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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 01/ 9/2011

The Arizona tragedy

By Jennifer Rubin

The horrific shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), the death of six (including a 9 year old and a federal judge) and the injuring of a total of 18 revealed the best and the worst in American politics.

First, let's look at the best. President Obama issued an eloquent statement as did Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Obama, having learned something about emergency incidents, quickly dispatched the FBI chief and appeared on top of the incident. Congress appropriately put off its business for the week. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) paid tribute to the slain federal court judge. They all conducted themselves in a calm and dignified fashion.

Then there are those who conducted themselves with far less dignity, namely partisan leftists and a segment of the blogosphere. The shooter seems to have no agenda, unless you conclude that a mix of conspiratorial rantings about currency and a fondness for the writings of both Hitler and Karl Marx represent some coherent ideology. From what we know, he's a lone lunatic. The New York Times reported:

A series of short videos posted on the Internet, apparently by Mr. Loughner, consist of changing blocs of text that are largely rambling and incoherent. Many take the form of stating a premise and then a logical conclusion that would follow from it.

They speak of being a "conscience dreamer"; becoming a treasurer of a new currency; controlling "English grammar structure"; mentioned brainwashing and suggested that he believed he had powers of mind control.

And yet all the left can ponder is the politics. This is the doing of Sarah Palin, they tweeted. (We are to believe the man who scrawled about currency conspiracies saw a year-old campaign map of Palin's?) This is all about immigration politics, others surmised.

We saw the same phenomenon following the Oklahoma City bombing and the Holocaust museum shooting when MSNBC hosts and liberal pundits blamed the incidents on radio talk show hosts. These exercises in blame-mongering inevitably run aground when inconvenient details muddle the "talk show hosts did it" mantra (e.g. Did radio talk show hosts tell the Holocaust museum shooter to target the conservative Weekly Standard offices?) The same is true in this incident. You can almost hear the disappointment from the left that he was a pothead rather than a Tea Partyer.

It is as noxious to associate Saturday's shooting with conservative campaign rhetoric, even that which is over-the-top, as it would be to claim that violence is the doing of those who labeled Tea Partyers un-American (as Democratic leaders did during the health-care debate) or of those who accuse senators of being unpatriotic (as a liberal newspaper columnist recently did). If a lunatic attacks a businessman, are we to blame Obama for vilifying the Chamber of Commerce? Was the attack on an Arkansas recruiting station the fault of anti-war liberal Democrats? Of course not. The impulse to blame political opponents for tragedy and to convert human misery into a political weapon -- both of which were played out on Twitter and the Internet by liberals as diverse as Paul Krugman, Jane Fonda, and the Daily Kos crowd -- is deeply regrettable. But it has unfortunately become par for the course.

Supposedly respectable political groups followed suit: "'It is fair to say -- in today's political climate, and given today's political rhetoric -- that many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse that have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired,' said a statement issued by the leaders of the National Jewish Democratic Council." Fair? How so, and on what evidence is this string of flimsy assumptions based? Shame on them.

To his credit, Howard Kurtz blasted the blame game. He wrote, "This isn't about a nearly year-old Sarah Palin map [targeting Giffords's seat]; it's about a lone nutjob who doesn't value human life. It would be nice if we briefly put aside partisan differences and came together with sympathy and support for Gabby Giffords and the other victims, rather than opening rhetorical fire ourselves." Likewise, Howard Fineman wrote: "The deaths there are not about politics, ideology or party. From what we know, Jared Loughman's acts were those of a madman divorced from reality, let alone from public debate." Bravo. And where are the other voices of reason calling for an end to the political witchunting?

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 9, 2011; 8:30 AM ET
 
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Comments

Completely agree. The guy sounds a lot more left than right from what I read. But I do not in any way mean to try to attach his insanity and terrible acts to the left. He's a crazed lunatic. Period. No one is responsible for this but him.

Posted by: jmpickett | January 9, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

In 1995 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated by a young Jewish nationalist, Yigal Amir. Within hours of the killing the Israeli Jewish Left, the largely Left wing Israeli print and electronic media began demonizing anyone and any party which had opposed Rabin's peace policies. The Israeli Jewish Left accused them of having created the atmosphere of assassination by their demonstrations and bitter verbal criticism of Rabin.
Of course this was utter nonsense, and in fact, if anyone was guilty of using over the top gutter language in describing and criticizing their political opposition, it was Rabin himself.
Following the attempted murder of Ms. Gifford, the American Left is now cynically using this incident as a club to attack those whom they loathe. I now see the same sort of defamation and false accusations used by the Israeli Left in 1995 being made by the fanatical Left in America towards the anyone they deem guilty.
The Republican Party and the Tea Party probably have been guilty of verbal excesses over the past two years of American political dialogue.
But the sickest and most twisted political verbal excess I can recall is when at least one Left wing Democrat Congressman once accused his Republican opponents of having a "health" plan where sick people should "die quickly."
Now that was loathesome.

Posted by: kenhe | January 9, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Any leftist attempts to fit this event into their narratives will fail--Clinton could demagogue Oklahoma City, but there's no material for that here. If anyone tries, they'll just hurt themselves.

Posted by: adam62 | January 9, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Well Creigh Deeds hasn't exactly covered himself in glory during this tragedy:

http://twitter.com/CreighDeeds/status/23922237329383424

Posted by: grabowcp | January 9, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats who are trying to smear Sarah Palin with this act are engaging in the exact rhetoric they claim they condemn. If anything ever happens to Sarah Palin, it will be because of the inflammatory rhetoric of the Krugman's of the world.

Posted by: vausa22923 | January 9, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I guess many journalists have rather selective memory, or perhaps are willfully ignorant. As Verum Serum shows [link below], the Democrats have used similar maps showing political targets at least twice.

I don't think the shooter had any serious political motives. He was plainly a paranoid schizophrenic in need of treatment.

link: http://www.verumserum.com/?p=13647

Posted by: FeedTheHogs | January 9, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

You can tell he wasn't a tea partier because if he was, he would have picked up all the litter in the area after the shooting.

Posted by: jms9 | January 9, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

In a side note, you wonder where the parents are/were.

This man, like the shooter at V Tech, did not become unstable yesterday. It would be a tragic thing to have your son or daughter involuntarily committed, but how much worse to have them kill 6 people before their own execution.

Posted by: 54465446 | January 9, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer, you are a voice of sanity among the partisan sniping. Personally, if the shooter's parents did not get him the mental evaluation that the school officials told them that he needed, then they bear primary blame, in my opinion. They got early warning from an objective source that their son was mentally unbalanced, and they should have done something at that point.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | January 9, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm no big Sarah Palin fan. But watching the left's anti-Palin fixation in full bloom yesterday -- tying the shooting to her -- was like slipping down the rabbit hole. It was so odd and disconnected, revealing such a deep, fundamental misapprehension of political reality.

Did any of these people watch the guy's YouTube videos or read his rants? The only coherence to his thinking is that he's anti-ESTABLISHMENT. He's anti-AUTHORITY. If he contemplates Sarah Palin at all, he probably thinks she's a complete cheeseball.

He doesn't fit the tidy little boxes that people have constructed for arranging the political landscape. Watching the left try to stuff him into the easy Palin/"teabagger" box was just stunning.

Posted by: BChris | January 9, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I don't blame Sarah Palin for the people who think violence will solve their problems. But I do blame her for egging them on with daily gun metaphors and vague threats that if her opponents don't do things her way, then she's ready to pull the trigger -- and promoting the idea that the Second Amendment offers the ultimate solution to all problems political and otherwise.

Similarly, I don't blame the major news outlets for Sarah Palin doing this, but I do blame them for stoking the fires of her popularity (both directly and indirectly). Still, how else can one deal with the problem of Sarah Palin without mentioning Sarah Palin?

Palin is not the only one who regularly resorts to such talk of violence, but she -- along with Sharron Angle and Ann Coulter, I suppose -- is one of the poster girls for gun-based politicking. The GOP and the Tea Partiers own this problem, not the left. Yes, there have been mentions of guns and violence on the left, but a handful of comments over the course of several years does not add up to a discourse on that side.

Some of the comments link the shooter to Karl Marx and thus to the political left, presumably because Das Kapital was mentioned in a list of his favorite books. Given the relatively low complexity of the other books listed, I would be surprised if the shooter were able to get through even the first page of Marx.

Posted by: JPMinNC | January 9, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

This op ed is even more disgusting than the shooting itself.

It appears as though the right wing, and Republicans, in this country are going to deal with this situation by denying responsibility and through trying to pin the blame on liberals.

Jared Lee Loughner, through his writings, words, and affiliations, is clearly a right wing ideologue. So many of his ideas about 'government ruling through currency,' 'conscious dreaming,' 'gold based currency' are taken directly out of fringe right wing thought.

Yet Jennifer Rubin thinks that she can simply absolve republicans, conservatives, and the GOP of responsibility by blaming the left.

Republicans have become baseless creatures who talk about responsibility, ethics, and morality. Yet when confronted with the results of their actions they choose to act like children and blame their political enemies.

I've never been more disgusted and disappointed by an op-ed.

Posted by: JNovess76 | January 9, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

This op ed is even more disgusting than the shooting itself.

It appears as though the right wing, and Republicans, in this country are going to deal with this situation by denying responsibility and through trying to pin the blame on liberals.

Jared Lee Loughner, through his writings, words, and affiliations, is clearly a right wing ideologue. So many of his ideas about 'government ruling through currency,' 'conscious dreaming,' 'gold based currency' are taken directly out of fringe right wing thought.

Yet Jennifer Rubin thinks that she can simply absolve republicans, conservatives, and the GOP of responsibility by blaming the left.

Republicans have become baseless creatures who talk about responsibility, ethics, and morality. Yet when confronted with the results of their actions they choose to act like children and blame their political enemies.

I've never been more disgusted and disappointed by an op-ed.

Posted by: JNovess76 | January 9, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

So if liberal pundits were to say that conservative politicians should be shot for their beliefs, that they don’t deserve to live, that they aren’t human by depicting them as monkeys, or that we should target them with a bulls-eye on them and someone were to shoot them you absolve them of any responsibility? These comments create a culture of hate and violence that undermine democracy, and make it seem OK to kill for any reason. Comments such as these devalue the sacredness of life. It creates a climate where any unstable, violent leaning person (conservative or liberal) thinks it is OK to kill those you disagree with. When you speak hate you create hate, and anyone may pick up that hate as a mantra. When I hear conservatives in large numbers start to condemn such comments, I will believe that they do not condone killing those who disagree with them or violence in general. I am quite sure the loving God that I know would not support such rhetoric and would demand that those who speak it take responsibility for the climate they create, rather than dismiss the impact words can have.

Posted by: Comments4 | January 9, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The Left will attempt to politicize and make hay from the actions of a madman. But they do so at their peril because the internet has a long memory. Here, for instance, the kook Kos advocates"targeting" blue dog Democrats and specifically mentions shooting victim Gifford:

"I'd argue that we can narrow the target list by looking at those Democrats who sold out the Constitution last week. I've bolded members of the Blue Dogs for added emphasis."

Giffords, Gabrielle (AZ-08)
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/6/25/1204/74882/511/541568

The Left has consistently tried to discredit conservatives and the Tea Party with charges of racism and violence. In each instance, these charges have fallen flat because (1) they are not true and (2) the internet and new media showed what the facts were, effectively countering the lies of the Left and their MSM collaborators. The same will happen regarding this despicable criminal act: the Left will attempt to tar conservatives, the Tea Party, political leaders such as Palin and Bachman, et. al, with a broad brush and will fail, further revealing themselves to be disturbed ideologues.

The Left will engage in its own form of political assassination. But to no avail.

No wonder the Left would dearly love to silence alternative media, from Rush Limbaugh to political blogs. Try as they may, they no longer control the narrative and what We The People are able to learn from a spectrum of sources. And as is typical of the frustrated child, the Left will stomp and shout, blame and attack, out of frustration. They will attempt to capitalize on the actions of a madman and the pain and suffering of his victims.

Posted by: DocC1 | January 9, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

This was the Washington Post's sub-headline in this morning's print edition: "Incident in Arizona raises concern about tone of national political debate"

As of now, the headline on the online edition continues to read: "Rampage casts grim light on US political discord"

So it's not just the "left" that is trying to pin this on right-wing talk radio and Sarah Palin .... it's your own employer Jennifer.

Posted by: guest1 | January 9, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Following up on my post: Instapundit has a good roundup of the violent rhetoric on the Left.

(http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/):

l just hope conservatives stand firm and do not take any of the hypocritical guff sure to come their (our) way.

Posted by: DocC1 | January 9, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

JPMinNC writes: "I don't blame Sarah Palin for the people who think violence will solve their problems. But I do blame her for egging them on with daily gun metaphors and vague threats that if her opponents don't do things her way, then she's ready to pull the trigger..."

This is exactly the sort of stuff I was referring to. It's the rabbit hole. It seems disconnected from the reality of the situation, or at least indicates some fundamental blind spots.

It's as if you think the shooter operated in the same world you do, processing and categorizing things in the same basic ways. For you Sarah Palin is a big deal; thus she must have had an influence, however subtle or latent, on the shooter's actions.

Again: From the little evidence we have, the only thing that's clear about the guy is that he was (A) largely incoherent, and (B) anti-society and anti-establishment. It's likely that if Sarah Palin was *anything* to him, she was some annoying mainstream square with a goofy accent. He probably couldn't have summarized her politics in the way that you and I could.

He just wasn't THERE in that way. He hasn't been watching the same day-to-day political movie that you and I have. He was somewhere else. He was something else.

Posted by: BChris | January 9, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

The fringe right wing on the internet are also trying to propagate another false hood. It's already appeared in these comments.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/6/25/1204/74882/511/541568

This diary was not written by Jared Lee Loughner, that claim is an outright falsehood.

The right need to be held accountable for their actions. Right wing violence will only get worse until people put a stop to it.

History repeats.

Posted by: JNovess76 | January 9, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

mpickett wrote:
"Completely agree. The guy sounds a lot more left than right from what I read. But I do not in any way mean to try to attach his insanity and terrible acts to the left. He's a crazed lunatic. Period. No one is responsible for this but him."
_____________________________________________
Not taking sides on this political argument, but "No one is responsible for this but him" is the statement to be addressed. We may all take some blame.It is most difficult for a sane person to realize that a mentally ill person has not the ability to be rational. And, like children, they will gravitate to a like person.

Law enforcement officers are trained primarily to, well, enforce the law. Emphasis training should include recognizing signs of mental illness and proper procedures dealing with it. With that training, the "Public Safety Officer" would more appropriately bridge this gap of mindset.

This is not to suggest that the proper course of action was taken in the shooting incident.But,it would be a strong guess that this person has been dealt with by some agency in the past. What possible actions could have been taken in those incidents that may have prevented this tragedy? Not only for the victims, but himself.

Has the medical system failed us? It is more often than not that a loved one has attempted to get the mentally ill person help only to be shunned away because of an erred mental evaluation. Not only are a great number of mental evaluations done by an emergency room doctor, oblivious to mental disorders, but nor are all psychiatrists created equal to throw into the mix. The person is back on the street only to cause harm to themselves or others which the evaluation is meant to prevent.And until the law is implemented, if it ever is, there are limits to inpatient psychiatric care-go figure.

And at the immediate core, has a family member, friend, educator, employer thought that the stigma/embarrassment of a proper mental evaluation and treatment too much to bare?

In the vast majority of traumatic incidents such as this, it is very likely that proper intervention may have been the key to prevention of an incident such as this. What is lacking is training, understanding, coordination and cooperation in dealing with the mentally ill, across the board.

With this vivid in the minds of our new legislatures, both state and national, it is the opportunity to address the mental illness issues in this country with a coordinated and uniform plan of action. May all of us be thankful.


Posted by: pepineagles | January 9, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow, so JNovess76 thinks that Rubin's opinion piece is worse than the actual shooting of a US Congresswoman and the death of several innocents. That's amazing.

As for those who want to talk about the tone of the political debate in this country, if you really want to play that game, considering the following quotes:

"A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy. . . ." -- Paul Krugman

"I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers, unless the hostage gets harmed. In this case the hostage is the American people and I was not willing to see them get harmed," Obama on keeping taxes from increasing, December 6, 2010

"A Republican majority in Congress would mean "hand-to-hand combat" on Capitol Hill for the next two years, threatening policies Democrats have enacted to stabilize the economy," Obama, October 6, 2010

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” Obama in July 2008

"Here's the problem: It's almost like they've got -- they've got a bomb strapped to them and they've got their hand on the trigger. You don't want them to blow up. But you've got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger." Obama on banks, March 2009

"I want you to argue with them and get in their face!" Barack Obama, September 2008

“We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” Obama to Latinos, October 2010

“I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!” Obama on ACORN Mobs, March 2010

“We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.“ Obama on the private sector, June 2010

Posted by: grabowcp | January 9, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

A previous post by FeedTheHogs identifies this guy as a paranoid schizophrenic. That strikes me as about right, but it opens up the possibility that those who are looking for a model for his approach to life might do well to explore the incoherence of their own thought, and its mobilization for a highly focused destructive process.

Posted by: Archaeopteryx | January 9, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

if you can read the deranged and disconnected writings of this moron and conclude he is definitely a right winger, I think you're probably somewhat confused yourself.

The guy burned US flags. Read the communist manifesto. Yeah, just like EVERY libertarian I know. God, grow up, kiddies.

The savage is responsible. Period.

What you lefties are saying when trying to blame our political climate and debate for this tragedy, IMHO, is: Shut up if you do not agree with a left wing statist agenda. It is indecent and dangerous dialogue. Just submit and agree with us.

That's how it sounds to me, guys.

Posted by: jmpickett | January 9, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Jennifer. I expect hackery from you, but not complete intellectual dishonesty. The Arizona shooter focuses on the need for a gold backed currency, and the unconstitutional nature of recent "treasonous laws," but you see no link to whatsoever to any one of a hundred recent Glenn Beck apocalyptic rants on the "empty shell" status of the current American currency, or the constant drumbeat of almost every Republican/Tea Party candidate during the last election cycle about Obama and the Democratic Party's claimed unconstitutional and treasonous usurpations of power. Keep thinking of yourself as dispassionate and truthful, and keep receiving the ego stroking from most of your commenters, and perhaps you continue to sleep blissfully ignorant of the fact you enable violence when you defend and even justify violent rhetoric.

Posted by: rpewing | January 9, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"... you see no link to whatsoever to any one of a hundred recent Glenn Beck apocalyptic rants on the 'empty shell' status of the current American currency, or the constant drumbeat of almost every Republican/Tea Party candidate during the last election cycle ..."

Here it is again: Trying to make the guy fit the model that YOU know. What is the mental picture you have here, exactly? You have this guy parked on his couch rabidly soaking up cable news all night, locked in to all the same memes and storylines that you're familiar with?

Good grief. I'm a complete politics/philosophy fiend, I question the constitutionality of much modern law, and I've never seen a moment of Glenn Beck in my life. I don't think I heard a single Republican or Tea Party speech this past election cycle. None of those people are an influence in my life.

It's such a naive way to frame everything -- force-fitting this guy into the picture YOU'RE familiar with, incapable of conceiving that others engage with the world in different ways.

Posted by: BChris | January 9, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

From today's NYT

" Another former high school classmate said that Mr. Loughner may have met Representative Giffords, who was shot in the head outside the Safeway supermarket, several years ago.

“As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy,” the former classmate, Caitie Parker, wrote in a series of Twitter feeds Saturday. “I haven’t seen him since ’07 though. He became very reclusive.”

“He was a political radical & met Giffords once before in ’07, asked her a question & he told me she was ‘stupid & unintelligent,’ ” she wrote. "

So he was "left wing, quite liberal" and disliked Giffords before the Tea Party existed and anyone outside of Alaska had even heard of Palin. The NYT printed it so it must be true.

Posted by: Bobo4 | January 9, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Jen.

Posted by: coffeetime | January 9, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

So a group of Lefties carrying a sign that says "We support our troops when they shoot their officers" (see http://www.capveterans.com/national_veterans_memorials_protection/id90.html) isn't heated rhetoric, but a political ad that shows a bullseye on a map, asking no one to shoot anyone, is over the top and caused some maniac to shoot a politician?
You people on the Left are sick. Really sick.

Posted by: Diggerdownunder | January 9, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It's clear that the Left sees this as its Horst Wessel moment.

Posted by: withhold_name | January 9, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

your article is nothing but a selfish attempt to continue to fuel the flames of hatred and violence. Instead of an unbiased, thoughtful article about the state of hate rhetoric you choose to attack the political left. YOU'RE NO DIFFERENT and YOU DON'T GET IT!!

Do us a favor and STOP THE HATE!!!!!

Posted by: amber8 | January 9, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Fineman and Kurtz both provided incendiary examples of political hate speech from the right, not the left. A wonderful example of how repetition is the mother's milk of political propaganda. However, rightward leaning journalists are compiling an endless array of violent Hollywood hate speech, leftish journalist diatribes, Air America and Bill Maher quotes to shift the focus to where it belongs. On the Stalinist left. I hope the right becomes adept at propagandizing these issues the way the left have perfected them. When the right have as many cultural outlets as the left, and keep that megaphone turned up loud, that's when all this will end.

Posted by: leahlipschultz | January 9, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The reason intelligent people like Krugman become so deranged as to attempt to smear Sarah Palin for this based on no evidence, or trumped up evidence, is because of hate. The hate on the left is derived from their conceit that they are better and more intelligent than Republicans and that Republicans are stupid and evil. They can't face the fact that their policies have been rejected by a majority of Americans. All they have left is their hate and conceit.

Posted by: vausa22923 | January 9, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

No, Teabaggars, I'm sorry. You don't get to rant and rave about "2nd Amendment remedies" and bring guns to political rallies and claim innocence when someone takes comfort from and encouragement in those images. There are crazy people everywhere, and it is incumbent on our national leaders - political and media alike - to act responsibly and not fan the flames.

Sarah Palin owns this, period. Unfortunately she'll take the same tact that the author of this disgusting article did - attempt to whitewash it with false equivalencies and make herself out to be a victim. For shame, on her and those who defend her.

Posted by: tpsteele | January 9, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

vaussa2293 makes an important point. Appeals to civility, when wholly partisan and designed to whip up indignation against political oppoinents, are in fact appeals to incivility. Self-indulgent righteous indignation (a couple of the comments above exemplify it) directed against the allegedly toxic righteous indignation of one's opponents is precisely NOT going to create a more reasonable political atmosphere, which in fact we could use. They are retaliatory and, of course, incite counter-retaliation. But those who want to tear the mote from Sarah Palin's eye ought to remember the beam in their own from those palmy Bushitler days.

Posted by: ebtobiassen | January 9, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Let the Left have at it--it will be like Paul Wellstone's funeral on a bigger scale. They can't help themselves--anyone attempting to talk sense to them or talk them down will just be seen as "part of the problem." I wouldn't even argue with them--it's not necessary. Just broadcast their craziness as widely as possible.

Posted by: adam62 | January 9, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

What a grotesque tragedy. On the lighter side, for those who remember the Ruttles, aren't potheads and tea partiers kinda the same? "Yes, I've had tea..."

Roll up for the Tragical History Tour!

Posted by: aardunza | January 9, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"The Arizona shooter focuses on the need for a gold backed currency, and the unconstitutional nature of recent "treasonous laws," but you see no link to whatsoever to any one of a hundred recent Glenn Beck apocalyptic rants on the "empty shell" status of the current American currency, or the constant drumbeat of almost every Republican/Tea Party candidate during the last election cycle about Obama and the Democratic Party's claimed unconstitutional and treasonous usurpations of power. "

And don't forget his rage against grammar, another well known Tea Party grievance, as well as his promotion of "conscience dreaming," obviously a coded reference to FOX News.

Posted by: adam62 | January 9, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Right, let's give the people egging on violence through their constant lies and fear mongering a pass on this one.

Nope, not them. Just a lone gunman. Look the other way.

Posted by: catbass | January 9, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

This is why his parents should be in jail with him:

"When he was suspended from Pima Community College, the school sent a letter to Loughner's parents stating that if Loughner wished to return to the school, he would have to "obtain a mental health clearance indicating, in the opinion of a mental health professional, his presence at the College does not present a danger to himself or others," the school said in a statement.

The school said Loughner had as many as five run-ins with campus police for "classroom and library disruptions," and was suspended after college police discovered a YouTube video apparently created by Loughner in which he claimed the college is "illegal." Rather than return to school, Loughner dropped out, the statement said.

One Pima Community College student, who had a poetry class with Loughner later in his college career, said he would often act "wildly inappropriate."

"One day [Loughner] started making comments about terrorism and laughing about killing the baby," classmate Don Coorough told ABC News, referring to a discussion about abortions. "The rest of us were looking at him in shock ... I thought this young man was troubled."

Posted by: 54465446 | January 9, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Certainly, the way we deal with mental illness needs to be looked at--people are afraid of "stigmatizing" others, and, in particular, people in authority (employers, teachers) are afraid of lawsuits. But for every future killer how many dozens of harmless eccentrics and non-violent individuals who just need help are there? Still, repeated disruptions of institutional spaces and reckless references to violence should be marked as clear transgressions.

Posted by: adam62 | January 9, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"Right, let's give the people egging on violence through their constant lies and fear mongering a pass on this one.

Nope, not them. Just a lone gunman. Look the other way."

Please, "catbass," connect the dots for us. Connect them all--don't leave out a single one. You're on to something big here.

Posted by: adam62 | January 9, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!! I am old enough to remember that Country coming together over acts of violence, those days have long since come to pass due to the vitriol of the progressives in this Country. They force Conservatives to immediately defend themselves instead of mourning as one.

Posted by: Jaded2 | January 9, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Ms.Rubin is correct that many people on both sides of our political spectrum feed on the increasingly vitriolic rhetoric. However no where but the extreme right can you find a major news organization that lives and breaths such inflamatory rhetoric. When major sources of revenue for Fox news as Beck, Palin and Hannity or major radio stations like WABC live off the revenue of Limbaugh and Levin who on a daily basis demonize and dehumanize our fellow Americans as marxists or supports of terrorism to such an extant that large segments of our polity now casually believe the democratic party is a socialist entity bent on the destruction of country then something is seriously wrong. There is no such counter part to be found on the left.

I expect nothing from WABC/Fox news because no one can hear an argument that effects their revenue so they will never hear this argument. But from others who are not beholden to the god of money and have not lost the idea of journalistic truth they must speak out. These people undermine our polity for their own greed on a daily basis. For God's sake stop listening to them.

Posted by: kchses1 | January 9, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure you're right. 20 people were shot in broad daylight yesterday because there is nothing wrong with the United States, the tone of our political discourse, or Arizona in particular.

Nothing to see here, people. Move along. Continue to your regularly scheduled viewing of Glenn Beck, the Real Housewives, or whatever.

Does it occur to you that the entire world sees things in this country that you do not, Ms. Rubin? You could probably use a little vacation, yes?

Posted by: abroshar | January 9, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jaded2,

You've got a little vitriol showing. You're gonna want to watch that.

Friendly advice! :)

Posted by: abroshar | January 9, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama needs to make a speech denouncing, once and for all, these virulent attacks on grammar which clearly sent this young man over the edge.

Posted by: adam62 | January 9, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

BChris | January 9, 2011 12:11 PM
pepineagles | January 9, 2011 12:20 PM

You guys get it. The others are just venting their politics.

Posted by: Bartemis | January 9, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who tries to associate these horrific shootings with the politics of his political opponents is a demagogue of the worst sort. If there were an ideology or group advocating this sort of atrocity, then guilt by association would be appropriate, but there's not. Even the hateful writings of Marx and Hitler, which the killer admired, cannot be blamed. This is about an individual's derangement.

Posted by: eoniii | January 9, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Here's a start from the Corrector-in-Chief:
"However nowhere but the extreme right",
"lives and breathes such inflammatory"
"as marxists or supporters of terrorism"
"to such an extent"
"an argument that affects their revenue"

Just messin' w/ your head --"It's Bad Grammar, Baby"!
or, if you prefer,
"How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?" :)

Posted by: aardunza | January 9, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

An act of violence that may or may not be political, and the usual suspects are ramping up the narrative that right wing propaganda is behind it.

Boilerplate. Completely predictable. yawn.

Posted by: sold2u | January 9, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Our current liberal President talks like this: "If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun"

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/06/14/obama-if-they-bring-a-knife-to-the-fight-we-bring-a-gun/

Liberals - please keep your mouths shut. Otherwise hypocrisy spews forth, and you don’t seem to hear yourselves.

Posted by: dfp21 | January 9, 2011 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit in the WSJ:

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?

I understand the desperation that Democrats must feel after taking a historic beating in the midterm elections and seeing the popularity of ObamaCare plummet while voters flee the party in droves. But those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America’s political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.

Where is the decency in that?
-----
The left should be called on their shameless attempts to exploit a crime.

Posted by: eoniii | January 9, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I suppose I should not be surprised that a column named "Right Turn" should have been so quick to turn to smoke and mirrors to hide the Right's guilt in this affair.

And yes, smoke and mirrors is all it is. The 'hot' issue of whether Jared (the gunman) himself had a political agenda is NOT central to the issue. But what IS central was deftly avoided in Rubin's article.

That central issue is that the Right, subverted by neo-cons these last 20 years, not even still being truly conservative, has instead embraced a central policy and modus operandi of gross dishonesty in political 'discourse'.

This gross dishonesty has, among other subversive actions, empowered monstruous rabble-rousing slanderers like Sharon Angle, Rush, Palin and Beck to openly call for political assassination and violence.

But Rubin does not want to admit this. Instead, she gives us this elaborate trail of Red Herrings, desperately trying to hide the guilt that adheres to ALL the leaders of her favored political movement.

But if anything good comes out of this tragedy, it will be that these leaders are exposed for what they really are: American neo-conservative equivalents of the Soviet KGB's "department of disinformation", ghoulish liars who will not shrink from any lie no matter how shameful, as long as it advances their destructive political agenda.

Posted by: Syllogizer | January 9, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

JNovess76: "Jared Lee Loughner, through his writings, words, and affiliations, is clearly a right wing ideologue. So many of his ideas about 'government ruling through currency,' 'conscious dreaming,' 'gold based currency' are taken directly out of fringe right wing thought."

Jennifer Rubin (from the article): "You can almost hear the disappointment from the left that he was a pothead rather than a Tea Partyer."

Well, I can almost hear JNovess76, when she read this quote, from a former classmate of Loughner, printed in the January 8 New York Times [capital letters are mine]: "'As I knew him he was LEFT WING, QUITE LIBERAL. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy,' the former classmate, Caitie Parker, wrote in a series of Twitter feeds Saturday."

Thank you for making Rubin's point.

Posted by: gschwim1 | January 9, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

From Politico more evidence of how the left plans to use this horrible crime to attack their enemies:

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.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0111/47294.html#ixzz1AbEJbZri

Posted by: eoniii | January 9, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

If Pew Research is correct, the political "news" network with the largest audience is Fox by a substantial margin. O'Reilly often crows about his/Fox dominance. Fox is 24/7. The presidential "bully pulpit" does not have anywhere near the coverage and hour to hour saturation that Fox or conservative talk radio has. No "liberal" media network does. The messages, seeded and propagated on Fox, are constantly soaking the national sub-conscious, growing into memes or narratives that influence every person differently to some degree. Some of those people are "unbalanced" in varying degrees. Dems and liberals have been warning of the violence vitriolic health care town halls and tea party rallies could inspire. Congresswoman Giffords warned of the danger. Why is anybody surprised at what happened in Tuscon?

Posted by: hiskooldropout | January 10, 2011 2:44 AM | Report abuse

"That central issue is that the Right, subverted by neo-cons these last 20 years, not even still being truly conservative, has instead embraced a central policy and modus operandi of gross dishonesty in political 'discourse'."

This may be the central issue on the Daily Kos, but has nothing to do with the shootings in Arizona. Your own obsessions disable you from speaking intelligibly about the actual "issue.'

"The messages, seeded and propagated on Fox, are constantly soaking the national sub-conscious, growing into memes or narratives that influence every person differently to some degree. Some of those people are "unbalanced" in varying degrees. Dems and liberals have been warning of the violence vitriolic health care town halls and tea party rallies could inspire."

The Left is both demented and totalitarian in intent. Dems and liberals have indeed been "warning," but for the specific purpose of exploiting any violent event which they could shoehorn into their fantasies--presenting these "warnings" as some kind of evidence is itself evidence of a completely closed intellectual system.

Posted by: adam62 | January 10, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

I guess it is too difficult for some 'pundits' to see Loughner as not so different from the "middle-aged men in financial or psychological trouble [who] set upon young children in their classrooms or near the schools. The killers all had grievances against landlords, neighbors, or others. China has strict gun controls, so the attackers used cleavers and hammers..." from Evan Osnos "Letter from China: Meet Dr. Freud" in the Jan 10, 2011 The New Yorker.
Is George Packer incapable of making the connection that I, as a reader, did?

Kind of sad that the real issue was not a discussion of gun control, especially when the Puma County (Arizona) Sheriff brought it up. People have to pass tests to get a license to drive a car. It should be just as important to prove responsible behaviour when buying a gun.

Loughner had failure after failure, and no hope that anyone would ever help him.

There are millions of Americans now in the same stage - and every so often one of them gets a gun and murders former co-workers/boss, or others. Most of us in this stressful situation only think about what a few actually do, but, as in China, the rage will keep exploding, with semi-automatic guns.

Posted by: K2K2 | January 10, 2011 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Crocodile tears. Sow the wind and you'll reap the whirlwind.

Posted by: laboo | January 10, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

It is ridiculous to suggest that the climate of 2nd amendment language from many Republican politicians from Sharron Angle to Sarah Palin and the constant use of words and graphics ONLY associated with guns...it is ridiculous to suggest that such a climate did not influence a mentally ill man in a state with extremely liberal gun laws. Ms Rubin, I would suggest you are protesting the wrong offense here. Look to the language of your fellow conservatives, the ban on assault weapons your fellow conservatives block and the decrease in funding for the mentally ill your conservaties have sought since Ronald Reagan. You doth protest too much!

Posted by: mrheinstein1 | January 10, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer Rubin joins the right wing propaganda effort to contain the damage from the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords by Loughner. He may be a madman but his motivation is made clear by his handwritten words, indicating his plan to kill this particular Congresswoman. Facts carefully ignored by Rubin include the comment by then-Minority Leader Boehner last year, after his then-colleague from Ohio, Democratic Congressman Steve Dreihaus voted for the Health Reform bill: Boehner told the National Review that Dreihaus "may be a dead man" because he voted for President Obama's health care law. "He can't go home to the west side of Cincinnati." Rubin is trying to convince gullible readers that remarks such as this one by John Boehner do not motivate deranged persons to commit acts such as the one Boehner predicted would befall then Rep. Steve Dreihaus.
Rubin is part of the disciplined right-wing campaign to fool all of the people. It might work.

Posted by: rosscarbery | January 10, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Americans won't forget the cynical effort of the left to blame these murders on their political opponents. Shameless liars.

Posted by: eoniii | January 10, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer,

I have a question for you. Is it really responsible or necessary for Congress to stop going to work this week?

While horribly tragic, and thankfully the Congresswomen is alive (and will recover), taking off a whole week seems over the top. When cops are shot, does the whole police force take off?
A Federal judge was killed, but they aren't going to close down all Federal courts in the Circuit.

The work of Congress for the People is necessary. To take a week off and not reconvene till next week is giving one murderer too much power.

Posted by: scsiegel | January 10, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

replying to adam62: you referenced my post and commented. "The messages, seeded and propagated on Fox, are constantly soaking the national sub-conscious, growing into memes or narratives that influence every person differently to some degree. Some of those people are "unbalanced" in varying degrees. Dems and liberals have been warning of the violence vitriolic health care town halls and tea party rallies could inspire."
Your response:
"The Left is both demented and totalitarian in intent. Dems and liberals have indeed been 'warning', but for the specific purpose of exploiting any violent event which they could shoehorn into their fantasies--presenting these 'warnings' as some kind of evidence is itself evidence of a completely closed intellectual system." No, we liberals are far too simple and/or lazy creatures to fabricate such rationale. No, libs/Dems were warning because they didn't want the tragedy that happened on Saturday to happen. Pretty simple. When Gabrielle Giffords warned that words and actions can have consequences (re:her targeting by Sarah Palin) was she seeking to exploit any violent event which could shoehorn into some fantasy she had? The twisting and turning of conservatives in denial of what their unbridled attitudes have incited is really quite amazing.

Posted by: hiskooldropout | January 10, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"No, libs/Dems were warning because they didn't want the tragedy that happened on Saturday to happen"

This is nonsense, because there is no way that anything Congresswoman Giffords or anyone else said could have aimed at preventing a murderous lunatic from shooting up a public space--for the simple reason that, setting aside pre-emptive, involuntary institutionalization, nobody has the slightest idea how to prevent such a thing. I didn't see Giffords's speech in particular, but I doubt it strayed from the formula which, as the crazed response of leftists to these events shows, is very clearly crafted so as to lay the groundwork for some politically purposeful profiling in case there is violence that can be given in the remotest connection to their political obsessions.

Posted by: adam62 | January 10, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

adam62: If there is no way something like this could have been prevented by reducing the toxicity of the national "conversation", then why are so many in the news media industry on both political sides (including Roger Ailes, who is telling his team to "shut up and tone it down", generating a lot of anger at freerepublic.com, by the way) saying that it is time to turn the heat way down and each side has to be more careful and considerate in what they say and how they say it? If there is no way an unbalanced person could have been turned another way, then why hasn't the Right, who sure are sounding defensive, come up with one of their phoney baloney psychiatrists like Keith Ablow to completely discount this notion? Does it not seem remotely reasonable to you that amongst the total U.S. population there are many unbalanced people floating around out there? And that while some may become enamored with "Dancing With the Stars", others may be drawn into or stumble into the wonderful world of TV political commentary? And even if they don't completely understand what Hannity or Beck or Cal Thomas are saying, they may get the general flavor and tone that Obama is evil, Democrats are bad, and liberals are traitorous commies, whatever a traitorous commie is... Who knows what amorphous collection of bits of commentary get lodged in anybody's brain but if there is a huge 24/7 daily, hourly onslaught of hysterical anti-government propaganda in constant spew mode, you don't think it could influence an unbalanced person who absorbs a lot of this crap? You said:
" I didn't see Giffords's speech in particular, but I doubt it strayed from the formula which, as the crazed response of leftists to these events shows, is very clearly crafted so as to lay the groundwork for some politically purposeful profiling in case there is violence that can be given in the remotest connection to their political obsessions." What the....? So you don't know the exact words or context of Gabrielle Giffords' comments and you think that the leftist response to this tragedy is crazed? And this "crazed" response proves that back in March Ms. Giffords was using a formulaic response to make conservatives look bad in the event of a tragedy like the one which now has her lying in a hospital in critical condition with 6 killed and 14 wounded? Wow, that was really some incredible foresight on her part, don't you think? And now the leftists are milking this goldmine for all it's worth, huh? Where will the paranoia end and a little common sense come in to play? Leftists are grief stricken, pissed off and conservatives are in denial, back-pedaling and contorting logic and reason to unbelievable lengths.

Posted by: hiskooldropout | January 11, 2011 3:57 AM | Report abuse

The only real question you raise is why conservatives are on the defensive--or at least Ailes is. No one can refute any claim about why the shooter acted, even less than one can prove any claim, so, in "rational" terms there is no need for defensiveness. And I suspect that the talk radio guys and gals (Limbaugh, Levin, Savage, Ingraham, etc.) are not defensive at all--I haven't had a chance to listen, but I'll bet they're on the attack. My best guess about Ailes is that he is intimidated by the Left onslaught and doesn't know where it will lead--not everyone is always equally courageous. It's a shame. But I don't know what, exactly, he wants people to stop saying.

Posted by: adam62 | January 11, 2011 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Those on the right can spin this anyway you want, but the reality and facts are that for two decades now, starting with rush in the early 90's, right wing media, in the form of fox, hate radio and authors like ann coulter have taken every opportunity to demonize anyone on the left, with constant and continuous references to killing and hurting in one form or another. Try as all you defenders might, you will NOT find that on the left. A quote here and there...namecalling like "chimp" are hardly the same thing and if you don't get that...well that just speaks to why we're in the mess we're currently in!

Posted by: granmastace | January 11, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Those on the right can spin this anyway you want, but the reality and facts are that for two decades now, starting with rush in the early 90's, right wing media, in the form of fox, hate radio and authors like ann coulter have taken every opportunity to demonize anyone on the left, with constant and continuous references to killing and hurting in one form or another. Try as all you defenders might, you will NOT find that on the left. A quote here and there...namecalling like "chimp" are hardly the same thing and if you don't get that...well that just speaks to why we're in the mess we're currently in!

Posted by: granmastace | January 11, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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