Given the clear connection between Michele Bachmann’s call to arms, Sarah Palin’s hit list, Sharon Angle’s suggestion that it is a good idea to shoot your opponent to death if you lose an election, and so on, with the Tucson Massacre, it might be a good idea to make that kind of hate-mongering activity illegal. Robert Brady is moving on that:

Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, said he will introduce legislation making it a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.

source

The legal justification for this is pretty simple: It is already illegal to do these things to the President. This legal protection is probably rarely enforced but it gives the Secret Service leverage in running threats to the president to ground. In any event, he suggests that this protection be extended mor broadly.

Brady is particularly incensed over a web posting by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during the 2010 election in which she targeted 20 House Democrats, including Giffords for political defeat. The posting showed a map of the United States with the 20 Democratic congressional districts identified by gun sights.

“You can’t put bulls eyes or crosshairs on a United States congressman or a federal official,” Brady said. “I understand this web site that had it on there is no longer in existence. Someone is feeling a little guilty.”

Comments

  1. #1 peter
    January 9, 2011

    I had discussion on the ex – rdf forum, oracs etc., defending the various laws against hatespeech, with the proviso that only that speech inciting to murder should be banned.

    You should have read the apologists for anti hate speech legislation to defend a total freedom to actually call for the killing of your political or ethnic opponent. Orac chief among them, a man I really respect but who clearly does not have the sense that such calls for actually elimination can be a trigger, and that the caller for such action should be as responsible as the person committing the crime.

    Americans are sometimes astonishing – till the blood flows in their own back yard.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    January 9, 2011

    Did the discussion consider penalties? It would be very convenient if making this sort of threat was a very minor crime, maybe a fine. No bit deal. But it allows police to look at your stuff, it allows for a police blotter record of your transgression to be picked up by the press.

    As I suggest here, the social sanction is the best approach anyway, but having that little extra reification of the act would be so damn useful.

  3. #3 D. C. Sessions
    January 9, 2011

    The problem comes with defining “incitement.” Incitement now is very narrowly defined — it pretty much has to be me telling you what to do. One reason for that is that reading marks on a map as “incitement” requires a definition of broad enough that … well, think of it this way: what would the Bush administration have done with a definition broad enough to suit the current situation?

  4. #4 Fred
    January 9, 2011

    While this might be a decent idea and granted the Brady bunch isn’t very educated on gun issues there should be more words added.

    I seriously recommend that people who advocate population control should be added to a government watch list. People like the man who held the Discovery Channel hostage last september. He was a violent left wing environMENTAList who was bitter about global warming and wanted to see more abortion and more population control. Should be seek to blame ths on Al Gore and media Matters? Of course Ted Turner himself has advocated the mass murder of millions in the name of the envirnment as well. I say we should add global warming nuts to the list of people who should be restrcited to own a gun.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    January 9, 2011

    Fred. I’d be happy to see someone make the case that Al Gore incited the Discovery Channel guy, and to make the case that Bachmann/Palin incited the Tucson Massacre guy. Then, we’ll see which, if either, of those cases has legs. I’m totally down with that.

  6. #6 John
    January 9, 2011

    Oh, Fred… geez. You’re saying Al Gore used gunsights to illustrate the environmental disaster coming soon? He used language like “second amendment remedies” to “correct” a lost election?
    Fred, seriously, if you can’t see the difference, find a friend who can explain it to you.

  7. #7 John
    January 9, 2011

    Also, Fred, just a bit of advice: proofreading would have made you seem a little less like a loon. Just sayin’.

  8. #8 Lester Ballard
    January 9, 2011

    What clear connection?

  9. #9 peter
    January 9, 2011

    “Did the discussion consider penalties?”

    No, absolute freedom of speech was advocated.

    “what would the Bush administration have done with a definition broad enough to suit the current situation?”

    The Bush admin actually didn’t care much about any law.
    I consider the cheney/bush axis of evil a particular vile episode in the history of the US of A.

    If a a representative tells you it is ok to use guns to achieve political goals, they consciously promote violence against the opponent.
    That kind of speak especially from politicians in the running or in office is simply beyond the pale and shows an individual lacking in maturity to defend their ideas other than by bullying. Shun those bastards. And then throw the book at them.

  10. #10 Anne
    January 9, 2011

    Sarah Palin needs to act like an adult, a responsible leader, which she proclaims to be, and accept her role in the Tucson tragedy.

    To put targets over certain political areas around the country…targets that look like gun sights…and say that these areas need to be taken care of, is incendiary at the very least, meant to incite to violence. What was she hoping for? Was this it? Surely not, but then why even introduce the gun analogy at all?

    Her comments regarding the Tucson deaths and casualties were terse and unfeeling. She needs to step up to the plate…apologize, resign from politics, and storm ahead with her talk show.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    January 9, 2011

    … and … I’ve gotta install adblock on this computer. Ads to “Repeal Obama” by Newsmax.com on Scienceblogs.com?

  12. #12 JThompson
    January 9, 2011

    what would the Bush administration have done with a definition broad enough to suit the current situation?

    Pretty much what the Bush administration did anyway. They weren’t big on civil liberties, unless it’s the “Let right wingers advocate murder in public while hauling around loaded weapons.” ones. The left gets free speech zones and arrested for snarky t-shirts/signs.

    As for how to stop this kind of thing from happening again, I think we’d be better served by a well funded national mental health system that includes free treatment and medication as well as a campaign to remove some of the stigma from mental illness so people are more willing to get treatment. That and mandatory psych evaluations before granting concealed or open carry permits.

    Trying to make the right stop inciting violence is pointless. They’ll just use increasingly vague dog whistles until they’re safe from prosecution. The violent ones will still get the message. Better to make sure the people getting the message aren’t violent, and the few that are don’t have the means to carry it out.

  13. #13 JasonTD
    January 9, 2011

    So, is Brady going to be ready to denouce Markos Moulitsas, too, for having “put bulls eyes or crosshairs on a United States congressman or a federal official” two years ago?

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

    “Not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote [FISA Amendments Act of 2008] certainly puts a bulls eye on their district.”

    And Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was one of the Blue Dogs whose names he bolded for emphasis.

    The legislation Brady wants to introduce legislation that “could be perceived” as a threat or incitement to violence. That’s awfully broad. I’m not for any limits to speech short of actual threats or incitement to violence (with those defined fairly narrowly). Social sanction isn’t just the best approach, but the only one allowed by the spirit and letter of the 1st Amendment, anyway.

  14. #14 Greg Laden
    January 9, 2011

    JasonTD, no. Your link is to a page with not a single bulls eye on it, other than in the metaphor to which you refer. Not the same thing.

  15. #15 Matt Bowman
    January 9, 2011

    PALIN AIDE DEFENDS ‘CROSSHAIRS’ POLITICAL MAP THAT TARGETED GIFFORDS’ DISTRICT IN 2010

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/palin-aide-defends-%E2%80%98crosshairs%E2%80%99-political-map-that-targeted-giffords%E2%80%99-district-in-2010/

    “We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights,” Mansour told talk radio host Tammy Bruce, noting that the graphic was contracted out and that Palin staffers approved it without much thought. “It never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent.”

    PUH-LEASE

  16. #16 JasonTD
    January 10, 2011

    Greg,

    Is your argument then that saying that you are putting bulls eyes or crosshairs on a Congressperson’s district is metaphor, while drawing bulls eyes or crosshairs on a those districts in a map of the U.S. is inciting violence?

    Admittedly, a visual representation like in the Palin ad is going to be more powerful and memorable, but I don’t see how that adds any actual content that would put it across whatever line you are drawing.

    I think it all comes down to perception, and I have the same reaction when I consider the two cases. The Palin ad just seems to go just a bit too far (though I still recognize the intent as metaphor), while reading the Kos piece doesn’t strike me that way at all. But I can’t put a finger on any reason why that should be so besides that gut reaction.

    This is why I stand by what I said in my first comment. No law should be made about this in a knee-jerk fashion that makes it a crime “to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.” [Emphasis mine]

  17. #17 paulmurray
    January 10, 2011

    After all the smugness about freedom of speech, all the tut-tutting over europe’s dreadful, draconian laws, finally america’s progressives discover the hard way why it’s illegal in europe to incite the brownshirts.

  18. #18 Clam
    January 10, 2011

    On the other hand, you have to be careful. A British tweeter has been convicted when a local airport was closed by snow and he tweeted to his friends (not to the airport) that “they’ll have to get their act together or I’ll blow the place sky high” (or words to that effect). He was convicted under the Terrorism Act, God help us, and has had his first appeal turned down.
    And I thought we were civilised over here.

  19. #19 Azkyroth
    January 10, 2011

    Jeez, can’t a nutjob follow through on a bunch of right wing sickos’ repeated “who will rid me of this meddlesome priest Democrat” hinting and shoot a few innocent bystanders while he’s at it without everyone thinking there’s some kind of a PROBLEM there?

  20. #20 Azkyroth
    January 10, 2011

    …what is is with blogs that don’t enable <s> tags?

  21. #21 TylerD
    January 10, 2011

    Thus far no one can find anything linking Jared Loughner, the shooter in question, to the Tea Party. Why don’t we wait for the actual evidence before we declare the connection “obvious”.

  22. #22 Azkyroth
    January 10, 2011

    Thus far no one can find anything linking Jared Loughner, the shooter in question, to the Tea Party. Why don’t we wait for the actual evidence before we declare the connection “obvious”.

    “LET’S SHOOT SOME DEMOCRATS! LET’S SHOOT SOME DEMOCRATS! LET’S SHOOT SOME DEMOCRATS!”

    *BLAM* [Democrat is shot]

    “Huh, what a coincidence…”

  23. #23 Stephanie Z
    January 10, 2011

    JasonTD, do you really not see any difference between:

    You want to do something? If your local congresscritter is one of the bad apples, start organizing locally. Plug into existing networks or start your own. Begin looking for primary challengers. Do the groundwork. Don’t expect help from the local party establishment, they’ll close ranks. So tap into alternate infrastructures. Find allies in the progressive movement. If your local shitty Democrat is anti-union, approach the unions. They’d love to send this kind of message. If the Democrat is anti-choice, work with the women’s groups. If the Democrat is anti-environment … you get the idea. If you have access to professional networks and money, start organizing those.

    and “We’ve found the problem. Help us prescribe the solution”? In the case of Markos’ statement, there’s no ambiguity about what is being requested of people, and the action is political. In the second, the crosshairs are the solution.

  24. #24 NJ
    January 10, 2011

    Stephanie Z @ 23:

    JasonTD, do you really not see any difference

    I would guess not, as that mote in the left’s eye is 100% exactly equivalent to the beam in the right’s.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    January 10, 2011

    Is your argument then that saying that you are putting bulls eyes or crosshairs on a Congressperson’s district

    My argument is that no one said that other than you. The word “bullseye” is used all the time in English. That was all that happened.

    But sure, go ahead and take the two cases to court under the same law. I have no problem with that.I just don’t think you have the case with someone using the word “bullseye” but you do have a case with someone who uses metaphors of violence on a regular basis, frequently spends considerable funds having herself photographed photographed in the process of killing furry animals, and the puts cross hairs on her opponents locations in a poster.

    Admittedly, a visual representation like in the Palin ad is going to be more powerful and memorable, but I don’t see how that adds any actual content that would put it across whatever line you are drawing.

    Yes, we agree, there is difference.

    But I can’t put a finger on any reason why that should be so besides that gut reaction.

    It would not be an easy law to write or use, but that is true of many other laws as well. No one thought “hate crime” laws could be prosecuted but about 300 to 400 times a year charges are brought.

  26. #26 JasonTD
    January 10, 2011

    My argument is that no one said that other than you. The word “bullseye” is used all the time in English. That was all that happened.

    It is also common to refer to something being “in the crosshairs” when it is somehow in danger of people targeting it for some type of strictly non-violent action.

    See

    http://www.fool.com/investing/value/2010/12/21/chesapeake-energy-in-the-crosshairs.aspx

    and

    http://socialistworker.org/2010/10/26/teachers-in-the-crosshairs

    courtesy of a quick google search.

    …but you do have a case with someone who uses metaphors of violence on a regular basis, frequently spends considerable funds having herself photographed photographed in the process of killing furry animals, and the[n] puts cross hairs on her opponents locations in a poster.

    Again, metaphors of violence are common in any type of conflict. And just because she ‘clings to guns and religion’ more than you think is appropriate doesn’t mean that she is actually advocating violence.

    “It would not be an easy law to write or use, but that is true of many other laws as well. No one thought “hate crime” laws could be prosecuted but about 300 to 400 times a year charges are brought.”

    I could be wrong, but my understanding of “hate crime” laws are that they are essentially enhancements to the punishments of things that would still be illegal regardless of the intent behind them. Such as the difference between gay bashing and some doofus beating up a guy because he said something bad about his favorite sports team. Some college campuses have “hate speech” codes (something controversial in itself), but I am unaware of any laws along those lines.

  27. #27 Jennifer
    January 10, 2011

    Did you see that the shooter has targeted Giffords since before the last Presidential election? He also wrote in a diary on the DailyKos. Hardly a haven for tea party types. And yet even with that evidence, I will not make the illogical jump to say that all people that post on DailyKos are dangerous nut jobs.
    The fault lies with the shooter. It is despicable to use his actions for political gain.

  28. #28 Greg Laden
    January 10, 2011

    There are no hate speech laws that I know of in the US, but i’m not sure that this is the issue here.

    It is absolutely possible to align Sarah Palin’s speech and rhetoric with Gandhi’s. Or Hitler’s. So what? Other than trying to condone her obvious incitement of violence as “OK” I don’t see the point of the sophistic argument that the Teabaggers are not trying to incite violence.

    When Michele Bachmann told her followers to show up at rallied “armed and dangerous” what do you think they did? They showed up at rallies with guns. What do you think Sharon Angle meant when she said that teabaggers who lose elections could “resort to second amendment remedies” What do you think a second amendment remedy is? What do you think Anne Coulter really means when she exposes her fantasies of violence against individuals or groups? What do you hink Joyce Kaufman means when she said last year that if the TeaParty does not take over congress that we should violently overthrow the government?

    This is not subtle. This is not hard. This is utterly obvious. Why are you trying to pretend that there is not a violent streak in the tea party? Indeed, that violence is not central to their dogma and their intent?

  29. #29 Erin R
    January 10, 2011

    Let’s pretend, for a moment, that the Tucson shooter wasn’t incited by violent language. Even if he wasn’t, there’s no question in my mind that the language used by the tea party and its leaders is violence inciting. And at least now, people other than bloggers, the View, and MSNBC are TALKING about it. At least now it’s getting something more than a quick interview on NPR. Maybe, just maybe, this will move us towards a constructive dialogue.

    But mostly I think I’m just being idealistic. People with their heads that far up their asses can’t be constructive.

  30. #30 Erin R
    January 10, 2011

    Sorry about the double post, but I think this story is particularly applicable. I heard it on NPR way back in July- particularly striking is Republican Senator (now former- he lost the primary due to not being crazy) Bob Inglis talking about how vitriolic politics have become recently. He pins the blame properly on inflaming talk show hosts, tea party language, etc… all of the things we’re bringing up today.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128606442

  31. #31 Warren
    January 10, 2011

    I live in NW AZ now, and used to live in Tucson. My stepfather is a former county supervisor here. My fiancée caught the news of this first (she’s a journalist).

    My initial suspicion was that the shooter was a hard-rightie who got pushed over the edge by the hate- and fear-filled screeching that pours endlessly from the megaphones on the Right.

    Doesn’t seem to be entirely the case; apparently Loughton simply has a deep psychiatric condition. This has prompted some to propose that he might have snapped at any time, taken down any target.

    This neatly overlooks the fact that there has been hate- and fear-filled screeching pouring endlessly from the megaphones on the Right for decades.

    Yes, any target might have done – but to deny the influence of the Right’s megaphones is to sit in utter denial of reality.

    My stepfather has watched political discourse in this nation dissolve into xenophobia-baiting and vitriol, and I agree that the Right bears a hell of a lot of responsibility for what happened on Saturday.

    The fact is that a sick young man was motivated to kill a half dozen people, and something influenced his choice of targets. We were willing as a nation to condemn OJ Simpson of murder on evidence every bit as conclusive as what we see before us today.

    Will the Right choose to scale back the vicious rhetoric? Almost certainly not. They haven’t so far, whenever some other nut goes off and acts on their implicit demands. Will they apply wisdom and foresight to the things they say? I would be shocked to see it happen. Instead what I’m seeing is the predictable spate of denialism, finger-pointing, and cover-ups.

    Brady’s threat law might or might not be enforceable, and it might or might not be constitutional. But passing it might send a clear message: If you can’t speak sanely and sensibly, then kindly sit down and shut your f*cking mouth.

  32. #32 Conservative
    January 10, 2011

    Tea partiers are not violent. Now take those socilaists in Greece and at the G20 summit and you have a picture of real violent nuts.

    Jennifer – the whole Daily Kos bunch are violent left wing marxists. Don’t go near that site. It is a haven for hate speech and bigotry. They still think Bill Ayers is an angel.

  33. #33 Conservative
    January 10, 2011

    warren said “Will the Right choose to scale back the vicious rhetoric? Almost certainly not.”

    Well, I am one to say that people usually do not shut up when a foreign concept is trying to taske over their country. For instance, the left has been trying to bring about socialism to America for about 100 years now. You want to change a constitutional republic into your marxist empire. That’s why people won;t shut up. They like freedom and hate marxism. If the left would just back to Cuba, Russia, Venezuala, California etc. we wouldnt have an issue to scream about. Until the left stops trying to change America into slums and ghettos in order to have social justice and economic justice, aka marxism, people are not going to shut up. Deal with it.

    We in the united states do not want to end up like California – broke, miserable, sinful, sodomite haven, drug lords, hippy pot heads, communist america haters, etc. We like America like it was, not how satan’s people are changing it into. Example – California pre-1940s. No communists, pot heads, hippy dopes, marxist dictators, econazis, lazy bums etc. Just regular free people. Get that back, and the screaming will cease. If not, just listen to it.

  34. #34 Erin R
    January 11, 2011

    @Conservative. Your two posts have me halfway convinced that you’re a joke. But you’re probably not joking. There actually are people out there who think the left is the racist side of the country.

    It also sounds to me like Loughner was schizophrenic, not political. But you can’t deny that the hate and vitriol and violent rhetoric spewing from the right is both disgusting and dangerous. THAT is the point of this, and the point you never once address or argue with.

    But really, I don’t know why I’m saying this. You’re just trolling for some blood.

  35. #35 Stephanie Z
    January 11, 2011

    Erin, “Conservative” here is Greg’s one right-wing troll of the thousand pseudonyms. He was banned for a bit, but he’s back.

  36. #36 MadScientist
    January 11, 2011

    Wait a second – it’s illegal to do that for members of Congress, but it’s still OK to do that to Joe Ordinary, right?

    You do have to wonder what sort of goddamned hicks run the GOP these days when they happily talk about murdering their political rivals. And I thought Dubbyah was exceptional with his repressive attitude. It looks like the Birch Society has finally got control of the GOP and there’s no replacement for William F. Buckley to kick ‘em in the nuts and tell them to take a hike. Here’s a hint voters: don’t elect anyone who believes the gummin’t is going to take away your guns. Also, if they think guns is the biggest political issue in need of attention, they’re definitely not worth voting for. Actually, until the GOP splits and denounces the lunatics, just don’t ever vote for a Republican. After all, if they’re in the party and not fighting the lunatics they’re just as bad.

  37. #37 MadScientist
    January 11, 2011

    @Anne#10: Probably because Palin is a stupid hick and thinks talk about killing people is funny – and killing people is even funnier, especially when no one can blame you because they accept that you didn’t specifically tell Loony A to shoot Person B. That sort of talk just isn’t considered civilized – not even in the much maligned cowboy community.

  38. #38 JasonTD
    January 11, 2011

    Greg,

    A conservative blogger back in March, when the Palin map was new, found two similar maps. (http://www.verumserum.com/?p=13647)

    One was on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)website at the time, the other was from 2004 on the Democratic Leadership Committee website. The link he provided for the first no longer seems to be available, but the DLC one is. The DCCC map even let you mouse over the bulls eyes to see pictures and info on the ‘targeted’ Republicans. (So targeted for their opposition to the stimulus, where Palin’s list was targeted for support for the Health care reform package.)

    That leaves you with just Palin’s history of hunting to separate her map from ones produced by Democrats.

    “When Michele Bachmann told her followers to show up at rallied “armed and dangerous” what do you think they did? They showed up at rallies with guns.”

    I’m not from Minnesota, so I don’t follow her nearly as closely as you, so I missed this one. I’m hardly a fan, but when I looked it up, it seems that you are taking that out of context. (http://thinkprogress.org/2009/03/23/bachmann-armed-and-dangerous/) She was going on one of her usual rants about climate change when the thinkprogress article quotes her as saying:

    “And really now in Washington, I’m a foreign correspondent in enemy lines. And I try to keep everyone back here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking place in Washington. […]

    I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.”

    One of the things missing in that ellipsis is when she says that she will have “materials” for people at the event she was planning. I suppose you think she meant guns and ammo? She undoubtedly was referring to denialist literature. It was over the top metaphor, but in context, it is clear that it is metaphor when she was talking about being “armed and dangerous” with (false) knowledge.

    The Sharon Angle comment is a little harder to defend that way. Being charitable, it could be that she meant in some future situation where there was actual tyranny and not just health care reform she didn’t agree with, as if health care reform and other things the last Congress did were setting us on a path to a tyrannical government. (Again, I am not in any way a fan or agreeing with her, just trying to interpret her thinking.)

    You’re probably right about Joyce Kaufman from what little I read about her big incident, and I won’t even try and defend Coulter, though I don’t know what specific thing she said you are referring to.

    What is getting me about what you have written here is how you seem to bend over backwards to put the worst possible spin on what they (tea partiers/Republicans) are saying and doing without considering that not everyone is going to interpret it that way.

  39. #39 Greg Laden
    January 11, 2011

    JasonTD, great job of diffusing the real issue and waving around the distraction monkey.

    Is it necessary that no Democrats ever used a “targeting” metahor for it to be abhorrence?

    As a blogger, I bother to receive but mostly ignore the campaign rhetoric from both sides. I now wish I had saved it all. Democrats have a call to arms, while Teabagging Republicans have a snot nosed screaming tantrum in which they threaten to random violence if they don’t get their way. Your defense of that is neither impressive nor appropriate.

    Sorry to shoot you town, but I think I’m on target when I say there are ways to use weapons metaphors with point blank accuracy and there are ways to be scattershot. All these politicians have the highest office in the land in their sights.

    The difference between the two sides is the constant reference, including by Palin, to the Declaration of Independence, which was a declaration of war, to blood watering the tree of liberty, to fear, dand all those direct references to pulling out their guns and shooting Democrats. Do you really think Palin is absolved from this, separate from this not involved in this?

    The Sharon Angle comment is a little harder to defend that way.

    It is impossible to defend.

    What is getting me about what you have written here is how you seem to bend over backwards to put the worst possible spin on what they (tea partiers/Republicans) are saying and doing without considering that not everyone is going to interpret it that way.

    Jason, I’m a straight shooter and I’m just telling it like it is. It takes a special kind of person to look at the Tea Party and not see that they are intentionally using the rhetoric of Armed and Dangerous patriots willing to use the second amendment … armed insurrection … to get what they want if they don’t get it in the voting booth. We know they are thinking this because … well, becasue they keep saying it out loud and quite clearly.

    And, by special person, I mean Yet Another Teabagger. Am I on target with that?

  40. #40 TTT
    January 11, 2011

    Whether or not the teabaggers caused this, it is what they wanted to happen and they are glad it happened, with all claims to the contrary being obvious lies.

    You don’t get to put your opponent, BY NAME, in a gunsight target and say “don’t retreat, reload!”, and then be taken seriously if you claim to be sad when someone blows their brains out.

    You don’t get to call for “Second Amendment remedies” to your opponent’s election, and then be taken seriously if you claim to be sad when someone blows their brains out.

    Ditto for “watering the tree of liberty with blood.” Their wish is granted, long live Jambi.

    Glenn Beck tells his psycho followers that the Tides Foundation (a small obscure nonprofit) is destroying America and bringing about the apocalypse, and so one of his psycho followers tries to go on a shooting spree at their headquarters and when the cops intercept him he kills the cops instead. Bill O’Reilly has inspired TWO church shootings–one of “Tiller the Killer” whom he said America had to “put an end to,” and the other in a Unitarian Universalist church full of liberals and gays and atheists, where the shooter claimed to be a “culture warrior” who wanted to kill “all the 100 liberals screwing up America from Bernie Goldberg’s book”.

    American political murder is the sole property of the right wing and has been for at least 20 years.

  41. #41 JasonTD
    January 11, 2011

    “JasonTD, great job of diffusing the real issue and waving around the distraction monkey.”

    Greg,

    Let me refresh your memory of your opening statement in this post:

    “Given the clear connection between Michele Bachmann’s call to arms, Sarah Palin’s hit list, Sharon Angle’s suggestion that it is a good idea to shoot your opponent to death if you lose an election, and so on, with the Tucson Massacre, it might be a good idea to make that kind of hate-mongering activity illegal.”

    My whole point in all of this is that your characterization of these three statements by Tea Party darlings is off, in one case just a little by interpreting them in a way you might think is straight, but doesn’t leave room for the possibility that it wasn’t actually intended that way (Angle), in another by not looking at the whole context and seeing the metaphor (Bachmann), and in the third by not recognizing that wasn’t nearly as unusual as you thought it was (Palin).

    Then, after spinning each to make them seem as bad as possible, you claim a “clear connection” between them and the Tuscon shootings even though I have yet to see any evidence at all that the man responsible was ever aware or influenced by these things. The assertion you and some others seem to be making is that the connection is just so obvious between the Tuscon shootings and the vitriol of the Tea Party that it is not even worth debating or thinking about. The cause and effect relationship you are proposing does require actual evidence, whether you feel like looking for it or not. Maybe he was influenced by Tea Party rhetoric and hatred, but I’ll wait for actual evidence of that before believing it, if you don’t mind.

    “And, by special person, I mean Yet Another Teabagger. Am I on target with that?”

    Sorry, but you missed the mark. I understand what drives the Tea Partiers, and even sympathize with some of it, that is true. But I also understand progressives and sympathize with some of that political philosophy, also. For the most part, I consider myself a moderate/independent and would never vote for someone of the Palin/Bachmann/Angle mold. Likewise the Democrats have their share of candidates I wouldn’t vote for, either. (I voted roughly half and half last November, if that matters.)

    Since I haven’t actually said what I think about the whole issue of the Tea Party tone and rhetoric, I will say this: It is clearly over the top with the war/combat/violence metaphors, and in some cases, in ways that are incendiary. And, as much as I might sympathize with some Tea Party issues, I am disgusted by others (anti-immigrant sentiment, homophobia, etc.).

    And, no, I don’t think that Democracts and other left-leaning organizations are anywhere near as ‘bad’ as Republicans and other Tea Partiers in their rhetoric, in a general way. I just pointed to a couple of instances to counter the assertion that Palin’s ad was somehow unprecedented in its nature.

    You can believe me or not, but my main interest in politics and writing about politics on blogs is valuing reason and evidence based debate. It might seem natural to lump me in with the Tea Parties because I am ‘defending’ them, but what I am really trying to defend is accuracy in how they are portrayed. What they say is usually bad enough without paraphrasing or otherwise interpreting what they say in a way that isn’t accurate in order to make it look or sound even worse.

  42. #42 Warren
    January 11, 2011

    Conservative @33 – well, you’ve hoisted your colors high. We’ll just put you down in the “Psychotic murderous lunatic” column along with the nuts who’ve been threatening and perpetrating violence against elected officials. Thanks for making our job easier.

  43. #43 Greg Laden
    January 11, 2011

    My whole point in all of this is that your characterization of these three statements by Tea Party darlings

    You are incorrect to assume or assert that my opinion of the tea party’s rhetoric and politics is based on three statements.

    doesn’t leave room for the possibility that it wasn’t actually intended that way (Angle), in another by not looking at the whole context and seeing the metaphor (Bachmann), and in the third by not recognizing that wasn’t nearly as unusual as you thought it was (Palin).

    Fuck you, fuck you, and fuck you. I’m not even a tiny bit interested in entertaining this utterly offensive and absurd denialism. This is outrageous. Are you really trying to prove that you are as much an asshole as these three morbidly disturbed horrendously poor excuses for human beings?

    Since I haven’t actually said what I think about the whole issue of the Tea Party tone and rhetoric,

    You don’t have to. You’ve made your position as a tea party apologist abundantly clear. I know you are not a teapartiers. You are a sophist. Sometimes that is mildly entertaining. Not at thist ime, however. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    You can believe me or not, but my main interest in politics and writing about politics on blogs is valuing reason and evidence based debate

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, bla bla bla. Your rational evidence based yammering is nothing other than sophistic game playing. It is offensive, disturbing, and you owe a whole bunch of people in Arizona an apology.

  44. #44 Irene
    January 11, 2011

    JasonTD: I for one do not believe you. How is your argument even a little helpful? Is it really the case that that you have been unaware of the Tea Party and it’s supporters, and the kinds of things they say all along? Or, if that is not the case, why are you making an argument from willful ignorance?

  45. #45 wyatt
    January 11, 2011

    Each one of these statements or symbolic acts made by these specific teabaggers is representative of a large corpus of material. There really is no question of their approach and the distinction they have among politicians of promoting violent feelings and even acts of violence. Calling the President a terrorist, remember that? We say of terrirosts that we wish to hunt down and kill them. That is not subtle. Jason, I am calling you out. Do not pretend you are not one of them.

  46. #46 Laurie
    January 11, 2011

    TTT: exactly. JasonTD: exactly now. Fiddling while rome burns. OK, we’ll all tell you that you are a total stud when it comes to the rational independent thinker thing so your ego gets all stroked up and shit and while you’re creaming your jeans and your superior genes you can cut out the excuses for those pieces of trash that call themselves representatives and leaders.

  47. #47 Stephanie Z
    January 11, 2011

    Jason would like to tell everyone how he’s being strictly rational, etc. and on and on. What he’s actually doing is demonstrating his inability to synthesize context and multiple datapoints, even when they’re laid under his nose. He’s also doing that weird little pro-authoritarian twerp routine of only responding to the person whose blog he’s on, but that has somewhat less bearing on his arguments.

  48. #48 Warren
    January 11, 2011

    Stephanie Z, I’m going to steal the phrase “pro-authoritarian twerp” from you.

  49. #49 Stephanie Z
    January 11, 2011

    I’d be honored, Warren. :)

  50. #50 Greg Laden
    January 11, 2011

    It’s my blog, you can only do that with my permission. I am in charge here.

  51. #51 smitty
    January 11, 2011

    If the rifle cross hairs are violent imagery, how does the Left condone this:http://cache3.asset-cache.net/xc/83471770.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=77BFBA49EF8789215ABF3343C02EA548EE94FB3B604C62D3793AEB58F7DE4A0CCCF388C9B41D5076E30A760B0D811297?

    Oh, and those lovely extreme environmentalists across the pond think this is humorous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfnddMpzPsM
    It’s one thing to be “pro-choice.” But the children in this gory Leftist propaganda piece are around the same age as the poor little girl who was murdered in Tucson. Let’s get our priorities straight by first considering legislation making it a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against children under age 18. Those blue-bloods look down their snooty noses at us, whilst chuckling at the slaughtering of school children. “No Pressure! Just do as we say if you value your short little lives. But no matter! We can kill 2 birds with one stone. The planet being overpopulated and all…”

  52. #52 TTT
    January 11, 2011

    Smitty, nobody gives a shit about what British people say, and British politics are entirely irrelevant to this discussion. This is just like when wingers, pressed on the pro-domestic-terrorism statements and actions of their own kind, reach for false equivalence by citing a British mockumentary film about W’s assassination. If you can’t find any evidence of American liberals being as objectively pro-violence and pro-terrorism as American conservatives (and you can’t, cos they aren’t), then just say nothing instead of cluttering the topic with offtopic global trivia. Jolly bad show old sport, wotwot?

  53. #53 Stephanie Z
    January 11, 2011

    smitty, got a source for the photo you link to? Some context maybe?

    As for the video, it was taken down as soon as the producers realized anyone was taking it at all seriously, as soon as anyone complained. An apology was also issued here: http://www.1010global.org/no-pressure

    This is like what Palin, Bachmann, Angle, etc. have done how?

  54. #54 Greg Laden
    January 11, 2011

    Smitty, you linked to a picture. I don’t see any evidence in this picture of a “left” condoning something. If that’s Sarah Palin hung in effigy, I think that’s disgusting. Just as disgusting as the two or three hundred or so Obamas hung in effigy or similarly depicted at rallies during the election.

    See, here’s what’s wrong with your argument:

    1) Nobody is condoning violent inciting behavior on the side of the so called “left” (or center or right).

    2) The vast, vast majority of violence inciting rhetoric and behavior is on the right, and is in fact, the halmark of the Tea Party, which is why I call those who carry out violent acts against centrists and liberals “teabaggers.” It’s what “teabagger” means to me (as far as I can see the term is otherwise somewhat ambiguous).

    3) There is no equivalence between the two (or more) ‘sides’ and reference to such equivilance as though it existed is … exactly what a teabagger would do. Which makes YOU a teabagger.

    Understood?

    Regarding the video, I didn’t bother watching it but I’ll assume Stephanie has that right.

  55. #55 TTT
    January 11, 2011

    Smitty, nobody cares about what British people say, and their political speech is totally unrelated to this topic–nice attempted dodge though. Whenever liberals point out the growing pro-murder, pro-domestic-terrorism tenets of the conservative movement, cons tend to sputter out a retort “but but but there was that movie about @ss@ssin@ting Dubya!” Yes, there was that movie. It was a British movie, made with British money for British audiences.

  56. #56 Paul Revere
    January 11, 2011

    Smitty, nobody cares about what British people say

    Hahahahahaha

  57. #57 Greg Laden
    January 11, 2011

    Thus far no one can find anything linking Jared Loughner, the shooter in question, to the Tea Party

    Tyler, there isn’t even a “tea party” … your question requires the (nearly covert) erection of a straw man. There are no members of congress who are members of a political party called a “tea party.” It is an informal caucus created by Michele Bachmann with the motto (among other mottos) to arrive at gatherings “armed and dangerous” and to pay more attention to the Declaration of Independence than to the Constitution.

    I myself mostly avoid using the term “tea party” and instead use the more general term, “teabagger,” which I mean to be more encompassing of those who promote or carry out violence against centrists and liberals, and/or spout the usual white paranoid defensiveness, and so on. This places our young man firmly in that category. There is no official “proof” of his “membership” in some political party. Your insistence that there be one is narrow minded and rather insulting.

    Personally, I’m not interested in letting people pretend that they are not teabaggers when it is convenient, I’m not interested in letting anyone pretend the teabaggers generally and the tea party in particular (such as it is) is not a racist, antii-progressive, violent-tending mess of morons.

    And, I am singularly unimpressed and deeply disappointed in the apparent need for people who self identify (or should I say self-aggrandize) as skeptics/atheists/rational thinkers to put on blinders, ignore context, ignore history, ignore what we have been seeing since the mock lynchings of the 08 election, put up a false sense of wonderment and questioning in the face of a blindingly obvious foot stomping screaming loudly in your face entity as though its existence needs to be re-proven every time it is mentioned. What is the point of you doing this? Please explain and make it good.

  58. #58 Pteryxx
    January 17, 2011

    Y’all may find this interesting: “Stochastic Terrorism”. Incite enough people, often enough, to create a favorable environment in which *someone* will snap. If you think rhetoric and words are just words, then you yourself won’t be shooting or curb-stomping people. But what about everyone else?

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2011/1/10/934890/-Stochastic-Terrorism:-Triggering-the-shooters

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