The saddest day in America

Before I begin actually discussing the horrific shooting in Tucson, Arizona last Saturday that in all killed 6 people including a nine-year old girl and a federal judge; injured—including critically—13 other people including Arizona Representative Giffords; I’d like to discuss a rather important matter out of Cafferty’s book, “It’s Getting Ugly Out There.”  Jack Cafferty disclosed media manipulation by the White House during GW’s two terms in office.  When GW wasn’t getting the favorable press from within the U.S. by members of the news media, it seems that he’d plant “favorable stories” according to Mr. Cafferty in the Iraqi press.  Of course, Mr. Cafferty didn’t exactly explore at length the fact that these “favorable stories” would filter back state-side and be regarded as “true” by the cult of personality surrounding the former POTUS.  The same sort of cult of personality that I believe would ultimately form the core of the “TEA Party” movement.


They refer to this suspect now in an Arizona jail as having mental instability, a criminal history and virulently anti-government.  Loughner I believe is his last name.   They discussed him at length on the CBS Evening News tonight as well as discussing the over-heated rhetoric and violent messages of the “TEA Party” movement.  Of course, Jeff Greenfield (he had no problem discussing “Obamacare” by the way, a few days earlier, rather than saying Health Care Reform), wanted to immediately downplay or even dismiss this “TEA Party” hatred of the Obama-run government as having no connection to an easily influenced mentally unstable guy with a ready access to weapons.  Found on Face Book, Washington Post Opinions in which one author declared that the “TEA Party” shouldn’t be blamed for what happened on Saturday 8 January 2011.  Another opinion from the same Face Book fishwrap argued that we needed more gun control.

First to discuss the latter, the NRA is actually not wrong in arguing that “gun control” would only mean that the only people with access to guns would be criminals.  Those with no compunctions about breaking the law.  Well, according to CBS Evening News, given Arizona’s lax (or if you will liberal laws on the behalf of the NRA), seems Laughner had no problem passing a background check (confusing message day to day on the reporting here) and buying a Glock 9 mm semi-automatic pistol for $500.00.  And as soon as he could get the opportunity, went out to bag a member of the U.S. Congress.  How about broadening that background check?  Like checking out the guy’s mental history?  It is people who kill people, as the NRA likes to say.  How about keeping a guy like Loughner from getting his hands on a gun because of his mental issues?  This isn’t the only time that someone who happened to be mentally unstable was able to legally buy weapons.  The mass killer at Virginia Tech was able to accomplish all of that long before he went out to bag fellow students and teachers.  The mentally unstable who go out to commit crimes with a weapon should be part of any changes in laws concerning who has a right to carry firearms.  If you ain’t unstable and further you are not inclined to shoot your fellow innocent citizens in cold blood, then yeah; you can carry a weapon.

Now to discuss the former:  The “TEA Party” movement pushed pure violence and hatred throughout the 2010 mid-term election season.  It is a fact that former Governor Sarah Palin put a target on Rep. Giffords (D Arizona) with the idea of having her voted out of office. Giffords office was also vandalized. She did win the general election though, and was sworn in for her third term.  Putting a literal target on members of Congress because you don’t like their politics or party affiliation is a promotion of violence.  There is no getting around that fact.  Pushing “second amendment remedies” for laws you don’t like, politicians you don’t like in public ads during the same 2010 mid-term election season, is yes, a promotion of violence.  Putting an “Obama” on a wagon with his “whipping a white boy who pulls it”  during a Fourth of July parade is an expression of utter rage and hate.  Posting billboards that compares Obama to Hitler and Stalin goes beyond the pale in pure unadulterated ignorance and yes, hate.  The rage has been there since President Obama was elected to the highest office in the land in 2008.  Certainly, two plus years is definitely long enough to give guys like Loughner some bad ideas.

An Arizona Sheriff and a Democrat had some unkind things to say about the over-heated rhetoric and the possibility that it motivated this unstable guy to go out and shoot a member of government.  Katie Couric informs us (reporting from Tucson, Arizona) that the same sheriff was regarded as “irresponsible” for what he had to say by members of the Republican party.  Really?  He wouldn’t be the first person to have said it.  Nor will he be the last one to make that argument.  That argument was also made by a number of posters to Huckleberries on-line.

Tonight, 10 January 2011, Jon Stewart stated and accurately enough, about this society being complex as to influences and motives and that you couldn’t out-smart crazy.  There is no straight line that can be drawn between what happened last Saturday and what has become the toxic rhetoric in this society today.  What he also said however was the resemblance between the toxic garbage that typically comes from talk show pundits and what Loughner also said prior to seeking to assassinate Rep. Giffords.  There was a need, as Stewart put it, for rhetoric to meet reality.  I can like what he said.  You are responsible for your own actions and words.  And those representing “TEA Party” thinking even in op eds found in the Washington Post, should recognize that we only have a “toxic environment” in politics because we willfully created it.  And a guy like Loughner may have decided that the “toxic environment” would be a good enough excuse to shoot the hell out of totally innocent people.  Most of whom weren’t even members of government.  They were there, at the wrong time and at the wrong place.  But they also had a right to be there to meet and greet a member of Congress and express their views to her.  This was an unnecessary act of violence.

Yes, this nation has a history of harsh political language.  Yes, we as a nation have been known for harshly criticizing our presidents, Thomas Jefferson was used as an example.  And yes, if our violent imagery and virulent hatred that became part of the media landscape circa 2010 could have some causal relationship for the shocking tragedy of 8 January 2011, then we are culpable for what we say.  And Loughner carries the sole blame for pulling the trigger.


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