Sunday, January 9, 2011

Random Thoughts on the Giffords Shooting (updated x2)

Update is near the bottom of the post

I’ve had all day to think about this event.

And the more I do, the more enraged I get.


For starters if it had been I who posted this hit list:



here on Stonekettle Station prior to today, I’d be sitting in a small room right now answering questions from humorless men in dark suits. 

If I had spent the last two years advocating the assassination of the President, Congressmen, Senators, and Judges that I don’t agree with, if I had used the exact words Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reily, Michelle Bachman, and the rest of these traitorous scumbags who purport to be Americans use, if that was my signature on the hit list above, I’d be in custody right now. 

If I had encouraged my followers to take up arms against the government, if it had been me who called for the military to mutiny against the Commander in Chief, if it had been me advocating for a new civil war, if I was any random high school kid in America and I had published a hit list like the one above, the one that has graced Sarah Palin’s website for the last year, I’d be in jail right now.

Don’t think they don’t know it either, because Palin and Fox and the Tea Party and the rest of these bastards have spent the last eight hours editing their websites to remove any reference to guns and violence and target lists.  Palin couldn’t delete that hit list with its little scope sights fast enough – though she apparently doesn’t understand the concept of cached copies. They know, yes  they do, but they simply have no shame whatsoever – and if you don’t believe me, well, all you have to do is read the comments from the Tea Party under Palin’s hypocritical bullshit on Facebook.

When you agitate for violent solutions, you don’t get to wash your hands of the bloody responsibility when the unhinged take you up on your suggestions.


And the shooter, Jared Loughner, was indeed unhinged. Certainly – at least if the raving paranoid crap he posted on the web is any indicator.  I don’t know that he was either right or left or somewhere careening down the centerline of Bugshit Street, Crazytown, USA.  But I find it typical that because he listed both the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf as his favorite reads, the commenters under Fox, Yahoo, and Palin’s Facebook page have decided that he is a “Leftist!”  It doesn’t surprise me in any way whatsoever that none of these drooling idiots seem to realize that Mein Kampf, was written by Adolf Hitler, a fascist, and an extreme rightwing nationalist.  No it doesn’t surprise me at all, it’s just par for the course. It also doesn’t surprise me that Palin has taken no action whatsoever to correct her commenters, ditto Fox, ditto Yahoo, ditto the dittoheads of the Tea Party.


A large number of folks are now apparently creating fake webpages and Facebook accounts purporting to be from Loughner himself in order to “prove” that that shooter was or was not motivated by whatever agenda they’re pushing. That’s going to make the investigation fun.  It sickens me to realize just how many people feel that they have to “win” at all costs, even if they have to fake the evidence – whether it’s the attempted assassination of a US Congresswoman or an autism study.


I think it’s about time we chucked the bullshit and started referring to our country as The United States. Seriously. Because if these stupid sons of bitches keep at it, sooner or later – probably sooner – we’re going to go the way of the dinosaur.

1/9/11, 0700 Updated

This morning Palin aides are busy defending the bull's-eye imagery and the gun violence statements used by Palin and the Tea Party.  "We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights," Rebecca Mansour, a senior Palin spokesperson, said. She denounced attempts to tie Palin to the violence as "obscene" and "appalling." We never intended it to be gun sights? Really? Because based on Palin’s “Don’t retreat, reload” rhetoric I’m going to have to drop the bullshit flag on that one.  When you put up a list like the one above and you talk about “taking them out” and you talk about “2nd Amendment Solutions” you don’t get to later claim you weren’t talking about killing people. But her attempt to change the past, even when directly confronted with a hit list, complete with gunsight bull’s-eyes and signed by Sarah Palin herself, is typical of Creationists who dogmatically deny the evidence before them and change the past to suit their nonsense.  Palin’s spokesperson saying “we never, ever, ever intended it to be gunsights” while looking at fucking gunsights is just the second coming of the same old cavalry.

What is obscene and appalling here is that target list up above, and the rest of the “2nd Amendment Solutions” advocated by Palin and her toadies. That hit list is an act every bit as obscene as those who hang nooses or burn crosses in the yard of a black family.  That hit list is an act every bit as obscene as carving a swastika onto the front door of a synagogue.  What is obscene are statements by people like Rebecca Mansour, denying that those symbols up above are gunsights. 

It in the cold light of the morning after, it is my considered opinion that Palin and the rest of these foul violent bastards should be charged as co-conspirators in this event and prosecuted to the fullest degree of the law under the domestic terrorism clause of the Patriot Act.  I think Rupert Murdock should be dragged before a military tribunal at Gitmo to account for the actions of his media empire, and if found guilty should be stripped of his citizenship and deported back to Australia – let them deal with his ass.

Words and actions have consequences, the Tea Party should be held to account for theirs.

1/9/11, 0900 Updated

Expanding on something I said in the comments section:

Rights come with responsibilities.

This isn’t an abstract, it’s the law.

In the US it is the right of most citizens to own a gun, but they are fully responsible for how it’s used.   If you as a gun owner leave your weapon out where a child or a crazy person can get a hold of it, you’re responsible for the consequences.

If you and your friends get together for a tailgate party and it evolves into riot after your team loses, you are responsible for the broken windows and property damage and the gang rapes – you don’t get to claim that you were just exercising your 1st Amendment right to free assembly.

The same is true of free speech, if you encourage someone to kill another, and they do, you are guilty of conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder – and people are routinely convicted of this nearly every week. Saying “oh, I was just kidding” or “oh, I didn’t really mean it” or “oh, I was just speaking metaphorically” isn’t a defense.

Rights come with responsibility.

The 1st Amendment isn’t a Get Out of Jail Free card.


It’s a sad day in America, folks, a sad fucking day indeed.


  1. What's especially telling is that Sarah Palin's first response, even before putting that bit of bullshit condolences on her facebook page, was to delete that "take down the 20" page and try to erase all her more eliminationist tweets.

    It didn't work, of course - the Internet has a long memory for factoids that suddenly become inconvenient - but it did demonstrate quite amply where her priorities lie...

  2. I'm glad you're enraged; I'm just so sad I can't work up a good rage right now. We all saw what would happen and we didn't need a crystal ball or a time machine; it's simple logic that if you preach a message of violence sooner or later someone will bring your speech to awful, senseless life. When she was first chastised about her famous, "Don't retreat, reload" comment, Ms. Palin made fun of the questioner, made fun of the question, and laughinly insisted it was all simply a figure of speech. Still laughing, Prom Queen?

  3. Not just the crosshairs bit; there was also this lovely item: "Help remove Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16."

    Whether the apparently mentally ill apparent shooter was politically motivated at all, there is a Tea Party public culture of violence around the people they disagree with, and it seems likely that this man was exposed to it.

  4. Yes, Jared Loughner is unhinged; paranoid, angry, frustrated, and mentally ill. He's just the kind of kid the vicious rhetoric spewing from Beck, Palin, O'Reilly, Coulter, Hannity and the morons hosting those chatty news shows on FOX and MSNBC would push right over the edge.

    When will the FCC stop allowing Murdoch and friends to use our public airwaves for blatant propaganda?

    Finally, every time we buy a product from a company that advertises on FOX, MSNBC, or hate radio talk shows, we contribute to the wealth of those tearing us apart. Murdoch obviously has an agenda, but those talking bubble heads I listed are only doing the gigs for the money. It's time to bring about the demise of their careers.

  5. This is the first I'd learned of the "hit list" thing Palin did. I'm appalled. Even without the shooting, how on earth is that not the tackiest, most threatening propaganda ever?

    Really, I don't have any of my normal witty quips or sarcastic jokes to end with. This just makes me livid.

  6. When Americans were being picked up and imprisoned without charge and labeled "terrorists", when our mail and our phones were tapped without warrants or supervision, nobody spoke of "Second Amendment solutions"

    Now that we have a Black president and he has the nerve to try to give us an insurance system like the rest of the civilized world, we get that kind of talk?

    And guess what, real supporters of the Second Amendment, and for that matter the other 25 as well, shooting a Congressperson who supported gun owner's rights, and a conservative Federal judge probably is not the path to get more freedom, look in your history books about what gave us the 1968 gun law.

    And if I may say one thing about the Wasilla Dingbat...
    She is probably the single largest reason the Republicans lost the presidential vote in the 2008 election. She turns off Moderates and center right people in a way that few others ever have, and yet the Republican party has not ostracized her for her stupid ideas and her lousy interviews, they have lavished love upon her.

    Wake Up AMERICA!

    Oh, and Thanks Jim, for another well written piece.

  7. All these people who are now saying "We're not on HIS side" ? HE's on YOUR side.

    I did five minutes of idle research to see if someone could get the Koch brothers on RICO charges. I don't think so... yet.

    -Sandy B.

  8. But I find it typical that because he listed both the "Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf" as his favorite reads, the commenters under Fox, Yahoo, and Palin’s Facebook page have decided that he is a “Leftist!” It doesn’t surprise me in any way whatsoever that none of these drooling idiots seem to realize that "Mein Kampf," was written by Adolf Hitler, a fascist, and an extreme rightwing nationalist.

    But you know that there are those on the Right who claim that the Nazis were leftists in origin (presumably because they were called "National Socialists" and the "National Socialist Party"), although their goal was to counteract international Marxism.

    Sadly, people of Palin's, Beck's, Limbaugh's ilk are quick to talk about "personal responsibility" -- which is why that n***** in the White House is so evil (another Hitler, in fact), because he will eliminate personal responsibility with his Big Government programs. However, they decry any sense of personal responsibility when someone (mentally ill or not) acts on their words.

  9. Heard this on NPR this morning. Made me even madder.

    “when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there are consequences to that action.”


  10. Wow Jim, well spoken! I love my country, but am saddened by the amount of awful horrible sick things going on these days. We as a nation are going to hell in a handbag and if something doesn't change we will no longer be apart from some of these other controlled terror filled countries...

  11. So I just went and listened to that podcast because I wanted to hear, in context, how Mansour could be saying they never intended them to be "gun sights". I mean, what else were they meant to represent? (The quote comes right around 12 minutes in.)

    Frankly, I couldn't decipher what Mansour said they were meant to be -- nets? neps? -- but Tammy Bruce helpfully chimes in that they're meant to be "surveyor's symbols". Oh! Yeah, that's it! And I'm sure they've convinced themselves that that's what they meant by now.

    It's not so surprising that someone who doesn't get the idea that speech can be inflammatory starts her show with the intro tag, "She's a chick with a gun...and a microphone"

    I don't blame Palin or Angle or Beck or any of them for causing one crazy shooter to snap. But are they really so delusional that they can't see how their speech, their piling on contributes to an atmosphere that might help this guy think its a great idea?

    Another really disheartening aspect is the comments on the Tammy Bruce podcast link. Wow. Just wow.

  12. I'm not blaming Palin directly either, Nathan. But as I said in the post, I firmly believe that she and those like her bear some responsibility. Let them answer for it under full force of the law - they're the ones who say "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear" when it comes to the Patriot Act.

    As I just said on Twitter, rights come with responsibilities. You own a gun, as is your right in America, then you are completely responsible for how it's used. Same with the Right of Free Speech. You shout Fire Fire Fire in a crowded theater, you are responsible for the consequences. You don't get to say, oh gee I was just shouting fire metaphorically, I'm not responsible if crazy people panicked.

  13. I don't disagree with you, but it won't happen. Already it is being claimed that those aren't gun sights, but surveyor marks and everybody should know that.

  14. Yes, and if the TEA party had been bringing Theodolites and Transits to their rallies I might even believe that bullshit.

  15. I do not blame the Tea Party for the actions of this shooter. From what I can see he was a supporter of a fringe white supremacy group, so there's no proof of a link at this time.

    I do blame them for creating an environment where gun analogies and recommendations of violent revolution are common place in our political discourse. I blame their supporters for cheering to violent statements and giving these people endorsement. It's not just the fringe, or the extreme nutcases; it's the people in charge! See the list below. The hypocrisy of smearing Obama with a connection to Ayers and then supporting recommendations for violent political change from their own is just stunning. So, basically, shooting is fine as long as you are aiming your gun to the left.

    ‎"Don't retreat, reload!"

    - Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska

    "If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies."

    - Sharron Angle, former member of the Nevada State Assembly

    "If ballots don't work, bullets will."

    - Joyce Kaufman, Radio host, Tea Party activist

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    - Currently serving United States Congresswoman from Minnesota Michelle Bachmann, leader of the Tea Party Caucus, paraphrasing Thomas Jefferson

  16. What makes me sad is that this was a woman who obviously cares about her constituents. How many politicians hold public forums right after a win, with no nearby election to get through? Yet there she was...and by removing the target page, and offering her condolences, Sarah Palin has found a way to make it so that her name is being mentioned every time the shooting comes up. I can't say if the statement was sincere or not, but regardless, she should have kept her big fat mouth shut, because who cares if Sarah Palin offers her condolences. This should be about that poor woman, and the families of the people who died.

    The target map made me sick when it was first up. Then, this woman's office was vandalized when the health care bill was voted through the House, and now she's been shot. How can Palin honestly believe that her words didn't add to this?

    As for the creators of the fake websites, I hope they're arrested and charged with obstruction at the very least.

  17. Here's how Palin herself referred to the image a few months ago:

    Remember months ago "bullseye" icon used 2 target the 20 Obamacare-lovin' incumbent seats? We won 18 out of 20 (90% success rate;T'aint bad)
    9:43 AM Nov 4th, 2010 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

  18. Fuck it Jim, you can keep Murdoch for all I care, just leave him in Gitmo when the trial is over and forget about him, why would Australia want him back? *Grumble Grumble*

  19. I keep thinking about how Sarah P, Beck & the rest of them went on & on about Rev. Wright and how his sermons could be construed as an incitement to violence.

    And they can post cross hairs & invoke the 2nd amendment as a "solution" to our nation's problems and that's OK? What a bunch of hypocrites.

  20. One of my Republican "friends" posted this:

    To those blaming Sarah Palin for today's tragic shooting: Kiss my ass and defriend me if you wish. She was targeting her political opponents at the ballot box, not in real life. And since it appears the shooter was a rabid leftist, your jumping to conclusions was just a futile exercise.

    Someone please explain how someone can say "hurt this person", then when it happens, say "it's not MY fault"

  21. Elizabeth Moon had a thoughtful post about perceptions about Congresswoman Giffords' condition you might want to look at.

    Dr. Phil

  22. Someone please explain how someone can say "hurt this person," then when it happens, say "it's not MY fault"

    Are the Palinistas et al. the same ones who decry the influence of the media on children ("Won't somebody think of the children?!") because of all the sex and violence, but try to sidestep it when suddenly they're blamed for their words and potential influence?

    Is it like Adolf Hitler advocating killing the mentally retarded, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, etc., etc., but not taking the blame when those wacky Germans actually did it?

    (See, lefties can throw around the Hitler analogies too.)

  23. My first thought after reading the accounts was that the families of the victims should file HUGE wrongful death lawsuits naming Sarah Palin and the tea party whatever-they-call-themselves as defendants.

  24. Eleven, your "friend" is more than welcome to come talk to me about futility.

  25. A while ago, I came to the conclusion--simply to clarify my own personal convictions on the matter-that those who incited violence were responsible for the results, even if they themselves did not expressly call for violence. Leaders have a responsibility to use their words carefully, lest they inadvertently incite violence or the threats of violence. And they should be held responsible if they are negligent in that regard.

    Perhaps you'll appreciate the irony, Jim. It was the way you were treated at Whatever that crystallized my thinking on the matter.

  26. I still have the bushels of vitriolic hate mail from that incident - I take it out upon occasion and use it to warm my inky black soul. Also, it cures any urge whatsoever that I might have to visit John Scalzi's cowardly ass online.

  27. Rabid leftist?

    Yes, yes, I know Hitler was a socialist, says so right in the Party name.

  28. Bill said:

    Is it like Adolf Hitler advocating killing the mentally retarded, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, etc., etc., but not taking the blame when those wacky Germans actually did it?

    (See, lefties can throw around the Hitler analogies too.)

    Just for the sake of accuracy, I'm pretty sure that "us lefties" were the ones who started throwing around Hitler analogies way back when. It was a proud (and, dare I say, appropriate) bit of castigation until the Right saw fit to redifine things and started throwing it back. (The Right has demonstrated an amazing capacity for ignoring actual definitions in favor of "Ooooooh, that's sounds evil! Call him that!")

    And, your analogy may actually be more on the mark than you think. The Nazis were quite proud of all of their actions. They kept meticulous records and much of the documentary footage you still see today comes from their own archives. They only started an attempt to sanitize the record after it was clear their chickens were coming home to roost.

    Yeah...that's sounding a bit familiar at the moment.

  29. "But her attempt to change the past, even when directly confronted... [with facts]"

    Unfortunately, this failing is all to common with ANY person in elected office. And their idea of personal responsibility is that it's for everyone else. It's can't apply to them because, well, they're IMPORTANT.

    And were I to say, hypothetically, of course, that "All politicians should be drowned at birth like unwanted puppies" people would castigate me for being cruel to animals (politicoes, puppies... etc.). -WG

  30. Saying “oh, I was just kidding” or “oh, I didn’t really mean it” or “oh, I was just speaking metaphorically” isn’t a defense.

    Funny, abusers use that "defense" a lot as a smokescreen. My father was so good at it that I can't recognize sarcasm when I hear it, because his "sarcasm" was always a pointed stick.

    This was a great article. Thank you.


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