Pharyngula

“Don’t politicize this tragedy!”

I’m seeing a lot of email complaining about my response to the Giffords shooting. Here’s just a representative sampling.

You saw fit to use our pain to win political points. Here is my question to you – What if the killer was not a conservative? At least one report describes him as left-wing. His posted video does show any clear political affiliation, and his reading list was from across the spectrum. The local tea party group has denounced the killings, and leaders from across our state have spoken in one voice.

As someone who usually enjoys reading your blog, I was a little dismayed to read your “wild guess” that the Arizona shooter is a teabagger who listens to a lot of AM radio in your post “We have our own barbarian subculture”. I do not think it fair or helpful to immediately link a tragedy with one’s political opponents based on a “wild guess”.

And here’s what I think.

Madness.

What we have here is an attempted assassination of a politician by an insane crank at a political event, in a state where the political discourse has been an unrelenting howl of eliminationist rhetoric and characterization of anyone to the left of Genghis Khan as a traitor and enemy of the state…and now, when six (including a nine year old girl) lie dead and another fourteen are wounded, now suddenly we’re concerned that it is rude and politicizing a tragedy to point out that the right wing has produced a toxic atmosphere that pollutes our politics with hatred and the rhetoric of violence?

Screw that. Now is the time to politicize the hell out of this situation. The people who are complaining are a mix of lefty marshmallows whose first reaction to the fulfillment of right-wing fantasies by a lunatic is to drop to their knees and beg forgiveness for thinking ill of people who paint bullseyes on their political opponents, and right wing cowards who are racing to their usual tactic of attacking their critics to shame them into silence. This is NOT the time to back down and suddenly find it embarrassing to point out that right-wing pundits make a living as professional goads to insanity.

I have to point out this cartoon by Mike Stanfill. It’s perfect.

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Now look at the first few comments there. It’s people complaining that the cartoon is in bad taste! Good grief, have you people ever actually listened to Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage or looked at Sarah Palin’s campaign strategy? I say again, madness.

Stanfill has also collected a short list of brief comments — and I agree with every one of them.

If a Detroit Muslim put a map on the web with crosshairs on 20 pols, then 1 of them got shot, where would he be sitting right now? Just asking. – Michael Moore

A physician cannot treat an illness s/he willfully refuses to diagnose. Violent political rhetoric is not fault of “both sides.” – Tom Tomorrow

Inspiring that our media pundits are so quick to reach for “everyone’s to blame” when no conservative events have been terrorized by gunmen. – Jeffrey Feldman

Weird: rightwingers say movies, video games affect behavior — but real world violent rhetoric from leaders & radio talkers have NO impact! – Tom Tomorrow

Jared Lougnner: drug arrests, too crazy for Army or for college or anything else, but getting a legal gun? No problem. – Tom Tomorrow

I find it abhorrent that Sarah Palin would stoke the coals of extremism with dangerous messaging, then delete it when something bad happens. – Jason Pollock

Sure, Sarah Palin didn’t pull the trigger. But then, neither did Charles Manson. – auntbeast

Christina Taylor Green was Born on September 11, 2001, and killed today by terrorist fuckheads in Arizona. Irony much? – geeksofdoom

Sarah Palin rummages online frantically erasing her rabble-rousing Tweets like a Stalinist trimming non-persons out of photos. – Roger Ebert

I’ll say this, if your first instinct after hearing about a tragedy is to scrub yr websites, you have a problem as a political movement. – digby56

CNN’s Dana Bash says “this could be a wake-up call.” THIS … ? The whole Tea Party, carrying guns to rallies WASN’T?? – hololio2

Teaparty asses have been asking for this to happen, and how they’re pissed off that we’re calling them out on it. – TLW3

STOP SAYING”BOTH PARTIES”!! The Left has not been advocating Violence. @CNN assholes. – YatPundit

Do not sit there cowering, trying to make excuses for teabaggers and violent morons. This is supposed to be the part where you stand up, look at the shouters on the other side, and tell them, “This is wrong, and this is the harm you bring to our country.” Instead, I see a rush to postures of submission.