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January 08, 2011

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Her father Spencer Giffords, 75, wept when asked if his 40-year-old daughter had any enemies.
"Yeah," he told The Post. "The whole tea party."

It'll be very interesting to see the coverage on this.

Boehner has been quoted as saying "an attack on anyone who serves is an attack on everyone who serves." Not a bad thing to say, by itself.

Why am I hearing "civil servant really means civil master" in my head? Why does this feel like an opportunity to give special privileges to the elected few to protect them from the masses?

My boyfriend and I have watched 3 Netflix movies in a row about the Holocaust. I don't think it's hyperbolic to surmise we are headed down a similar path if something doesn't change, and soon.

I'm bracing myself as the false equivalencies start flood the airwaves. By this time tomorrow, Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore will blamed for our uncivilized discourse. Giffords herself will be blamed for failing to pack heat and disregarding her constiuents about ACA. And let's not forget those leftwing Weathermen.

Rightwingers, as we find out over and over, bear no responsibility for their rhetorical violence or the "deranged" individuals they incite to actual violence. They just reload.

John,

Please don't call it the Kookocracy (my shop is called the Kooky Krafts Shop and kooky can be good!). Irregardless of the motives behind this particular person (which at first glance certainly seems political; why else a political meeting?) the whole neo conservative right wing and religious right have ridden to prominence on sound bites absolutely riddled with hatred, and a call to physical intimidation. When is the last time you heard of a liberal running out and shooting people who don't agree with their ideology?

Ah, Arizona . . . again.

"I'm bracing myself as the false equivalencies start flood the airwaves." - soleri

On CNN, some charicature of authority has already called for restraint from both the "far right" and from the "far left".

Another gasbag said something to the effect that restaint was necessary by those on the Right who might think that Rep. Giffords is too far Left . . . and by those on the Left who think she is too far Right.

Where are the thoughtful commentators?

Rate Crimes, I listen to NPR mostly, and even there I'm stunned by the false equivalencies that flourish there. It isn't hard to figure out what's going on. The right is so primed for battle that any criticism of their side is greeted by a flood of e-mails or threats to sponsors. Our debate keeps getting pulled to the right; really the so-called MSM are now virtually "conservative". In effect, they've been intimidated into silence and cowardice. I have friends who think Nancy Pelosi is the devil, who think the president can violate any law he decides to, and that Republicans are fiscally "responsible". These people are not Republicans. They're educated and reasonably well-informed. And they believe this bullshit they hear on the MSM. This is why "moderation" itself is not the answer. Moderation is just another name for conservatism.

"I have friends who think Nancy Pelosi is the devil, who think the president can violate any law he decides to, and that Republicans are fiscally "responsible". These people are not Republicans. They're educated and reasonably well-informed." - soleri

Either your first, or your last sentence is false.

I don't think these are times to point fingers, however hard that maybe. But from reports heard so far it seems this man was deranged and believed the government was "attempting to control us through grammar" and that he was refusing to "pay debts with money not backed by silver and gold."

It doesn't seem like Giffords was targeted for her immigration or health care stances but rather for her affiliation with "government." Maybe her openness and candidness with the public made her an "easy target" for this sociopath; which is a tragedy since there will be more reluctance from our representatives and elected officials to engage the public openly.

No doubt his delusion was filled by some of the tea party rhetoric but violence to this extent is a product of harmful psychosis.

I can't help but bring up the issue of gun laws: If we can revisit the 14th Amendment, why not the second?

"really the so-called MSM are now virtually 'conservative'." - soleri

"now"? When were they not?

My connection with Rep. Giffords was indirect and tangential. Nevertheless, her presence as a public servant and status as an elected official in Arizona was a source of hope for me. I wish her well.

The guy had some questionable youtube videos... friend of mine joined them together into one video... dude had some issues (obviously)
http://tdhurst.com/public-exposition-jared-lee-laughner

Jon, do you hold out any hope for AZ? This is a sad day ...

@Chuck Reynolds:

Thanks for the work & the link.

Nutheads abound in Tucson; this happened in my neighborhood, and I know what sorts of crazies live here.

"dude had some issues (obviously)" - Chuck Reynolds

The video begs the obvious question: Why hadn't this person received attention and care for his mental condition?

So far this is most powerful thing I've read on the tubes:

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, speaking about Arizona:

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.

"It's not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included. And that's the sad thing of what's going on in America. Pretty soon, we're not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people who are willing to subject themselves to serve in public office."

Cops always say to look for motive and opportunity.Motive was provided by a medial that lives for(and profits from,handsomely) conflict.Opportunity is the gun laws that make it easy to acquire weapons of mass destruction(Pushing the envelope of definition,but 18 injured and 5 dead works for me.).Guilty party?The American people for accepting this as inevitable.

Whenever I get nostalgic for Arizona, reality slaps me in the face. The Pima County sheriff highlighted a very different cultural and political environment that has changed drastically from the Arizona that I once knew (and sometimes long for--until reality slaps me in the face again and again).

I'm closing on my new home in Portland by the end of the month and can't wait to get out of AZ. The right wing and their hate mongering when combined with their complete repeal of gun laws makes this a truly frightening place to be.

The local press seem to be already implying that "security is up to the Congressperson"....blaming Gabby for not surrounding herself with Blackwater thugs to protect herself from crazy right wing assassins.

When will all this madness stop and politicians and citizens can just work together peacefully?? I love Tucson and it's changed so much in the 19 years I've lived here. This was horrific and I think the politcians and country should all try to resolve their issues!! My prayers are with all the victims, families and friends as well as this country!

The irony is that Gabby was a staunch supporter of the right to bear arms, thus supporting the social condition that facilitated her becoming a target.

When I first heard the news yesterday, I immediately assumed it was yet one more deranged right-winger pushed over the edge by the incendiary rhetoric of his media. But what we later learned was that the gunman was less a right-wing crazy than simply crazy. Now it turns out that the Westboro Baptist Church is going to picket the funerals. If nothing else, this provides a perspective about the toxic fear that breaks the surface of our culture almost routinely now. Politics may be the theater in which we watch this scary movie, but the monsters are in our own heads. This is what the gunman and screamers have in common. The latter may be marginally more sane but they're still projecting their fear. They won't take responsibility for their own phantoms. And on that level, the psychotic breakdown in American politics is very real.

As Soleri has pointed out, the ignominy of this event is not Arizona's alone to bear. This individual would likely have committed some act of violence because of his state of mind no matter if he resided in Portland, Seattle, or New England.

It may be that his access to a weapon in Arizona was more effortless but that is based on much assumption. This tragedy seems almost to have been preventable. Pima Community College would not let him return until he was "psychologically certified" and his violent outburst addressed; was his family unaware of his situation?

Given the lack of information at this time about the suspect's motives, it may be premature to trot out our personal political or geographical biases as explanations or preventatives for this horrific event. Given the scale of the act, though, and the setting, it seems likely that some type of untreated mental illness was a factor. With that, a more effective focus of our aftermath dialog may be on the failures of our health system and society to adequately ameliorate the chaos which dwells inside the skulls of people like this.

Let's hope that the cult of Westboro remains in Topeka, KS. They will not be welcomed in Arizona much like other groups whose words have historically fueled violence or violent language.

When neo-Nazi's have staged rallies and protests in Phoenix and other AZ cities, their events are usually brief due to much larger counter-protesters.

Check this out:

http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/01/09/dhs-memo-suggests-shooter-may-be-linked-racist-organization#ixzz1AYSpwPND



Americans won't gather to shower rose petals on the man who killed six people in his attempt to kill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson on Saturday, unlike the rose petals showered last week on the assassin of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, India.

Granted, the risk of death is part of the political process in America; but it is an aberrant part and not an accepted method. There is an emphasis on vigorous debate and dissent; but, unlike even highly civilized France, Americans do not often take to the streets and burn barricades of tires to voice their opposition to government policies.

Granted, the last election campaign was especially bitter, divisive and mean spirited. Part of this is the fault of the media; in the race for attention and ratings, the wildest and most extreme actions draw the most attention. Thus, the extremes are most likely to headline the news, even though a rational debate of any nature is never based on absurdities.

Granted, there is a rising level of frustration about many of the everyday facts of life; the reality that wages and salaries have not improved for 80 percent of Americans for the last 30 years is creating a bitter despair. The American way used to be for always increasing prosperity and comfort for those who worked well and hard; today, it's a scramble to avoid becoming one of the "long-term unemployed" as the new disadvantaged class is being called.

Granted, guns are an American way of life. In Arizona, almolst anyone may carry a gun anywhere they like. During the last campaign, some folks came to campaign events carrying semi-automatic weapons; in another incident, a Teapotty candidate recommended the use of bullets if people cannot get their way with ballots. Her remark drew immediate widespread attention, which is what she wanted; it's doubtful it increased the sale of bullets.

None of this explains the attempted assassination of a Member of the U.S. Congress in Tucson on Saturday. Despite the rhetoric, assassinations are rare in this society of 308 million vigorously independent and often fractious people.

What is evident is the general breakdown of respect for the law in Arizona, and a growing attitude, "the law should protect me, not restrain me."

It relates to the "broken window" theory of urban decay. Basically, it says the continued presence of broken windows in a community indicates a lack of care by residents and government. The result is petty crime which grows into serious crime and creates lawless neighborhoods. Broken windows are one sign of contempt for others; another is a lack of respect in traffic.

Few motorists truly respect traffic controls; for many, a "STOP" sign means a slight decrease in speed. Drive at the speed limit, and city buses roar past. Almost every other vehicle tries to outdo the buses. Many people drive as though no traffic signs or signals exist; they simply try to avoid any competing traffic. It starts early; schoolchildren learn very early they can cross safely against a red traffic light because motorists will invariably stop.

Burglary is so common the Phoenix police refuse to take reports of it; the police attitude, as I heard expressed by a uniformed officer at a community meeting, is "if you can't look after your own possessions, you don't deserve to have them." Years ago, the state police referred to Phoenix police as "cash registers" because of the emphasis on writing tickets to produce fines rather than investigating or working to reduce crime.

Children know that petty crime is not reported or investigated; they know the only reason they need for even expensive items is to explain, "Look what I found on the street today."

The example comes from the top. The Phoenix police chief is drawing almost $300,000 a year as the director of public safety, plus a full police pension of about $200,000 a year, despite specific state laws against such "double dipping." There is no concept that civic leaders must be above suspicion; instead, the "law" has become whatever the priciest lawyers can twist it to mean.

It is this attitude, the general and increasingly widespread for the laws of civility and society, that eventually tips the mentally unbalanced into violent action against others, including a member of the U.S. Congress. No sane person will deteriorate so far to take such extreme action; the mentally unstable, the social misfits and outcasts, are eventually pushed over the line.

When disrespect for the law becomes prevalent, it's hardly surprising that one individual of the one million people who live in Pima County goes to an extreme. It's similar to Pakistan, where law exists only to protect the rich, powerful and favoured among the religions and clans.

Ted, although some of what you say has some validity the fact of the matter is that crime, especially in Phoenix, has tumbled. Including murder and property crimes.

However, there is more to this story and so much more that is unexplainable.

By sad ironic coincidence, AZ state representative Jack Harper is running two bills that would permit firearms on campuses. Is it any wonder folks worry that our state has drifted into the land of the loonies?

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