Archive for January 8th, 2011

Jared Lee Loughner has been identified as the suspect in the shooting of Rep. Gabrille Giffords, and the name has already sent the Web community rushing to MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. Supposedly, his MySpace page is already down, though some people who captured it beforehand say there was a farewell note.

The man in custody is accused of shooting 18 people and killing six, including a child and John M. Roll, a judge for the United States District Court who had received death threats over the years for his decisions on illegal immigrants, which were seen as too lenient.

A YouTube page for Jared Lee Loughner from Tucson links to a creepy world of text-only videos that offers his “final thoughts” and lays out a creepy manifesto of government mind control through currency and grammar. In one Tea Party-worthy outburst, he blasts Americans for not reading the Constitution, but in the next he says the government is trying to control your “grammar structure.” (Note to you, whether you’re a killer or not, the phrase “grammar structure” is a needless variant and “grammar” alone would do.) The guy seems to have found some connection between human syntax and mind control that he wanted to share with the world.

He says one of his favorite activities is “conscience dreaming.” He also blasts people in District 8 (Giffords’ district) for their illiteracy.

I have no way of knowing whether this person is really responsible for multiple murders, but if he is, this is America’s first glimpse of him:

I think it’s important for people to know if this is the person, because if he is and he’s crazy, then the blaming of the Tea Party should cease immediately. There are too many real things to blame them for.

Read Full Post »

Giffords Shot

A horrible tragedy in Arizona today. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat in the House of Representatives representing the eighth district, was shot in the head outside a supermarket in Tuscon at close range. Seventeen others were shot as well, six of them killed, including one child. Giffords was originally reported to be dead, but later it was reported she survived, and it appears she will recover.

There is already rampant speculation about who is responsible: perhaps a febrile Tea Party sympathizer (Sarah Palin and others targeted Giffords as a traitor on the health care bill), or a member of a drug cartel (Giffords is outspoken on drug enforcement) or an anti-immigration activist (Giffords was reportedly soft on Arizona’s new racist immigration bill). A lot of liberals are already blaming the overheated and sometimes militaristic rhetoric on the right, including Palin’s, for the shooting. (An immigration judge was shot as well.)

I think this is a big mistake. It’s too early to make pronouncements about who is responsible. And even if it were a Tea Party activist, liberals ought to be more thoughtful in their response. Not all Republicans or even Tea Party activists are responsible for one act of violence, any more than all Muslims were responsible for 9/11. There is no legal basis for saying Palin or Beck (who sometimes had Giffords on his show) ever made actual violent threats or encouraged violence as a means to score political ends.  The rhetoric of right wingers like Beck and Palin is sick, perverted, fetishistic, often full of categorically wrong facts and, if you throw in Rush Limbaugh’s windbaggery as well, even cryptically racist, too, but not criminal.

Giffords is a smart public servant who doesn’t toe any party line really as far as I can tell. She’s for gun rights and for immigration reform. It seems, if anything, she’s dedicated herself to being open minded. So I don’t see her as a right wing bete noire or Democratic mealy mouther either. It would be sad if she left us. And for many reasons, including her all-important life, I’m not in a hurry to make her a left-wing martyr this afternoon.

Read Full Post »