White Terrorism


Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged assassin of Federal judge John M. Roll and five others and attempted assassin of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), was clearly mentally unstable. But the political themes of his instability were those of the American far Right. Loughner was acting politically even if he is not all there. He is said to have called out the names of his victims, such as Roll and Gifford, as he fired. As usual, when white people do these things, the mass media doesn’t call it terrorism. (Update: A canny reader in comments pointed out that if a Muslim organization had put out a poster with American politicians in the cross-hairs, and one had gotten shot, there would have been hell to pay.)

It is irrelevant that Loughner may (at this point we can only say “may”) have been a liberal years earlier in high school. If so, he changed. And among the concerns that came to dominate him as he moved to the Right was the illegitimacy of the “Second Constitution” (the 14th Amendment, which bestows citizenship on all those born in the US, a provision right-wingers in Arizona are trying to overturn at the state level). Loughner also thought that Federal funding for his own community college was unconstitutional, and he was thrown out for becoming violent over the issue. Lately he ranted about the loss of the gold standard, a right wing theme. He obviously shared with the Arizona Right a fascination with firearms, and it is telling that a disturbed young man who had had brushes with the law was able to come by a semi-automatic pistol. He is said to have used marijuana, but that says nothing about his politics; it could be consistent with a form of anti-government, right-wing Libertarianism. I don’t think we can take too seriously the list of books he said he liked, as a guide to his political thinking. They could just have been randomly pulled off some list of great books on the Web, since there is no coherence to the choices.

The man who had most to do with Loughner after his arrest, Pima County Sherriff Clarence W. Dupnik, was clearly angered by what he heard from the assassin: “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 … it 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.”

When Giffords helped pass the Health Care bill, according to Suzy Khimm, “extremists subsequently encouraged the public to throw bricks through the windows of lawmakers.” Giffords had to call the police once before when an attendee at one of her events dropped a gun. Giffords had complained ‘ in an MSNBC interview that a Sarah Palin graphic had depicted her district in the crosshair of a gun sight. “They’ve got to realize there are consequences to that,” she said. “The rhetoric is incredibly heated.” ‘

Palin Crosshairs

Palin Crosshairs

The subtext of the angst over the shooting of Giffords is that in recent months Loughner was saying Tea-Party-like things about the Federal government. The violent language of “elimination,” “putting in the cross-hairs,” (as with Palin’s poster, above) “taking back,” “taking out,” to which members of that movement so often resort, has created a heated atmosphere that easily seeps into the unconscious of the mentally disturbed. That is Dupnik’s point.

There apparently is some indication that Loughner had an accomplice, and his arrest and identification will shed a great deal more light on the motivations behind this political massacre. Did Loughner have a Rasputin? (Update: The police found, questioned and cleared the taxi driver who dropped Loughner off, so there does not appear to have been an accomplice.)

In some ways, the turn of Loughner to the themes of the American far right parallels what happened to Michael Enright, who slashed the throat of a Bangladeshi cab driver at the height of the campaign promoting hatred of Muslims launched last summer-fall by Rick Lazio and Rupert Murdoch. Everyone should have learned from that tragedy that heated rhetoric has consequences.

Those right-wing bloggers who want to dismiss Loughner as merely disturbed are being hypocritical, since they won’t similarly dismiss obviously unstable Muslims who, like the so-called “Patriots” of the McVeigh stripe, sometimes turn violent. (Zacharias Moussawi, for instance, isn’t playing with a full set of backgammon dominoes, and blaming Islam for him is bizarre). In fact, the right-wing Muslim crackpots and the right-wing American crackpots are haunted by similar anxieties, about a powerful government in Washington undermining their localistic ideas of the good life.

AP has video on the shootings, h/t LAT.


Among the last things Giffords did before she was shot was to reply to the Tea Party-inspired congressional reading of the Constitution by reading out the Bill of Rights. She obviously enjoyed pronouncing the words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” But where members of Congress encourage extreme rhetoric, and where Rupert Murdoch’s stable of demagogues use code to whip up racial hatred and violence, those rights can be withdrawn by vigilante and mob violence. Not the letter of the Constitution can protect us, but only its spirit, and then only when implemented in our daily lives.

137 Responses

  1. It is really bad taste to jump to conclusions and demagogue this event. The details are just coming out, but that doesn’t seem to deter you from making assumptions, and using this crime to tar a whole segment of our political spectrum.

    If he were named Ahmed, you’d probably be the first one to say–and rightly so–that the event shouldn’t be used to attack Muslims in general.

    Take a Valium and gather the facts, first

    • I gave three pieces of evidence that his thinking is congruent with the far right.

      • This all looks like the The Blame Game…the Left blames the Right. The Right blames the Left. Psychiatrists blame poor upbringing. Sociologists will blame societal ills. Socialists will blame free-market capitalism. Capitalists will blame socialism. Anarchists will blame the state. Statists will blame anarchists. Anti-Second Amendment fanatics will blame guns.

        Both the political left and right have publicly called for the extra-judicial killing of Assange, yet we focus our blame only on the political side we disagree with. In additions, we have yet to hear from those who will blame violent television programs, movies and video games. And each group that enters the ring will strive to produce the most convincing arguments possible, arguments which are nothing more than variations on the Twinkie Defense. Perhaps the shooter’s defense attorney will make good use of the winning argument. If the argument is good enough to convince a good percentage of the public, it should work in court with a jury.

        Aside from the question raised by conspiracy theorists about MK Ultra like brain washing, does anyone truly think the shooter is to blame? Or, do we just give lip service to that idea. Does anyone think that in spite of whatever negative influences may have come into play, that the shooter “freely” chose to commit murder?

        I guess these kind of considerations don’t matter as much, because the carnage is a prime opportunity for everyone to make political points by lashing out at those they do not agree with.

        Whatever happened to personal moral responsibility? Whatever happened to sin? Alas, one does not score political points by talking about such things.

    • 1) You’re conflating race (a relatively static and socially determined category) with political orientation (a “choice”).
      Being Arab or Arab-American is not a political point of view. Surprise: Arabs and Arab-Americans have extremely diverse political views.

      Right-wing anti-government libertarianism is, however.

      2) If his name was Ahmed, you could rightly point out that taking action against anyone assumed to be Arab or Muslim would be wrong (see #1). You could, however, argue that certain clerics’ incendiary rhetoric does a lot to instigate violence. Which is a much better comparison to what Cole is doing here.

      So going after a political ideology is NOT the same as indiscriminately going after an entire racial, religious or ethnic group who hold extremely varied political views. Going after the political ideologues (radical clerics or right-wing tv hosts/ex-half-term governors) who instigate violence is completely valid.

      Sarah palin, glenn beck, and sharon angle are just the radical clerics of the american right.

      • I am a bit surprised at the use of the term “libertarian” here. Palin supporters are not quite the same as those who admire Ron Paul.
        The libertarians at Lew Rockwell are not pro war or the slightest bit anti Muslim. Many of them actually admire aspects of some Muslim societies such as Oman and the UAE states which have small government. They do not dumbly defend American exceptionalism, dismissing it as the narcissic excuse that it is. They are fully aware that no-one particularly appreciates being invaded. They particularly detest the likes of Palin – or anyone who cheaply exploits bigotry in any shape or form for the service of the corporate state “snouts at the trough”. That – and not liberalism – is their absolute bete noire.
        For them, the expressions neoconservative and neoliberal are basically one and the same thing. The burgeoning state develops it’s own dynamic irrespective of ideology. Personally I tend to agree. How much of a state you should have is however always going to be open to question.
        However much it gets corrupted and twisted in the minds of the ignorant, American suspicion of the state is essentially a healthy thing. Pity so many don’t check their facts.

        • You mean the same Ron Paul that sent out racist newsletters for years and then gave about 4 different contradictory explanations for them?

          And the same Ron Paul that gladly accepted campaign donations from KKK leader David Duke? And then posed for pictures with him?

          The connection between libertarianism and the militia movement is thoroughly documented…good try though.

  2. “He is said to have used marijuana, which would be consistent with a form of anti-government, right-wing Libertarianism”

    C’mon, really? This shouldn’t even be a political indicator but in light of the leftist media outlet Firedoglake and Jane Hamsher’s “Just Say Now” legalization campaign (decided as a topic but their readers) and the fact that they may have helped in the recent medical legalization bill in Arizona can anyone really say that using Marijuana is a libertarian right thing?

  3. Come on, Juan. Can’t we agree that violence is wrong without resorting to below the belt attacks? Pot smoking means he was a libertarian? Seriously?

    • I took the point to be that Juan was pre-emptively responding to those on the Right who would say that, because Loughner was a pot-smoker, he was therefore a liberal. Smoking pot is only weakly correlated to political orientation, as opposed to the other indicators presented (gun control support, position on amending the Fourteenth, and so on).

  4. The only surprise for me is that this isn’t happening more often. Having lived in the south for many years, I’ve heard this kind of eliminationist rhetoric on an almost daily basis from co-workers and acquaintances. What we’re seeing today, especially from the likes of Glen Beck, are tools that televangelists have employed for ages to fleece the flock, now being turned to other purposes.

    The problem is that sooner or later you have to back up all the talk. The right has not been able to get it’s way in all things even when they controlled the White House and Congress during six of GW Bush’s eight years as President. And they’re not going to get all they want now, either.

    The question is, how long will this last and how far will the violence go? This remains to be seen.

    • This doesn’t happen more often because its the shooter and not the rhetoric.

      • Oh, really? That’s not what a Republican senator says:

        A senior Republican senator, speaking anonymously in order to freely discuss the tragedy, told POLITICO that the Giffords shooting should be taken as a “cautionary tale” by Republicans.
        “There is a need for some reflection here – what is too far now?” said the senator. “What was too far when Oklahoma City happened is accepted now. There’s been a desensitizing. These town halls and cable TV and talk radio, everybody’s trying to outdo each other.”

        Note that the senator didn’t dare openly criticize the GOP leadership or its base. Can you imagine Mary Landrieu or Ben Nelson being too afraid the Democratic leadership or its base? Of course not — any Democrat who wants to bash other Democrats is given a warm welcome at every major radio and TV network and at most papers as well, and can do so knowing they won’t suffer so much as a hand-slap. Yet no Republican dares to openly backtalk his or her party heads or base voters. They know what would happen to them would not be pretty.

  5. Thucydides, describing what happened when the Hellenes’ Great War came home from the battlefields:

    “Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defence. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head, to divine a plot a still shrewder; but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries.”

    History of the Peloponnesian War, Book III, 3.82-[4]

  6. It’s the same here in Sweden. We had a case of serial shootings in the south of Sweden over the course of a couple of years, targeting immigrants in general, and suspected Muslims in particular.

    When the suspected shooter, a white loner with right wing inclinations, was apprehended last year the media and politicians made no effort of describing him as a terrorist, or his deeds as terrorism.

    Could you imagine the media frenzy if the shooter had been of Iranian or Iraqi heritage, targeting white “Swedes”?

    (This case is eerily reminiscent of another set of shootings targeting immigrants in the early 90’s, performed by a right wing nut dubbed by the media as “Lasermannen”, or “The Laser Man” due to his use of a weapon equipped with a laser sight. He has never been described as a terrorist either.)

  7. I agree with your condemnation of violent and racial rhetoric, but it seems premature to pronounce on exactly what motivated Jared Lee Loughner. In the next few days there is going to be a whole lot of spin based on every flimsy premise imaginable, I imagine. Best to stay out of it and wait for a thorough investigation including I hope a psych evaluation.

    Right now, I am more concerned with questions (you raised) of: how did an obviously mentally unstable individual legally get hold of an automatic weapon?

  8. What a comfortable position you occupy. You cast stones at those on the right because a loon went off the reservation. Today’s events are tragic and you use them as cover for your crazy agenda. No one on the right (Murcochs stable included) has ever incited violence, they simply point out the destruction of the country and the suffering it’s causing. When left wing loons take over the discovery channel you have nothing to say. Politics is an ugly business and the lefts destruction of the country is obvious and intentional so stop whining about loons and wake up. This country had the largest fastest ascension to greatness ever and it wasn’t because of big government.

    • I am glad that Juan did not see it necessary to try to address your ideological point of view. Your version of recent history implies that you look through very distorted lenses.

    • Just two quick examples:

      @P Dina, “No one on the right (Murcochs [sic] stable included) has ever incited violence, they simply point out the destruction of the country and the suffering it’s causing.”

      Two quick examples of the right inciting violence:

      “I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore…I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it,…” — Glenn Beck

      “{I}f this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.” – Sharron Angle

      • “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous…” – U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann, Tea Party anointed Republican, Minnesota’s 6th District,

        • in india these people would be called right-wing christian fundamentalists. the difference between india and your country is that we have evry stripe of crackpot from extreme right religious loonies to extreme left maoists. sort of balances things out.

    • America was a racist corporate whorehouse until FDR and the New Deal. Its greatness lasted from his inauguration until the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Most of the current level of American hourly wages is due to growth in that period; they have fallen since. Most of our national debt was created by the arms buildup Reagan began and which never ended. Most of our private debt was created by the Reagan ideology that greed is next to Godliness, three giant financial bubbles that collapsed because Democrats were too intimidated by free-market ideology to defend the regulations imposed after the ’29 crash.

      And if things are as you say, sir, then why have the capitalist class gained such unprecedented and undemocratic wealth and power over America in the last 30 years? Isn’t the Left the enemy of wealth and the Right its friend?

    • He’s not “casting stones at the right.” He’s pointing out that over-the-top, incendiary rhetoric has consequences.

      You know, rhetoric like “destruction of the country,” which you use twice in one paragraph. What seems “obvious” to you seems detached from reality to me, but regardless surely there must be some means of discussing it that actually encourages democratic deliberation rather than undermines it.

    • Yeah, big government never helped us out. Because before we were the powerhouse country beginning and after WW2, FDR made a conscious effort to rid the country of large federal spending, social welfare programs, federal works in states and the armed forces, instead relying on local militia (oh, wait….)

  9. What has been taking place in the US for some years now appears to be coming to a head via many outlets. ‘US democracy’, at one time the standard throughout the world for all to follow, has now taken on the aspect of ‘Rednecks United’! The world is watching you and if its the case that you don’t ‘give a toss’ for what others think of you anyway, then so be it. As the saying goes, ‘Yippee Kay Ay Mother F****r’! Come on now…grow with the rest of the world and stop being that spoilt bully kid.

    • The US is a divided country. If you feel that your country is pure feel free to throw the first stone. The truth is that politics is getting pretty frothy everywhere.

      So where do you live where everyone loves everyone and there is no prejudice or haters. ?

      • Presumably someplace that doesn’t have 4000 nuclear weapons with which to impose its madness on the rest of the world.

    • America has veered off course for the last 30 years,they became delusional and conservative when President Carter laid out his “Great Malaise” speech.The truth in that history lesson/public rebuke questioning our values and greed was too much reality for the nation.We picked a second rate TV cowboy and corporate talking head who told us pretty lies while raping the economy,eliminating any academic funding,and a general dumbing down of the voters into “Sheeple”.It will take more than a few years to remedy the situation,but we are trying.Maybe this Gibbons shooting will snap the population back into reality.

  10. The Republican Party has given succor to the Tea Party haters as a means of regaining political power, of course. But what is really sad is how much of the incendiary, inflammatory rhetoric is put out there as part of a business model to improve ratings by pandering to the basest instincts. To Fox and its hosts, racism and hatred are just key components of their business strategy.

    These people were maimed and killed so someone could make a buck.

  11. Thoughtfully written. Please go back in and edit; the congresswoman’s name is spelled with an S, Giffords.

  12. As the Wikileaks cables have confirmed the US government is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world and its behavior in many instances puts Al Capone to shame. Its response to the “terrorist threat” is nothing more than a program of mass murder. Obama claims the right to kill anybody anywhere (even Americans) who is deemed a terrorist threat”

    When the populace sees its government operating as an international gangster why should we be surprised that some on the lunatic fringe decide to “take out” their perceived enemies as the CIA is doing in Pakistan?

  13. “(Jared Lee Loughner)was clearly mentally unstable.” This is an erroneous,regrettable comment coming from the usually level headed,scholarly professor Cole. If he uses “mentally unstable” as a metaphor he should indicate it clearly.If he uses it as a medical entity, as a Mental Illness, I would challenge him to define, describe it.
    The implications are profound: If the perpetrator is ruled as “mentally ill” his action is nothing but a symptom, a product of his illness, having nothing to do with the real world.

    • I suspect that most people who commit violent crime are a bit (or more than a bit) different mentally from the great number of people who do not. If claimed Mental Illness were relevant to crime (e.g., an exoneration), the jails would empty. A good thing?

      But the epithet “Mental Illness” is thrown around too easily. Perhaps all those folks that the USA actually calls terrorist (and not just the people who fit various reasonable definitions of terrorist) are as aptly labelable as “Mentally Ill”. But if we do not use that label with Arab, Muslim, Columbian, Basque terrorists, then we (and Prof. Cole among us) should not use it with “White Terrorists.”

      • “different mentally”…? v “normal mentality”?
        The only worthwhile distinction to consider resides on the power to enforce one or the other (you can end up in a mental hospital if you got the wrong mentality e.g. Ezra Pound). Nonenforceable distinctions are just juvenile rhetoric.

      • Research has pretty consistently showed that terrorists, of whatever ideological persuasian, are mentally ill at about the same rate as the general population.

    • Considering his youtube videos he might be a paranoid schizophrenic.

      : If the perpetrator is ruled as “mentally ill” his action is nothing but a symptom, a product of his illness, having nothing to do with the real world.

      How do you get to this “nothing” absolutes?

      Mentally unstable individuals are very vulnerable in a culture of irrational hate and hysteria.

      • 1-How do you know he/she “hears voices”?
        2- How do you know whether the person tells you the truth?
        3- “Hearing” your own voice or talking to yourself (hopefully in silence) is something we all do all the time.

  14. Go ahead and spin lies. This has NOTHING to do with the Right wing, or Palin’s PAC poster that was posted in March of last year. You are a liberal nut job socialist bent on taking away ALL Freedoms from every day Americans. Please do us all a favor and move to China where the agree with your socialist nut job rhetoric, and love to lie and spread fear through propaganda.

    • Move to China? What planet do you live on? Washington DC has been in ecstatic economic coitus with Beijing for decades now. Hello? Don’t you understand that Elite Republicans & Democrats look to China as our exemplar for the perfect recipe of Totalitarianism & Capitalism? Hello? Think Walmart.

    • Jacques Arquette says:
      > You are a liberal nut job socialist bent on taking away ALL Freedoms from every day Americans.

      Haha, do you seriously believe that Juan Cole is “bent on taking away all freedoms”? And you have the chutzpah to call HIM a nut? Wow. On what do you base that? Look in the mirror if you want to see a nut.

    • Wow. You espouse the philosophies of Beck and Limbaugh nearly word for word and you think Professor Cole is the one spinning lies and propaganda? That’s hilarious! Stay classy, Jacques.

  15. Whether Sara Palin or the extreme right are directly responsible for the murders carried out by Jared Lee Loughner, one thing is certain that the United States political scene has become very polarised during the past few years. The language used by US politicians and commentators is no longer the discourse of civilized people rationally debating an issue, but the charged polemics of deadly enemies and religious fanatics demonizing their opponents.

    Only two or three days prior to this dastardly act, when a fanatical gunman killed Salman Taseer, the moderate governor of the Punjab, in Pakistan for the crime of speaking against the blasphemy law, that murder was rightly criticized as a sign of sickness at the heart of the Pakistani society. Many Americans would not like to recognise an analogy between that act and the attempted murder of a moderate US Congresswoman, but some people outside the United States see the ready availability of firearms, the growth of the military-industrial complex and the philosophy of “full-spectrum dominance” as signs of a sickness at the heart of American society.

    It is time for Americans to return to traditional civilities in their political and religious discourse and also to move away from too much reliance on guns and on a military-dominated foreign policy. History has shown that militarized societies have not only posed a threat to their adversaries, but ultimately to themselves, because violence breeds violence and has a corrosive effect on the society that condones it. This trend of political violence must be stopped before we see a repeat of the 1960s and greater tragedies to come.

    • Many Americans would not like to recognise an analogy between that act and the attempted murder of a moderate US Congresswoman, but some people outside the United States see the ready availability of firearms, the growth of the military-industrial complex and the philosophy of “full-spectrum dominance” as signs of a sickness at the heart of American society.

      I actually see the obsession with firearms as being a greater problem than the availability of them. Other countries, even those some that aren’t war zones, have a larger proportion of the population as gun owners they just don’t seem to be as enthusiastic about them.

    • The Taseer assassination was a lot more scary, owing to the mobs massing in support of the assassin. At least the US hasn’t quite come to that yet.

  16. As to what’s loose in the world, who knows? Mix guns and tribalism and beer-muscled idiocy and what do you get?

    Here’s a link that may still work to a cartoon published as part of a “weekly best-caption contest” by a regular on RedStates, a nice window into the id — link to tobytoons.com

    I guess the “target” is supposed to be of John Boehner, maybe? Bear in mind that this is not some left-wing imagery, but a pic put up (and taken down, in some kind of reaction to the AZ shootings) by folks who think a ‘scope sight picture targeting politicians IS IN NO WAY ANY KIND OF INCITEMENT TO MURDER THEM, wink wink.

    Humans, meet death wish.

  17. The surprise is that people are surprised: this kind of action is the cost America has to pay for it’s (so-called) Free Speech.

    If you take the time to read the style of language used by other Not-So-Free societies (like in Japan where I lived for 18 years), you find that there is far less metaphorical violence than in Free-Speech America.

    Problems arise because there are a fairly large segment of any population that is considered sane but has trouble distinguishing metaphorical from literal. Thus even though those who use violent language in ways they consider metaphorical, there are others who take those same words as literal.

    The phenomenon is demonstrated time and time again in the Western Gunfight where the highly skilled gunfighter uses words to generate anger and frustration on the part of the less highly skilled who then draws first and is gunned down while the shooter walks free as, after all, the other guy “drew first” (see Shane and The Magnificent Seven).

    Thus Palin and other users of this linguistic device will walk free and condolences will be forthcoming from all.

    Note: I live in Arizona which has long been an open carry state, and has recently become an open concealed-weapon state along with some others. IMO you take your chances if you’re not armed.

  18. How strange. Perpetrators of such shocking violence are described as ‘mentally unstable’or ‘unbalanced people’ hooked on to marijuana and drugs etc while somebody with a Muslim name is immediately accused as a member of Al Qaida or an international terrorist who is out to destroy America just because a small bomb that did not not even explode is found in a car.Isn’t this immature ignorance based on a sense of sickening bias? So white murderers are ‘mentally unstable’ and ‘unbalanced’ while people with Muslim names who commit the same violence are evil ,dark forces of this world. Its about time citizens of the US took a note of this.

    • I agree, there are indeed dark forces at work here. I understand there were accomplices with the shooter; look for associations with the militia movement. This was an act of political terrorism. BTW, have a look at this…www.legitgov.org/SarahPac-Called-Ariz-Congresswoman-be-Targeted

  19. Dear Professor:

    Your piece on the sad and disgraceful shooting in Tucson was moving and made me say “ENOUGH”, “ENOUGH” to the gun lobby in the U.S. I have been a vocal opponent of our culture of violence and far too liberal gun laws. It is time for rational people in this country to say “ENOUGH” and unite to change this disastrous situation.

    I am also a vocal opponent of the people who spout this vitriol, i.e. Glen Beck, Rushbo, et. al. I am not sure what can be done about them but we can do something about the gun laws. What is the difference of this rhetoric of violence heard from these far right spokespersons from that heard in some Madras as in the Middle East. What is the difference between this white, American gunman and the suicide bombers in Pakistan, Afghanistan or other countries? WHY DOES THE AMERICAN MSM CALL THIS WHAT IT IS, TERRORISM.

    We, the people, need to rise up and demand a change to this culture of violence and the gun laws that support it.

    • The gun lobby is already saying that this unfortunate event just means that MORE Americans need to be armed, that if only one person in the crowd had had a gun, the tragedy could have been stopped sooner.

      I personally feel this is unserious; most reasonable people who are decent shots would be afraid to try to hit one specific person in the middle of a crowd of innocents. They might be afraid that if they shot and missed, the gunman would immediately turn on THEM. And if you did have one or more vigilantes returning fire – well, who would YOU shoot at? What if you accidently targeted one of the rescuers, instead of the perpetrator?

      Against a gunman who’s just out there to kill or maim as many people as possible and if need be, die trying, a regular Joe with a pistol hasn’t got much of a chance. Regular Joe doesn’t want to hurt the innocent. Regular Joe wants to get back to the spouse and kids. Regular Joe needs to AIM. And that takes too much time.

      The gun lobby appeals to would-be Rambos and paranoids. Time for saner citizens to put some work into breaking its power.

  20. I happen to agree with your opinions in your blogs and appreciate your taking the time to share your information about US/Asia politics. But, I have to say that I was very surprised by this line today: He is said to have used marijuana, which would be consistent with a form of anti-government, right-wing Libertarianism. You obviously have not had any contact with most left-wing cannabis consumers, who could care less about the government and just want their plant legal for “rights” you always write about. I really don’t believe that everyone who uses marijuana, especially for medical purposes, is an anti-government, right-wing libertarian. This may be one of the most ignorant comments that I have read in your blog and it is very much aligned more with Tea Party mentality. All I can say, much like the SNL Seth Meyer skit, is “Really, Juan, Really?”

    • Have you nev er met a young Libertarian? There are left Libertarians and Right libertarians. Many young business people, lawyers whatever smoke pot and have Rightist beliefs. I am surprised you have not met one. This is as silly as the 60’s, when people thought that taking drugs would lead to political enlightenment. Not so then, not so now

  21. You have two pictorial references, both of which refer to the subject as Ms “Giffords” with an “s,” and throughout your post you refer to her as Ms “Gifford” without the “s.” Careless at best, bordering on disrespectful.

    “I don’t think we can take too seriously the list of books he said he liked, as a guide to his political thinking.”

    You then give a couple of reasons for your conclusion, not including that the list does not fit the picture you are trying to paint of him.

    I usually have a huge degree of respect for your writing, but this knee jerk reaction to cry “terrorist” is not the kind of reasoned thinking I am accustomed to seeing here.

    • There is no accounting for how the eye sees things; my mind missed the ‘s’ despite doing a lot of research all evening, reading Lexis interviews, etc., etc. That is why newspapers have copy-editors. Bloggers do not, so these things happen.

      I gave evidence of his objection to ‘the second constitution’ and his vehemence that the Federal government should have no role in state education.

      The reading list seems to me a red herring.

  22. Interesting how quickly the Wrongs (I refuse to call them “Right” on any score) fire off their warnings to the rest of us not to rush to judgment on why this guy (and maybe accomplice, and who knows what else) shot up the joint. So many noises, so quickly, in so many places I’ve looked, comments to the NY Times articles, LA Times, Yahoo!, etc., you get the same thing from “the other side.” Stuff like claims that the shooter was a demented liberal looney-toon motivated by his reading of Marx. And every flavor of conspiratorialist nonsense (or who knows, maybe it IS all “government Mind control” to keep us from going back on the Gold Standard and to pollute our precious bodily fluids… After all, even The Government has just come out out with a determination that there’s TOO MUCH FLUORIDE IN OUR WATER AND DIET, so you see, it’s all part of the same big One World Government Thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

    Oh, who gives a rat’s ass anymore? It’s to the point that our weaponry and machinations have so far outstripped our capacity to manage complexity, and our inherent outrage generators, down there in the limbic systems in our brains, are only capable of generating outrage against some randomly defined, cognitively-dissonant-and-impaired, notion of “the other…”

  23. Lots of interesting comments.Nevertheless let’s not forget that violence has always been the chief agenda of US politics whether it be international or local.Gun culture is a fairly important part of history and today it is the chief decider of American politics. In int. politics US policy has always been:’I can shoot you but you dare not even think of shooting me’.It is this policy of the US government that has created hatred among the peoples of the world against the US government although US public is not really disliked.The illegal invasion and destruction of a once powerful ancient civilization like Iraq,the unnecessary bombing and destruction of a people in Afghanistan with the purpose of ‘fighting terrorism’ is both futile and wrong.In fact this is terrorism. No wonder so many young people have risen up seeking revenge against US bullying tactics and atrocities committed by Nato troops. Was Bush ‘mentally unstable’ and is Obama with his drone agenda ‘mentally imbalanced’?Don’t think so. Calculative cold blooded killers? Maybe.
    Sept 11 triggered it off they say.But isn’t ten years of bombing not enough? How many more are you going to kill.Also a very important point. Sept 11’s ‘who dunnit’ is still to be proved. So is this all really worth it?

  24. The Coalition To Stop Gun Violence has what they call the Insurrectionism Timeline, a sourced and linked list of right wing incitement to violence some of the results.

    link to csgv.org

    Andy Kern

    • Yup. Compare the dozens of examples of right-wing-fomented hate attacks, many resulting in deaths, over the last two and a half years, to the one (1) example of lefty naughtiness the righty blogs (and their good friend and fellow GOP/Media Complex tool Matt Bai) have been waving about as Proof That Lefties Do This Sort Of Thing Too (So Quit Picking On Us): an obscure former Giffords campaign worker and Daily Kos diarist who wrote a diary washing his hands of Giffords after she voted against Nancy Pelosi to lead the House Democrats, only to pull it down yesterday after hearing she’d been shot.

      This is beyond mere “false equivalence”. It’s in a whole different universe of wrongness.

  25. I recommend Peter Merkel’s Political violence Under the Swastika. Shortly after the coup the constitutional coup that handed power to the Nazis, they asked early members to write brief political autobiographies. Merkel analyzed these autobiographies thematically.

    The analysis shows the high level of mental disturbance, of plainly irrational fear, much that seems fully paranoid, and a pronounced propensity to violence. According to the accounts of these early Nazis, the trauma of war was the most important source for their fear and violence.

    In today’s context, the conclusion, not germane for Merkel, is that extreme right-wing movements appeal to these scared, angry men. “Appeal’ in a double sense. The messages of hate and violence strike a chord more strongly with them than with others. And those who craft these messages in the knowledge that these men exist in substantial numbers in their audience must reckon with that response.

    Disturbed and motivated extreme right-winger are not identical, but they are not mutually exclusive. They are historically associated. Self-righteous denials of identity ring hollow. Those who want to distance themselves from this component of their movement must take active political and organizational steps to silence the appeal to these men and exclude them from their organizations.

  26. If a Muslim organisation put a map on the web with crosshairs on 20 politicians, then one got shot, where would the moslem who posted the map be sitting right now? Just asking.

    we all remembered 911 the whole moslems on the planet got blamed for the 911 attack.

    but hey its American darling Sarah Palin, she gets a pass she is free to say and do whatever she wants.

    I guess this right-wing terrorist took Sarah Palin’s advice to heart to not retreat but reload.

  27. Throughout this country we need to emphasize law and order and decency. We need tolerance and clarity for opposing views. The political idealism in this country is meant for progress toward enlightenment, not a filthy sinking away into rancor and violence. Thank you, Juan, for your consistent work to inform and lead a fruitful exchange.

  28. Incitement is incitement, although the context can vary. If someone yells fire in a crowded theatre, you have a problem. If the general population is incited with the consistency it has been, it’d be unlikely someone somewhere would not pop. As one poster said, there is a significant population who cannot differentiate between what is said metaphorically and what is meant literally.

    The surprise is that it has not happened earlier. I have had to pay off a couple bets, where I had money on one of these guys having taken a shot at Obama within a year of his election.

    That this happened in AZ speaks to the mood out there. There’s a state senator there who spoke of how their water problem was due to all those trees in the mountains that were soaking it it all up: get rid of trees, solve water problem. Maybe there’s something in their water. But still, at my own local sporting goods superstore in pinko college town, they could not keep up with demand for small caliber ammo in the run-up to O’s election and the months thereafter.

    None of this is a surprise. It will be telling how our putative leadership reacts. After all, as Boehner said, “she was one of us…(ie, an elite. It’d be another thing to kill a Little Person, after all). If this event becomes accepted as some sort of aberration, it will not bode well. We need to see the (true) reaction of the media and politicians, in term of actions versus eyewash, over the next few weeks/months.

  29. Mr. Cole,

    Since you use the Palin bullseye graphic as proof of right wing hate perpetuating yesterday’s tragedy, what say you about this graphic from the rabidly liberal Daily Kos?

    link to hillbuzz.files.wordpress.com

    Sucks to be wrong, doesn’t it?

    • Of course the article itself does not contain a bullseye, just the word, buried in a lengthy discussion by Democratic supporters about choices in the 2008 Democratic primaries. I don’t think Democrats yelling at Democrats about primaries would raise much visceral hate and anger.

      link to dailykos.com

    • Um, there’s just a wee bit of a difference between a target and cross-hairs, don’t you think? After all the word target has multiple meanings, both as noun and verb (check any dictionary, cf. onelook.com), whereas cross-hairs has one meaning only. After all, can you imagine any business — especially retail — calling itself “Cross-Hairs?!”

      • Maybe Clarence Thomas has already registered, copyrighted and trademarked the phrase as a business alias, in case he somehow needed to find post-sinecure employment…

        Eeeeeewww, where did THAT come from?

    • So then when any single Democrat out of a hundred million says anything provocative, that’s morally equivalent to GOP leading presidential contender Palin doing it, or acknowledged GOP leader Rush Limbaugh or Tea Party hero Glenn Beck doing it?

      Where were you during the Bush years when one major right-wing radio host after another called for opponents of the war to be killed or imprisoned? How did you feel about that?

      How about any number of lesser right-wing superstars calling Islam a “religion of evil”, or calling for America to conquer the Islamic world? Or calling FDR a Communist or Lincoln a tyrant(as Ron Paul did)?

  30. It’s ironic that very soon after this tragedy, Democrats are automatically to blame for this. All these blogs and articles I’ve read on various news sites; the right wing is out front painting Democrats and liberals as the culprits for the shooting. It’s just been my observation. I go to the Fox News sites too and read the comments by people. I’m not just reading this from the left. We like to brag about how American politics isn’t like that in the Middle East, where political assasination is all too common, sadly. I think we need to re-evaluate that school of thought, because lawmakers in THIS country are being targeted by extremists. I am not a political scholar, just an average woman who follows the news. I spend a lot of time watching and listening to what people say, and right now, I have never felt so frightened for my safety and others who espouse Democratic ideals. It’s open season on us and no one is objecting to it.

  31. Regardlessof Loughner’s viewpoints and mental health, Palin and others who spread outrageous, extreme, and inflammatory attitudes help to create an environment that leads to events like this.

    If you doubt that, imagine what Limbaugh, Hannity, and Beck would say if Howard Dean put crosshairs on a conservative congressman who was then shot and critically injured. I guarantee that they would not be picking nits about how liberal the shooter was.

  32. “He is said to have used marijuana, which would be consistent with a form of anti-government, right-wing Libertarianism. You obviously have not had any contact with most left-wing cannabis consumers, who could care less about the government and just want their plant legal for “rights” you always write about. I really don’t believe that everyone who uses marijuana, especially for medical purposes, is an anti-government, right-wing libertarian.”

    THANK YOU WILLY!! I agree.

    I normally agree with you Dr. Cole but the marijuana connection was just silly and has nothing to do with this violent event. I am a medical marijuana user with 11 spinal fractures and to even suggest that marijuana use is consistent with anti government, libertarians or any one party is just wrong. You really need to do your research on cannabis.
    The blame should be placed on the Conservatives who promote violence lets not dilute the truth with nonsense!

    • The context of the statement was that Right blogosphere was saying it signalled leftism

  33. Jesus Christ, I think we have a lot of stoned readers here, who obviously are incapable of understanding the point that Cole was, from the beginning trying to make, and which he has reiterated to every single one who has misinterpreted hime

    The context of the statement was that Right blogosphere was saying it [pot-smoking] signalled leftism.

    His point was NEVER that pot-smoking signalled right-wing libertarianism, only that it might signal something other than leftism – in other words, that it really signals nothing at all politically.

    Put down your bongs and learn to think.

    • You don’t have to be rude. His statement was not clear. Maybe you should lose the ego and learn to think before insulting the regular readers with your condescending attempt at wit.

  34. Gee whiz, Professor Cole, methinks a number of your readers have been hitting the bong a little too much. Your simple bit of logic is way too deep for them to comprehend, man.

    “Some Leftwingers smoke pot” does not prove that all potsmokers are leftwing.

    Nor does
    “Some Rightwingers smoke pot” prove that all potsmokers are rightwing libertarian.

  35. Juan,

    I don’t know how many people remember this, but in March 2010, then House Minority Leader John Boehner said of Rep Steve Driehaus — Driehaus’ district is adjacent to Boehner’s — ““Take [Rep.] Steve Driehaus, for example,” he says. “He may be a dead man. He can’t go home to the west side of Cincinnati.” This was in response to Driehaus’ lack of support for Stupak’s anti-choice legislation.

    Driehaus later confronted Boehner on the floor of the House. “I told him it was inexcusable,” Driehaus said. “It doesn’t really matter the way you meant it, nor the way I accept it. It’s how the least sane person in my district accepts it.”

    I don’t think a better statement could be made regarding the right’s vitriol.

  36. The context of the statement was that Right blogosphere was saying it signalled leftism…

    So they consider libertarians leftist? The ones I know lean more toward conservationism. I guess that was the point you were making. Got it. Sorry it was confusing and we medical marijuana advocates can be a bit sensitive. :)

    • Libertarians seem to be very diverse. I have some Libertarian tendencies as a lot of the actual ideas make sense, but talking to different Libertarians I would have to conclude it is a very wide tent including rightwing anarchist survivalists, as well as liberal treehugging hippies. Pretty bizarre mix. I am waiting to see if they get their act together. They could become a Third Party if they find some sort of center. Right now they seem to be drifting to the far right, a lot of money is going into steering them in that direction. American political parties are notoriously cheap, I suspect Third Parties are even cheaper…

      • I kind of have to opine that “libertarian” is the most opaque kind of catch-all, a convenient dumping ground for a totally inconsistent and anti-homogeneous bunch of would-be leaders all looking to be followed. Based on the ones I have known and argued with.

        Here’s a graphic take on the question “Just who and what is a libertarian?”–
        link to leftycartoons.com

        Good luck herding that bunch of cats…

    • I should probably qualify that. Some of the Libertarian paring down ideas and reforms make sense, as you need to have an efficient government that has the right economic incentives for people to be productive and to clear the job market. I am not an anarchist. I see no reason that we should practice the economics of a developing country as we are not without resources and we have a well developed infrastructure that is valuable to businesses, which we should use to our advantage.

      I studied politics in Africa and the AIDS villages in China so I am pretty leery of the factors that go into extreme political dysfunction. I am well aware of the benefits of having a K-12 education system, which includes science education. I feel we could even expand the curriculum to include logic and more math literacy. But that’s just me… I feel that if our workers are going to be expensive (and they are already expensive, having safety and environmental regulations and health care for older Americans is pricy), then we should probably also be well educated to make up for it. So companies have an incentive to invest here long term.

      Where I agree with the Libertarians is that I am not sure if everyone deserves unlimited support for industries that are becoming obsolete because they do not want to update their skills. I do not believe in industry wide welfare. I think if the dependency rate gets too high we may not be able to reverse it. I do not think we are in an immediate crisis, but we could get there over time if we do not make small changes now. Expanding economic polarity however is really not helping things, the Republicans have left the world of sound economics…

      Lately I am leaning towards the Democrats, I don’t agree with every faction in their party, but they seem to be gaining the majority of the people who want to fix things. So it seems to be where the debate is currently.

  37. Juan should stick to criticism of Israel’s politics and US alliance with it–which 20% of the Tea Party agree with him about!

    Cole can quote no anti-Hispanic sentiment from Laughner though he’s in the middle of the hotbed of the dispute.

    If anything, Loughner’s writings in sum indicate he leans to an idiosyncratic ultra-personalized anarchism which has little chance of coexistence with small government authoritarian rightism.

  38. The shooter is a terrorist. This was the latest terror attack on US soil. If he was a Muslim, even a lone, unstable Muslim, this certainly would have been called that.

  39. Imagine if the shooter was a Muslim and it was found that an Imam who is known for “radical” speech has put up a map of US with cross-hairs and congresswoman’s name next to one of them ….

    • We don’t have to imagine it, we just have to google “Anwar al-Awlaki” to see what the response would be.

    • Aren’t those arguments AGAINST the Terrorist label rather than for? ‘Terrorist’ is an overused term – to the point now it realistically means little more than ‘other’.
      Better to call a spade a spade – it was murder – hes a murderer.

      • The point is to highlight the lack of consistency in the use of emotive terms such as “terrorist”.

  40. In their press release, the Tea Party couldn’t even wait a paragraph between offering condolences and saying that they will be unfairly blamed. Even their condolences, which went something like “though Giffords is a liberal, this is a sad day” barely passes for sincere.

    We need to be mindful to avoid whitewashing this tragedy. Though it is painful and uncomfortable to draw these distinctions, Loughner would not have been motivated to kill Giffords were it not for conservative vitriol. He did not after all, shoot up a strip mall or engage in random shootings because he’s a psychotic violent man. It was a political targeting, and the national violent vitriol of the Far Right is fair game for criticism.

  41. A necessary step before wholesale confinement and murder of political opponents can proceed unimpeded is to gain a measure of public acceptance. Thus, before red-haired people can be exterminated, red-haired people must be demonized.

    Murdoch’s minions (Beck, Hannity and that other guy) have been doing this for years. Feeble-minded political wannabees such as S. Palin picked up on the popular talk and added their own spin (cross-hairs).

    This was clearly a hate crime, and perhaps it meets the legal standard for civil action, i.e. lawsuits by the families of the victims that might, just might, bypass the FCC and first amendment issues and go directly after the root cause, i.r. Murdoch’s finances.s

  42. Republicans? Nah, Teapublicans. Behavior, including verbal behavior, has consequences. Talk murder long enough and loud enough and you get murder. Behavior is truth, including verbal behavior.

  43. I agree with much of what you say; I consider myself a liberal. However, I do think it’s comparing apples to oranges to state that someone is a hypocrite for calling the events of 9/11/01 terrorism and this not. The difference is, there is a significant, identifiable group (albeit the minority) of Muslim leaders specifically calling for acts of extreme violence against non-believers; the worst that Palin, Beck, and their ilk can be accused of is creating an atmosphere that is conducive to this sort of violence. When Palin published her now-notorious crosshairs image, for instance, I don’t think any reasonable (read: sane and not utterly obtuse) person would conclude that she was literally recommending those politicians be shot. Was Loughner’s act terrorism? I’m undecided. It’s certainly not in the same bucket as a Muslim cleric telling some young Muslims to go blow some people up, and providing them with the bombs with which to do it.

    Yes, we all need to stop the violent rhetoric. Yes, Palin, Beck, and so on share a small portion of the responsibility for this event inasmuch as they contributed to a climate in which Loughner and his sort thought this was a righteous thing to do. But I’m concerned that going too far in comparing acts of extreme violence by sizable, organized groups to what appears at this point as plausibly an isolated incident will be counterproductive.

    • Don’t jump to conclusions that this guy was uninvolved with an extremist group. And, Loughner knew very well that what he was doing would be seen as terrorism; he complains that the Federal code definition is tautological. The Federal definition of terrorism is the deployment of violence against civilians for political purposes by a non-state actor. It doesn’t require a group.

      Extremist groups in the normal Muslim world are mostly tiny and fringe, as well, proportionally speaking. Occupied countries don’t count.

      But, my point was that disturbed loners who were Muslim who acted this way would certainly be labeled terrorists.

      • I don’t know whether Loughner is part of a group or not; I said it’s currently plausible (by the information generally available) that he isn’t. It’s also plausible that he is.

        However, even on a loner basis, I still think there’s a difference. A Muslim extremist working in isolation but using violence in the name of Allah is tapping in to an existing widespread (albeit unfair) anxiety about Muslims. It’s less clear to me that Loughner (if he really was working alone) was relying on anxieties about the group he belonged to as Abdulmutallab was. I suppose some people will be more concerned about young white conservative males as a result of Loughner’s act, but I would be surprised if it creates nearly as much increased anxiety against that group as Abdulmutallab’s act did towards Muslim men.

        Of course, part of this is a typical in-group/out-group double standard, but even so, I do think that Abdulmutallab deliberately leveraged that out-group anxiety, which contributes to characterizing his act as terrorism.

      • Thinking about this more, I think another important distinction is that this was a specific assassination attempt. Since I’m not aware of any such attempts by Muslim extremists, it’s hard to say how such an event would be depicted in the Fox News circuit. Joseph Stack’s flying his plane into an IRS building last year is a clearer analogy, and I did think that was terrorism (a word the media did generally try to avoid in that case).

        • The assassination of Rafic Hariri, the Prime Minister of Lebanon, has widely been condemned as an act of terrorism despite it’s singular target. Admittedly it took the form of a bomb that killed twenty other people, but then the Giffords attacker shot a number of other people as well.

          I’ve also seen the murder of Salman Taseer in Pakistan accurately described as terrorism. The definition being an act of violence against civilians committed for political objectives.

      • Homeland Security now says he may be tied to a right-wing anti-immigrant hate group. So the lone loonie thing may not hold up anyway.

    • But I’m concerned that going too far in comparing acts of extreme violence by sizable, organized groups to what appears at this point as plausibly an isolated incident will be counterproductive.

      So you think that maybe it’s counterproductive to call Timothy McVeigh a terrorist because he wasn’t in a heavily demonised group when he set up that bomb.

      It’s worth remembering that before the authorities picked him up there was a considerable amount of speculation that arabs/muslims were behind the Oklahoma bombing.

      • Differences:

        McVeigh was in the Michigan Militia, which all but disbanded shortly after the bombing. If it turns out that Loughner belonged to such a group, sure, that’s a mitigating factor.

        McVeigh killed over a hundred people. Loughner killed six (at this point).

        McVeigh was not apparently targeting anyone specific. Loughner was. Palin and her compatriots told him who the Evil Democrats were, and he tried to kill the closest one.

        If other information comes to light that Loughner was tied to an organization whose purpose it is to use threats of violence to get their way, I’ll change my opinion. Right now, though, in my opinion the evidence that Loughner qualifies as a terrorist is inconclusive.

        • Self-correction: Wikipedia says that the Feds later cleared the Michigan Militia of direct involvement with McVeigh. The other points, though, stand.

  44. Wow, what a comment thread. Might i add, that after: the illegal invasion of a country, the institution of torture and rendition, the advocation of shock & awe with extreme prejudice, imprisonment of hundreds of innocents, and a constant diet of violent rhetoric–the citizenry of the US is finally turning on itself. I seem to recall a nearly year-long seminar i took in grad school (decades ago) on the history of European fascism in the first half of the 20th century. Violent rhetoric, spewed by the leadership, inspired and motivated vicious gangs –composed of loners and the mentally imbalanced–to attack and kill a vast array of folks. That led to more and more citizens involved in the violence and the formalization of the gangs. Eventually they too had to turn on themselves.

    • And to add to that, all this occurred after a generation of rampant European imperialism on three continents – creating militarized populations ready to turn their jealousies on each other in 1914. The failure of that war in turn created the seedbed of fascism, essentially on the grounds that all the past killing and conquest and racism had not gone far enough.

      And why had so many European rulers and elites promoted imperialism and violent nationalism? To steer the voters away from Socialism.

    • Happily (?) the US is miles from resembling that scenario, but you add to it the long run up to the Spanish Civil War, where there was a long breakdown/political splintering to the point nobody was able to work with each other any longer. When you get a population that’s totally polarized and righteous about their positions you create a tender.

      The US is and will probably continue to be rich for the foreseeable future (or so the economists say), relatively speaking, and people with full stomachs don’t usually have the motivation to go get themselves killed just to make a political point. The question about what tips people to civil violence on a grand scale is another (very deep) topic, but it strikes me a slippery slope we don’t want to play on.

    • In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the people … only kind of kidding. If look at a population map of AZ you can see that except for Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff, there are huge areas with almost nobody. I live 60 miles from Phoenix in an unincorporated Census Designated Area. It’s a great place but you’re on your own. Makes for a certain kind of culture …

  45. LOL! Media propaganda is at play again.The fact is Jared Lee Loughner in his 22 years history has never been diagnosed with any mental problems or illness by any medical establisment.

    At first the media were pushing the story he had serious mental disorder and playing the insanity card.

    Now we are finding out that he planned this assination ahead. Now the media talking heads are now spinning the story and coming from a new angle that he is a delusional person?

    Wake Up Sheeple!!! Dont believe everything you read and see in the news media its all propaganda

    If we are truely honest with ourselves we will all see that the negative political atmosphere played a major role in Jared Lee Loughner actions. this was terrorism plain and simple.

    Jared Lee Loughner was sane and he knew what he was doing.

    We can spin the story all we want. The media talking heads and the sheeples who believe all the propaganda pumped out by the media outlets are the ones that are truely delusional.

  46. I will offer my thought one more time and say no more.

    The more that we apply the “terrorist/terrorism” label to events and perpetrators of violence, the more we raise a public outcry to “prevent terrorism” in this country. It is in the name of “preventing terrorism” that our government infringes on individual freedoms and places curbs on civil liberties. Does Professor Cole wish to create a society where we must provide identification, take off our shoes and submit to x-ray searches in order to attend a political rally? Perhaps even to enter a shopping mall?

    You think that can’t happen? Ten years ago I could not have imagined that I would submit to such a process in order to board an airplane. I do so now because that is our government’s response, its premise being that it will “prevent terrorism.”

    Let’s leave the alarmist rhetoric and fear mongering to politicians who feel the need to use it for the purpose of their own reelection.

    • “Let’s leave the alarmist rhetoric and fear mongering to politicians who feel the need to use it for the purpose of their own reelection.” Sounds good but I don’t this is the fundamental reason: instead it’s what’s been called “infantile dichotomies” which divides the complexities of actual life into two, completely separate, parts.

      From this comes the attempt to completely obliterate the part that (subconsciously) brings anxiety or dread, with the attention being focused on the obliterating the offending part, not on coming to some understanding as to why it offends.

  47. For years there have been stories like this coming from the Mexican side of the border with the USA, where various private factions employ crazy acts of violence to assert dominance. Is it relevant that this incident happened in the border land? Can we expect to see more incidents like this on the US side of the border?

  48. Have to give it this time to the Tucson area sheriff. Flipped to Fox News tonight just as Geraldo was giving the sheriff a hard time for “going beyond his duties” (or some such phrase) by talking beyond the crime and investigation itself. Fox is obviously very defensive about effectively getting put in the political crosshairs by Loughner. Were the perpetrator a leftist or Muslim, they would have had some law enforcement types on 24/7 talking about it.

  49. Jared Lee Loughner started out life as a liberal absent of psychosis. As his disease manifested itself and grew more severe he became a conservative. Need anyone say anymore?

  50. Remarkable. In trying to link Sarah Palin and her ilk to Jared Lee Loughner, Professor Cole has just proven how uncivil our political discourse has become. Go ahead and say it: Fox News and the Republican Party are responsible for these crimes. Give me a break. Blaming the “right” for this horrific event is like blaming the “left” for JFK’s murder (Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist, you know).

  51. “Rupert Murdoch’s stable of demagogues use code to whip up racial hatred and violence”.

    All of whom are $millions to do so. The saddest part of this whole episode is that there is such good money in pandering to Americans’ hates and resentments; Mrs. Giffords had her brains blown out because of Murdoch’s product differentiation/business model.

  52. The argument here is basically, we need civility, but we can’t because the other side are all fascists. Why is this not very convincing?

    • It’s not satisfying because two wrongs don’t make a right, at least that’s what my mother was always on about.

  53. We can always choose to treat others with respect, dignity and civility, despite their actions or use of hyperbolic and vitriolic speech. Their actions CANNOT change how I ACT. I must take responsibility for MYSELF first in order to change the world. Here is the best synopsis of this tragedy.

    link to thedailyshow.com

    Blame is not the answer. We must continue our lives in hope after tragedy. We must not shut down, attack others by stripping liberties of speech in order to prevent similar tragedies. It is impossible to stop random lunacy and tragedy. The only change we can affect is to not not despair and choose to love each other, respect each other, and to live our lives fully without fear.

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