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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Culture of Violence


Democratic State Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head at point blank range this morning at a public event in Tucson. Whatever motivated her deranged assassin, it is worth noting that Giffords has been targeted before: According to TPM her office was vandalized during the healthcare debates last year, and Republican opponents -- among them, most notoriously, Sarah Palin -- "targeted" her for elimination figuratively as well.

It deserves more mention than it has received so far that a package addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ignited this Friday at a U.S. Postal Service facility in Washington, as did two other parcels addressed to Democratic Maryland officials the day before.



However predictable I suppose it is, I must say I find astonishing nonetheless the speed with which so many right wing commentators have vaulted to the consensus that more outrageous than the violence, more outrageous than the calls to violence that are part of the context in which this violence has taken place, are any expressions of outrage or even worry at the violence or the violent rhetoric that has accompanied it by those struggling to make some sense out of these dreadful events. I would like to hope I will not be accused of premature judgment, unseemly opportunism, or facile conspiracy theory simply for proposing in the midst of this distress that incendiary calls to violence of the kind we have heard from so many Republicans from the 2008 Presidential campaign through the recent 2010 mid-terms, threats of "Second Amendment Remedies" and all, however figurative they may be meant to be, are clearly terribly inappropriate in the atmosphere of profound social dislocation of this Recession, especially accompanied as it has been by the capture of the GOP by its most extreme elements -- or for voicing the hope that these terrifying, tragic acts nudge people of both parties to reconsider the need for stricter regulation of private gun ownership in the United States as well as more rigorous scrutiny of domestic hate groups and militias that celebrate gun violence and circulate fantasies of armed insurrection. Just last April the relentlessly awful Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law a bill making Arizona the third state allowing people to carry a concealed weapon without requiring a permit.

8 comments:

jollyspaniard said...

I ocassionaly skim through the comments sections of Right wing blogs. Not sure why I do it, perhaps it's the same impulse that compels people to look at traffic accidents. One thing I spot on a regular basis is calls to violence and the airing of violent fantasies. Left wing politicians and journalists are the main targets in these screeds and they never are challenged by others. There's clearly something nasty festering. However a lot of people don't want that pointed out.

Martin said...

You know, the DLC put bull's eyes on a map in 2004, and titled it "Targeting Strategy". I know it's not as egregious, but Palin's map isn't a novel propaganda technique.

Dale Carrico said...

Leave it to the DLC...

Dale Carrico said...

Before you get tempted to a Jon Stewart false equivalence love fest -- you know, for kids -- read this and get a grip.

jollyspaniard said...

Interesting link but its nothing new and it doesn't even scratch the surface of all the death threats that are published on right wing sites.

Conspiracy Theories rooted in ultra nationalism and triumphalism have a nasty history. That history is just repeating itself. They need to be challenged they can't be allowed to disassociate themselves from these kinds of incidents which is what they're trying to do now.

Dale Carrico said...

I agree especially with your closing point. It's very important that we on the left keep pointing out the obvious -- it's nothing new that so many Republicans lie about their agenda priorities, that so many Republicans are hypocrites on culture issues, that so many Republicans say batshit crazy things about evolution, climate change, macroeconomics, safer sex, abortion, drug prohibition, capital punishment, that so many Republicans borrow and spend like there's no tomorrow and become deficit hawks only when it serves to justify ever greater hardship and vulnerability for majorities, and so on. It's all nothing new but it also is terrible and dangerous and crazy and it must be exposed as such -- however interminable and boring and depressing -- lest it never become a liability forcing Republicans into something more like sense.

Martin said...

Have you seen Glenn Beck fantasizing about killing Michael Moore?

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/bill-moyers-journal-rage-radio

Dale Carrico said...

I have seen him fantasizing about poisoning Nancy Pelosi...