(VIDEO) The Arizona Shootings: Deflection or Responsibility?


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Last March, following passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, a rock was thrown through the window of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ (D-AZ) office in Tuscon, Arizona. The gas line was cut at the home of Rep. Tom Perriello’s (D-Va.) brother after members of the Tea Party posted the address of Bo Perriello online, mistakenly believing the home belonged to the congressman himself. Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) was spat at during a public meeting on health reform; other lawmakers were targeted by racial and homophobic slurs. And Sarah Palin tweeted the following about the passage of the healthcare reform bill into law:

Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Pls see my Facebook page.

Several people carried guns at rallies outside an event where President Obama was speaking last year.

Several people carried guns at rallies outside an event where President Obama was speaking last year.

Palin’s Political Action Committee also “targeted” with gun sights the names and districts of 20 members of Congress she wanted to see defeated in the November 2010 election. (The “cross-hairs map” has now been removed from the SarahPAC website, but can be seen at the link above). Giffords was one among those in Palin’s cross-hairs.  These events preceded by a few months the call by a Florida Tea Party leader for the use of “bullets” if ballots were not sufficient to achieve Tea Party goals in the November election (video below), the suggestion by Nevada Senate Candidate Sharron Angle that losses at the ballot box could trigger “second amendment remedies,” the stomping by a Rand Paul supporter on the head of a peaceful protestor, and the appearance at public events featuring President Obama of people carrying guns, including automatic assault rifles.  (I have included full-length videos here instead of quote-clips, so the full context of each is clear).

These tactics are no different from–indeed they are taken straight from the playbook of–the violent anti-choice movement in this country, which has long seen it as acceptable to “target” physicians, clinic workers, patients and lawmakers who support the right of a woman to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. 

In a tragically prescient interview last March on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, Giffords, addressing the violent rhetoric used leading up to and following the passage of health reform and particularly the use by Palin’s campaign of cross-hairs on congressional deistrict, said:

“…when people do that, they have to realize there are consequences to that action.”

Today, the consequences are very clear.  Six people are dead, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl whose early interest in politics prompted a relative to bring her to meet Congresswoman Giffords at a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a local grocery store.  Fourteen others were injured.  And Congresswoman Giffords, shot in the head at close range, is quite literally fighting for her life in the intensive care unit of a hospital.  Members of Congress are now openly discussing the regularity of threats against them over the past two years.

The most immediate question is: Can we change the environment in which such violence occurs?  The answer will depend on whether those most responsible for this climate in will take or deflect responsibility for their role. 

Clearly, the person immediately responsible for the deaths and injuries is Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old who took a gun to Giffords’ constituent meet-and-greet in what is now clear was a premeditated act to kill Giffords. Indications are that Loughner, who is now in custody, is a mentally unstable young man who had at some point decided to assassinate Giffords, though full details of his history and his own thinking are yet to be evaluated.  Amanda has an excellent piece today examining the links between mental illness and lack of health care in the United States, and how little mental health care and help might be available to someone like Loughner were he to seek it.

But we all know the problem is much deeper than one person. In fact, to some degree Loughner’s mental health status is irrelevant because his actions did not occur in a vacuum. He is a perhaps deranged or schizophrenic individual who acted on his own but he is also a perhaps deranged individual whose actions were in fact suggested by a pathologically violent political discourse that actively uses and suggests the use of violence and weaponry as personal “remedies” to political dissatisfaction. It is the pathological nature of our current political system and the pathological lack of accountability by the media to objective fact and serious critical reporting that is the ulimate “national mental illness” behind this event, and that leads to the consequences about which Congresswoman Giffords warned.

Pima County Sherriff Clarence Dupnik, the person who perhaps most directly and eloquently described the situation, said:

“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 that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” said the sheriff.  “And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

Arizona…the state in which, for example, politicians from Senator John McCain to Governor Jan Brewer blamed illegal immigrants for everything from declining economic fortunes to violence at the border, claims based on little to no evidence but used for political gain and repeated as fact in the media.

Huffington Post reports that when asked by a reporter if Giffords being shot could have been motivated by “prejudice and bigotry,” Dupnik responded:

“All I can tell you is that there’s reason to believe that this individual may have a mental issue. And I think that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol.”

Congressman Raul Grijalva agreed:

“The climate has gotten so toxic in our political discourse, setting up for this kind of reaction for too long. It’s unfortunate to say that. I hate to say that,” Grijalva said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “If you’re an opponent, you’re a deadly enemy,” Grijalva said of the mindset among Arizona extremists. “Anybody who contributed to feeding this monster had better step back and realize they’re threatening our form of government.”

Yet the parties most responsible for the perpetuation of violent political rhetoric seem the least able–or willing–to make the connection between their own or their party’s statements and actions and the violence that took place, or to take any responsibility or show any contrition for the role that they played.  Instead, they are adopting the “lone gunman” approach of the anti-choice movement to de-link their own rhetoric or fear-mongering from the actions of individuals in this country.

Almost immediately, for example, Palin’s camp not only took down the “gun sights” page but claimed–to widespread disbelief–that they were never intended as “targets or gun sights” but rather as surveyors sights.  This after an election campaign season in which Palin used the terms “target,” “reload,” and “bullseye” among other gun-related imagery throughout her campaign.

The “message” of both the Republican party and the Tea Party spokespeople appearing on talk shows throughout the weekend was to cast the shootings as a random act of a “lone shooter,” the “violence of a deranged individual,” a messaging point that was transmitted as quickly as the words “job-killing health care bill.” 

This was a theme even among those politicians clearly personally affected by the shootings.  On MSNBC’s Meet the Press, for example, Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), who clearly was deeply personally affected by the shooting of Giffords and who despite their political differences spoke highly of her, calling her a “precious, delightful person,” nonetheless sought to deflect attention from the political debate or the responsibility of his own party in contributing to that to instead say:

[W]hen you try to, to, to go into an area of threatening debate and things of that nature, then it’s very dangerous.  But I want to be very careful here.  We don’t want to give this Loughner too much credit here… to make it somehow politically analyzed that somehow he was some person making a grand political statement.  This guy was a deranged lunatic that had no respect for his fellow human beings and completely rejected any kind of constitutional foundation of this nation.

Likewise, Utah Congressman Raul Labrador (Tea Party/Republican) said:

We have to be careful not to blame one side or the other because both sides are guilty of this.  You have extremes on both sides.  You have crazy people on both sides.  So it’s, it’s not something that either party is guilty by themselves or either party is innocent of.  And we have to make sure that we, we take care of it.

There was not one serious reflection throughout the entire program by any Tea Party or Republican commenter that, for example, any of the baseless fear-mongering that was perpetuated about immigrants and border violence in Arizona, health reform and death panels, tyranny, and socialism, or the language and rhetoric of guns, violence, and “second amendment remedies” could have played any role in feeding the delusions of a person like Loughner. Not one Tea Party spokesperson has come forward to say: “We can not speak about “bullets over ballots” without encouraging a climate of indiscriminate violence.  This has got to stop.”

In contrast, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) called the shootings “a wake-up call,” and said:

We are in a dark place in this country right now, and the atmospheric condition is toxic.  And much of it originates here in Washington, D.C., and we export it around the country to the point that people come to Washington, they come to the gallery, and they feel comfortable in shouting out insults from the gallery.  We had someone removed last week shouting out some insult about President Obama’s birth.  I think members of Congress either need to turn down the volume, begin to try to exercise some high level of civility, or this darkness will never ever be overcome with light.  The, the hostility is here.  People may want to deny it.  It is real, and if we, and if we don’t stop it soon, I think this nation is going to be bitterly divided to a point where I fear for the, the future of our children.

Three things are needed for this to stop:

First, the leadership of political parties must reject, immediately and forcefully, any references to violence in political campaigns–ads, speeches, rallies, fundraising outreach. Leaders must reject the use of lies and of character assassination. You can have a strenuous, vigorous political debate based on facts and philosophy.  You can attack an opponents positions and the outcomes of their policies.  You can draw clear lines between yourself and your party based on issues; you can point out the facts about the implications of one set of policies over another.  In fact, you should. It’s critical. But you can not call for, condone, or ignore the calls by others for violence. You can not indiscriminately blame or target a group of people for something for which there is no evidence. And you can not use fearmongering and foster discrimination against one set of people for your own political gain.  If a politician can’t muster a campaign based on facts and poiltical philosophy, and if they can’t win an election without violent or fearmongering rhetoric, then I don’t care who they are, they don’t deserve to be (re)elected.

Second, the same leadership has to stop coyly reinforcing the rumors, innuendo, and outright lies spread by a 24-7-364 environment of hate speech and fearmongering spread by right-wing radio and television announcers. Last week, for example, House Speaker John Boehner was asked by NBC Nightly News’ Brian Williams’ whether he believes birther claims that President Obama is not a citizen. His answer?

“The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me,” Boehner first responded.

But pressed by Williams on what he would say to members of his party who have expressed doubts about Obama’s citizenry, Boehner replied:

“Brian, when you come to the Congress of the United States, there are 435 of us. We’re nothing more than a slice of America. People come, regardless of party labels, they come with all kinds of beliefs and ideas. It’s the melting pot of America. It’s not up to me to tell them what to think.”

Mr. Boehner, come on. This insincere dissembling fosters a culture of suspicion and opinion over fact and evidence and contributes to the climate in which violence flourishes. Moreover, it is outright ridiculous. Imagine if in another instance Williams had asked Boehner whether, in light of claims to the contrary, Ohio is a part of the United States of America, and Boehner had said, “Well I think so, but people come up with all sorts of ideas and I can’t tell members of my party who believe Ohio is not a state that they are wrong.”  Think he’d be re-elected?

Finally, the media has to do its job to hold politicians accountable for facts and evidence in the claims they make, stop trying to see two sides in every “Emperor with new clothes” debate, and start holding political rhetoric to some objective standard.  Is the health reform bill a “job-killer?”  Where’s the evidence?  Specifically.  Are illegal immigrants responsible for violence at the border?  Mr. McCain, evidence please? Is there even an increase in violence at the border?  Where is the evidence?  Specifically. Why even given an interview to a birther if there is no evidence whatsoever that their claims have merit?  For ratings?  If your ratings are more important than the truth, you are partly responsible for the climate in this country.

Last March, I might have just rolled my eyes in frustration listening to Chuck Todd disingeuously ask Congresswoman Giffords if Democrats were overreacting to the rhetoric and violence displayed of the Tea Party, Palin and others in the aftermath of passage of the health reform bill and in the lead up to the election (see video above).  Now, I feel a sense of visceral disgust.  If I raised my children in the same environment of equivocation and lack of clear lines drawn between what is civil and what is not, what is fact and what is not, who is responsible and who is not to which the media claims to adhere, no one would be surprised if they became self-absorbed, do-what-I-may monsters.  (They are not, but that is a different post).

Congressman Cleaver called for immediate action on the part of everyone to change the climate in which we currently find ourselves.

I think that as soon as we can we need to come back to deal with the business of the, of the people.  But we, we ought to come back with a different attitude.  Congressman Frank mentioned earlier that, that we don’t know why this happened.  And I think–and I agree with it.  It doesn’t matter, however.  This ought to be a wake-up call to, not only the members of Congress, but the people in this country, that we’re headed in the wrong direction.  Congress meets a lot, but it rarely comes together.  We are coming from, from two different points of view–which is a democracy and we ought to do that–but we, we come for the purpose of fighting.  And, and it’s, it’s entertainment, I guess, for the nation, for some.  But for some it, it gives them an excuse to exercise the bitterness that, that may be deep inside of them.  And we’ve, we’ve got to watch what we say, and we’re not doing it. It starts when–in campaigns.  You know, campaigns now are opportunities for people to say anything and do anything about one–to each other and about one another.  And I think it’s, it’s devastating, and it’ll probably get worse unless something dramatic happens.

I am not clear what more dramatic thing needs to happen than a Congresswoman, her staff, and her constituents being shot in the alcove of a supermarket.  But then I remember that Dr. George Tiller was killed in the alcove of his church and that Congress could not bring itself to vote to condemn the act. I remember that bombs have gone off at and killed health care workers in family planning clinics and little has been done to stop this form of violence. I remember that women and doctors every day are assailed as baby-killers and few people in power appear to take this very seriously, least of all politicians.  I also remember the seemingly game-changing solidarity in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the promises of civility…. and how that lasted only as long as it took for some Democrats to question the decision to invade Iraq and how supposedly “leading” newspapers like the Washington Post supported the war without facts.

I want to believe that there will be responsibility over deflection, but I am struggling.

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  • truthseeker

    could be the reason that Loughner went on a shooting rampage, don’t ya think?  Why attempt to blame his psychopathy on someone else?  That is what our society is adept at – blaming others.  Truthfully, if someone is to blame, Charles Darwin is one that comes to mind.  Whadya think?

  • jodi-jacobson

    Who “modeled” poor behavior for my children (irresponsible drinking, driving, financial management, sexual behavior, lack of rules, incivility) I would be held at least partly responsible for their behavior.  Indeed in some states I could be arrested for their illegal activity.

     

    If I were a fraternity or sorority leader who egged on a pledge to do something ill-advised, violent or self-destructive, I would be held at least partly responsible for a tragic outcome.

     

    If i were a bartender who did not stop a drunk patron from drinking further i would be held partly responsible.  Indeed, again in some states I could be prosecuted if they harmed someone.

     

    If I constantly whispered into the ear of a schizophrenic obssessed with the devil that person X was in fact the devil, I would be partially responsible for any violence perpetrated on that person by the mentally ill person.

     

    Politicians and the media are–ostensibly–leaders of our society.  They help set the tone and the boundaries of what is permissible.   They help create a climate of one kind or another.  If you are unable to make this connection, then I am afraid you will be forever seeking and never finding the truth.

     

    Jodi

  • rebellious-grrl

    Nope. I think it has more to do with right-wing America’s gun obsessed culture.  We are a nation that condones gun toting as a good thing. WTF?

     

    What the hell does Darwin have to do with it?

  • truthseeker

    there is no God.  Therefore, there is no ultimate meaning to life, so we may as well do whatever the hairy heck we want to do.  Secularists/humanists/feminists claim there is no right and wrong.  If it feels good, do it.  Our “looking out for numero uno” society, when stripped of God, has no moral absolutes on which to stand, so anything goes.  This narcissistic shooting spree has nothing to do with right-wing anything.  Hey, it was right for him to shoot all those folks, so how can we judge him (another taboo in our God-less culture) and say he was wrong???

  • truthseeker

    what is truth?  Who has the authority to declare it so?

  • crowepps

    Your total ignorance about what Darwin claimed, and your misunderstandings about what secularists/humanists/ feminists claim, and your inaccurate claim that we have a “God-less culture” prove pretty conclusively that while you may be looking for Truth, you sure haven’t found it yet.  Keep looking. 

     

     

  • crowepps

    Truth is self-evident and can be reached by consensus.  Everybody who looks carefully at it recognizes it.  It’s been my experience that as a general rule anyone who CLAIMS to have the authority to “declare it so” is attempting to do so because what he claims as ‘truth’ isn’t.

  • truthseeker

    Jesus is the truth!  Whatever doesn’t measure up to Him is NOT truth!

    Hey, should any blame for how folks such as Loughner take up arms be placed on the violence that is so liberally portrayed in rappers’ lyrics, Hollywood movies and television programs, pornographic publications and video games???  Our culture pumps out such filth at an alarming rate, and our youngest generations recklessly partake of it, because those of us who are responsible for their nurturing allow it!!!

    Do you people understand this??? 

  • truthseeker

    I have found the Truth.  Jesus is THE way, THE truth and THE life!!!   :)

  • rebellious-grrl

    Are you kidding me? If I’m a feminist “I’m a Godless immoral?” You truly have no idea what you’re talking about. I am an eco-feminist and I’m also a spiritual person (not in the Christian faith). I am highly offended by what you’ve said. Just because someone isn’t a Christian or if they are an atheist doesn’t mean they are immoral or evil, etc. I’ve known atheists that are far more moral and good than many of the Christians I’ve met.

    If it feels good, do it.  Our “looking out for numero uno” society, when stripped of God, has no moral absolutes on which to stand, so anything goes.  

    This sounds more like priests who abused and molested children, or CEOs that cheat their employees out of money, or oil companies who ruin the environment for their own financial gain.

    This narcissistic shooting spree has nothing to do with right-wing anything.  Hey, it was right for him to shoot all those folks, so how can we judge him (another taboo in our God-less culture) and say he was wrong???

    Truthseeker you are so off-base. What’s wrong is that America is a violent nation. The right-wing has perpetuated and propped up violence by endless wars all over the world and perpetuating the myth that we all have the “God-given” right to own and carry a gun. 

     

    As an aside, like religion was “real great” for the European women who were brutally murdered and killed during the women’s holocaust during the middle ages. I say, freedom from religion!

     

     

  • rebellious-grrl

    Keep your grubby religious crap away from me! It’s so sad that religion has been used by sick minded people to oppress others for their own benefit.

  • goatini

    performed in the name of Jesus over the last 2000 years proves that religious violence is far more a problem than any movie, TV show, magazine or video game produced over a time span of less than 3% of the history of organized Christianity.

     

     

  • goatini

    take out the “Jesus” parts from your posts, and I’d be hard-pressed to even imagine that you’ve ever read and pondered one single thing he said.  

  • truthseeker

    the perpetrators of violence glorified in lyrics, movies, television programming, pornographic publications, video games?  The violence that our culture ingests on a daily basis.  “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.  God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.”  ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    One of the shortest letters written to an editor was by G. K. Chesterton. It read, “Dear Sir: In response to your article, ‘What’s wrong with the world’ – I am. Yours truly, G. K. Chesterton.”

  • truthseeker

    People calling themselves “Christians” have done terrible things.  But so have people who thought they were reasonable and logical, such as humanists and atheists.  Some would argue that the Christians doing terrible things did them in the name of God.  Obviously, they weren’t really Christians, for their comportment clearly did not verify Christ’s message.  Selfishness grows from the anarchy seed, the seed of the evil one. satan lashes out on the earth like a madman, setting tribes against each other in Africa. satan devastates many lives through starvation, alcoholism, substance abuse, pornography and children sold as sex slaves.  satan is at work in economic chaos around the world, and the corporate-driven greed of American executives.  satan is at work in the holocaust of violent, non-loving, disrespecting aborting of babies in the U.S. of A., the narcissism, materialism and elitism in America, and the self-absorption we wallow in when we do not ensure our next generation is brought up in a culture with edifying, wholesome values.  satan was behind the psychopathic deeds of Hitler, Stalin, Chairman Mao and Che.  After knowing the history of humankind, how could anyone ever choose to place so much faith in humans instead of in God???  

  • beenthere72

    My sentiments exactly. 

  • goatini

    by those claiming it in the name of Jesus, I think you’re in severe denial, and hiding behind false piety to attempt distraction and obfuscation.  

  • beenthere72

    You’re a loon.  

  • truthseeker

    People calling themselves “Christians” have done terrible things.  But so have people who thought they were reasonable and logical, such as humanists and atheists.  Some would argue that the Christians doing terrible things did them in the name of God.  Obviously, they weren’t really Christians, for their comportment clearly did not verify Christ’s message.  Selfishness grows from the anarchy seed, the seed of the evil one. satan lashes out on the earth like a madman, setting tribes against each other in Africa. satan devastates many lives through starvation, alcoholism, substance abuse, pornography and children sold as sex slaves.  satan is at work in economic chaos around the world, and the corporate-driven greed of American executives.  satan is at work in the holocaust of violent, non-loving, disrespecting aborting of babies in the U.S. of A., the narcissism, materialism and elitism in America, and the self-absorption we wallow in when we do not ensure our next generation is brought up in a culture with edifying, wholesome values.  satan was behind the psychopathic deeds of Hitler, Stalin, Chairman Mao and Che.  After knowing the history of humankind, how could anyone ever choose to place so much faith in humans instead of in God???  

  • truthseeker

    This comment has been removed.

     

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  • truthseeker

    and wherever it is that you have been, 72, has earned you your ID ten T badge!

  • goatini

    displayed here, is not portraying Christ’s message.  

     

    And the last place I’d go to for “edifying, wholesome values” is to someone who believes so strongly in an imaginary boogieman.  

  • crowepps

    If both Atheists and Christians do terrible things, that doesn’t seem to me like a great selling point for Christianity.  What’s the point of a religious tradition which doesn’t actually improve the behavior of those who follow it?

     

    Although actually I know enough history to be aware that Christianity based on the original gospels has been revived over and over, by intinerant monks and Great Awakenings and hippy ‘Jesus Freaks’, and like the original movement without the heirarchy and bureaucrats and professional priests/pastors and people eager to declare themselves in charge actually succeeds in improved the behavior of those who followed it enormously!  Too bad we don’t have more of that real Christianity around now, instead of the ‘we hate everybody’ false religion that claims to be Christian.

  • rebellious-grrl

    BULL

    My truth is Wicca. Which by the way pre-dates Christianity. And I’m an ex-Catholic, yippie!!!!!!!

  • crowepps

    The violent imagery that so many Christian religions promote in the NAME of Jesus, the vile and disgusting blasphemies like the Left Behind series, the perversion of Christianity promoted by Fred Phelps and his fellow haters, the sick macho militarism of Muscular Christianity are far more reprehensible, because they CLAIM to be speaking for God.  Our culture is indeed filled with filth, but the only reason it is available for our youngest generation is because Granddad isn’t willing to get along without his porn and Viagra and Dad is making BIG MONEY selling filth to other people’s kids which he spends on young hookers who are other people’s daughters.

  • crowepps

    Isn’t it weird how when some terrible thing happens the ‘godless liberals’ all post stuff about how sad they are and how awful it is that it happened and how bad they feel for the people and that they hope they’ll be all right, and the supposed Christians are all jumping around screaming triumphantly, “I was RIGHT! I was RIGHT!  I TOLD YOU SO!  That little girl died because God wants to show you that I am better than you.”  Since everything that happens anywhere is, of course, just background behind their SPECIAL UNIQUE WONDERFULNESS as the center of the universe.

  • beenthere72
  • truthseeker

    Preach it, sista, preach it!

  • truthseeker

    We seem to forget – perhaps more truthfully, we refuse to remember – that we are the ones who betrayed God, not vice versa.  We are the ones who listened to the lies of the evil one in the Garden; we chose to mistrust the heart of God.  Why, oh why do we have difficulty believing in the God who created the entire universe?  Why do we have trouble believing in the One who sent His only Son to save us from ourselves?  In the same way God delivered the Israelites fromEgypt, so He has delivered us from eternal death to eternal life through His beloved Son.  He’s delivered us from bondage to sin, bondage to narcissism, into fullness of life lived with and for Him.  If you are not living in touch with God, it is easy to blame Him or pass judgment on Him, or His disciples.  We experience suffering and temptation because mankind chose to follow satan.  God is reaching out to rescue us.  He made nature to sing His praises, to declare His glory and to love Him. He made humans with the ability to choose.  He could have ordered our obedience; instead He calls for our hearts.

  • crowepps

    “We” didn’t “betray God”.  “We” didn’t “listen to the evil one in the Garden”.  If you want to admit to all that, go right ahead.  You sure don’t speak for me.  If you really sincerely believe and want to follow, stop fooling around on the internet and go feed the poor and visit the sick.

  • rebellious-grrl

    There is no satan, and no heaven or hell. It’s all a made up concept to “keep us in line.” The things you have eluded to are done by people, not some mysterious evil force. Humans are accountable for what they have done, not some “devil” or “satan.” Don’t use satan as your scapegoat.

  • cc

    “Jesus is the truth?” Guess that means that a whole lot of other folks, including Jews, don’t know the truth. This kind of statement demonstrates why the anti-choice movement is made up of narrow minded, intolerant Christian zealots – the same kind of zealots who perpertrated the Inquistion, the Crusades, and the Third Reich. (Hitler was never excommunicated from the Catholic Church). You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know why there are so few non Christians in the anti-choice movement.

  • rebellious-grrl

    “The devil made me do it” I’ll have to remember that excuse for the next time I do something stupid.

    Are you equating left as “the perpetrators of violence glorified in lyrics, movies, television programming, pornographic publications, video games? ” If so you are wrong again. I abhor violence! I don’t watch violent movies or television where much of the violence glorified is acted out on women. I’m not into porn because most of mainstream porn degrades women. I’m not against erotica, but pro-positive sex — Consensual good sex. I have no interest in violent video games. What you speak of is a manifestation of the patriarchy, those who use force and violence to maintain their power.

     

    Look at the Tea Party culture of hate. They have perpetuated and fostered a culture of hate. Look at the murderers that have been connected to the Tea Party (or rhetoric):
    Joshua Cartwright murdered two sheriff’s deputies
    Donnie Baker murdered two Chilean college students and wounded five others
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-papantonio/right-wing-hate-getting-o_b_223354.html

    Scott Roeder murdered Dr. Tiller

    Joseph Stack who flew his plane into an IRS building and murdered Vernon Hunter

    Did the devil make them do it? No, I say the Tea Party rhetoric probably had much more to do with it than the devil.

     

    The hate trail of the Tea Party

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQxuDK3w0To&feature=player_embedded#!

     

  • rebellious-grrl

    That man is seriously demented. Thanks for posting the link.

  • goatini

    Translation:  Women, it’s all YOUR fault, and don’t you forget it.  

     

    (G-d knows I’ve listened to enough of John Corapi’s rants on this very topic)

     

    And the only people I know who require their praises to be endlessly sung, and their glory endlessly declared…. are narcissists.   I for one don’t see the Great Spirit as being an insecure narcissist.  

  • goatini

    AND pro-choice

     

    which may explain someone’s obsession with littering this thread with fundamentalist religiosity.

  • crowepps

    Good call, since religiosity, and fundamentalism, can both be symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, as can the laborious construction and wide dissemination of long, rambling screeds about one’s peculiar beliefs and the belief that it’s vital everybody understand them.  There just isn’t ANYTHING quite so satisfying as a frame for obsessive compulsive disorder as beliefs about the supernatural, since, hey, nobody can EVER prove your bizarre beliefs are wrong!

  • squirrely-girl

    He made humans with the ability to choose.

    … I refuse to engage the topic of religion on a site devoted reproductive health. It has absolutely no relevance to the issues we’re discussing. Feel free to hold your beliefs, but religion shouldn’t be involved with public policy and government.

    He made humans with the ability to choose.

    And higher order thought process that allow us to think beyond a text. If you can’t debate without bringing Him into it, your debate and argument are minimal at best. 

  • colleen

    Perhaps you should be preaching to the folks who don’t have a problem with killing 9 year old girls for Jesus and lower taxes.

     

  • colleen

    I for one don’t see the Great Spirit as being an insecure narcissist. 

    I was meditating about this off and on all day. I reject conservative religion because I cannot believe that God is a petty, vindictive, narcissistic asshole completely lacking in imagination or compassion. 

  • truthseeker

    Woman is the epitome of God’s majestic creation!

    Father John Corapi is an exemplary man, one whom I highly esteem!

  • truthseeker

    God is either in every area of one’s life or He is not in one’s life, so I will NOT refrain from referring to Him here or anywhere else!  One cannot compartmentalize Him.  He is central to ALL of life, whether or not you like it!

  • truthseeker

    GOD IS NOT ONLY GOOD.  HE IS THE OPPOSITE OF EVIL.  HE IS HOLY!

  • crowepps

    and therefore I will compartmentalize you as a troll and stop reading your posts

  • goatini

    Your interest in posting to this topic now becomes quite clear.  

     

    From some nice Catholic lady’s blog:

    He told us how he recently ran and charged a private detective who was in the woods taking pictures of him, looking for “dirt”, scared half to death when the Father popped out with his gun!

     

    From the blog of a self-professed “Catholic father of seven”:

    During the course of the day, we learned that Fr. Corapi owns a home in northwest Montana which he paid for with a million-dollar lawsuit settlement. He drives a fast car with lots of horsepower and keeps a loaded .45 in the glove compartment. He also rides a fat boy Harley Davidson motorcycle, owns a boat of unspecified size, and vacations in Key West. He works out six times a week, twice with a female physical trainer, and has lost seventy pounds and increased his strength by a hundred percent in the past year. The weight loss prompted him, at his charitable best, to donate two large bags of “fat clothes” to the local Salvation Army. I can only assume that the donated clothes did not consist of old habits and clericals. I don’t know why he chose to share these personal bits of information, but they did nothing to enhance his credibility as a witness to the gospel.

    The four talks that he gave during the course of the day (which will probably be available for purchase at the discount rate of $99 from his website in a week or two) were based on the social teaching of the Catholic Church. He did touch on most of the principles of that teaching. Much of what he said, however, amounted to prudential judgments, and, while I agree with most of those judgments, he presented them as being what the Church teaches. It would have been great material at a TEA party event, but this was hardly billed as a political rally.

    The crowd was enthusiastic, leaping to it’s feet whenever Corapi took the stage and cheering whenever he spoke of the disincentives of socialism and when he referred to the government in Washington as “the big drug dealer.” He seems to be fond of St. Paul’s exhortation in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” Completely unmentioned was the practice of the early Christians, as related in Acts 2:44-45, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”

    Let’s visit with this exemplary man enjoying one of his favorite hobbies – guided hunts on private ranches.  

     

     

     

  • plume-assassine

    This one sounds almost exactly like a nutcase I’ve spoken to before. (Ginny, is that you?) If so, your ignorance and religious narcissism is showing again. Right, we get it, you seem to think that all Christians who have comitted violent acts are not “real” Christians. But they were just as convinced as you are and just as devout. Christianity has perpetuated more evil than any videogame or television show in modern culture. And if atheism was as “immoral” as you were brainwashed to believe it is, then Sweden would be a hellpit (a sizable majority of atheists live in Sweden). You can’t even have a normal conversation without resorting to blatant lies about feminism and Charles Darwin (what the hell does an evolutionary scientist have to do with this thread? Absolutely nothing.) Go back to obsessing over Michael Savage and ruminating over the imaginary “nihilism” of everyone you perceive to be morally inferior to you. Just don’t bring it on a forum for reproductive health.

  • arekushieru

    Ugh.  I know this is rather frowned upon, but I have to respond to this rather distorted representation of  Christianity. 

    You can’t abort a baby.  You CAN, however, abort a fetus. 

    There is no such being as ‘Satan’.  There are no texts supporting his existence, not in the earliest recorded Biblical documents.  The only possible explanation left, being that Satan is an analogy for the ‘world’.  I would like to point out that in the Adam and Eve allegory, the ‘man’ was apparently deceived by only one ‘person’ while the ‘woman’ was deceived by the ‘world’.   Rather unfair punishment, that God meted out, don’t you think, when the one who was coerced through worldly pressure, was given the greater punishment, while the one who was coerced through individual pressure received the lesser.  Makes you kinda wonder if the authors of these passages wanted to put God in an unfavourable light.  Much like anti-choicers do to themselves when they choose to punish women for ‘throwing off the yolk’ of the patriarchal ‘chains’, yet praise men for avoiding the evil clutches of the women who throw ‘false’ rape accusations at them. 

    (Btw, Lucifer is modelled off of the Babylonian deity, Helel, son of Shahar.  And Hell was modelled off of Hela’s [the Viking goddess of death's] realm.  Lucifer and Satan are NOT, and have never been, interchangeable.)

    Although, if the Bible is to be interpreted, literally, you can’t ignore the other side, either, mainly the fact that God is responsible for ordering thousands of deaths, inCLUDing fetuses.  So, the anti-choicers have, once again, caught themselves in a catch-22, since they are, after all, the most vocal ‘defenders’ of religiosity and Christianity.

    And Hitler is only the most extreme human example of this.  He was always anti-choice, either ProLife in the case of German women or ProAbortion in the case of Jewish women.  It was his greed, like most other antichoicers’, that saw him force those he considered inferior to labour for those whom he considered superior, so that they could live the way they wished to live, himself, especially.

    ‘Satan’ (the ‘world’) is at work in most anti-choicers’ hearts, actually, since none of them can explain why women must be physically tied to the ways their organs function, when all other humans are allowed to seek medical treatment, regardless, why women are to be the only ones denied the most fundamental right to humanity, the right to determine who uses their body and when and how it is used and why women are no more than incubators, baby-making machines and walking wombs in anti-choicers’ minds, other than the patriarchal constructs that the ‘world’ has used to deceive you.

    If abortion is disrespecting fetuses, then you don’t hold much respect or esteem for women.  You can’t.  Because, in order to respect a fetus just as much as a woman, you have to respect her qualities in smaller quantities.

    Do you say that a widow living in poverty, carrying an expensive pregnancy to term at the expense of the lives and health of her eXISting children is loving?  If not, hypocrite.  If so, apPALling and disGUSting.  Another catch-22 that you antichoicers have put yourSELVES in.  

    I think someone needs to look up the word violent and take a look at the actions of his movement, in the mirror.  Those actions are, by FAR, WAY more violent than anything that has come before.

    There is no such thing as altruism.  Selfishness is NOT inherently bad. Carrying a pregnancy to term is selfish, for reasons I’ve already stated on this board.  Greed, however, the thing that antiCHOIcers like to promote, IS inherently bad.   

    And, finally, please stop using the no true Scotsman fallacy.  Even if that fallacy didn’t hold, you just recused yourself from being a Christian, as all evidence outlined above weighed against *your* logic, leads to as a conclusion.  

  • plume-assassine

    Arekushieru, this is a brilliant post, thank you!

     

    TruthSeeker does have an incredibly distorted view of Christianity and is ignorant of the origins of her own faith. I also know that she is the type of person who will tell you that abortion is “evil,” “murder,” and a “holocaust”… that is, until her own daughter needed to have abortions. Then suddenly it’s no longer murder at all; suddenly it’s very, very easy to forgive your daughter for being a “selfish murderer.” The extremist anti-choicer is a special kind of hypocrite indeed.

  • arekushieru

    Or to force your daughter to the nearest abortion clinic? 

    Yeah, I would agree with all of the above.

  • plume-assassine

    Her daughter describes choosing abortion (on a blog) even though she is anti-choice and also describes abortion as “a slaughter of innocent children.” And she was readily forgiven by her mother, who to this day actively calls abortion a “holocaust” on this forum and many others.

  • arekushieru

    Colleen, interesting point that you bring up!  I would describe myself, not only as a Christian Unitarian Universalist, but as an Entheist and Theological Atheist.  Meaning, I don’t believe God is narcissistic enough to believe He should be worshipped as many fundamentalists would have us believe.

  • arekushieru

    An interesting point that you’ve brought up, LPA.  This is one of the times that I love proclaiming (quite proudly) that I am part Swedish.  Although, I’m not, technically, an atheist.  It’s just so sweet to see one of my national backgrounds be used to disprove yet another falsely laid theory.  Or is that just petty of me?

  • plume-assassine

    There is not just one person or one political party to blame for the murders in AZ. Rather, it is a culture of violence that American society perpetuates. It may not even be a conscious advocacy for violence, but it is there. Violence in the USA has become the norm. Currently, we as a nation are involved in illegal wars, the President still condones torture and war crimes, and Guantanamo is reaching its 10th anniversary — this is all with the “a-okay” from the Democratic party. And from the Republicans, we have the obsession with the 2nd Amendment, the obsession with anti-woman concepts like “fetal personhood,” as well as the seething racism and hateful Christian nationalism embedded in the Tea Party. Conservative leaders and pundits (such as Palin, Beck, O’Reilly, etc) have made it clear that they do not care what kind of effect that their words have on their fans and ultimately the public.  Is is any wonder that there are acts of domestic terrorism here?

    That said, I mistrust an attempt to implement anti-hate speech laws in the US (like the ones in Canada and the UK) simply because I fear that such laws will ultimately be abused by the oppressor class. Our duty, then, is to shun, discourage, and repudiate hate speech and violent rhetoric when we hear it. We must recognize that it has no place in political or civil dialogue. And let’s be honest — most of the hate speech is coming from the right. The question is — how can we ensure that these people take moral responsibility for the consequences of their words and actions while still maintaining the freedom of speech?

  • arekushieru

    Ah, but He made humans with the ability to choose. 

    Don’t you just love their self-defeating arguments…?

  • arekushieru

    …Well….  Here, we’ll have to disagree.  ^_^;  We have an oppressor class, here, in Canada as well as the UK, just as they do in the US.  Most laws are made regardless of the presence of privileged classes, why should this be any different?

    I think Canada has done quite well with one, otherwise people like Ezra Levant run amok.  The Fox News ‘representative’ of some notoriety, even beforehand, that came here may have railed against the enforcement of such laws, but I believe it kept her from bringing any ruination onto her OWN, idiotic, head.

    Besides, I believe that freedom of speech, means freedom FROM speech not just freedom to speech.

  • arekushieru

    If woman is the epitome then why do you make her the least?

  • truthseeker

    I wondered how long it would take you to realize who I am!  You simply MUST purchase Abby Johnson’s book UNPLANNED that came out today!  How revealing it is of Planned Barrenhood’s wicked scheme afoot in our blind, lost, corrupt culture!  Good day!

  • truthseeker

    Emily, wonderful to see you here!  I have had confirmation/affirmation on what I said yesteday of Loughner when referring to him as a nihilist.  A psychologist on NightLine last night called him so!  He also said politics played NO part in his shooting rampage. His heavy metal trash, Black Flag, influenced him, as well as his drugs.  What goes in will come out!

  • truthseeker

    Goat, obviously you have a preference for effeminate priests who molest young boys.

  • prochoicekatie

    I am struck by the similarities between anti-choice violence and murders and the recent actions of those opposed to health care reform.

    When it was just abortion providers and supporters who were being harassed, threatened, and assassinated, no one in the mainstream (besides Maddow, most recently) seemed to question the morality of the rhetoric used by the anti-choice crowd with any true concern.

    They are all politically motivated murders. Politically motivated murders condoned by the use of phrases like murderer, domestic terrorism, and “the undermining of American values.”

    With HCR, the difference is that years of political violence (and it’s acceptance) meant that the violence started before the case reached SCOTUS.

    Political disagreement is NOT AN EXCUSE FOR MURDER. Don’t like the law? Leave or change it through legal, peaceful means. That needs to be the expected standard of behavior for political discontent. There is no excuse for language (on either side of the aisle) that suggests that those who are following the law are domestic terrorists, murderers, or active threats to others.

    Passing legislation that you don’t like doesn’t make someone an active physical threat, and language that suggests it leads the mentally unstable to dangerous conclusions.

    Following laws you don’t like (abortion providers) doesn’t make someone an active physical threat to you either, and language that suggests it leads mentally unstable individuals to dangerous conclusions.

    Anyone who was unaware of the most OBVIOUS bit of knowledge written above should consider themselves now informed.

    As an aside, Palin’s defense of her metaphors is shaky at best. When she said RELOAD she meant you should metaphorically be shooting legislators? And pray tell, what does that look like?

  • crowepps

    When did the psychologist interview Loughner?  Since apparently he already has totally blown off patient confidentiality, did he give any details of what he was told in the interview?

     

    Or is this guy on Nightline just guessing and unprofessional enough to attempt a diagnosis in absentia?

  • plume-assassine

    You brought up a lot of points that I hadn’t considered before — Thanks!

     

    Especially this — which is something I also agree with:

    I believe that freedom of speech, means freedom FROM speech not just freedom to speech.

     

    As for your question:

    Most laws are made regardless of the presence of privileged classes, why should this be any different?

    Good point. I think it has to do with how much power the privileged classes already hold.  I fear that it is very much out of hand in the US and worry that such laws would be used to protect the majority religion from criticism or that people will not be able to criticize a specific group’s practices without fear of prosecution. I haven’t been outside of the US to see how well it’s working in Canada and the UK, but I trust your knowledge of what’s going on in your country and that it is working. Although I have heard from someone in the UK that the laws are fuzzy as to what constitutes “criticism” and what is “hate speech.”

  • goatini

    a hyper-macho militaristic gun nut, or an “effeminate” pederast?  

     

    I’m amused that you are unable to see the irony of your fevered rant on a violent society being (supposedly) all the fault of women, and your deep admiration of a violent man posing proudly on the bloody snow with the innocent creatures he killed.  

  • goatini

    except that the talking point that you and countless other RW drones had been assigned yesterday morning for the purpose of astroturfing Internet message boards, had “officially” made it to the on-air commentary of the most RW of the Big 3 networks.

     

    See, around here, we know when the RW talking points for the day have been received, and cut’n’pasted into countless Internet message boards.  This is not the only board I read; I saw the “nihilist” meme getting catapulted all over the Web all day long by low-information disruptors.  

     

    And BTW, we still eschew believing a remote diagnosis of a complete stranger.

  • ack

    Jon Stewart has it right. We need to “match our reality with our rhetoric more often.” We speak in metaphors, in analogy, and then we throw our hands up and say, “But I didn’t mean for anyone to actually DO that!” It’s like Richard Gardner’s supporters being suprised that we think his arguments encourage child molestation.

     

    The fact of the matter is that our political climate in this country is ugly. We need to change that. We all have a responsibility, not just to our own party, but to all the others, to call politicians and pundits out if they’re using imagery and language that we think is inappropriate. We need to move from a place of vitriol to a place of respectful disagreement.

     

    I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how violence shapes our conception of power. Politics is no different. These are people who TALK for a living, and still they’re reduced to metaphorically beating up or killing their opponent. 

     

    Our rhetoric crash landed into our reality last weekend. It will happen again. Let’s try to ensure that the next time, we’re all less willing to point fingers because there is less material out there to find on the internet or see on the news.

  • arekushieru

    Planned Barrenhood?  Is that a reference to some women’s desire to never continue a pregnancy or is that a reference to the 3% of services that Planned Parenthood provides AS abortion services?  Either way, there are no societies that are as corrupt, blind and lost as those who would use women’s bodies against them and subjugate them to the way their body was developed or as those who oppose abortion but do NOThing to support the methods that would reDUCE the number of abortions.

    What have I been saying about catch-22’s, now…?

  • goatini

    by and about forced birthers and their supporters, in order to continue my learnings about their evolving tactics in attempting to subvert the Constitution and abrogate the rights of a class of citizens.

     

    In this case, I’ll donate the retail price of the hardcover book to my local reproductive healthcare facility, in the name of Ms Johnson.  

     

    As a rule, I don’t care for ghost-written books cranked out to make a fast buck.