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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 01/11/2011

Damage level

By Tom Toles

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***

Game blame

Everyone has by now had their say about what blame for the shootings can be laid to the deliberate, irresponsible stoking of unfocused anger in American politics. You won't get far in determining that definitively. To me the issue -- or issues -- is different.

First, I don't have a problem with anger in politics. A lot of things are worth getting mad about, and it's the fuel for a lot of positive changes. It goes wrong when people don't follow their anger with enough accurate information to play any constructive role in debate or solutions (and, no, an elaborate confabulation of kooky internet conspiracy-oriented "facts" does not qualify). It goes really wrong when it starts getting flavored by winking allusions to violence. That's a beast that needs no feeding, and people have been playing very cynical games with it.

Second, regardless of the causal links in this instance or lack of them, the result will be some sober reflection on the dynamite people have been playing with and at least a temporary lull in the insanity. Whatever the cause of this, that result is welcome. --Tom Toles

***

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By Tom Toles  | January 11, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

Para, para, para...

1. Had I realized that not cutting and pasting would result in hurt feelers (that's an American slang phrase), I might have taken more time and space for credits. But, I'm not above playing a little, so...

2. "Massive," eh?

3. Or, it's just possible that politically prejudiced Nobels (yes, of COURSE political prejudice is alive and well in the Nobel committee; read their charter sometime) are awarded to people who do and say politically important things in spite of the resistance they're likely to receive from denying voices in their home countries. Liu Xiaobo being yet another recent case in point. Nobels are not awarded for stating the obvious, or for stating what is popular, or for supporting the old dogma.

4. NBC "liberal?" Pre-MSN NBC? Seriously, the old NBC, whose parent company and presumed controller of editorial comment was General Electric? You and I clearly have differing opinions of what constitutes "liberal."

5. "Massive," eh? Do you also drive a very, VERY large truck? I do not categorize anything I've heard on truly right-whing (thanks for that one) hate radio as particularly "sharp," but only loud; and my experience is that loud is generally the second-to-last resort of the otherwise incompetent. The last being violence.

Reasoned discourse might go a long way toward finding middle ground but, as you seem to be saying of yourself, so many conservatives are of the opinion that they are so just plain "right" that, well, it would be just wrong for them to compromise one iota. Isn't that pretty much it?

Which leaves very little room for reasoned discourse... quite an accurate reflection of the cartoon at the top of this column, isn't it? Which, by the way, had no nametags or anything on the caricatures. Still, if the shoe fits...

Posted by: jonroesler | January 12, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the inflammatory rhetoric is coming from both sides, but please explain why the only ones who seem motivated to action are the extreme right wingers? Is it a reflection of a mind-set that takes Palin's crosshairs and Angle's 2nd amendment remedies as literally as they take the Creation story?

FWIW, this is not an idle question for me anymore. I live in Tucson, admire Gabby Giffords, and this has suddenly become very personal for me.

Posted by: roaxle | January 12, 2011 1:08 AM | Report abuse

bert

I was just there looking. hopefully it goes away in a while. This kind of rhetoric will only make matters worse - more divisiveness and disagreement at a time when we need much less.

I did enjoy this blog because the words were softer and less ugly compared to other spots.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 11, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

~bertzel

This is the first time in my many months of subscription to the WaPo on line that Mr Toles really crossed the line to the dark side of liberal thought. It HAS opened up a nasty can of worms. I hope it does not happen again.
Well said pete1013
Posted by: dalyplanet~~

I was referring to the blog itself...course Toles is the ringleader...next page is even worse, but that is just my opinion...like I said...it once was an interesting spot now it is all about the numbers...too bad on so many levels.

Posted by: bertzel | January 11, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

bertzel

This is the first time in my many months of subscription to the WaPo on line that Mr Toles really crossed the line to the dark side of liberal thought. It HAS opened up a nasty can of worms. I hope it does not happen again.


Well said pete1013

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 11, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

ringlingj wrote:

["@PrairieDog60, very well put and I wholly concur. I encourage anyone who recalls the life of Slobodon Milosovec (former leader of Yugoslavia who died while under trial at the Hague). In summary, Rupert Murdoch and his affiliates so closely resemble the Milosovec media machine which led to civil war and fragmentation of that nation. While right wing fanatics have not yet started killing en masse, they have been buttering up their guns for long enough to make people worry about their true loyalty to the unity of this nation. I do clearly recall the Governor of Texas discussing secession. If people don't continue to call these people out and hold them publicly accountable for the hate they generate my guess is more attacks will occur. There is a clear pattern here. It is a pattern of fighting oil wars, feeding a right wing media machine, and threatening with guns here at home. I personally hold our deeply corrupt Republican leadership accountable. They are ripping our nation apart right before our very eyes."]

---------------------

Dear Dingaling,

1 - When the federal government overplays their hand like Obama did in his first 2 years, States and their leadership have every right to do whatever they can to check the federal government's power, to include threatening secession. Personally, I wouldn't agree with that course of action but it definitely was a reminder that States aren't going to kneel and accept every stupid law this administration puts forward.
2 - Comparing Murdoch and Milosevic is just plain bull. Milosevic produced propaganda; Murdoch's team produces facts. The real kicker is their are hundreds of information outlets for folks to access in this country so even if you don't like what Murdoch's media outlets produce - you can turn the channel.
3 - Boo hoo to you about the Republicans 'ripping the country apart.' What a cream-puff. If you can't handle tough debate, grab some cold weather gear, move to the mountains in Vermont, leave the electronics at home. Eat grass. Use sheep droppings for fuel (and other purposes - you are a Liberal now). Peace brother - and no very bad Conservatives to bother you.

Posted by: pararanger22 | January 11, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

~~Political rhetoric has ALWAYS been inflammatory. Seems likely it always will be. And psychotic people roam the streets of every city in America, and some of them are armed. Why some go over the brink and kill, well that is a question we may never find an answer to. But using this tragedy to further the partisan divide, well that is just as stupid and crazy as the actions of one Jared Lee Loughner.
Posted by: pete1013 ~~~

Well said pete1013
Unfortunately this blog has 'crossed over' to the 'darkside' like all the other blogs on the wapo site....too bad...used to be a fun place to hang out.

Posted by: bertzel | January 11, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Just stop it all of you. This isn't a right/left, con/lib thing. Have you seen this lunatic's youtube videos? His contradictory list of favorite books? It seems far more likely that he committed this horrific act because his dog told him to, or to beseech Cthulhu to bring about 1000 years of darkness and madness, or some other equally insane motive.

Political rhetoric has ALWAYS been inflammatory. Seems likely it always will be. And psychotic people roam the streets of every city in America, and some of them are armed. Why some go over the brink and kill, well that is a question we may never find an answer to. But using this tragedy to further the partisan divide, well that is just as stupid and crazy as the actions of one Jared Lee Loughner.

Posted by: pete1013 | January 11, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

jonroesler wrote:

["FOX only a response to those nasty Liberals taking over the airwaves..." Okay, okay... so let me get this straight: FOX was launched in October, 1986 as a conservative response to MSNBC, founded ten years later in 1996 as a partnership between questionably “liberal” Microsoft and definitely-not-liberal General Electric? Huh?
That's okay; I get it. It was one of those "pre-emptive responses." For the record, the word was, "whiners," and not "whingers," and I spend exactly as much time watching MSNBC intentionally as I do watching FOX intentionally: zero. Like PD60, my exposure to the rants on FOX is in public places, and that's more than enough to convince me of its journalistic value. There are more than enough actual news sources to go around, and it's much more enjoyable listening to music than listening to whiners who would have stroked out years ago if their anger was even half real... and I'd be WITH them if the facts bore out half of what they claim. We ALL would. For the record, the only genuinely pure-Liberal response I've ever heard to the ranters at FOX was Air America, and that show never made it because, frankly, it was about as much fun as listening to Limbaugh and his pals. Don't like those nasty Nobel winners with their "liberal political" spin on everything from economics to climate change to evolution? Nah, and you probably didn't get along with those elitist eggheads who tried to teach math and science in school, either."]

------------------

1 - It is rude not to cut and paste at least my blog name when addressing my comments. How hard is that to do dude?

2 - 'Whining' (US) and 'Whinging' (UK) are the exact same thing silly. You won't ever catch me using a faux British accent (like the traitorous Madonna) but I've enjoyed adding a few words to my MASSIVE vocabulary.

3 - The Nobel prizes for science and math are normally okay but the politically oriented ones (Gore; Obama) are just patently stupid and are just a way for the Nobel committee to brown-nose Liberal big shots. Pathetic.

4 - Fox was a response to the liberal MSM to include NBC. NBC and MSNBC are related (note the similar letters in the name, genius).

5 - So you listen to music instead of whining. Do you listen to music in Mommy's basement or do you actually do something with your life? You categorize sharp responses to political fare as whining; well, that may be a quite proper definition for LIBERAL whinging, true. "I spilled hot coffee in my lap - McDonalds made it hot - help me sue McDonalds and create a very harsh law against hot coffee....waaaahhh!!!' The lawyers are happy because they get to sue a company that actually produces something (jobs). The pro big government Libs are happy because more government employees will be required to enforce 'cold' coffee; and the Dems are happy because these true whingers will certainly vote for them because the Dems listen to their whinging.

Conservatives aren't whingers - they're just right!

Posted by: pararanger22 | January 11, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I get a kick out of commenters who use the tired "yell fire in a crowded theater" metaphor to advocate limits on free speech guaranteed by the Constitution's 1st Amendment. They should read Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' opinion - where the quote originates - before assuming that it applies to speech that could make someone angry enough to break the law. It does not. In the first place, there is no evidence that the Tucson murderer ever heard anyone from either political party make any comments about killing Congresswoman Giffords, let alone instructed him to do so. Only such conduct would amount to constitutionally unprotected speech.
As others have pointed out, folks on both ends of the spectrum, including Mr. Toles regularly make disparaging comments about the opposition, colored by their own perceptions of what is true or false, right or wrong. Often the comments are extremely unflattering, yet, they are protected, as they should be. Generally, restrictions on language 'civility' are found in dictatorial regimes. Angry language is not an aberration, but a natural consequence of the inalienable right of free people to debate and disagree.

Posted by: bpadrino | January 11, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Sorry... What I meant was, "PROFESSIONAL whiners." I hope that's better.

Posted by: jonroesler | January 11, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"FOX only a response to those nasty Liberals taking over the airwaves..."

Okay, okay... so let me get this straight: FOX was launched in October, 1986 as a conservative response to MSNBC, founded ten years later in 1996 as a partnership between questionably “liberal” Microsoft and definitely-not-liberal General Electric? Huh?

That's okay; I get it. It was one of those "pre-emptive responses."

For the record, the word was, "whiners," and not "whingers," and I spend exactly as much time watching MSNBC intentionally as I do watching FOX intentionally: zero. Like PD60, my exposure to the rants on FOX is in public places, and that's more than enough to convince me of its journalistic value.

There are more than enough actual news sources to go around, and it's much more enjoyable listening to music than listening to whiners who would have stroked out years ago if their anger was even half real... and I'd be WITH them if the facts bore out half of what they claim. We ALL would.

For the record, the only genuinely pure-Liberal response I've ever heard to the ranters at FOX was Air America, and that show never made it because, frankly, it was about as much fun as listening to Limbaugh and his pals.

Don't like those nasty Nobel winners with their "liberal political" spin on everything from economics to climate change to evolution? Nah, and you probably didn't get along with those elitist eggheads who tried to teach math and science in school, either.

Posted by: jonroesler | January 11, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Liberal Toles needs help, maybe counseling... with views like his, he might be the next one to go off the deep end and commit some horrendous crime.

Posted by: tonyjm | January 11, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey, you know that pararangers are just cartoons, right?

Posted by: taroya | January 11, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

If it's not the guns that are bad, then let's not keep talking about outlawing them. Let's just outlaw triggers.

Posted by: dudeupnorth | January 11, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@PrairieDog60, very well put and I wholly concur.

I encourage anyone who recalls the life of Slobodon Milosovec (former leader of Yugoslavia who died while under trial at the Hague).

In summary, Rupert Murdoch and his affiliates so closely resemble the Milosovec media machine which led to civil war and fragmentation of that nation. While right wing fanatics have not yet started killing en masse, they have been buttering up their guns for long enough to make people worry about their true loyalty to the unity of this nation. I do clearly recall the Governor of Texas discussing secession.

If people don't continue to call these people out and hold them publicly accountable for the hate they generate my guess is more attacks will occur.

There is a clear pattern here. It is a pattern of fighting oil wars, feeding a right wing media machine, and threatening with guns here at home.

I personally hold our deeply corrupt Republican leadership accountable. They are ripping our nation apart right before our very eyes.

Posted by: ringlingj | January 11, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

A picture is worth 1000 words. Right wing maniacs are not comfortable unless they can hold a gun and spew hate at anyone who doesn't disagree with them. If too may of them disagree, they hold political rallies and moan about how much they need the 2nd amendment to stay alive.

Sadly, that's the only way they know how to behave.

WITHOUT QUESTION the grand mentors of this philosophy of hate are:

1. Rush Limbaugh
2. Newt Gingrich (yes, he is still alive)
3. Rupert Murdoch (and all his media outlets)
...and many others

All are backed by corporations, and all directly finance Slobodon Milosovic style hate rhetoric and propaganda 24/7. Their hate machine is WELL OILED, and no pun intended, but it directly supports BIG OIL.

They are purveyors of hate, lies and in my opinion are responsible for sending our sons and daughters off to fight wars for oil. They will block any attempt to diversify our energy resources, put restrictions on insurance company price gouging, and generally allow America to move into the next century.

Why, because they lack innovative thought and want to keep their financial interests right where they are at all costs.

Without BIG OIL to back them, they are a hopeless case. That is the only reason their party is alive...with HATE.

Posted by: ringlingj | January 11, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The reason that Repugs peddle hatred and fear is because they don't have any cogent arguments. For instance, how can you argue to lower taxes on the uber-rich when it increases the deficit that they've got their panties in a twist over? So, instead of arguments, they scream about 'them' taking over 'our' country and they have to be STOPPED SOMEHOW!!!.

What would these Repugs have said if Palin's sniper cross-hair map had the crosshairs on Boehner and had been published by a Muslim cleric? What would they have said if Boner had then been shot in the head? Do you think they would have said, "Oh, that was just a sick individual - I'm sure the scope cross-hairs over his picture had NOTHING to do with it. Given me break.

Posted by: UNLISTED | January 11, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Toles said "Second, regardless of the causal links in this instance or lack of them, the result will be some sober reflection on the dynamite people have been playing with and at least a temporary lull in the insanity. Whatever the cause of this, that result is welcome."

If the responses from the trolls on this blog provide any measure, then your hope for a lull has no feathers.

Posted by: duke5 | January 11, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

One big problem with America today is that we've allowed the politicians to make it all about specific issues rather than fundamental principles. Morality is gone from *BOTH* sides of the spectrum. Can I get a third party please? A centrist party that believes in respect and sanity?

When I was growing up, the Golden Rule was "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Now, the consensus seems to be either "Do unto others before they can do unto you." or "Do unto others so you can get yours before they get theirs."

Haven't we had enough of the "Me First!" attitude in our society and politics? Anyone?

Posted by: indyrich | January 11, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

How did Hilter convince an intelligent society to hate a class of people for its' problems? Listen to it enough and hate becomes justified and normalized. I heard God-loving Christian spill out so much hate about illegal immigrants. It's a complete departure to the loving people I know.

Posted by: removeinfo1 | January 11, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"A lot of things are worth getting mad about, and it's the fuel for a lot of positive changes."

So is watching 16 people get shot at a political rally. Your point?

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | January 11, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Ted-Zee-Man:
"I generally will agree with your cartoon and comment. But I would like to carry it a step further. My fellow Americans Read the Constitution yourself, do not let someone else read it to you and please do not let them interpret it for you. God gave you a mind to think for yourself and now is the time to use your mind."

Well said! Too many people look to a *party* for answers instead of using their intelligence.

I'd like to add:
READ the "Obamacare" bill and see if you still dare to support it once you understand it, people. There are many sites which give access to Congress so we can see what laws are introduced and voted on. DON'T take a party's...or any small group's...OPINION of a law as fact. Read, read, read...
You're an insult to humanity if you don't BOTHER to do so.

Posted by: flipper49 | January 11, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I remember watching Maddow when she went to Alaska. She bumped into some folks protesting in the streets, claiming that AG Holder and the Prez were trying to take away their 2nd amendment rights. When Maddow pressed them for examples of this, the protestors could not name one thing. All they had was anger and an accusation with not one idea why they were angry at the Prez and AG.
This is what is toxic about the recent political enviroment, we don't have a baseline anymore. No fundemental truth to base our arguments, people don't seem to be living in the same reality. I listen folks and they make it seem like the apocolypse is happening right now. Too many opinions masquerading as facts....

Posted by: priceisright | January 11, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Tom,

I generally will agree with your cartoon and comment. But I would like to carry it a step further. My fellow Americans Read the Constitution yourself, do not let someone else read it to you and please do not let them interpret it for you. God gave you a mind to think for yourself and now is the time to use your mind.

When we as an individual hear or read something today in this Society we have an obligation to check the veracity of what is said or written. You must check it by at least five different sources to verify it.

the only purpose that anger should achieve is making us determine a course of action to correct the problem we perceive. The course of action must fall within aceptable standards of the Society that we live in.

SPEECH Must have limititation placed apon it, and per the Constitution of the United States of America it has limitations and per prior Supreme Court Decisions it does have imitations. To incite Illegal Actions, Rebellion or the Over-throwing the Federal Governement or damage to personal property or Physical Harm are prohibited.

I do not place blame upon any Political Party for the Mean and Vicious Rethoric that we are hearing and seeing on the Radio and Television and in all the various Media Outlets. It is the responsibility of the Individual who spoke those words or writes those words. It is also the responsibility of the Media which reports the words.

The actions taken are solely the responsibility of the Individual who takens them no matter if they are Sane or In-Sane.

Our Elected Officials for the Federal Government of the United States of America have lost their united way to perform the will of "We the People." To many of our Elected Officials have sold their vote to the "Rich and Powerful." They no Longer represent the MAJORITY of the United States of America's Citizens. They now only act on thier personal Ideology and Principles and do not make any effort to do what is RIGHT---FAIR--and JUST for the Majority of the Citizens and the COUNTRY.

Business Executives and the "Rich and Powerful" have forgotten the simple fact that without workers they cannot produce anything to sell and make a profit on. They have forgotten that for people to want to purchase what they are selling that those people need Jobs/Employment to create a Demand for thier Product or Service.

STATEMENT of FACT:

1. The United States of America has always seen it GREATEST moments of ECONOMIC GROWTH when the Taxes upon the RICH and POWERFUL has been at 70% and at 90%.

2. Never in the history of the United States of America has there ever been a Republican President or Republican Controlled Congress that has had a BALANCED BUDGET or REDUCED the DEFICET. It has only been accomplished on three separate occasions; under Democratic Presidents Andrew Jackson, Lyndon B. Johnson and William J. Clinton.

Posted by: Ted-Zee-Man | January 11, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Tom you are full of crap. How is that for inflammatory rhetoric. Since when did you become a sociologist or psychiatrist? I believe you are just using Rahm's mantra - Never let a crisis go to waste. So, furthering your political agenda is the right thing to do but when conservatives try to further their's it is the wrong thing to do? Where was the shooter's family, his friends - don't they have some responsibility too? I doubt that Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin or Rush had much influence over this nut case or igniting his internal bomb. You are over reaching in a gross, self serving way.

Posted by: rbloomer2 | January 11, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Tommy, how about some good old fashioned Washington Compost diversity in your caricatures - like maybe a likeness of Barry Soetoro encouraging people to "bring a gun...and get in the face" of your political enemies?

Posted by: ddaly7 | January 11, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The references here to Fox News and other conservative media outlets somehow being "right" or justified, because they have high ratings, is quite amusing. This is a defense O'Reilly has used many times. "Hey, just look at who wins the ratings", he often says.

Well, congratulations Fox, you've done an outstanding job of exploiting people's fears, of appealing to their lesser angels. Watch Fox for a little while, and see how everything is sensationalized, how just about every third story is "breaking news!!!" with all kinds of visual effects and sounds to appeal to those portions of the brain that are attracted by such childish nonesense.

I don't have cable TV, so the little bit I see of Fox is when I'm in some auto repair shop and they have it on, or in a doctor's waiting room. And I'll watch a clip occassionally on the internet. I find it rather funny that they still consider themselves a "news" channel. I liken them more to "Entertainment Tonight".

There's a reason most liberals and progressives don't support the type of "infotainment" practiced by Fox. Most liberals I know don't want to have anything to do with it. We don't want to see and hear name calling, and hosts screaming at their guests to "shut up", and people talking about how so-and-so is treasonous and should be "taken out" (and all the other cute words they use in an attempt to make "kill" sound somehow less obvious). So, when liberals try to play this game on the Fox News turf, they lose. And frankly, I'm glad.

It's also interesting to read in comments here that ALL other media besides Fox, are "liberal". I might venture to say that this smells a bit like paranoia. I agree that most media besides Fox is not Fox. But again, this doesn't mean they're liberal. This just means they don't ascribe to Fox's version of what "journalism" is supposed to be. And this is a good thing, because if you've ever taken a journalism class, you'll realize that what Fox does is NOT journalism.

As far as this latest gunman is concerned, he was obviously a sick young man. Did any of the vitriol spewed on hate radio and Fox and Limbaugh, etc, contribute to what he did? I don't know. Does that mean that "don't retreat, reload", and "come shoot a fully automatic M-16 with candidate so-and-so", and "second amendment remidies" comments are not promoting violence? No, it does not. These comments are clever little ways to hint at what such idiots really believe; that violence is a legitimate solution when you disagree with your democratically elected goverment. Gabby Giffords was the focus of violent acts in the past before this shooting. Violence has no place in our democracy, and anyone remotely promoting it is irresponsible and reckless, and are not the kind of people I choose to listen to, or choose to believe have any place in governing our country.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | January 11, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

The sadness the frequent incivility in the comments is very discouraging. surely we can agree that the young man under arrest seems to be deeply disturbed and untreated, perhaps lacking in decent medical insurance. we might also agree that our fascination with guns, especially guns only useful for harming others is questionable. (see JO BECKER and MICHAEL LUO in NYT today for some specifics about Arizona.) Owning lethal firearms useless for hunting, e.g., a Glock 9, strikes me as invitation for mayhem. The ready availability of such weapons serves to fuel the killing in Mexico over truck traffic control. If law enforcement officials confiscate a weapon used in a killing and trace it's ownership they have to do so by going through paper records - no database is permitted. and on and on and on. Yet we seem stuck in the same accusatory rhetoric is see in the comments. If we agree we have serious problems with violence, what should we do to address the issue? why isn't this question the more frequent focus of the comments I read here today?

Posted by: mmery | January 11, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The sadness the frequent incivility in the comments is very discouraging. surely we can agree that the young man under arrest seems to be deeply disturbed and untreated, perhaps lacking in decent medical insurance. we might also agree that our fascination with guns, especially guns only useful for harming others is questionable. (see JO BECKER and MICHAEL LUO in NYT today for some specifics about Arizona.) Owning lethal firearms useless for hunting, e.g., a Glock 9, strikes me as invitation for mayhem. The ready availability of such weapons serves to fuel the killing in Mexico over truck traffic control. If law enforcement officials confiscate a weapon used in a killing and trace it's ownership they have to do so by going through paper records - no database is permitted. and on and on and on. Yet we seem stuck in the same accusatory rhetoric is see in the comments. If we agree we have serious problems with violence, what should we do to address the issue? why isn't this question the more frequent focus of the comments I read here today?

Posted by: mmery | January 11, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

With the Republican commentators it's kind of like what you see with the Muslim holy men. They egg each other on with ever escalating expressions of hatred and craziness in order to compete for followers. Let's face it, you're not going to get unstable nut jobs to follow you by sounding reasonable. I mean, if you can get people to believe that Obama is leading a sinister conspiracy of illegal immigrants to enslave white people, it's a short reach for the shootin' iron.

Posted by: DaveHarris | January 11, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I find it appalling that these hate spewers don't just take a moment of silence until this blows over! They know there are quotes that link them to the insanity of this man, they have fed his fire, so why don't they just shut up? Read this: http://www.truth-out.org/the-wrath-fools-an-open-letter-to-far-right66686

Posted by: gravelgertiesgems | January 11, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Scrap federal gun control and allow the individual states to enact gun laws they feel comfortable with.

This way, and ONLY this way, will you have a concensus on this controversial topic.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | January 11, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

one more thing...~~My Specialty is social systems… I have taken a multiplicity of college and university studies
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Are you bragging or complaining......I don't have those kind of credentials and I admit that I'm not too good at this, but it's OCCAMS razor, NOT Ockams razor!

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

jhnny

That is your opinion regarding the rights rhetoric.

It is a fact that the paper with national distribution wrote a false and misleading, inflamatory headline.

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

Exceellent explanantion that Toles put forth...
Gnashing of teeth= "Selected not elected"
Talking withot listening= "Bush ia a Nazi"
Frantic Theories= "Bush masterminded 9/11"
Incoherent screaming= "People like THEM are afraid of people who look like ME"
Gunshots= "a moderate falls!"

Posted by: erodrik | January 11, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I know quite well what McClatchey is. It doesn't change the fact that what you said has nothing to do with what I said.

Here, I'll make it simple for you. What I said was the spokespeople for the right have gone too far in their rhetoric, and while this incident may or may not have been actually caused by that, they are being called to task for it, and rightfully so.

It doesn't matter what the headlines of the newspaper said, it doesn't matter what the talking heads on TV said or what their motivations were to say it, it doesn't even matter what someone on the left said in the past that was over the line, it's true.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 11, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

jhnnywalkr

You might have wanted to google McClatchy before you showed off your ignorance.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 11, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

jhnnywalkr

The headline from McClatchy Newspapers story in my town "TALK TURNS TOXIC, AND DERANGED TAKE IT IN" and then the local news parrots , and then there is Toles, Krugman,and Capehart stoking the fire.

It is time for the mainstream media to take stock of itself and to simply report the news without trying to score political points or to attempt to stifle political speech it does not agree with.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 11, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what this has to do with what I said but good to know you have terrible local news I guess.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 11, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

one more thing...

~~My Specialty is social systems…
I have taken a multiplicity of college and university studies to prepare for writing books on the subject of social organization. I have worked in both social and industrial organizations that depend on efficient social systems to accomplish tasks, provide services and provide end products.
I have done independent research on social systems and human interaction.
My objective was to update Plato’s Republic to include high tech methods and people centered morality of present times.
I am well qualified as a Social Systems Specialist with both trained technical skills and gifted comprehensive understanding.
As Eyore often says, “It was a very sad and solemn occasion”.
We are at a critical time in our social evolution where we either develop necessary social skills or go extinct.
It is no laughing matter. We either get serious or go extinct.
Dave
Posted by: OckamsRazor~~

Still strutting I see…I read books dave and here is a passage from one that has already been published!

“If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.
The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.
The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.
And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.
For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.”
Gibran
just sayin'...

Posted by: bertzel | January 11, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

~~~~~ It goes wrong when people don't follow their anger with enough accurate information to play any constructive role in debate or solutions (and, no, an elaborate confabulation of kooky internet conspiracy-oriented "facts" does not qualify). It goes really wrong when it starts getting flavored by winking allusions to violence. That's a beast that needs no feeding, and people have been playing very cynical games with it. TOLES~~~

Oh really…like all the constructive rhetoric in these blogs! Give me a break.


And, and,AND, is this what you consider ‘winking allusions to violence???

~~~Toles, not to start any new conspiracy theories, yet making an observation;
“boom, boom, boom, and boomers” + Suspicious Package…are you trying to tell us something :-)
Posted by: bertzel~~~

Lighten up!!

For the record, I DO believe in conspiracy theories…theory is the key word, here…not fact. I also do not believe in all. Just like I don’t believe in everything I hear, read and see.
I also have come across a truth that, society as a WHOLE is to blame for the recent tragedy and that, my “fellow opinions” , Includes you and me.

Posted by: bertzel | January 11, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

gma interview with the sheriff

Posted by: bertzel | January 11, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

bertzel,

You wrote, "That is not true....the sheriff made reference to the Democratic Party at least twice...including his own political belief."

I don't remember seeing any quotes to that effect, but maybe I missed them. Could you please provide the readers here with the exact quotes and a link to a credible online source?

Thanks.

Posted by: brimadison | January 11, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

This tragedy shines a bright light on the Democrats lies and the Democrats response of calling for limiting Americans Freedom of Speech and Right to Bear Arms which are the first and second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The rage of the American people will continue to be felt at the ballot box as they limit Democrats from being elected to office.

Posted by: jornolibist | January 11, 2011 6:41 AM
=======================================
Name 1 Democrat who has called for the limiting of Free Speach and name 1 law that has been passed affecting gun ownership!

Posted by: Angryman | January 11, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

This tragedy shines a bright light on the Democrats lies and the Democrats response of calling for limiting Americans Freedom of Speech and Right to Bear Arms which are the first and second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The rage of the American people will continue to be felt at the ballot box as they limit Democrats from being elected to office.

Posted by: jornolibist
==================================

Evidently you did not listen in school when we were taught that yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater is not free speech. It can be criminal if people get injured or die.

Don't you think it's strange that while both the left and the right are equally angry at our government, when news of the shooting first appeared, most people assumed the Congresswoman was shot by an angry tea partier? Why? Because almost all of the political violence in America is done by the right and directed at Democrats or the left.

And here's another thing that makes me angry. The right keeps telling us that if we let citizens arm themselves mass shootings like this won't happen because 1) the shooters will realize they will be shot before they can complete their mission so they won;t even try, and 2) armed citizens will take the shooter down quickly, averting mass killings. There is no state that allows their citizens more freedom to arm themselves in public than Arizona, and yet not one of the 40 or so people who were at the event shot the killer, he was only stopped the old fashioned way, tackling, after exhausting his 33 round magazine.

Like almost everything else, the right is wrong on this, and innocents continue to get shot by out of control gun owners (yes, Jared Loughner is a gun owner).

Posted by: Trakker | January 11, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

~~What's funny is he didn't mention a party or a person or an example or any specifics at all, just mentioned the general tone he's been hearing,~~~whiskey

That is not true....the sheriff made reference to the Democratic Party at least twice...including his own political belief.

and jhnny..if you are still looiking for numbers try today's date...

Posted by: bertzel | January 11, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

jhnnywalkr

The headline from McClatchy Newspapers story in my town "TALK TURNS TOXIC, AND DERANGED TAKE IT IN" and then the local news parrots , and then there is Toles, Krugman,and Capehart stoking the fire.

It is time for the mainstream media to take stock of itself and to simply report the news without trying to score political points or to attempt to stifle political speech it does not agree with.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 11, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

the wingnut offense -defense is the constant drone ,its a leftist,the talk show types are in lockstep today.if a wingnut politicion had been shot it would be easier but predictable,of course a leftest,they have six months of programs worth,,when limbaugh dies on the air from age,drugs ,weight and a young wife it will be from leftest pressure tho the young wife sounds partly ok.

Posted by: schmidt1 | January 11, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

It's ironic (or fitting) that the response to calls to lighten up on the hateful rhetoric on blogs mainly produces more hateful rhetoric on blogs. As for the "news" outlets, as usual, if it bleeds it leads. I'm sure the Hannity's and the Olberman's are toasting each other with a $3,000 bottle of wine at the country club.

Posted by: Michael2255 | January 11, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

This all started because the sheriff said what he said about the decline of political civility possibly having something to do with this. The fact that this is an attempted political assassination means that's not a bad assumption to make off the bat. Right or wrong, it's certainly reasonable.

What's funny is he didn't mention a party or a person or an example or any specifics at all, just mentioned the general tone he's been hearing, and yet which side went on the defensive immediately? The right. Why? Because they know exactly what they've been doing these last few years.

Did their rhetoric cause this incident? No. Was it even a contributing factor in the actions of this shooter? Maybe, maybe not. It's too early to say, and certainly from what we've all seen he was unhinged and not what one would call coherent in his political philosophy, however he did hit a few of the libertarian-Tea Party talking-points here and there. Still, it's left to be seen how much the right's tone actually directly contributed to this.

Whether they can be blamed, whether you can say they are responsible for this shooting (have "blood on their hands" as some like to put it)? Personally, I think not. Whether they, they being mainstream Republican leaders, not simply the far-right fringe elements, have stepped over the line the last few years in the vitriol they have been spewing is undeniable though. I think those that have been setting this tone know deep down they went too far, and that's why they're so defensive about this whole thing. Because it sure has hell shines a big old light on just how ugly they've become.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | January 11, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse


Hmmmm......no women....

Posted by: ResponsibilityU2 | January 11, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

"An elaborate confabulation of kooky internet conspiracy-oriented "facts" does not qualify."

Geez, Tommy. What will you write about without your primary source material?

Posted by: jpost1 | January 11, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

This tragedy shines a bright light on the Democrats lies and the Democrats response of calling for limiting Americans Freedom of Speech and Right to Bear Arms which are the first and second Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The rage of the American people will continue to be felt at the ballot box as they limit Democrats from being elected to office.

Posted by: jornolibist | January 11, 2011 6:41 AM | Report abuse

OckamsRazor wrote:

["It was a Democrat who was shot and the problem is the right wing-nut Republicans who are making false accusations, violent inferences and distorting the truth. Get the story straight. We need less rhetoric and more cooperation. Otherwise, we will self-destruct to the great pleasure of our enemies. We need to stick with the facts and not allow encouraging violence. We all live in the same nation and it is in our best interest that the quality of everyone's life improves. That can only happen when we work together to make it possible. Those citizens who work against the best interests of this nation are treacherous. Dave"]

--------------------

Classic.

Dave infers in his first line that Republicans are somehow responsible for the shooting of our Congresswoman.

Thus, Dave infers in his last line that these same Republicans are treacherous.

In the middle of his rant he pleads for coherence against violence and working together.

This is very instructive to Conservatives because this is routinely and exactly how Liberals conduct themselves. My response to this is:

1 - the shooting of our Congresswoman was not related to political discourse but rather to the mental instability of the shooter.
2 - although Conservatives are responsible for at least attempting to tamp down the extremists in our party, Liberals like Dave never account for the extremists in their party that make, as Dave writes, 'false accusations, violent inferences and [distort] the truth'. Liberals won't even admit they have such folks on the Liberal side.
3 - Dave's rant also magnifies how Liberals want to tell Conservatives that only Liberals know what to do and if we would only listen to their well-considered reason, Conservatives...and the world...would be better off.

All in all why Liberals cannot lead anyone. Mixed message; blame the other guys ; facts don't matter ; and the message matters more than justice (e.g., the matter of the mass shooting in Tuscon has not been resolved but Liberals want to blame Conservatives for it NOW).

This isn't a surprise but it is shocking and illustrative how blatantly partisan, ignorant, and morally bankrupt the Liberal arm of the Democratic Party has become over the past century.

Pitiful.

Posted by: pararanger22 | January 11, 2011 4:51 AM | Report abuse

nice comical. http://www.writessay.com

Posted by: write_thesis | January 11, 2011 2:47 AM | Report abuse

It was a Democrat who was shot and the problem is the right wing-nut Republicans who are making false accusations, violent inferences and distorting the truth.

Get the story straight.
We need less rhetoric and more cooperation.
Otherwise, we will self-destruct to the great pleasure of our enemies.
We need to stick with the facts and not allow encouraging violence.
We all live in the same nation and it is in our best interest that the quality of everyone's life improves. That can only happen when we work together to make it possible.
Those citizens who work against the best interests of this nation are treacherous.
Dave


Posted by: OckamsRazor | January 11, 2011 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Mr Toles

Your cartoon today shows extremely poor taste. That it will be presented in newspapers without your somewhat softening remarks makes it more distasteful.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 11, 2011 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Ranger

The left will never admit to the bias in most of the media. That there is even discussion today that a nut job murdered those poor souls because of conservative media programming is proof enough of media bias. Toles cartoon with what looks to be Becks head will appear in many papers tomorrow fueling the fire of divisiveness and corrupting the true discussion of why this young man was not being watched more carefully.

Then there will be a call for more security at all levels for our politition's and soon every statehouse will resemble our airports with metal detectors and take off your belt and shoes etc. We will have 'done something' at great expense to liberty and not be a bit safer.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 11, 2011 12:27 AM | Report abuse

jonroesler has had one too many Diet Colas today but a healthy rant nonetheless.

I won't concede to the validity of your complaints about Fox, however, your concession is rather lame. MSNBC is clearly seeded with folks that drink from the Liberal fountain of woe. Maybe if you conceded that you would remove MSNBC, that would be better. Actually, since only a few Libs watch it from their Mom's basement, it doesn't really matter....

I think your analysis of Fox as an enabler of some sort of victim class is off the mark. I think folks watch Fox because other networks have gone so far left over the years, especially in national politics. Before Fox existed, the MSM was never challenged. Anyway, Fox became the only alternative for Conservatives to put it bluntly.

Here is one example of the growing bias in the MSM: Meet the Press. When Russert was there, you thought 'maybe' there would be a balanced panel debate. With Gregory hosting, you get Dionne and Krugman with only David Brooks as a token Conservative. David Brooks is pretty moderate and Krugmann and Dionne, from a Conservative point of view, are devil-spawn. Anyone who actually thinks their 'facts' are 'actual facts' as you put it are (I will write this gently) not too bright. Almost everything Dionne and Krugman write is full of lies and unsupported points of view. Krugman is downright disgusting, actually, cementing my view of the politics of Nobel prizes...

Can't say I completely understand your comments on the majority and whinging . I don't think the chatter out there about the country being center-right is inaccurate so I'm not sure what fan-base you think is the majority. I can say that the legislative agenda and the management of that agenda over the last 2 years (before the current Congress was sworn in) was over the top both in ideology and process. Thus, the Dems were crushed in November. In other words, the Conservative majority in the US wasn't just whinging: they went out and did something about it by voting for folks that were more worthy; more in touch with the people rather than folks trying to dictate to the people what they 'really' wanted.

Posted by: pararanger22 | January 10, 2011 11:40 PM | Report abuse

jonroesler

That was SOME whine!!!

Have you been drinking the Koolade or just drinking? lol

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 10, 2011 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight: On the one hand, it is claimed that ALL of the networks except FOX are something other than Conservative. On the other hand, it is claimed that Conservative talk show hosts flourish while Liberal talk radio fails.

My personal take is that, FOX does so well exactly because they do such a good job or portraying themselves as representative of the "victim" class in America... people who are in some predicament or other because of those nasty Liberals, or those nasty Immigrants, or those nasty (fill in your own blank here). Underdogs, supposedly... NOT the majority.

The majority doesn't GET to whine, you see, because the majority are the people MAKING the decisions.

And the fact is that, the majority DON'T whine. Nor are we interested in listening to other people whine. Not interested in listening to other mainstreamers like ourselves whine, and certainly not interested in listening to the artificial whining of people who have to invent whole stories and/or misrepresent issues in order to have something to whine about.

So, here's a concession from us Libs to Conservatives everywhere: Even though we had actual facts on our side, we realize we were only preaching to the choir and not even our own were interested the one time we tried it (they were more interested in coverage of news they did NOT already know about), and promise not to even try competing with FOX by fielding our own brand of raving lunatics and pretending it's "journalism." Okay?

Posted by: jonroesler | January 10, 2011 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks dalyplanet. I agree with you. Too many folks speaking and writing before they think.

Posted by: pararanger22 | January 10, 2011 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Billybob6
Are you from the South?

Posted by: brittania | January 10, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse


pararanger22

I was thinking you have presented a well thought call for civility here. These responses though, are from madmen, and mental midgets leaving cupcakes and twinkies woefully inadequate as a discriptor.

Posted by: dalyplanet | January 10, 2011 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Where were the kids parents? Wonder why the media are not reporting on the background of the parents? Where was the kids atheist support group? Maybe we should ban atheists from owning guns?

Posted by: billybeer6 | January 10, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

pararanger22

Might help restore sanity if you carefully researched the Current NRA.

Years ago I was a member of that Sportsman's and weapons collector's Organization.

If cameras had not been forbidden at the last gun show that I attended at the Astrodome in Houston, TX, I could have taken photos of "WACO" David Koresh, of a flour sac level red neck woman selling Xeroxed pamphlets on "How to Extract Information"( with crude pen and ink drawings of a man strung up to a tree limb by his thumbs, ETC), Brass Knuckles being sold to ANYONE as "Paper Weights" to get around the Law, AND a middle-aged man (in camouflage pseudo- uniform and wearing a black beret)
 continuously showing a VHS Tape and explaining how to convert a 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun into a BELT-FED, BI-POD mounted weapon! There were also many red flags with a yellow hammer & Sickle and "Clinton" stamped thereon.
If cameras and reporters were allowed to enter NRA Gun Shows, the public would clearly see that what USED to be a sportsman and gun collector organization has become a super club for KKK, Aryan Nation, and Nut cake 'militia' survivalist, White Trash.
Remember??? President Bush, SR. Quit the NRA because so many of them were sympathetic to Timothy Oklahoma Bomber McVeigh and David "Jesus" Waco Koresch.

The Current NRA is an accurate dip-stick of the degree of rottenness that pervades the USA!

Posted by: lufrank1 | January 10, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

The incoherent rant by 'pararanger' (sic) is proof positive that the only way America can be saved is to dump the South. They can then call it 'Redneckland' or 'La La Land'. Give them a lifetimes supply of grits and free trailers and I'm sure they'll be happy.
But DON'T give them any nuclear weapons, we don't want another Iran or North Korea in the world.

Posted by: brittania | January 10, 2011 8:48 PM | Report abuse

And with all the whining from the right; “it’s not our fault.” We still have Palin’s cross hairs, Angles “second amendment remedies” and Glen Beck callers threatening to put Democrat House members in their laser sights. Gee, the damn’d spot just wont leave.

Posted by: FrankInKy | January 10, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Toles wrote:

["It goes wrong when people don't follow their anger with enough accurate information to play any constructive role in debate or solutions (and, no, an elaborate confabulation of kooky internet conspiracy-oriented "facts" does not qualify)."]

------------

Fascinating.

And this coming from a fellow who 'rants' and draws cartoons without ever providing compelling supporting arguments to his opinions. Disappointingly, his 'toon today clearly has Beck in the middle, insinuating that this is a decibel meter only for Conservatives and that Conservatives will shoot people if we don't get our way. That is a pretty sick notion and not appreciated, quite frankly, especially when the shooter appears to have a Liberal leaning and is a complete fruit loop.

But...I like this blog because Toles is the Liberal most of us in our 40s grew up with in the 70's - long on idealism/but really low on ideas that actually work in the real world. Kind of the nice hippie type. It is good practice for Conservatives to listen to his snarky rants and debate them with the usual blog suspects.

But Toles is the exception in the Liberal likability bin. The Liberals in the other blogs on the WP and elsewhere are trying to outdo one another in a competition to see who can be most vile. I recognize we have our fair share of nare-do-wells on the Conservative side, but Liberals are not ensconced in an ivory tower either.

You know, there is an unholy alliance that exists between the Liberals and the press that flourished between 1952 and 1995 during the Democrat controlled House that truly made the Conservatives madder than hell. That legacy relationship, only recently dented by Fox, continues today on all the networks (again, save for Fox). Conservatives listen to the endless garbage coming from these folks, unfettered by AT LEAST a contrary, more Conservative opinion, and they do get frustrated. The networks are trying to dictate public opinion by fiat and most Americans won't put up with it anymore. That is why they VOTE (note: nothing to do with shooting) for politicians that support their dreams and not NE Liberal we-know-better bull.

Why is it that Rush and other Conservative talk show hosts flourish why Liberal talk radio fails? Because Americans, by and large are Conservative and in the freer pastures of radio-land, there are voices that echo their own sentiments.

I'm all for lowering the rhetoric but until Liberals are willing to look at themselves in mirror a bit and admit their own failures, I doubt it will happen. I for one will make a New Year's resolution not to call any of you Liberals a twinkie or a cupcake for the rest of the year. Okay Libs: what are your concessions?

Posted by: pararanger22 | January 10, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

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