Posts Tagged ‘Loughner

17
Jan
11

the kindest of hearts….

The Guardian: The astronaut husband of Gabrielle Giffords .. indicated today he would be prepared to meet with the parents of the alleged gunman to express his forgiveness.

Mark Kelly … said he probably would see the parents of Jared Lee Loughner, who has been charged with the massacre in which six people died and 14 were wounded.

In an interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC … Kelly said he had empathy for the parents. “You know, I don’t think it’s their fault. It’s not the parents’ fault. I’d like to think I’m a person that’s somewhat forgiving. And they’ve got to be hurting in this situation as much as anybody.”

Kelly, the father of two teenage girls from his previous marriage, said: “I have children. And they must, I’m sure they love their son. And they must be as distraught over this as all of us are.”

…Today Giffords’ condition was upgraded from critical to serious. Kelly told ABC his wife was responding to comments and had spent 10 minutes giving him a neck massage.

“I’m like, Gabby, you’re in the ICU. You know, you don’t need to be doing this. But it’s so typical of her that no matter how bad the situation might be for her, she’s looking out for other people.”

Full article here

16
Jan
11

‘no one listened to gabrielle giffords’

I’ve been avoiding reading Frank Rich lately because some of his recent articles drove me bonkers, but thank you so much to Jennifer for letting me know about this one. I just posted extracts below – you can read the complete article at the link. I’ve been amazed the past week by how many commentators – and not just fruitloops on Fox ‘News’ – decided we could just dismiss what happened in Arizona as the work of a ‘mad man’ and not even consider that the inflammatory anti-Government hate-filled rhetoric of the right and the atmosphere it has created could have influenced his instability in any way, or tipped him over the edge. He had, after all, one hugely significant thing in common with the Tea Party and their like, he hated Government and was utterly paranoid about it. And he had that right wing insanity swirling all around his troubled head. How on earth could he have been immune to it? Any way, Frank Rich makes the argument briiliantly – thanks again Jennifer.

 

Frank Rich (NYT): …If we learn nothing from this tragedy, we are back where we started. And where we started was with two years of accelerating political violence…that struck fear into many, not the least of whom was Gabrielle Giffords.

…Did Loughner see Palin’s own most notorious contribution to the rancorous tone — her March 2010 Web graphic targeting Congressional districts? We have no idea — nor does it matter. But Giffords did. Her reaction to it — captured in an interview she did back then with Chuck Todd of MSNBC — was the most recycled, if least understood, video of last week.

…Giffords said that Palin had put the “crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” adding that “when people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.” … (she said) that colleagues who had been in the House “20, 30 years” had never seen vitriol this bad. … Few wanted to see what Giffords saw — that the vandalism and death threats were the latest consequences of a tide of ugly insurrectionism that had been rising since the final weeks of the 2008 campaign and that had threatened to turn violent from the start.

…Since Obama’s ascension, we’ve seen repeated incidents of political violence … he said, correctly, on Wednesday that “a simple lack of civility” didn’t cause the Tucson tragedy. It didn’t cause these other incidents either. What did inform the earlier violence — including the vandalism at Giffords’s office — was an antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s. That Loughner was likely insane, with no coherent ideological agenda, does not mean that a climate of antigovernment hysteria has no effect on him or other crazed loners out there….

…What’s more disturbing is what Republican and conservative leaders have not said. Their continuing silence during two years of simmering violence has been chilling.

Full article here

11
Jan
11

‘titillating their audiences with hints of justified violence’

Jacob Weisberg (Slate): There’s something offensive, as well as pointless, about the politically charged inquiry into what might have been swirling inside the head of Jared Loughner …. it is appropriate, however, to consider what was swirling outside Loughner’s head.

…the context was the anti-government, pro-gun, xenophobic populism that flourishes in the dry and angry climate of Arizona. Extremist shouters didn’t program Loughner…. but the Tea Party movement did make it appreciably more likely that a disturbed person like Loughner would react … in the crazy way he did.

At the core of the far right’s culpability is its ongoing attack on the legitimacy of U.S. government — a venomous campaign not so different from the backdrop to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 … it is this, rather than violent rhetoric per se, that is the most dangerous aspect of right-wing extremism.

…Conservative entertainers like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin like to titillate their audiences with hints of justified violence, including frequent reminders that they are armed and dangerous. Palin went so far as to put a target on someone who subsequently got shot. Whether or not the man who fired the gun was inspired by Palin isn’t the point. The point is that you shouldn’t paint targets on people, even in metaphor, or jest.

Guns are also at the heart of how the right’s ideology enabled Loughner. Tea Partiers often frame the right to bear arms as a necessary check on federal despotism … First you rile up psychotics with inflammatory language about tyranny, betrayal, and taking back the country. Then you make easy for them to get guns.

But if you really want trouble, you should also make it hard for them to get treatment for mental illness …. if Republicans succeed in repealing the Obama health care bill, that’s how it will remain.

Again, none of this says that Tea Party caused the Tucson tragedy, only that its politics increased the odds of something like it happening … it is the right that amuses itself with violent chat and proclaims an injured innocence when its flammable words blow up.

Read the full article here

09
Jan
11

“it’s just very sad that anyone would shoot anyone”

The Guardian (UK): Paul Wellman laid his handwritten sign among the collection of candles, flowers and messages keeping vigil outside congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s office. Then he stepped back and surveyed the scene.

To the right, another sign said: “Hate speech = murder”. But Wellman went further with his angry declaration in large black letters on white cardboard: “Blame Palin. Blame the Tea Party”.

The 60-something former miner did not wait to explain why. “They’re trying to say that a lone nut was responsible for this, but Sarah Palin and the Tea Party might as well have put the gun in his hand. They are the ones who painted Giffords as some kind of traitor,” he said.

Wellman did not take much notice of the small woman with the camera watching him from the edge of the car park. After he moved off, she stepped forward.

“There have been a number of these,” she said grabbing his sign and declining to give her name. “It’s wrong. Why make it about politics?” Then she carried off Wellman’s sign to dump it….

…Some see the accused killer, Jared Loughner, as a deranged individual acting on his own. Giffords’s father was among the first to point a finger elsewhere. As he rushed to his daughter’s hospital bed, 75-year-old Spencer Giffords was asked if she had any enemies. He wept and replied: “Yeah, the whole Tea Party.”

….Republicans rushed to denounce the attack. Tea Partiers, recognising that their movement might be badly tainted, quickly portrayed the shooting as the work of a lone, unhinged misfit.

But the local sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, said he suspected that the growing vitriol, hate and anger against the government, and the widening rhetoric of armed resistance in the political discourse, played a role in the shootings. The National Jewish Democratic Council said: “Many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse.”

The congresswoman, the first Jewish woman elected from Arizona, was a target for Tea Party rage after she voted in favour of what Palin denounced as the president’s “socialist” healthcare reforms and opposed what many described as racist new anti-immigration laws in Arizona.

The windows of her office were stoned or shot out, and Tea Party protests were regularly held at which Giffords was denounced as a traitor to the constitution and the country.

Like other members of Congress who supported healthcare reform, Giffords faced vitriolic attacks at town hall meetings by what she would call the “crazies”. Across the country, Tea Partiers accused their elected representatives of betraying America, of being Nazis or communists for supporting Obama’s attempt to ensure that everyone has access to healthcare. With the rhetoric came the regular allusions to armed resistance.

…During last year’s elections, Giffords was among Democrats targeted on Palin’s Facebook page through the crosshairs of a rifle … she was also the target of a campaign advert by her Tea Party-backed Republican opponent, Jesse Kelly … “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly,” it said. Kelly appeared on his own website in camouflage gear, holding a gun to promote the event.

Probably unintentionally, Loughner also killed another hate figure when he opened fire at the shopping centre. John Roll was a federal judge who drew scorn and vitriol for ruling in favour of illegal immigrants in a lawsuit against an Arizona rancher in 2009. The police at the time said extremists made serious threats to kill Roll and his family, in part spurred by local talk radio hosts. US marshals put the judge and his wife under round-the-clock protection for a time.

…Dupnik said he saw a link between vicious anti-government rhetoric and the shootings ..…Not all of Giffords’s supporters agreed. As Natalie Kujawa – a Democrat who voted for Giffords – laid flowers outside the congresswoman’s office, she said that only one man was to blame for the tragedy.

“It was a mentally unstable person. It’s terrible but I think if everyone can take the higher road and conduct themselves with a little bit of grace. There’s a lot of people who are angry and I don’t think that’s going to do any of us any good.”

Kujawa laid her flowers near a sign that read: “Don’t make this about politics. Republicans and Democrats deplore this kind of hatred and violence.”

None of that mattered to a young nine-year-old boy called Sammy who arrived at the memorial carrying flowers with his father. He was there, he said, because the young girl who died, Christina-Taylor Green, had been the same age as him. Sammy said he didn’t know what to call the circumstances of her death. “It’s just very sad that anyone would shoot anyone,” he said.

Read the full article here




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