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08 January 2011


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Your post a few days ago whereby you pointed out that “The man is everything” and that individuals do matter popped into my mind when I learnt of this shooting.
I wonder if the talk radio/tv personalities and the likes of Ann Coulter and Sara Palin are now searching their soul over this incident. Surely they are not callous enough to rationalize their past vitriol away and continue on as before.


I am reminded of Representative Preston Brooks beating of Senator Charles Sumner on the floor of the United States Senate in 1856. The attack which was prompted by Senator Sumner's attack on Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina over Sumner's hand in crafting the Kansas-Nebraskas Act. Heated rhetoric, unchecked emotions, which when not tempered lead to the secession of South Carolina and ultimately the eleven states of the Confederate States of America from the Union.

I have to wonder if both sides; liberal and conservative need to remember that those on the other side are also patriotic Americans and not the enemy. We spend way too much time demonizing those on the other side of the issue. All we need to do is turn on Fox or MSNBC to witness these daily rituals of demonization.

I do not know what can be done, my only hope is that the adults among the politicians and pundits say stop.

What I fear is that this will prompt our Representatives to hide behind a wall of security further isolating them from the people who elect them. If that happens they will truly be a class more important than mere mortal citizens.


I predict that this incident will be used as an excuse to further isolate legislators from the general public.

It will be portrayed as "protecting democracy". In fact it will be about isolating and protecting Legislators from the consequences of their legislation.

Another step in the process of establishing an American Nomenklatura.


Will Sarah Palin and the Tea Party wing she represents consider this a terrorist attack on lawfully elected US representatives?


Looks like open season on representatives; at least from the Right angle: http://tjic.com/?p=19638.

Will we hear Hannity, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, et al. call for these people who perpetrated this assassination to be punished and then maybe try to neutralize the venom they themselves injected into the system to bring about this event?

Tom Griffin

I was at a liberal netroots conference in London today where a representative from Media Matters from America showed a video on the violent impact of certain right wing talk show hosts in the US, and begging us to do everything we can to stop Rupert Murdoch taking sole control of Sky News in the UK.

Perhaps this is is anticipating too much, but for what it's worth, I can't say that coming home and turning on the news tonight has made me less inclined to listen to him.

John Minnerath

Just who all the nut jobs were involved in this attack and why is yet to be determined.
In a few seconds, innocents lives were taken, others lives changed forever.
Now the fear mongers have already started.
Look for more demands for scrutiny of private citizens and attempts to circumvent civil rights.
And more attacks on the 2nd amendment.


U.S. District Judge John Roll is among the dead. I have no idea whether his killing was targeted, an assassination in its own right.


it is sorry to witness how both sides are trying to blame each other's rhetoric, thus stepping up the fever even more in the process.


Congresswoman Giffords herself spoke eloquently about the risks of overheated, violent rhetoric in our "national discourse." Flashback: Giffords Warned Of 'Consequences' To Palin's Target Imagery (VIDEO)

I have little doubt Palin's "targeting" was a contributing cause of the nutjob shooter's actions, if only in signaling where to point the gun barrel. Of course, we can expect Caribou Barbie to disclaim any responsibility. Why, that isn't what she meant, at all.


Only in the fevered little minds of the left is there a connection between a fringe psychotic and Sarah Palin.
Getting too cold in your mother's basement?

Adam L Silverman

Sir and the SST community:
I've been traveling all day and therefore have only been catching bits and bobs of the coverage. I did come across his YouTube page:

I'd also recommend checking David Neiwert's Orcinus blog. Mr. Neiwert is a major covered of political extremism and violence.


My condolences to those who lost family members and to those who were injured in today's horrific event in Tucson, Arizona.

Its obvious, at this time, that the young man responsible is mentally unbalanced which should have no bearing on his up coming death sentence once found guilty.

While we were all Americans today the words of the local Sheriff regarding the political vitriol will be remembered for a long time to come.


Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said about Arizona, “We have become the capital, the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”



Disappointing that the sober analysis most of the posters say has gone from the national debate is also missing here. Immediately, and without any knowledge of this obviously troubled soul, the fingers are pointed at Palin and Limbaugh, but as we find more out about this nut, we find that he is just that. People that knew him been reported to describe him as extremely left-wing, so the question is certainly open on whether he is a Palin/Limbaugh robot. Let's see what he really turns out to be before we ride our favorite hobby horses.

As far as condemnation of this act: John Boehner was quick to condemn the murder and attempted murder -- quicker than Nancy Pelosi was to condemn the movie "Death of a President" (hint: she hasn't yet).

Adam L Silverman

Here's the Arizona Daily Star's initial backgrounder on the shooter:

There also looking for a second person in the Tuscon area.

As for targeting imagery: There is a long history of posting targeting imagery or information, which eventually gets acted upon. Some of the most notorious comes out of the extreme anti-abortion movement (and I'm making a distinction between folks like James Kopp and Paul Hill and others and those who are pro-life, but bot advocating or engaging in violence) and the white supremacist/militia movements. To the earliest days of electronic bulletin boards lists of (fantasy) targets with adresses or descriptions were passed around and/or posted. The Nuremberg files may be the most notorious of these: it contained a set of tables containing information on doctors and nurses that were allegedly involved with abortion service provosion, as well as politicians and judges and even scholars and journalists who covered the violence. To a much lesser extent extreme animal rights types would send to each other information about potential targets leading to the severe beating of at least one businessman by a group calling itself the Justice Department.

What is important to remember here is that while freedom of speech is very important, and it should be safeguarded, especially for unpopular speech or speech that makes us uncomfortable, at the same time exercising the right to speech carries responsibilities. Given all the eliminationist (violent language and imagery indicating that it is appropriate to target certain individuals and groups) that has been put forward since the 2008 presidential campaign, with almost all of it coming from people that self identify as being on the right or conservative or Republican or over the past year tea party, I'm amazed we've not seen more violence. Though we have had over a dozen domestic incidents in the past two years including several shootings of law enforcement, as well as that PA health club attack, the Holocaust Museum attack, the attack on the IRS offices in TX, and the killing of Dr. Tiller. When the imagery at rallies casts one's political opponents as NAZIs or Communists (and often both at the same time, which is simply impossible as they were on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum) or alien or terrorists, when people running for office cavalierly and casually throw out that there are second amendment remedies if the election results aren't what they want, when sitting governors call for secession and legislators and party officials call for rebellion, and when cable news personalities spin conspiracy theories and alternate histories of America as fact, eventually people will act on it. As I said: I'm amazed we haven't seen more of this stuff and will not be surprised when more happens. There was a reason that President Bush's (43) DHS folks decided in 2008 that they needed to do an in depth report into the reemergence of extreme right, domestic groups.


In some of his scribbling, the assasin made reference to his visit to an Arizona military recruiting station and he stated that mini-Bibles were issued to those individuals taking tests.

It is impossible to know if this is true, but if so, since when does the Army issue mini-Bibles to aspiring soldiers?



The "connection", I think folks were commenting on was the rifle-scope target symbols used to identify the Congresswomans' district on Sarah Palin's website.
Dave Niewert wrote a book about eliminationist rhetoric inAmerica a year or two ago.


Supposedly there was a second guy --an older man in his fifties.

I agree with HJRFJ & Walrus up above---the only concrete result of this tragedy will be congress having another excuse to shut out the public.


Frank, sadly no they won't.

"Both sides" need to tone down the rhetoric? I don't recall any liberal media channels repeatedly using inflamed rhetoric over the past year. What liberal has the same market share as Rush, Beck, etc?

Graywolf, you are absolutely right. Only the words of liberals influence people. Not a thing anyone on the right said would influence anyone; especially not a fringe psychotic. Never has there been any rhetoric from the right to drive anyone to angrily confront a constitutionally elected member of the house of representatives, like the words of Sarah Palin.


To article quotes her own writings: "The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons -- your Big Guns -- to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win,"

The 'enemy'? Those US citizens elected to office as members of the Democratic Party. One of them is now dead.
There was plenty of other violent rhetoric over the past couple years and not from liberals. Here's just a couple of examples.



I'm sorry to see you specifically permitted this to deface your blog, Pat.

I respect you. But after this, I'll be leaving here. When you did this, you chose a side. The wrong side.

The Twisted Genius

I'm hoping this tragedy will trigger a call for civility in political and social discourse in this country. The trash talkers have been getting a free ride for too long. It will still take courage for a critical mass of political and media types to speak out against the spewers of vitriol, but I feel that most of these public figures would rather take the high road. I can only hope.

Patrick Lang


No idea what you are talking about. Is this not news? The attack on this woman is indefensible. pl


I agree with those who want to find some logic for rational political discourse. The grounds for such discourse, however, have been lost I fear. The extremists have taken the high ground and tap into every fear, anxiety, and general despair that a failed economy unearths. The stakes are high - people fear their loss of who they are, who we are, what the future will be. Into this maelstrom of despair the politicians try to control the roiling masses so there is order. The shape and fate of the nation rides on their egos. They will use every means to stir the vat of discontent, and when it boils over they will smear the blame away so it does not smirch their suits. These are desperate times, and in such times evil comes calling with a smiley face and saccharine words, even in the halls where the bones pile high.


Only in the fevered little minds of the left is there a connection between a fringe psychotic and Sarah Palin.

Yes, Greywolf, I suppose Giffords herself was just "asking for it" when she warned of the consequences of Palin's "targeting" rhetoric in political discourse.

As for "fringe psychotics" and Sarah Palin, I think she is one, but that's another subject.

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