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Arizona Shootings Spark Debate About Role Of Political Rhetoric

January 12, 2011 by  

Arizona shootings spark debate about role of political rhetoricAlthough the motives of Jared Lee Loughner — the suspected shooter in this past weekend's massacre in Arizona — are still unclear, many politicians are placing some of the blame on the heated rhetoric used by elected officials and pundits.

Loughner has been charged with murder and attempted murder following a Jan. 8 shooting spree at a shopping plaza in Tucson, Ariz. Federal judge John Roll and 9-year-old Christina Green were among six people killed, while 13 others — including Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) — were wounded. According to media reports, Loughner has a history of expressing a radical distaste for the Federal government, and many who knew him said that he was a social outcast.

The deadly shootings have spawned a debate over the role of political rhetoric in the 21st century. Some officials have asked that politicians, as well as television and radio commentators, tone down their vitriolic language. Tea Party favorite and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has fielded criticism for images used on her website that placed crosshairs on specific congressional districts, such as Giffords'.

While some pundits have placed the onus on venomous political debate, several commentators have warned that it's dangerous to link specific politicians or organizations to a crime committed by an unstable individual.

"We've got to be careful here that we don't use this as a censoring moment, or use this as a Democrats-beating-up-on-Republicans [moment], or using it as an opportunity to humiliate anybody who's affiliated with the Tea Party movement," Douglas Brinkley, a historian, told FOX News. "There are definitely times when you have fallout from politics, but we don't want to lose the central point here: that this is a deranged person, that there's nobody serious in the Republican Party that would want to see such a heinous event happen." 

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  • Angel Wannabe

    Most of us here aren’t thrilled with the Federal Government and say so. But we realize the likes of “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil, in its worst state, an intolerable one.
    Thomas Paine”.
    Politics & Religious debate are as old as George Washington himself and usually always spark heated debates. The Liberals are just as guilty of slinging crap as are the Repubs. This madman that opened fire and killed six people in Tuscon, was on a mission in his own mind. We can debate all day, about gun control and even Quelling free speech, but it isn’t going to stop it. The Criminal mind or the mentally ill can’t or won’t process ANY in coming information to they’re minds. They pervert it either willfully or unconciously to justify they’re actions. Its a sad fact. Again stopping free Speech among so called normal individuals, furthers a Liberal agenda of controlling the message. Being forced to being Politically Correct is also a part of controlling the message. Buyer beware!

    • Teresa

      very well stated angel.

  • Polski

    “Liberal agenda”? What a bunch of BS. You’ve conveniently forgotten the Dubya days? Remember, “candidate #1 is horrible, candidate #2 is terrible, candidate #3, NONE OF THE ABOVE, is NEVER on the ballot!!”

    • Angel Wannabe

      Perhaps you’ve fallen alseep, Bush is outta office!_-I could care less what he did. I’m concerned about TODAY_THANKS! :)

      • rosina

        Agree with you Angel.
        This person? in office is the worst since I don’t know when.
        Frankly, I liked Carter, as a person but not a good President but I do believe he did what he thought was best for the country unlike the one we have now. This one is SO ARROGANT AND FULL OF HIMSELF that I cannot understand why some fools do not see him for what he is!
        He definitely disparages this country and takes no blame for any of his mistakes. Always someone else’s fault! HOW WAS HE NOT VETTED BEFORE NOMINATION IS BEYOND ME!

      • smilee

        what Bush did when he was in office will negatively effect this country for years to come. His mess is so large it is humanly impossible to clean it up at this early date


      How can a party allow such a horrid party to get re-elected
      Clinton left Bush Heaven On Earth
      Bush left Obama Hell on Earth
      Clinton left Bush an 1800B Budget and four balanced budgets
      Bush Left Obama a 3600 Budget
      Clinton left Bush a 5700B of Debt
      Bush left Obama 11,800B of Debt
      Clinton left Bush a 237,00 net new jobs created per month
      Bush left Obama a 31,000 lowest since Hoover.
      Clinton left Bush Peace on Earth
      Bush left Obama Hell on Earth Two disastrous wars
      Clinton left Bush a President most highly rated of any peacetime President in Asia, Africa, Europe.
      Bush left Obama the most hated President in history
      Bush left Obama an Housing Tsunami and Financial Volcano
      Bush left Obama, in 2008, an 8500B Bail out commitment
      Bush left Obama his Takeover of Fannie/Freddie, AIG, and first bailout of Chrysler
      How can any honest informed person vote to re-continue such horrid actions and results?

      • Robin from Arcadia, IN

        Wow! Did you even read this article? Your post is really off course, Clarence!

      • Angel Wannabe

        Clarence, and you get paid to write this shyt?_ :)

      • s c

        CS, what you have done is to prove that Obummer is wasting his precious time to shop around for a replacement for the current press secretary. What Obummer needs to do is to hire YOU. You seem to have the same qualifications, and you probably have all of the same ‘skills.’ And, if you are from the Chicago area, that’s a plus.

      • Sue

        Good grief, guy, start doing some research instead of spouting the party line!

  • http://ByGeorge By George

    Here we go again. A nutter shoots a few people including, unhappily, a member of the US House of Representatives, a Federal Judge, a child and several others and suddenly the left goes berserk and immediately starts blaming the TEA Party, Sarah Palin, talk radio, deranged ex-military types, and everybody else not on the Daily KOS e-mail list. It was an assassination attempt as the investigation has now disclosed and the target of the hit was indeed the Arizona Representative, Gabrielle Giffords. That she did’t die outright was a God sent tribute that the on- duty operating room surgeon was a retired US Navy physician, a specialist in penetrating wounds with twenty-four years of experience many on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    That this shooting gained such national prominence was simply because of the status of the victims. The continuing news coverage, repeating over and over again the same sordid details is remarkable in the lack of anything new, except that the shooter was a “left-wing pothead”, and a registered Independent who didn’t vote in the last election. The left is beside itself with fury that their take on the deranged “right” isn’t catching. People are on to them, like Megan Kelly of Fox News who cornered that silly sot of a Sheriff in Pima, County. Under her questioning he had to admit his comments were based on no facts what so ever but were his opinions only. Now the idiot is blaming Rush Limbaugh somehow. The sooner the FBI takes the investigation out of his hands, the better.

    But, what about the shooting? Nothing remarkable actually! It happens everyday here in Atlanta, out in Los Angeles, in New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., Detroit, and any other large American City, and a lot of small ones you can name, and yet, the national press passes on them. Did I forget to mention to rising violence on our border with Mexico as well?

    Now, lacking a clear anchor with which to drown the conservative side, the political left has returned to that old saw, “gun control” and the question was asked “just how much control should the Federal government have over guns? Well, that question can be answered by referring to our constitution. On a news program tonight, a Democrat politician, a woman, said “Guns kill”. Well, no they don’t! People kill whether it’s with a knife, rolling pin, car, broken beer bottle or a pool cue. So, what else is new?

    What the gun does is to ensure civilization. If a robber wants to rob me, he first has to ponder if I can defend myself. As we do not live in a moral society, he must resort to persuasion or force to convince me to unwillingly part with my wallet. If I cannot defend myself, then I should comply, which is no guarantee that I won’t be killed anyway. However, if I have an equalizer, a gun, then he must make a decision, he can flee or die. I carry a gun, not to kill but to keep from being killed and the law gives me that right to defend myself. High profile people, like Giffords, or the President of the United States, are vulnerable to work alone killers because anyone willing to die can easily make a hit in public. That I can return lethal force works in my favor. It allows me to leave my home without fear, to go just about anywhere I wish to go without molestation (except by the TSA goons) and I can expect to live long into my elderly years with my wallet and my person in tact. When I am armed I have removed force from the equation. Arbitrarily removing guns form the hands of citizens is to empower the robber. It would do nothing to limit his actions.

    • Angel Wannabe

      by George “repeating over and over again the same sordid details is remarkable in the lack of anything new, except that the shooter was a “left-wing pothead”,__The Liberals think by repeating something over and over again it will eventually become truth_they are seriously in deniel!

    • Sam

      By George-you are absolutely 100% correct. You take the firearms away from law abiding folks and it would be a free for all for all criminals. The anti-gun laws -mainly sponsored by democrats is the same trickery used by Hitler to disarm the German public. We all know what happened there. This country will go forward but only with firearms in the law abiding public’s hands. The beauty of the Second Amendment is the fact that it does not go into effect until the oppressors try to physically try to take your guns. Then and only then do you stand firm with your firearms. It’s all about control. If the American People want to preserve their rights then I suggest you get your ass out there and vote or you will see how it was first hand in Germany in 1940.

      • USNpops

        I guess the best example proving we need to keep the gun ownership laws that we have is Australia.

        They repealed the right to bear arms, and their gun related crimes have sky rocketed.

        • JC

          And the Australian Politicians are baffled by the doubling of violent crime there….well DUH!

  • TIME

    Lets be real there are criminals running the show right now more than I can count. They make the laws to protect themselfs from YOU, The ignorant mass’s.
    You the happy twinkies who not only paid them to enslave you but your also supporting them with your young and did so with a BIG smile.
    All the while you have been paid back with STUFF to keep your little minds busy from the “real work at hand.”

    Its; “Do as I tell you, ~ not as I do.” If you do as I tell you you can keep your stuff for now, BUT – If you disobey us, we will take your stuff and off prison with you.

    As anyone who can read let alone comprehend, the Patroit Act written in 1993 by Joe Biden was in fact nothing but Marshall Law with a candy coating.
    But hey its really not much differant than the HCR bill written by the “APOLLO Alliance,” odd is that not Congress’s job to write Law?
    Did any of you who supported this law ever question why a group who is aiding the “New World Order,” you know that 2% you all like to rant about.

    Yet these same people think they are Free and Safe.
    But oh if we can just get the Government to place a few more Laws on us, more restrictions ~ just a tad more control then everyone can be REAL SAFE. Safe from what? Monkeys in tree’s are not this stupid.

    The Patriot act:

    Yellow = Low level Marshall Law. Must have a permit to gather in groups larger than 50.

    ORANGE = Mid Level Marshall Law. Limited freedoms yet you think your still free.

    RED = High level Marshall Law. Total lock down you can not leave your local town, nor travel on roads at night or when ever the restricted hours may be.

    The book is open, you all will be part of writing its last pages, what will you write?
    Monkeys were in the end far smarter than Americans?

  • 2WarAbnVet

    All of this “high-minded” fake-horror over the state of political discourse comes from people who are completely ignorant of our nation’s political history. Nothing today comes close to the vitriol that was heaped on such figures as Washington. Adams, Jefferson, or Lincoln.

    The true intent is simply to stifle dissent.

    • s c

      You got it, 2WarAbnVet. America’s media hookers and their braying, political strumpets are trying their best to ‘show us the way’ to their twisted, utopian enlightenment.


    It was disgusting to hear such as Chris Matthews jump to conclusions. Obviously wrong conclusions?

    It shocked me.

    He had no info on Motive of the shooter.
    Now. changed tune.

    Yet! Continued rationalizatibns on placing blame on Right Win Rhetoric by dumb word associations. Rhetoric Bad. No question.
    Motive Bad.No question. Result Bad. No question.
    Constant referral to rhetoric with use of killer face and name. Bad. No question.

    The rationalizations were as bad as inaccurate accusations.

    A Disgusting several days.
    olduglymeanhonest mad mad mad


    Please folks, check your spelling and grammar if you want to be taken seriously. By the way, the word is MARTIAL law, not Marshall.

    • TIME

      Disprove what I posted. You can’t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • independant thinker

        Hey Time, he wasn’t trying to disprove what you wrote just asking you to proof read and check your spelling before you posted.


          I T

          How spell check?I have to transfer to text document ument then spell check.

          If I post direclty here is there a way to spell check before posting without pasting to text document?

          p.s I misspell many.

          • TIME

            Thank you for your intel.

          • independant thinker

            I deliberately did not say use spell-check i said check spelling. When posting where I do not have spell-check I have a reference button I will use to call up a dictionary or thesaurus if I want to check the spelling of a word.

        • TIME

          Thanks for your post I am really very busy and either post when I am eating lunch or when I am having tea in the morning.
          I post an can only hope that anyone with a grain of gray matter can grasp what I post.

          And as anyone who is awake knows on the way to the camps ~ spelling or anything eles will be of little value at that point in TIME.

          Its not going to be long off at this point, or one of our clients would not have offered me and my family safe haven in their country.
          They know how I feel about freedom yet the two of us could not be more diametrically opposed in political views so whats that say?
          What do they know that we don’t.

          • Teresa

            I hear you Time….I once had a woman on this site ask a question…was something like how do you feel: anxious, angry, depressed, frustrated, excited…..
            I responded….at peace.
            I remember several people answering back to me w/their own responses…how can you?, good for you….? of course this was total sarcasim, but I do not think they understood me. I am at peace because I know where I am w/my heart and soul. I know our troubles here will never get better and I know which direction I am headed Time. It is not easy, it never was. Life was never promised to be easy Time, only promised. I will stand for my convictions with all my heart. I will stand for what I believe in always, until I am called home.

        • http://?? Joe H.

          what the heck difference does spelling make if you can get the gist of what the person is saying?? Martial or marshal? come on!!! Everybody with half a brain knew what Time was saying!

    • Alice

      I agree with your comments. It is important for someone to use a correct grammar to express his thoughts. Many people would trust someone who is an intelligent, skilled and have knowledge in that area.

      • Teresa

        Like Obama?

  • s c

    For those of you who may never understand, America’s media has [for MANY years] been engaged in the ‘business’ of creating and reinterpreting history. This shows up daily on TV, on the radio, in books, magazines, textbooks and in America’s classrooms. It carries the weight of a perverse and thoroughly political gospel, and only through attention to detail, an open mind and a strong disdain for stinking crapola can we see who’s who and what’s what.
    Oh, for the good old days when politicians had the stones to show open contempt for their opponents (and newspapers went after politicians like rabid dogs). Those who control America’s media have toiled long and hard to manufacture our ‘reality.’ Hopefully, they have almost drained their funds in the process.
    America is on the brink of destruction. This is NOT the time to be ‘polite’ or pc or cater to the whims of those who hate freedom and look at it as something that must be destroyed. Up the rebels!

  • http://gunner689 gunner689

    The actions of an apolitical lunitic are not an excuse to curtail the First Ammendment or the Second.

    • independant thinker

      I would dissagree with you. It is an excuse to do so but is not a REASON to curtail any amendment but especially the 1st and 2nd.

  • eddie47d

    Who says free speech can’t be civil? Everyone steps over the line sometime in their life and some more often. If something seems wrong in what a person says then maybe those gut feelings are correct. Bad language or hateful comments shouldn’t be commonplace or accepted as normal yet shouldn’t be banned. It’s up to the individual to police themselves and try a little harder.

    • TIME

      Again we agree on something, good post!

    • Vicki

      I also find myself in agreement with Eddie47d.

    • http://deleted Claire

      eddie47d—Thanks for the common sense, I agree with you.

  • Vicki

    Since it is the liberals that keep telling us that all those violent shows and video games won’t affect the viewer, how do they explain that all the “supposed” violent speech of the right affected the shooter?

    Somehow I don’t think that liberals think. If they did they could not possibly miss the hypocrisy.

    • Doc Sarvis

      What “liberals” are “telling us that all those violent shows and video games won’t affect the viewer”?

    • TIME

      I agree our you 100%, The youg lad we raised wanted some of these games years back. I really had no clue how crazy and violent they were.
      It was only after watching two kids who are both very smart – stop playing the game go outside and then start to beat the living crap out of each other that it hit us to look at these games.
      I looked at the dam thing and tossed it in the trash after I smashed it to bits.

      I sat down with the other kids mom and dad and had them watch one of their kids games so they got the picture. They too smashed the dam things their kid had, then enrolled him in a Karate class the next day.
      Now both have learned just how much damage they can really inflict on someone else, now they both are very easy going.

      The real positive thing they both started Cal Tec last year.

      To all of you, Just think what some kid who’s been fed a steady diet of STATE given DRUGS, as well plays these insane games would be like.
      If that fails to make anyone think that there is not a “cause & effect” issue they would have to be totaly brain dead.
      As its abundantly clear there is.

      • Vicki

        It can’t be JUST the movies and video games cause I like them too. Yet in spite of my liking such movies and games, Ted Kennedy’s car has killed more people then I or my guns have.

        • Vicki

          Or maybe being a girl I am immune

          • independant thinker

            Or perhaps because you are a mature adult not an impressionable teen or pre-teen.

        • http://deleted Claire

          Vicki–Refresh my memory–how many people did Ted Kennedy’s car kill? I can think of one.

    • Roger from OH

      Hi Vicki,

      Holy cow! Great insight. I’d never thought of that.

      Thank you!

  • USNpops

    Last night on the Jay Leno Show his guest was Bill Maher, and he gave some of the most vitriolic rhetoric against republicans I have heard when asked his opinion on the Arizona situation. He proceeded to condem Newt Gindrich, Sarah Palin,other figures in the republican party, and the Stupid people of the US that “Love Their Guns” and insinuated that it was their fault that this nutcake in Arizona went on a rampage. That’s You and Me folks.

    It surely was more vicious and inciteful than anything I have heard Rush, Glenn, Imus or Sarah Palin say. I pray that people who heard it are as incensed as I and will chastise Jay Leno for bringing this vicious man on his show.

    I have been trying to send a commemt to Jay on his website, but cannot do so so far. So perhaps I am not alone in condeming him for allowing such bad manners be displayed at a time of mourning for victims of a madman in Arizona.

    • independant thinker

      Did you notice Maher got very little laughter or applause for his rant.

  • Vicki

    Isn’t it facinating that when a Islamist terrorist shoots up an Army base the liberals tell us it is the act of a lone crazed gunman but when a lone crazed gunman (who happened to be so far left he fell off the edge) shoots up a political rally it is the act of the GOP, Talk Radio, Rush, Glen, Sarah, any conservative group.

    And how did that Islamic terrorist shoot up a military base anyway? Oh, I remember, Military bases are GUN-FREE ZONES. How stupid.

  • http://google ernie

    Hey idiot no one is taking away your gun from you just keep your gun to yourself.just dont go crazy and shoot little kids and elderly people pussy whip.I can only use my gun for self defense thats all there is.

  • Jim

    No less than 20 minutes after the shooting hit the news networks, the left was blaming conservative rhetoric. In fact, they were publicly demonizing millions of decent, God fearing, Americans for Gifford’s “death” while the doctors still had her in surgery! Besides the fact that this must’ve been extremely upsetting to the victims’ families, this is a despicable attempt to use a tragedy for political gain. Is it any wonder now that conservatives are lining up to fight back?

    Six people were not killed over a heated debate on health care, global warming, the deficit, or “don’t ask, don’t tell”. They were killed by nutcase who worshipped Karl Marx on a skull altar. A man who was most certainly mentally disturbed and possibly possessed.

    We won’t have any civility in our national discourse until the left acknowledges, that THEY have a “mouth problem”. Obama missed a good opportunity to point this out during the memorial service


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