An Anniversary in Civility

1 year ago a nutcase shot and killed 6 people and wounded a Congresswoman.

The Leftists at The Daily Kos 1/10/11: It’s understandable that the Tea Party is trying its best to deflect any blame for the massacre in Tucson and the attempted assassination of Gabby Giffords. And it is understandable if, in their desperation, they might be driven to ridiculous excuses and spin on the level of Sarah Palin’s “surveyor marks” excuse.

But I guess the heat is getting to the Tea Party, because they are really going off the deep end in their rhetroric. Consider Tea Party Patriots leader Mark Meckler, who had this to say:

Overwhelmed by criticism of the right over the Arizona shooting in recent days, Tea Party Patriots Mark Meckler can barely control his anger.

“To see the left exploit this for political advantage – some people have no conscience,” Meckler said over the phone. “It’s genuinely revolting…I think it sinks to the level of evil.”

Added Meckler: “if these scumbags want to play it politically, let it be on their conscience.”

Yikes. Talk about a “HULK SMASH!” outburst.

Only the Tea Party never had anything to do with it and it’s not like the Left cared. They saw an opportunity for a cheap political stunt, they took it.

The New York Post was able to contact Spencer Giffords as he headed to the hospital, asking him if Ms. Giffords had any enemies. From the Post:

“Yeah,” he told The Post. “The whole tea party.”

He added that politicians constantly faced danger.

“They always get threat[ened],” Gifford cried. “We don’t really have any information. The Police department was supposed to call us but they didn’t.”

Sixty-three-year-old James Eric Fuller, who was shot during last week’s shooting in Arizona and survived, was arrested following a town-hall meeting yesterday for taking a picture of tea party leader Trent Humphries and yelling, “You’re dead!”

Yes, Fuller is also the guy who told reporters after the shooting, “It looks like Palin, Beck, Sharron Angle and the rest got their first target.”

The Leftists at the Slate 1/10/11: 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. We hear that the accused shooter read The Communist Manifesto and liked flag-burning videos— good news for the right. Wait—he was a devotee of Ayn Rand and favored the gold standard, so he was a right-winger after all. Some assassinations embody an ideology, however twisted. Based on what we know so far, the Tucson killings look like more like politically tinged schizophrenia.

It was the anti-government, pro-gun, xenophobic populism that flourishes in the dry and angry climate of Arizona. Extremist shouters didn’t program Loughner, in some mechanistic way, to shoot Gabrielle Giffords. But the Tea Party movement did make it appreciably more likely that a disturbed person like Loughner would react, would be able to react, and would not be prevented from reacting, in the crazy way he did.

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. I don’t know if Loughner had health insurance, but he falls into a pool of people who often go uninsured—not young enough to be covered by parents (until the health-care bill’s coverage of twentysomethings kicked in a few months ago), not old enough for Medicare, not poor enough for Medicaid. If such a person happens to have a history of mental illness, he will be effectively uninsurable. To get treatment, he actually has to commit a crime. 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.

Jan 12,2011: From President Obama’s “Civility” speech

As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized -– at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do -– it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.

So which of these various statements and pronouncement are Lies or just inherently dishonest?

ALL OF THEM.

And the truth is a tragedy but the real tragedy lost on this for the last year:

Gabe Zimmerman, 30 Outreach Director for Giffords;John Roll, 63, a federal judge; Phyllis Schneck, 79; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwan Stoddard, 76; and Christina Taylor-Green, 9.

They are the true victims.

And politics ultimately had nothing to do with it. But after that was clearly apparent did anyone on the left notice?

No , of course not. They were already on to the next attack with absolutely no remorse or recollection.

And that’s the political lesson to be learned.

The rest is just a tragedy to be remembered properly.

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