesn’t make the argument you accuse him of making.

    As for the crack about being a sniper on a rooftop, perhaps you’ve missed the multiple instances of me advocating non-violent civil disobedience. Or, did you see that and just decide to be a jerk anyway?

  61. #61 |  Roberta X | 

    Didn’t bother to look you up, Elliot, because I don’t actually care. Nice ad-homs, by the way; very pretty.

    You rate “non-violent civil disobediance” = “civil war,” then? Posting from the Concord jail, are you?

    –And I accused Billy (in his absence, which is totally unfair) of subtle optimism. You wanna go back and look at his post? As I recall, it included language indicative of a change in condition, as if elections or politics had previously not been a dress rehearsal for civil war.

    Meanwhile, the crazy guy is still crazy and the dead? Still dead. We can talk and talk and they will still be dead. And not for anything.

  62. #62 |  nospam | 

    Roberta: please note where I said that the bystanders wounded or killed was horrifying.

    And, once again, I’m not cheering. I’m simply asking if it’s okay for me not to care if someone who sees me as a political pariah gets capped by some nutter. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t voice approval of it, I’m just asking if it’s okay for me not to give a shit about someone who didn’t give a shit about me and mine.

  63. #63 |  Matt | 

    Tragic, but what about Eurie Stamps? Imagine a country where a citizen getting gunned down by police in his own home was as big a deal, if not bigger, than some nut blowing away a politician.

  64. #64 |  nospam | 

    Lets just cut to the chase here. Should profound apathy toward the physical safety of public office holders be a prosecutable offense?

    Let’s just lay it all out here in the extreme: if the fable of the missing Soviet suitcase nukes turned out to be true and one or two went off in DC during a joint session of congress, my biggest concern above the loss of some cool architecture and monuments would be if that event was going to postpone the next episode of “Fringe.” I’m not cheering for it, it’s just that you can’t dare me to care about people who see me as little more than a sheep to be herded.

  65. #65 |  Matt | 

    People react to deaths in unpredictable ways. Probably the best etiquette is not to force your reaction on others – a libertarian theory of mourning, if you will. If someone’s death makes you glad, don’t gloat about it; if it makes you sad, don’t expect others to join in your grieving.

  66. #66 |  Dave Krueger | 

    While we may hate what they do to us, I don’t think most politicians are particularly evil. I think they’re very often self-serving and stupid, but those aren’t crimes and they don’t deserve execution. It’s a very sad day in the U.S. when anyone is killed for their political views, whether they are one of our heroes or someone whose views we utterly despise.

    Having said that, I can completely understand the intensity of the anger expressed toward politicians. People die and lives are destroyed in their wars (domestic and foreign) every stinkin’ day and it doesn’t even warrant a footnote on the nightly news. I don’t find it particularly surprising or unreasonable that there might be a lack of sympathy for them on the part of some people. And I don’t believe a lack of sympathy is the same as advocating murder.

  67. #67 |  Roberta X | 

    Nospam: Um, you need my stamp of approval to not care about strangers considerably distant from yourself? No you don’t.

    OTOH, if Congress got graunched, it would be the start of an entire new degree of screwed-upness. Whatever stub of FedGov was left would be spoiling for a fight and not much caring who it was with. I’d be very sad indeed if that happened and so would you if you lived in the States.

    I agree with Dave. You can loathe ‘em without wishing them dead.

  68. #68 |  Shiden | 

    Unlike things like “Second Amendment remedies” or “don’t retreat, reload”, a phrase like “dead to me” has a well established meaning. It’s a hyperbolic way of saying that someone has done something so disappointing/outrageous, that you will have absolutely nothing to do with them.

    I can give the gunsights, “target” and even, barely, “hit list” rhetoric a pass, but the Tea Party has been utilizing violent rhetoric and implicit threats (and vandalism) from the beginning. You don’t see anything on that scale from the left.

  69. #69 |  JThompson | 

    @Shiden: Don’t forget the tree of liberty thing. Plus it isn’t like the left railed about a doctor until someone killed him either. Something that the same people that are insisting this guy must have been a liberal also denied a connection between.

    After looking at his web stuff my best guess is that he was just plain crazy. It’s hard to claim he’s a lefty since he was a firm believer in the gold standard and anti-immigration, but his reading list doesn’t really mark him as a righty either. Sure the violent rhetoric probably contributed to his actions, but it’s pretty unlikely that it caused it.

    It’s also being reported that he had an accomplice, they’re supposedly currently looking for a white male in his fifties.

  70. #70 |  RomanCandle | 

    @FridayAfterNext: Fair enough. I think I misunderstood what you were trying to say. I guess I got tripped up when you said talk radio hosts have no right to be upset at the murder of a little girl. Other than that, though, I don’t really disagree with point you made.

    And I hope I don’t get my libertarian bona fides revoked for saying this, but to all you people expressing a cavalier indifference to the fate of this politician: grow up and get some damn perspective. She’s not a Nazi or a member of the Politburo, okay? Please don’t nail yourself to the cross, either: we are citizens of the United States. We have a free press, the Bill of Rights, an independent judiciary, and a solid 200+ plus years of the rule of law to aid us in addressing our grievances against the abuses by the state. We have it better than 99.999999% of people who have ever existed.

    That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be angry when injustices occur. Of course we should, which is why I love this blog and what Radley does. But it’s also imperative to keep things in perspective, lest we turn into what we claim to despise.

    Political violence is only morally justified as a last resort. In practice, that means that killing politicians can almost never be justified in a democracy.

  71. #71 |  Elliot | 

    Roberta X (#61):Didn’t bother to look you up, Elliot, because I don’t actually care. Nice ad-homs, by the way; very pretty.

    Apparently you’re unfamiliar with the meaning of ad hominem. I criticized what you wrote, nothing about you as a person. So, what could you possible see as being “very pretty” out of no personal attacks?

    You rate “non-violent civil disobediance” = “civil war,” then? Posting from the Concord jail, are you?

    Your words, not mine. And, again, you’re making unwise assumptions, thrashing away at a straw man.

  72. #72 |  Elliot | 

    Matt (#63) :Tragic, but what about Eurie Stamps? Imagine a country where a citizen getting gunned down by police in his own home was as big a deal, if not bigger, than some nut blowing away a politician.

    Amen!

  73. #73 |  Elliot | 

    Shiden (#68) :Unlike things like “Second Amendment remedies” or “don’t retreat, reload”, a phrase like “dead to me” has a well established meaning. It’s a hyperbolic way of saying that someone has done something so disappointing/outrageous, that you will have absolutely nothing to do with them.

    The sheer mental gymnastics you must do to try to carefully thread between two overlapping sets of remarks puts any CGI contortionism to shame.

    I can give the gunsights, “target” and even, barely, “hit list” rhetoric a pass, but the Tea Party has been utilizing violent rhetoric and implicit threats (and vandalism) from the beginning. You don’t see anything on that scale from the left.

    The “left” doesn’t generally muck around with the small scale stuff. They prefer GULAGs, concentration camps, killing fields, etc., murdering on the order of tens of millions and enslaving billions.

    Tea party hotheads? They’re pikers by way of comparison.

    Sheesh!

  74. #74 |  Shiden | 

    Elliot: Are you saying you’re not familiar with the phrase “dead to me” and it’s longstanding definition as something along the lines of what I wrote? Or are you saying that things like “Second Amendment remedies” have some sort of non-violent meaning?

  75. #75 |  Les | 

    Our elected officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, condemn this terrible, and ultimately unavoidable and unpredictable event, in which innocent men, women, and children were killed by an insane man.

    These same officials, every one of them completely sane, are killing innocent men, women, and children in Afghanistan on a fairly regular, predictable basis. Not once every few years, but every few weeks.

    Innocents being violently killed here by a madman is a “tragedy.” Overseas, innocents being violently killed by perfectly sane Americans is a “political reality.”

  76. #76 |  Elliot | 

    RomanCandle (#70): …to all you people expressing a cavalier indifference to the fate of this politician: grow up and get some damn perspective. She’s not a Nazi or a member of the Politburo, okay?

    Is that the bar for being compelled not to be indifferent? So how about Dan Rostenkowski, who was a convicted criminal? Are we required to feel sad about his passing? How about Dick Nixon? Henry Kissinger? George W. Bush?

    Where is the dividing line and why are we compelled to feel bad for someone we’ve never met doing what everyone else eventually does? Are we required to feel bad for the thousands of people all around the world who just died in the past minute? Some guy in India got run over by a truck. A kid in Sudan died of starvation. Three people were shot by radicals in Nigeria. If we are not actively mourning them, are we bad people? Do we need to “grow up”? I think you need to reevaluate your premises here.

    For example, I was quite indifferent about Paul Wellstone dying, because I didn’t know anything about him. I wasn’t going to feel bad for him just because he was mentioned in the national press, either. I did think it was ghoulish and pathetic that his funeral was turned into a pep rally, though. Some people have no respect for the family and loved ones of the deceased.

    Political violence is only morally justified as a last resort. In practice, that means that killing politicians can almost never be justified in a democracy.

    Democracy and freedom are not the same thing. I’m more concerned with a society being peaceful and civilized. Democracy actually makes that worse, when people are more and more at the mercy of the majority opinion, which is what you get when everyone’s money is subject to the taking by authorities (purportedly on behalf of “everyone”) and thus everyone’s activity is everyone else’s business.

    As with the foreign invasions intended to topple “bad guys” from power, I’m opposed to violence breaking out here. Not because I think the bad guys deserve to retain power or shouldn’t be physically harmed. More because I don’t want to see innocents caught in the crossfire or for other “bad guys” to take advantage of the resulting chaos to take power.

    Frankly, I’d rather the lot of Congress and the executive branch be put on trial (a la Nuremberg) and become neighbors of Bernie Madoff, rather than being hurt or killed. I’d even settle for them resigning and finding honest work. But that’s just me.

  77. #77 |  Elliot | 

    Shiden (#74) :Elliot: Are you saying you’re not familiar with the phrase “dead to me” and it’s longstanding definition as something along the lines of what I wrote? Or are you saying that things like “Second Amendment remedies” have some sort of non-violent meaning?

    I’m saying that you seem to be bending over backwards to give Team Pepsi the benefit of the doubt and judging Team Coke very harshly.

    I read a number of people who take phrases like “Second Amendment remedies” very seriously. None of them are threatening initiating force. It’s more of drawing a line in the sand, saying “this is mine and you’re not taking it”, and backing that up with cold steel. I have absolutely no problem with that and it has nothing to do with some lunatic ambushing a conservative Democrat in a public place.

  78. #78 |  BSK | 

    So… no thoughts on how this guy doesn’t get labeled a terrorist…?

  79. #79 |  dsmallwood | 

    not by Paul Krugman
    he says he’s just a hater
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/assassination-attempt-in-arizona/
    the republicans created a culture of hate. who knew.

  80. #80 |  Roberta X | 

    Elliot: accusing someone of telling lies, of ignoring recent history, those constitute personal attacks, all the more when expressed in the form of sad surprise. (“Wow. Just, wow”). –Mind you, I was admiring them; really good venom is an art form. So is being The Sole Defender of The True Faith. An African swallow, sir, or a European swallow?

    (N. B., Billy Beck is marvelously capable of defending himself).

    Please read more history. No, just please read more.

  81. #81 |  Roberta X | 

    Elliot: accusing someone of telling lies, of ignoring recent history, those constitute personal attacks, all the more when expressed in the form of sad surprise. (“Wow. Just, wow”). –Mind you, I was admiring them; really good venom is an art form. So is being The Sole Defender of The True Truth. An African swallow, sir, or a European swallow?

    (N. B., Billy Beck is marvelously capable of defending himself).

    Please read more history. No, just please read more.

  82. #82 |  Matt | 

    Huh? None of those things are personal attacks.

  83. #83 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Let the theatre begin.

  84. #84 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Matt is right, Roberta X.
    This might help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

  85. #85 |  JOR | 

    “She’s not a Nazi or a member of the Politburo, okay?”

    Neither are most of the people it would be justifiable to kill.

    “We have it better than 99.999999% of people who have ever existed.”

    An American victim of honest-to-god murder, to say nothing of rape or robbery or assault or any violent crime, probably has (or had) a better life than the vast majority of people who ever existed. So what?

    Hell, even Iraqis under Saddam Hussein’s government had it better than most people who ever existed. So fucking what?

  86. #86 |  J sub D | 

    Wow! A crazy person shoots up a political gathering and partisan people immediately attempt to exploit the tragedy to score political points. I’m certain that some pro-slavery pundits blamed abolitionist rhetoric for the atrocities John Brown committed as well.

    Color me saddened but unsurprised by the reaction of some of the more rabid, irrational home team boosters.

  87. #87 |  perlhaqr | 

    She may not, herself, have been evil, but she (along with the vast majority of Congress) voted on things she had no moral right to vote on regarding how I get to live my life, and worked to authorize evil on a grand scale. I find it difficult to muster much sympathy for her.

    That said, I’m not sure she was even the major target, except insofar as the shooter wanted fame. Reports indicate he started his way through his magazine at the back of the crowd. These weren’t people who were hit by “stray” bullets aimed at Gifford, they were each shot down while the shooter moved through the crowd toward Gifford.

    The shooter was crazy scum. And he’ll get all the attention he was clamoring for in the 24 hour news cycle.

  88. #88 |  BSK | 

    “She may not, herself, have been evil, but she (along with the vast majority of Congress) voted on things she had no moral right to vote on regarding how I get to live my life, and worked to authorize evil on a grand scale. I find it difficult to muster much sympathy for her.”

    Hyperbole much? Are you seriously fucking serious dude?

    You have no sympathy for her because she had the gall to work in the political system and vote on bills put forward to her? Jesus Christ, man. You are heartless.

  89. #89 |  John Wilburn | 

    @25 a different brain

    “ok, here goes, i’m going to type this slowly and use small words: the only person responsible is the one who pulled the trigger. the only person who knows the motive is also the one who pulled the trigger.

    now please, stop embarrassing me” (us).

    Halle – fucking – lujah!

  90. #90 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Before we condemn her too much we should remember that she was elected to her job (by “we the people”), so one can make a pretty good argument that she’s just doing what a fair chunk of the population wants elected her to do. That’s what democracy is all about (de Tocqueville called it “the tyranny of the near majority of voters”).

  91. #91 |  Matt | 

    I’m not clear why her doing what she was elected to do would be a reason not to condemn her. It depends on what she was doing. Her popularity is irrelevant.

  92. #92 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #91 Matt

    I’m not clear why her doing what she was elected to do would be a reason not to condemn her. It depends on what she was doing. Her popularity is irrelevant.

    My point is just that the blame probably rests more with those who put her in office than it does with her. In fact, in a democracy, there would probably be more reason to condemn her if she didn’t do what the voters waned.

  93. #93 |  Matt | 

    But this is supposed to be a constitutional republic, not a democracy.

  94. #94 |  Roberta X | 

    Boyd, Matt: could we, like, just let on that we already had the meta-argument about what constitutes using perceived personal characteristics to invalidate another’s points and found our individual readings of the same text to be at odds? (Let’s do the same with meta-debate about what is or is not a “strawman,” another term recently brandished).

    That is, unless you can tell me how many dead people having the actual, fruitless debate will bring back; if you can and it does, we’ll set them up right next to the ones reanimated by the ideological purity of the ideologically pure. It”s be awesome.

    Didja hear the shooter was, eventually, taken down by bystanders? Let’s be more like them.

  95. #95 |  Matt | 

    The fact that my comment will not reanimate the dead hardly invalidates it. If you’re trying to tacitly move forward after realizing you were not personally attacked, that’s fine by me…we all make mistakes.

  96. #96 |  Roberta X | 

    Matt, Matt…how about the way you keep trying to win-by-sneakiness (Oh! The subtlety! I am undone!) and start metadiscussions instead of addressing the issue?

  97. #97 |  Mark S. | 

    Palin may not have wished harm to Congresswoman Giffords but the crosshairs are indicative of a point of view that politics is a matter of good and evil and clear rights and wrongs. In short, Palin and many like her view politics as a zero-sum game with apocalyptic-like consequences with failure. If those are the stakes then it’s no wonder these crusaders speak and act, whether consciously or not, in terms of political enemies rather than opponents.

    An enemy deserves crosshairs. With an opponent you go a few rounds bloodying each other’s noses and then go out for drinks afterwards.

  98. #98 |  RWW | 

    To paraphrase Solzhenitsyn…

    What would things be like if every congresswoman, when she goes about her business creating unjust and violent laws, were uncertain whether she would return alive and had to say goodbye to her family?

  99. #99 |  nwerner | 

    When this story initially broke, I reflexively felt sympathy for the injured and indignation toward the rhetoric that I figured probably inspired it. Having given it some thought and after reading through the comments here, I feel a much more comfortable sense of indifference toward the whole thing. It’s true, none of those people were any different than the people that are mistakenly killed by SWAT teams or our military. A life is a life is a life and there’s no reason to feel anything unusual about these events. There’s been enough of these tragedies that it’s about time to just acknowledge them as more collateral damage.

  100. #100 |  Elliot | 

    Roberta X (#81):Elliot: accusing someone of telling lies, of ignoring recent history, those constitute personal attacks…

    I criticized what you wrote, not what you look like, the pitch of your voice, your education level, or anything like that.

    When you write something which is false and impertinent and you’re called on it, calling that a personal attack is inaccurate. Also, it’s a distraction, as you’re not addressing the actual criticisms themselves.

    Please read more history. No, just please read more.

    This is yet another example of impertinence. No mention of historical inaccuracies, no genuine justification for this “advice”. If it was something other than spite at being criticized for what you wrote, please speak up.

  101. #101 |  Elliot | 

    Roberta X (#96):…Matt:how about the way you keep trying to win-by-sneakiness … and start metadiscussions instead of addressing the issue?

    Matt’s comments are right on point. I don’t see him as being “sneaky” at all.

    Perhaps if you simply accepted that I didn’t lob an ad hominem at you, quit telling people that their words aren’t resurrecting the dead (when do they ever?), and tried to have an honest, civil discussion with others instead of seeing how you can one up them with snarky asides, there might be a bit less pointless friction between us.

  102. #102 |  Roberta X | 

    It’s not pointless.

  103. #103 |  SteveLaudig | 

    Republicans = Teapublicans. WWLD? What would Lincoln do?

  104. #104 |  CyniCAl | 

    I believe I had the appropriate response to this story.

  105. #105 |  RWW | 

    What would Lincoln do?

    Find even more ways to be a tyrranical douche?

  106. #106 |  zendingo | 

    does anyone know what Jared Loughner did for a living? was he full time student? did he have a job? how did this guy support himself?

  107. #107 |  CharlesWT | 

    He was still living with his parents.

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