Free Markets, Free People

Fools rush in to define Giffords tragedy politically

Even before the blood had dried in the Safeway parking lot in Tucson, both sides and the media were attempting to paint the tragedy of the shooting of Rep. Giffords and other innocent bystanders in a way that boosted (or defended) whatever agenda talking point they wished to advance.

Politicization of an event – any event – that political advocates, activists or politicians see as useful is almost instant anymore. And make no mistake about it – what has been done from the beginning is to politicize this shooting (and that includes the Sheriff of Pima County AZ). Doing so has almost become standard operating procedure. Well that and demanding the event not be politicized. And then, in the post mortem, arguing about which side politicized it first.

Any long time observer of politics, especially in this day of mass communication, knows the speed by which information and opinion move. They also know that those who try to shape opinion have learned they must move quickly in order to see information shaped as they’d prefer to see it.

Of course, in the case of Rep. Giffords, one meme immediately surfaced – "vitriol" as a generic reason was cited as the cause – as in "political vitriol". The unstated (for the most part, at least immediately) source of that vitriol was supposed to be understood by knowing the political party of the victim. Reports were sure to stress "Democratic" Representative Giffords as the one shot.

This before the shooter had even been identified. And I can promise you, cold-blooded political strategists were sizing up the "opportunity" to see how much political throw-weight it had for their issue, agenda or politician.

For example:

One veteran Democratic operative, who blames overheated rhetoric for the shooting, said President Barack Obama should carefully but forcefully do what his predecessor did.

“They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said the Democrat. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.”

Note that this operative couldn’t care less if it really was "overheated rhetoric" or the fault of the Tea Party. That’s the farthest thing from his mind. It is a political opportunity to take advantage of a tragedy to "deftly pin" something outrageous on a political enemy.  He, or she, obviously counsels taking advantage of the opportunity.


Another Democratic strategist said the similarity is that Tucson and Oklahoma City both “take place in a climate of bitter and virulent rhetoric against the government and Democrats.”

This Democrat said that the time had come to insist that Republicans stand up when, for example, a figure such as Fox News commentator Glenn Beck says something incendiary.

So very quickly, without any proof, this became the equivalent of the Oklahoma City tragedy (something which has yet to be proven to have anything to do with virulent rhetoric – McVeigh said it was because of Waco) and it is the job of Republicans to stop it.  Just as Rush Limbaugh was named as a cause of Oklahoma City, the new bête noir of the left, Glenn Beck, is automatically fingered as the reason for this tragedy.  Right out of the playbook.


“Today we have seen the results” of “irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric,” former Democratic senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart wrote on Huffington Post. “Those with a megaphone, whether provided by public office or a media outlet, have responsibilities. They cannot avoid the consequences of their blatant efforts to inflame, anger, and outrage.”

Nonsense.  There was absolutely no proof at the time Hart wrote his piece that the shooter was motivated by “irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric”.  In fact, I’d suggest the most irresponsible rhetoric I saw was from those such as Gary Hart who immediately jumped to that conclusion without knowing much at all about the shooter.  Obviously there are responsibilities for those “with a megaphone.”  Ironically Hart most expertly demonstrates how not to fulfill those responsibilities and be exactly what he denounced – irresponsible.

Everyone needs to calm down and quit trying to pin the blame on the other side and take the time to find out the real motivation of the shooter before going off half cocked.  To paraphrase a famous quote about cigars, sometimes a nut is just a nut.  In the future I’d like to see us take a moment, let the information develop and then make conclusions based in fact vs. this new and continuing tendency to jump into something driven by ideology and immediately try to shape the argument to fit the agenda.

It makes those  who do that look like the fools they are.



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41 Responses to Fools rush in to define Giffords tragedy politically

  • Liberal sites have neurological myopia when they go sleuthing.  Less than two years after the Sparkman suicide when they tried to pin his death on the Tea Party, Fox News, etc.
    Liberal sites have an incredibly flat learning curve in regards to their media kangaroo courts.

  • Steve Benen over at Washinton Monthly takes a “hold your horses” this guy is ill approach.  Quite rare.

  • This isn’t fools rushing in: this is democrats doing what they always do.

    “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

    • Yep…  Also from my piece today…

      For as long as I can recall, the Collectivists have ghoulishly exploited every notorious killing involving a firearm to advance their agenda of disarming America.  It is how they roll.  They have simply broadened that same tactic in muzzling their opponents in the political world.  This cannot be allowed.

  • So who knew putting a crosshairs symbol on a map = telling the public to murder someone?

    • The Collective uses crosshairs, too.  Hell, Kos uses them, and had a piece saying “My CongressWOMAN is dead to me”.  THAT, of course, has been “disappeared” from his site.
      Maybe it is different when you don’t know which end of a gun is which…?

        • There is some speculation…and some evidence…to support that “BoyBlue” was the killer.  I dunno…

          • If you read down the diary, either he is some other poor soul or the killer has a great imagination.

            I shot myself in the mouth in a serious suicide attempt, because of that. Barely surviving, I spent two months in the hospital and still have some paralysis.

          • Yeah, I read that…along with the part about being gay, and married, his wife leaving him, and being laid off after he shot himself (and he speculated maybe that had something to do with his wife leaving).  If I got that right, the fabulist author seems a bit confused on the time-line.

    • Recall that “Zeroing in” video from the state of Pennsylvania “targeting” those who owed taxes.

  • From my piece on this today–
    But the tactic of the ambulance-chasing, tragedy-exploiting Left will work with some of the weaker minds in this country.  That includes GOP “senior Senators”–

    A senior Republican senator, speaking anonymously in order to freely discuss the tragedy, told POLITICO that the Giffords shooting should be taken as a “cautionary tale” by Republicans.

    “There is a need for some reflection here – what is too far now?” said the senator. “What was too far when Oklahoma City happened is accepted now. There’s been a desensitizing. These town halls and cable TV and talk radio, everybody’s trying to outdo each other.”

    So, the drive to self-censorship in response to the lies and demagoguery of the Collective’s hyenas begins.
    Today, it is a safe bet that all the talking heads on TV will be asking the same question.  They will follow the “vitriol” and “anti-government” meme set in place by the haters in their vanguard.  The goal is to put the majority of Americans who oppose the Collective on defense.

    • A senior Republican senator, speaking anonymously in order to freely discuss the tragedy, told POLITICO that the Giffords shooting should be taken as a “cautionary tale” by Republicans.

      Anybody want to make bets on who this simpering clown is?  My money’s on Grahamnesty.

      Ragspierre[T]he drive to self-censorship in response to the lies and demagoguery of the Collective’s hyenas begins.

      I suggest that it began before now, at about the time that certain RINO / DC insiders realized that the Tea Party posed as much of a threat to them as it does to democrats.  Indeed, it began even before that when these same pet RINO’s learned what they have to say to get the covetted moniker of “moderate” from MiniTru along with regular invitations to appear on the Sunday morning talk shows.

      RagspierreThe goal is to put the majority of Americans who oppose the Collective on defense. [emphasis original – dj505]

      Yep.  It also serves the goal of making libs feel better about themselves.  “Those wingnuts are racists!  Yeah, yeah, and they’re IGNORANT!  And they r h8rs!  AND MURDERERS!  We’ve proved it, proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with… geometric logic… that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox DID exist… I mean, that Sarah Palin and Beck and their vitriol caused this reichwing rethuglikkkan to kill poor brave Gabby Giffords!  We’re so much better than they are because we NEVER talk h8 like they do because we’re moderate and loving and stuff!”

    • There are some who would like this to make the Tea Party go away like McVeigh made the militia movement go away.  Although the two groups have different focuses, to the Republicans, they were asking for things that would cost them political capital to implement.

  • “…both sides and the media…” ?????
    In the first place, there are only TWO sides, and the media is on one of them.
    In the second place, the “rush” by one of the sides was merely an attempt at self-defense, as that side is always blamed for EVERYTHING bad that happens by the other side, which btw includes the media.

    Byron York has a very nice “compare and contrast” piece up, too.
    Something I noted, as well…how long did it take Obama to react to the killing of soldiers in Arkansas by a Jihadi, as opposed to his reaction to the killing of an abortionist?

  • I really don’t plan on commenting here again, but I think you’re mostly right here.  I think vitriol and angry rhetoric helped create conditions conducive to something like this, but the rhetoric against Bush five years ago was often just as vitriolic.  If that is a cause, then both parties have been engaged in this, and instead of pointing fingers should step back and say, “we have severe disagreements and those will play out politically, but we recognize that democracy is built on accepting the legitimacy and necessity of diverse opposing points of view, with the knowledge that we share core values.  What unites us is greater than what divides us.”   To that end, I think the death of Christina Taylor, born 9-11-01 and killed in the shooting can be symbolic.   After 9-11 Americans came together with a kind of unity of purpose.  Since then difficult times have created often angry divisions, thanks to the complexity and seriousness of the problems we face.   Maybe we can recapture some of the spirit of unity we had nine years ago.

    • “I think vitriol…”

      Just checking to see if you got the word of the day in, Scott. I see you used it twice.

    • What “core values” do you share with me?
      I recognize that your life belongs to you, exclusively, and that you have no obligation to the government or the “community”, whether it’s universal health care monstrosities or licensing your poodle.
      You will never acknowledge that for me.  And, until then, I don’t care to try to find “common ground” and cooperate with you.  I only want to oppose your attempts to empower the politicians who violate the rights of Americans.
      Invoking 9/11 isn’t going to change things, either.
      As for the “vitriol”, what you’re not willing to see is that all the expansive government programs which you endorse are why people have become so desperate about elections.  It’s not that there’s some bad apples who just won’t play nice.  It’s that decent people who have done nothing wrong see how they are going to be screwed big time if the Democrats keep creating new big government programs, hamstringing industry with unjustified environmental restrictions, and brainwashing their children.  And, voting for Republicans doesn’t seem to work, either, as they blow up the debt just as fast and compromise with Democrats when it suits them.
      The only solution to “tone down” the rhetoric, to get people less angry and worked up over elections, is to shrink government and make government less a part of our lives.

      • That was well said, when the outcome of elections is not so earth shattering, then many people will not even care about politics anymore.

    •   Another attempt by the left to use this tragedy for political purposes. It is not the refusal of either side to acknowledge viewpoints or opinions that has escalated divisions, it the refusal of many to acknowledgedge any facts that contradict their worldview. All viewpoints are legitimate, no matter what evidence there is? What a convenient way marginalize facts from the other side. 
         There is overwhelming evidence (and some Constitutional prohibitions) against the major policies supported by Democrats and Erb (Govt’ health care, lax immigration law enforcement, CO2 regulation). If evidence can be removed from the discussion by claiming it equals intolerance and everything is just a matter of  ‘perspective’ or ‘opinion’,  leftist policies can gain support through emotional arguments. When leftists are presented with evidence and logic that clearly disproves their point, it is completely dismissed.
          To actually lower the rhetoric people need to recognize that there is a difference between opinion and evidence, acknowledge that both can be legitimate, and realize that when their own opinion is contradicted by proof it becomes invalid.

    • “Since then difficult times have created often angry divisions, thanks to” the race baiting and class warfare shilling of the Democratic Party.
      Your turn.

  • “…with the knowledge that we share core values.  What unites us is greater than what divides us.”
    I’d be curious to hear you articulate those.

    • OK, if I’m going to post anything else here, first things first: I was wrong in thinking the GOP would not win so many seats, something I promised I’d say.  I’ll go further and say I think it was good they won the House.
      Core values:  the belief in the Constitution, the Bill of rights, individual liberty with a government of, by and for the people, able to act to promote the general welfare and maintain stability.    Most Americans left and right are ideologically liberal (in the philosophical, Lockean, sense).   Most Americans recognize that government regulations and social welfare programs are necessary to maintain stability and assure opportunities for all Americans.   They disagree on how far to go — no Republican (except a few on the fringe)  is saying abolish taxation or social welfare programs, they say simply that this goes beyond what is needed to achieve the goal of true opportunity, and we can’t afford the cost.   They have a point.
      My own view (stated in my blog the last couple days) is that the “great compromise” that brought social stability and prosperity — workers agreed to capitalism and markets in exchange for social welfare protections and protection of workers rights — is under stress from both left and right.   I think the changes taking place politically now mean that there needs to be a vast decentralization of power and resources to local and state/regional units.   The era of the large bureaucratic central state is ending, smaller units now have the capacity to do the job of governance thanks to the information revolution.   The change we are experiencing is similar to the radical alteration of politics caused by the printing press when it ushered in the last information revolution.    I think strong, large central states are the old order, the new order will be more decentralized with power closer to the people.   And that’s a core principle too:  power should only be exercised with accountability and transparency.

  • And by this morning and by Monday at the latest, there is absolutely no telling the level of vitriol that this incident will have brought forth from the radical wing of the Democrat party and their friends in main stream media.

    It is truly amazing how this tragic set of events has unleashed a political “Rorschach test” on our “unbiased” media

    • There is NOTHING to learn from this tragedy, except 1) there are murderous crazy people (Conservatives know that, and want them isolated away from society), and 2) the Collective has NO SHAME whatsoever, and will exploit ANYTHING it can.

      This incident proves that brilliantly.


    So as the usual talking heads begin their “have you no decency?” routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around. Where is the decency in blood libel?
    To paraphrase Justice Cardozo (“proof of negligence in the air, so to speak, will not do”), there is no such thing as responsibility in the air. Those who try to connect Sarah Palin and other political figures with whom they disagree to the shootings in Arizona use attacks on “rhetoric” and a “climate of hate” to obscure their own dishonesty in trying to imply responsibility where none exists. But the dishonesty remains.

    To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

  • Not surprisingly, your greatest concern about this incident is not having ‘your side’ blamed for it, as you continue to advocate that:
    1:  Gov’t is the enemy
    2: You have an natural right to preemptive self-defense against your enemies

    • Mistrust of government was Loughner’s defining conviction, the friends said. He believed the U.S. government was behind 9/11, and worried that governments were maneuvering to create a unified monetary system (“a New World Order currency” one friend said) so that social elites and bureaucrats could control the rest of the world.

      OMG he is a “Troofer” !!

      • The difference between the “mistrust of government” by the posters here and the “9/11 Troofers is that the “Troofers” think the government is smart, efficient and capable of absolute secrecy, while we mistrust the government because we think the government is just too plain stupid, inefficient and leaks secrets like a sieve.
        There is nothing in the WikiLeaks debacle to prove us wrong.

    • A EXCEPTIONALLY stooooooooooopid post.
      Saying “government is the enemy” is like saying “water is the enemy”.  It is necessary, and it is terribly, horribly destructive when out of control.
      “Preemptive self-defense” means WTF, exactly?
      My greatest concern is dealing with reality.  You might give that a test-drive.

    • No, weed, we acknowledge there is evil in the world.  There are wackjobs on both sides of the political spectrum.

      “2: You have an natural right to preemptive self-defense against your enemies”

      You’re part of the problem Tom.  Maybe if you’d slow down and read some posts here as you spin by on the tricycle you’d begin to understand that.  But I doubt it.     Troll.

    • The irony is that it appears that some of Loughner’s fellow college students expressed concern over his behavior, worrying that nothing would (or could) be done about him until he acted out on his mania.  He was convinced that government was the enemy, and our collective decision not to act preemptively allowed him to murder and injure several people.  But as much of the media has done, you are quick to find an opportunity to try to score a quick political point.  Not surprising.

  • A sense of deja vu as to reactions:
    1)  The similarities to the responses after the guy flew the airplane into the IRS building (Texas? IIRC)
    2) The DB Sniper.
    3) The NY SUV bomber
    Now contrast that with
    1) The Arkansas shooter
    2) Major Hassan (sp?) the  Ft. Hood shooter
    3) The UniBomber
    4) Every other failed terrorist bombing…
    And contrast that with the

  • “Fools rush in to define Giffords tragedy politically”

    And right on cue, Erp shows up.

    • Heh, heh…  Noted that, too.
      With the Collectivist-suggested soft-mouth call for “bi-partisanship”.   Which is Double-speak for, “You guys don’t dare oppose us now”.