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Different responses to the Arizona shootings

David Henderson, over at the EconLog blog, has astute observations to make about the statements made by a parent of the girl murdered by the Arizona shooter. I recommend you read it all. It is probably not the sort of article to appeal to Paul Krugman, who is now well on the way to achieving the status of what the swearblogger Obxnoxio the Clown calls “a weapon’s grade cock-end”.

Here is more on Krugman’s descent, over, at all places, the Economist.. Even that organ of high-minded opinion is starting to publish attacks on him. Or maybe its editors are starting to take note of our own Paul Marks.

37 comments to Different responses to the Arizona shootings

  • CW

    Meet the new nutter, same as the old nutter .
    Loner ,insane political beliefs, etc.
    Simple as that really.
    A nutter in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    As for the Arizona shooter ,well yes, I suppose he’s a nutter as well.

  • PeterT

    Good link. The problem is that most people do not understand the concept of probability very well. And even less understanding of the actual probability of being shot or happening to be in the wrong plane at the wrong time. This plays into the hands of politicians wanting to be seen as doing something. More generally doing something gives people the sense of control that they seem to have a psychological need for. Hence we get total over-reactions such as in air travel security. I think two of the key psychological traits of libertarians is that we have an intuitive grasp of the concept of probabilities, and a respect, or even appreciation for the random, for good or ill.

    Loosely connected… If you have passed airport security in the arab world you will know that the metal detectors ALWAYS go off. This is because the security staff have set the settings so low that any metal on your person is detected. Extra security you see. Idiotic.

  • James Waterton

    Even that organ of high-minded opinion is starting to publish attacks on him.

    Which don’t make it into the print edition, of course. I think Brian Micklethwaite’s description of that magazine is perfect – and I’m paraphrasing him here – The Economist is a disseminator of conventional wisdom. Which, for a magazine with all that intellectually pretentious baggage it’s carrying, is the highest insult of all.

  • RAB

    Sarah Palin has just made a statement to camera on the subject of the shootings and the inclement haste the left has rushed to blame right wing political rhetoric for this insane tragedy.

    It is instantly being described as “Presidential” It is certainly the sanest and calmest comment I have heard so far. Far more so than the standard smug piety, and 2 minute silences coming out of Obama.

    Dont have a link, but don’t worry folks you wont miss it, it is going to be on every news channel for the rest of the day.

  • Krugman seems to have a severe case of Sullivan’s Disease, yes.

  • Paul Marks

    Sarah Palin was correct – it is indeed a Blood Libel.

    A whole group of people are declared evil (people who should be driven from the public square) because of murders committed by one person WHO WAS NOT EVEN ONE OF THEM.

    “Little Hugh [or whoever] has been murdered by a Jew – now all Jews must pay” – And it turns out that “Little Hugh” was not even murdered by a Jew at all.

    As for the Economist – no way round it I am going to have to write in praise of their article.

    I have no way out of doing that – after the stick I give them for bad articles.

    There is a way to really irritate a foe – do something noble and watch him (me) grind his teeth as he is forced (by logic) to praise you.

  • PeterT

    A quote from Jon Stewart (the annoying guy who does the mock current event show). He’s generally considered to be left wing.

    “I wouldn’t blame our political rhetoric [for Tucson] any more than I would blame heavy metal music for [the 1999 shootings in] Columbine,” he said. “Boy, would it be nice to draw a straight line of causation from this horror to something tangible, because then we could convince ourselves that if we just stop this, the horrors will end. But … you cannot outsmart crazy. Crazy always seems to find a way; it always has.”

    Pretty sensible.

    Lifted from behind the FT paywall in breach of copyright brought to you by Peter.

  • Ian

    In 2008, Rupert Sheldrake was stabbed by a random (Japanese) guy who thought Sheldrake was using mind control techniques on him. Sheldrake is a theist and a believer in “ESP”, but nobody concluded that the guy who did it was influenced by atheists, such as his noted enemy Richard Dawkins who presented a series entitled “Enemies of Reason”, which was to have included Sheldrake but the interview with whom was cut from the final production (although, publicly, Sheldrake was known to have been one of the “targets”).

    Seems like there’s a memory hole here, in other areas. What about that bloke who took hostages at the Discovery Channel to save the squirrels? Anyone remember Bill Ayers? What about Che Guevara? The Suffragettes? Except in cases like the Reichstag fire, the crucial factor in the political use of force in a civilian environment is not any particular ideology but the perception of disempowerment.

    Separate to this recent violence and its causes, what is revealed by those commentators who unreasonably assume an ideological relationship between this incident and the Tea Party is, at most, that they themselves perceive the Tea Party to be composed of members of the public who feel disempowered. But a feeling of disempowerment is almost a sine qua non of any political movement. Not surprising if a few of them attract the odd nutter. However, boil it all down, and the argument against the fierce opposition of the Tea Party to comfy statist principles is that Tea Partiers do fiercely oppose statism. But bugger it, Tea Partiers are polite and reasonable, and this bloke ain’t one of ‘em, so shame on them for trying to grab the gun of guilt-by-association. Wish we had a Tea Party here in England.

  • Robert Speirs

    It is truly disheartening after all these years of Szasz’s critiques being widely available to see so many people still using terms such as “mental illness” and trusting in psychiatric “medicine” to resolve bad situations. Sure, some psychologists, which include Szasz, have some wise techniques to offer, but those techniques are not “medical”. In “The Club of QueerTrades” G. K. Chesterton offered the only solution, through the voice of one of his characters who was a judge, “Get a new soul, man,” he said, after pronouncing sentence, “The one you have isn’t fit for a dog. Get a new soul.”

    How does one get a new soul? Not through medicine, or science.

  • JerrySpringerisnotmydad

    From the article comments.

    “While Palin may not have caused it, I would sure feel awful if I had made a graphic of someone with a crosshair over it and that person is subsequently shot, whether or not it was my fault.

    Yet rather than contrition, there is nothing but posturing and abdication of any responsibility. Even the fact that they were gun sights is now being disputed. If political rhetoric had nothing to do with it, why backtrack her position?

    When people began walking around in opposition to healthcare rallies with firearms, they began making the link between firearms and all other political issues.

    And the Tea Party may cry foul at the preemptive labeling of Loughner, but I cry Occam’s Razor: who is the loudest and angriest group of people in America right now?”

    And why is this man not labelled a terrorist?

  • Fraser Orr

    It seems to me that one pretty obvious fact is being missed in much of the discussion here. Specifically, if there had been more guns at the scene things would have turned out differently. If that brave intern who apparently saved the congresswoman’s life had had a Glock next to his first aid kit, then the bad guy would not have been anywhere near as successful. If the extraordinarily brave 60 year old woman had been carrying a revolver she wouldn’t have had to wrestle for the clip from the strong young 20 year old guy.

    Perhaps he could have shot a few people, but 20? I think not.

    There was no lack of brave competent people at the scene who could have prevented half the tragedy. But they didn’t have the tools to do so (though jumping the guy undoubtedly curtailed his spree.)

    Of course in Arizona your dog can buy a gun, so this was not a failure of government policy, but a failure of a culture that saw carrying a gun as a bad thing.

    I might add that this would have the added benefit of saving the tax payer the millions of dollars that the trial will cost, only to hear him whine about how mean his mommy was to him.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    “When people began walking around in opposition to healthcare rallies with firearms, they began making the link between firearms and all other political issues.”

    Really? Well, given that for a lot of Americans, the Second Amendment is seen as one of the most important, people who see the traditional checks and balances of US life under threat often make a point about guns and the right to possess said. But that said, I don’t think that because some folk at political rallies carry guns or talk about them somehow means that such rallies create a climate in which folk think it is acceptable to shoot a Congresswoman.


    And the Tea Party may cry foul at the preemptive labeling of Loughner, but I cry Occam’s Razor: who is the loudest and angriest group of people in America right now?”

    It is not necessarily the Tea Party. They just won a lot of influence in DC lately, which presumably has angered the hell out of those who want the US to continue on its current ruinous course.

    You can plead the Occam’s Razor line as hard as you like, but it still comes down to little more than a silly smear based on little hard evidence or logic. There have been a lot of loud and angry people around in the US. (Read the Daily Kos lately?) And in any event, does the loudness and anger of this movement mean that it must carry some sort of taint by association, however tenuous, with this guy?

    “And why is this man not labelled a terrorist?”

    “Lunatic” seems to be quite fine. His objectives seem so contradictory and bizarre that it is not clear what he wanted. Or maybe “nihilist” also does the job.

    Nice try, but no cigar.

  • Laird

    In the absence of another thread in which to do so, I suppose this is as good a place as any for a discussion about Obama’s speech at the Tucson “memorial” service last night.

    The speech itself was fine, if a bit pedestrian. (Not “Churchillian”, as one commentator I read sneered about Palin’s post the other day, but then there aren’t any Churchills around these days so I’m happy to settle for inoffensive.) He didn’t cast blame, and did a respectable job of calling for national unity and an end to finger-pointing. You can read the text here.

    The problem I had with it, and the reason for the sneer quotes around the word “memorial” above, is that despite the high-minded rhetoric whoever was responsible for putting together this event seemed to view it as a political rally rathar than a memorial service. Clearly most of the attendees treated it as such; when was the last time you attended a memorial service where every line in the “euology” was puctuated by applause? (You don’t have to watch the video of the speech to hear it; the White House was kind enough to note “applause” points in the transcript.) How offensive is that? These people weren’t there to honor the fallen; they were there to celebrate the presence of their rock-star president.

    And how about those awful t-shirts thoughtfully placed on the backs of all the chairs? Sometime between Saturday and Wednesday someone had to design them, find a vendor to print them all, ship them to Tucson and lay them out. Who would even think of doing such a thing at a memorial service? Truly, this is a textbook definition of “crass”. Rahm Emanuel may no longer be physically present in the White House but his evil spirit lives on there!

    I can’t think of a better illustration of the total lack of class of this administration and everyone associated with it.

  • RAB, Palin’s speech is here.

  • RAB

    Laird, absolutely spot on there sir!

    That was not a Memorial for the dead, that was a very carefully crafted and coded speech to reposition Barry at the pinnacle of the Moral highground. And the T shirts! Jesus fuckin wept!

    Wheras Palin’s speech was sweet reason and calm itself, but just one word out of place and the Left piles in again!

    Blood Libel! how dare you use Blood Libel! that’s reserved for Jews only (even though, as Paul Marks says, it was entirely accurate).

    I have to say that I have always had missgivings about Sarah Palin and her gaffes, not least not knowing which Korea to bomb if it came to it, but I am now of the firm opinion that Sarah “Patriotic American plain ol’ Hockey mum” Palin would do less damage and a damn sight more good in 5 minutes, than “I loathe you America, why can’t you be more sophisticated, nuanced and French?” Obama will do, in hopefully the last two years left to him.

    How the hell did you manage to elect a president that actually hates and wishes to destroy you America?

    Thanks Alisa. The speech can now be seen by everyone at a click. But I did see it when it was first aired yesterday, followed by John Humphries turning to the talking head he had on next and saying “Well let’s see what sense we can make of that!”

    You utter utter leftist Twat Humphries!! I am ashamed to be born in the same fuckin town as you!

  • Laird

    Here’s the transcript of Palin’s address, in case anyone (besides me) prefers to read speeches rather than listening to them. Personally, I thought it was fine.

  • I also prefer reading speeches, but I think that for real political purposes watching them is much more instructive. The text of Palin’s speech was very good. The delivery was good, IMO, but not quite ‘very good’. She may improve with practice, of course, and I think it was good enough to conclude that she is on the right track.

  • Paul Marks

    The Daily Kos also “targeted” the Congresswomen.

    So I might as well claim the madman was an ardent follower of the leftist Daily Kos.

    “Show me the evidence…..”

    Show me the evidence he was a Palin fan.

    An athiest who hated people who misused the English language and did not follow correct grammar…..

    Does not sound like Palin fan – if fact such a person would be unlikely to like Sarah Palin very much.

    He would not like me very much either – correct grammer is not exactly my strong suit…

    But who knows what goes on private?

    Perhaps Sarah Palin goes to bed with a copy of “The Communist Manifesto” in one hand and “My Struggle” (by Adolf Hitler) in the other – loving them both and dreaming of the day when social justice is established.

    Or perhaps not.

  • Since when possessing a book means being an admirer of its author or even agreeing with its contents? Or even understanding a single sentence in it?

  • Laird

    “An athiest who hated people who misused the English language and did not follow correct grammar…..”

    Sounds like me! (Well, “hated” is a bit too strong.) But I rather like Palin. Go figure.

    Seriously, though, if anyone went through my library he’d find all sorts of interesting things. I have copies of “The Communist Manifesto”, “Mein Kampf” (English translation), “Rules for Radicals”, Mao’s “Little Red Book”, some of Lenin’s writings, Plato, and who knows what else. I also have books by Ayn Rand, Robert Heinlein, Boston T. Party, de Tocqueville, Machiavelli, Hayek, von Mises, Nozick, and hundreds of others. Even if one of them happens to be on my nightstand at the moment one can’t read too much into it. Fixating on the books in anyone’s library is just foolish.

  • Laird, RAB-

    I just found Obama’s “memorial” speech on Youtube and watched the early part of it. Couldn’t believe my eyes. Or rather, ears. Whooping, hollering, wolf-whistling(!) from the crowd.

    Utterly unbelievable.

  • RAB

    Thanks once again Laird. Reading the One’s Speech with the added (applause) is even more instructive than having to listen to it. Here are his closing remarks…

    As has already been mentioned, Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called “Faces of Hope.” On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child’s life. “I hope you help those in need,” read one. “I hope you know all the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart.” (Applause.) “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

    If there are rain puddles in Heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. (Applause.) And here on this Earth — here on this Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and we commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.

    Pass the sick bag Alice!

    This reads like the kind of stuff a clergyman who has never met the deceased relative before, or any of the family, but who is in charge of the burial, and has dropped round for tea and biccies with the bereaved to glean a few tit bits to add to his phoney homily before the hymns and the curtain closes on the coffin. Arrrrrgh!

    Your Mission Obama, should you choose to accept it, is to put your hand on your heart and recite the words of the National Anthem… I’m waiting, no hummining and harring now, do you actually know them and love them or not?

  • I always knew there was something fishy about this Laird fellow…

  • Laird

    Alisa, you don’t know the half of it!

  • Richard Thomas

    My understanding is that these books were not simply in his possession but actually listed under his favorite works somewhere. I’ll have to check that.

    Paul, although he ranted about grammar, I don’t believe it was against people using it incorrectly. If you look at his youtube videos (if they’re still there), his grammar was terrible. I think he was ranting against government controlling the people with grammar.

  • RAB

    His question to Gifford back in 2007 was…

    What happens to Government if words lose their meaning?

    No wonder the poor woman couldn’t answer it, I can’t either, it makes no sense.

    When I get invited to a new aquaintance’s home, the first thing I check out are their record collection and their bookshelves, to see if they are likely to become close friends.

    Your bookshelf has you down in my book as a well rounded, firmly grounded, well read sort of cove Laird. But what’s your record collection like? ;-)

  • Laird

    Fairly eclectic, RAB. Lots of classical (I have a conservatory background), but also a lot of jump blues and jazz, some big band-type stuff, a little classic rock, and a variety of odds and ends.

    But what’s a “cove”?

  • RAB

    Hmmm, bit conservative on the music front, but you’ll do, especially the Jazz. I’ll add you to the list of folk who I would happily see appear on my doorstep shall I?

    Not as well read as I thought though! Try a little Wodehouse. A cove is a “Chap” nothing more. It is usually qualified by a prefix word like Rum or Jolly etc ;-)

  • Laird

    I love Wodehouse; have a collection of all the Jeeves and Wooster stories. Don’t recall running into “cove” there, though; shall have to read it again. Most of what little I know of English culture I got from Wodehouse! (And “The Avengers”.)

    You’re not going to tell me that you’re a fan of rap or hip-hop, are you?

  • Oh get a room, you two!

  • RAB

    I have lots of rooms. You are welcome to join us my sweet! Ian can come too. He could do some sketching if he has a hand free! :-)

  • Laird

    I think we’ve all gotten just a smidgen off-topic here.

  • RAB

    Yes, very true Laird, but I think we have said just about all there is to be said here, especially as twattery like this is still being published, and in the Telegraph too. I can’t help but think that Allison is writing for the wrong paper.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/sarah-palin/8255824/Why-Sarah-Palin-brings-out-the-worst-in-her-online-supporters.html

    But having said that, I was expecting her to get a right hammering in the comments section. Alas Telegraph readers seem to have the same lazy irrational hatred of Palin as any Guardianista. Fortunately most of them are not able to vote for or against her if she chooses to run for President.

  • Some people just need to be BBQed – where’s David Davis when you need him? And would this be considered violent rhetoric, or just poor taste (pun and all)? What can I say guys: I’m tired in general, and tired in particular of all this nuttery. As the old Jew said: stop the world, I want to get off…Sorry for all the distraction, I now return you to your regularly unscheduled programming…

  • Paul Marks

    I should have read more carefully – the Economist ariticle that J.P. points to was internet only.

    Their editorial calls the murderer right wing (even there own inside article points out that he loved both the Red collectivist Communist Manfesto and the Brown collectivist My Struggle by A. Hitler – and that he enjoyed burning the American flag) but mainly just rants on about the need for “gun control”.

    Good grief – as if “gun control” ever stopped a murderer ever getting a firearm.

    Whether it is Chicago or Mexico – bad guys get firearms, gun control or no.

    What gun control does do is to prevent sane and honest people fighting back against the insane or dishonest.