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Two contrasting articles by Michael Tomasky on spree killers

In today’s Guardian Michael Tomasky has written the following article about the murder of six people and attempted murder of many others, including Congresswoman Giffords: In the US, where hate rules at the ballot box, this tragedy has been coming for a long time. Some selected extracts:

… You don’t have to believe that alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, is a card-carrying Tea Party member (he evidently is not) to see some kind of connection between that violent rhetoric and what happened in Arizona on Saturday.

… So what particular type of nut is Loughner? We don’t have a full picture yet. But we have enough of one. His coherent ravings included the conviction that the constitution assured him that “you don’t have to accept the federalist laws”. He called a female classmate who had an abortion a “terrorist”.

In sum, he had political ideas, which not everyone does. Many of them (not all, but most) were right wing. He went to considerable expense and trouble to shoot a high-profile Democrat, at point-blank range right through the brain. What else does one need to know? For anyone to attempt to insist that the violent rhetoric so regularly heard in this country had no likely effect on this young man is to enshroud oneself in dishonesty and denial.

I would like to report to you that my nation is in shock, and that we will work together to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. Alas, neither of these things is close to true. Of course an event like this is hard to believe in the moment; but in the context of our times, it’s really not surprising at all. Last summer, a California man armed himself and set off for San Francisco with the express intent of killing liberals at a nonprofit foundation that had been pilloried by Glenn Beck and others. Only the lucky accident of his arrest en route for drunk driving prevented the mayhem then.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has documented more than two dozen killings by or arrests of rightwing extremists who intended to do serious political violence since 2008. One Tennessee man killed two worshippers at a liberal church, regretting only that he had not been able to ice the 100 liberals named by author Bernard Goldberg as those most responsible for destroying America. Giffords herself received threats after voting for the healthcare reform bill, and shots were fired through the window of her district office. An event like this has been coming for a long time.

In contrast, here is the article that Michael Tomasky wrote when Major Nidal Hasan murdered thirteen people and attempted to murder many others: American, for better or worse. Some selected extracts:

We have much more to learn about Hasan before we can jump to any conclusions. A New York Times profile of him from yesterday notes that this army psychiatrist, who’d presumably heard many blood-curdling war stories, obsessively feared being sent over to Iraq or Afghanistan. But it then says that the FBI has monitored some internet postings by a certain Nidal Hasan that spoke positively of suicide bombers, comparing them to soldiers who risk their lives for their comrades. The Times didn’t know if it was the same Nidal Hasan.

For all most Americans know about Palestinian culture, Nidal Hasan could be as common a name as Dave Johnson. The Palestinian is an unknown person in the US. Jews are a part of the country and have been for decades, but average Americans pretty much know Palestinians only as suicide bombers. Sadly, for some Americans this event will reinforce an image of a people who resort first to mindless violence.

We should assume until it’s proven otherwise that Hasan was an American and a loyal one, who just snapped, as Americans of all ethnicities and backgrounds and political persuasions do. And, as is so rarely the case in these situations, he’s alive, so we’ll have a chance to hear him express his views some day.

62 comments to Two contrasting articles by Michael Tomasky on spree killers

  • Curmudgeon Geographer

    Just part of the continuing effort to frame simple opposition to liberal and progressive policies as “violence”, and all political violence as coming from opposition to progressives and liberals in power.

    Time to create a searchable database of violent rhetoric from progressives and violent acts in the name of progressive politics . . .

  • Jane

    The left will use this crisis to obtain more power. They are already calling for the end of talk radio and to eliminate conservative tv talk shows. Angry rhetoric is not the cause of what happen. Angry rhetoric is a symptom of a government out of control. Government corruption and abuse is the cause. Yes, many Americans are angry, but the real problem is the reason why they are angry. Perhaps the liberal media should focus on the REASONS for the anger and treat the problem and not the symptom. They want to take away more freedoms from the populace, ie, gun control and the abolishment of right wing tv and radio talk shows, control speech(the angry rhetoric) and the net etc, instead of looking at Washington and saying maybe we need to fix that and that will solve the anger problem.

    Anger is high and has been over the last 2 years. We have politicans who ignore the will of the people, stomp on their rights, regulate and control every aspect of their lives, and are spending our country into oblivion. We have a president who gets involved in matters that he should not be commenting on like the professor and policeman in Massachusetts, etc. He has been the biggest divider I can name. We have a president who holds closed door meetings barring republicans, a president who tells republicans they can come for the ride but must sit in the back seat and on and on……. Maybe the reason for angry rhetoric amongst people is our leadership and president. That is what they need to fix, not more regulation and taking away more rights. That will only fuel more anger.

    The last time anger rose this high was when Clinton was in power. I think it was during the Clinton years that road rage reached an all time high and where the phrase going postal became popular when a postal worker opened fire. It seems to be a pattern, the more government exerts itself on the populace the higher the anger level and the more tragedies that occur.

    With that said, obviously the shooter was mentally unstable and should not be compard to the average person who is angry with what our politicians are doing and have done. Solving the proble means addressing the real issue, politicans who are abusing their power and causing the anger. The rhetoric is only an outcome of that abuse.

  • Perhaps the liberal media should focus on the REASONS for the anger and treat the problem and not the symptom. … instead of looking at Washington and saying maybe we need to fix that and that will solve the anger problem.

    Jane, the media are an extension of Washington, so your expectation is misplaced. Oh, and BTW, on Clinton: check this out.

  • Jane

    I said perhaps the media should…..

    Wouldn’t that be nice if they did their job? Wouldn’t it be nice if they were real journalists and reporters? Don’t you think they SHOULD do their job? Is that such a wrong expectation to think professionals should actually act professional and do their damn job?

    Road rage piqued during the Clinton years. We did have a balanced budget thanks to a republican congress, however in the first years when there was a democrat pres and a democrat congress they tried to push the Hillary care, just like they are doing now with the Obamacare, and people were angry then too.

  • RainerK

    Yep, this sums it up perfectly. Same rot the world over.
    Some voice it more openly, sucg as this guy, Paul Krugman and many others from the liberal shill media; some more carefully, such as President Obama.
    As an active member of the Tea Party, I am saddened, but neither deterred nor surprised
    The truth will prevail. Eventually.

  • Jane: right, I missed the ‘should’ part – my bad…:-)

    I was never a great fan of Clinton, mind you, but credit where it is due. Oh, and didn’t GWB also have a Republican Congress for most of his time in office?

  • PeterT

    I wondered how many minutes it would take for a topic on this subject to pop up on samizdata!

    Lets just say that whatever his politics this guy clearly had a few screws loose.

    It is disingenuous to claim that somehow right wing rhetoric has contributed to this incident. No rational person would for a minute think that an action such as this would bring us (or Americans, rather) closer to freedom.

    While I will not be a weasel and say that political violence is never justified – clearly it can be in many situations (operation valkyrie springs to mind) – it is almost always both inefficient, as a means of furthering freedom, and immoral. We should use Gandhi as our model, not Che Guevara. If all self proclaimed members of the tea party suddenly stopped paying taxes, and did a hunger strike, and what the hey… lit a bonfire with their social security checks outside the white house..now that may be efficient. Hell..maybe some libertarians might even wish to defend wikileaks against government over-reach. You are lucky in the US in that you have the numbers to theoretically being able to pull this off… it would never happen in the UK.

    I had a look at the comments section on the Reason Magazine bit on this. As you might suspect there were the occasional references to the American Revolution and the famous Thomas Jefferson quote about how the tree of liberty requires the blood of tyrants to thrive. But the American Revolution was a defensive war…its not like Jefferson and Washington took the boat to London and shot George III. They proclaimed independence first then defended themselves against the British invasion. It is, of course, rather harder to proclaim independence when you don’t have any land already under your control.

    Before political violence can be contemplated all peaceful methods must have been exhausted, including hunger strikes, non compliance with laws, and the like. If you do not have the conviction to put your own life on the line for your beliefs you don’t have the right to play around with the lives of others.

    As for the left wing journalist. He’s biased. So what is new?

  • Tedd

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that there might be a correlation between the general level of violent rhetoric and the general level of actual violence (though not necessarily a causal relationship). But to suggest that either is exclusively or primarily the product of one side of a political divide, which, conveniently, is not the side you’re on, is pretty transparent.

    Ultimately, though, the only thing anyone can do about it is to not use violent rhetoric.

  • Problem is, I am yet to see actual evidence of violent rhetoric from the “right”.

  • Lets see, this guy is a God hating, flag burning, grammar hating, America hating nut case who seems to show clinical symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. Giffords was a Jewish right wing Democrat who lead the fight against Obama’s space policy and voted against Nancy Pelosi as minority leader. mmm

    If you get a chance look at James Pierson’s book “Camelot and the Cultural Revolution , How the assassination of John F. Kennedy shattered American Liberalism.” He makes the case that they could not deal with the fact that JFK was killed by a communist so they turned really nutty.

    We’re seeing the same sort of thing today. What was it that Marx said about history repeating itself?

  • Jane


    Yes you are correct about GWB. The repubs should have been able to do great things but they blew it. There is alot of anger towards the repubs due to their performance in congress during the first half of GWB. That is another reason for the tea party, they are in search of the rhinos and are booting them out of the party as best they can.

    I’m not necessarily anti-Clinton myself but the credit I give him is in how well he worked with a republican congress and was able to get things done. I credit the repub congress, not Clinton, for welfare reform and balancing the budget. The contract with America written by Gingrich is what also helped with this. Unfortunately from the year 2000 on, the repubs lost their way.

  • Why no credit to Clinton?

  • Who cares why he did it? One Democrat, one judge. That’s not a bad tally at all. Pity about the collateral damage but, you know, omelettes, eggs.

  • Jane

    “Why no credit to Clinton?”

    The credit I give to Clinton is that he did a wonderful job working with the opposition party. It was the republican congress who set the budget and balanced it. It was Newt Gingrich who wrote the Contract with America. The republicans had just taken control of the house and Clinton’s approval ratings were in the toilet after the Hillary care debacle. The American people voted and put the repubs back in power in the congress. Clinton was smart enough to know that if he wanted to be re-elected then he needed to play ball with the repubs and not veto their budget. Clinton did not run on welfare reform or on any cuts and yet he didn’t fight the repub congress on it. The cuts that were needed to balance the budget were not Clinton’s ideas but the republicans.

    The president does not have any money. All money comes from congress, they control the purse strings and they can underfund anything. Therefore, the balanced budget, the spending cuts and the contract with America I credit to the republican congress and I credit Clinton with cooperating with them and getting things done. Now we will have to see if Obama will take a lesson from Clinton. These midterm elections gave a clear message and how he responds to it will determine whether or not he gets re-elected.

  • Bod

    Heartless, IanB, even for you.

    My personal belief is that this guy was a stone-cold nutter whose political ideology, whatever it was, was trumped by that simple fact – that he was crazy. Convenient though it might be for anti-statists like us to point to his ownership of Mein Kampf AND the Communist Manifesto, I think it signifies nothing; although if he’d had a copy of The Road to Serfdom or Liberal Fascism, we’d never hear the last of it.

    No, the guy was certifiable, and it’s a shame he couldn’t have been sectioned before he decided to do this.

    Alisa referred to the non-existent violent rhetoric from the right – there is some, particularly in the blog boondocks, but you’re correct in spirit. To see red-blooded eliminationist rhetoric and fantasy, big-readership leftist blogs and media outlets are the place to go. Those people have no sense of proportion or self-control, and their combined willingness to look like nutters AND their claims that they’re intelligent (completely forgetting that NOTHING is ever completely redacted from the Internet) is truly astounding. I sometimes wonder if it’s a manifestation of that fixation that tyrannies seem to have on documenting every thought, policy and action they take.

    To the extent that the conventional American conservatives and their media representation make these kinds of statements, they’re almost universally adopting the very well-established language of military tactics (target, campaign, ‘lock-and-load’, ‘red-on-red’, etc) which have been used in normal political races and disagreements for decades.

    If anything good is to come out of this, it’ll be that the man on the Winnetonka Omnibus becomes more politically observant – and while many will tune into the mainstream media, just as many will multi-source their information from the internet too. As time goes on, this trend will accelerate, revealing the underlying amorality of the current media outlets, who are, as they speak, demolishing their credibility even further.

    With every recurrence of ‘lone gunman’ or ‘lone domestic terrorist’ atrocities, the newspapers and other media firms will shoot themselves thru’ the foot, only stopping long enough to reload (see what I did there?). And as long as they’re doing it to themselves, I will mourn the victims of the event while rejoicing at the immolation of the press.

    I’ll not live long enough for America to cast off the tyranny it willed upon itself in the 20th Century, but I’m increasingly confident that my kids might, if the media carry on paying people like Michael Tomasky and Alex Spilius of the Telegraph (and the truly enormous number of leftists in the US press) to write for them. Every time they beclown themseleves, more people see it happen.

  • RAB

    Jesus Ian! There is funny, there is fatuous and there is downright fuckwittery!

    Which category do you think I put your comment in?

    The damage this mentalist cunt has done already is incalculable to a fledgling political movement like the Tea Party.

    He had nothing to do with them, or them with him, but the tar brushes are out already, as the difference in stance between the two articles Natalie has highlighted shows only too well.

    For fuck’s sake, grow up!

    With you all the way here Bod.

  • Dishman

    Tomasky is lying when he says Loughner was even vaguely “right-wing”.

    Some friggin’ Commie bastard does a lot of drugs, loses his mind, and hurts someone…

    … and everyone wants to blame “right-wing”, and talk about how evil and violent the “right-wing” is.

    Lovely game, that.

  • Laird

    So now it’s coming out that the guy was a left-wing nutcase. Not surprising. Nor is it surprising that the leftist pundits’ reflexive assumption is that he was a conservative. After all, that was the immediate reaction to the abortive Times Square bombing of a few months ago, and in fact to essentially every violent event of an apparently political nature. Funny how it’s nearly always the leftists who commit actual violence, though. I think the psychologists call that “projection”.

  • Tedd


    I’m not sure what you mean by examples of violent rhetoric from the right, but violent rhetoric is distressingly common on blogs and blogs comments right across the spectrum, from what I’ve seen. Even Samizdata, as good as it is compared to most other blog sites, is not immune.

  • Laird

    Tedd, that’s neither fair nor accurate. I don’t know how you define “violent rhetoric”, but I don’t recall ever seeing any here, and rarely on other libertarian sites. Sure, there have been plenty of posts about the possibility, even liklihood, of violence as our social and/or economic system breaks down, but I can’t recall ever seeing anyone here calling for it. If discussing the possiblity of societal turmoil is what you consider “violent rhetoric”, then you’ve defined the term into meaninglessness.

  • Ian B, after thinking about it I have decided to leave your comment in place. This is so that (a) Bod’s and RAB’s replies continue to make sense to the reader, and (b) because judging from the rest of your output I am almost sure that it is a hamfisted satirical reference to the justifications for violence offered by communists and other left wing revolutionaries over the years. If so, truly stupid comment in the circumstances. If not, utterly odious. Probably just stupid though.

  • lucklucky

    NYT vs NYT


    Palin hanged.

    And now to go doen to Leftist level:

    DailyKOS leftist blogger:
    CongressWOMAN Giffords Voted Against Nancy Pelosi! And Is Now DEAD To Me!

    Do i need to remind what left said of Bush?

  • MarkE


    Of course Loughner was “right wing”; in modern political terms “right wing” means (if it means anything at all) someone with whom the writer disagrees so much they have to see them as evil. Tomasky sees Loughner as evil therefore Loughner must, by definition, be right wing.

  • luckylucky, thank you for the link to the American Spectator post drawing attention to the contrast between the New York Times’ response to Hasan’s killings and Loughner’s.

    As I commented there, the fact that two such similar posts as that one and mine here can be written independently almost suggests some sort of pattern…

  • Johnathan Pearce

    And of course let’s not forget that even in supposedly genteel Britain, we hear of how political party strategists go in for “decapitation” ploys. The language of politics can often have violent allusions, military metaphors, etc.

    Which of course is precisely why libertarians want the state to shrink, and reduce the influence of politics in our lives.

  • People get shot all the time by criminals and that is horrible and deplorable. But just because this woman was a leading member of the political predator class does not mean her shooting was any more worthy of attention than some truly innocent person who was the victim of a deranged individual.

  • Paul Marks

    It was as if the left (from the Democrat Sheriff in Puma County to Paul Krugman of the NYT, plus the BBC and other leftist hacks) were reading from a script.

    “Hate speech”, “hate mongers”, “incitement of the people by radio and television broadcasters” and so on. The normal cry for “civility” (i.e. an end to dissent) and “politicians should drop their ideology and work together” (translation – Republicans should drop whatever principles they still have and submit to the agenda of the left).

    There was even the a vague connection to reality – for example the supposed “hate monger” Glenn Beck (named by Paul Krugman) has been going on about nonviolence (running shows about Gandhi and so on) for two years.

    As for “targetting” – the DAILY KOS (and other leftists) have used that language and imagery for years – in fact THE DAILY KOS SPECIFICALLY TARGETED THIS MEMBER OF CONGRESS (supposedly she was not 100% loyal to the Holy One in the Whitehouse).

    Also the MSM (and so on) have utterly ignored the murderer himself.

    Not only was he a racist (newsflash – racism is not part of the free market idea) who admired Adolf Hitler’s “My Stuggle” he also admired “The Communist Manifesto”.

    However, the truth about this “leftist pot head” (as people who knew him described him) does not fit the agenda of the left – so they ignore it.

    It is much like the person who crashed an aircraft into a tax H.Q. building in Texas last year.

    The left raised the cry that he was a follower of Glenn Beck (and so on) – then it turned out the man was a Communist.

    And suddenly the whole thing (which had been a huge story) was a nonstory – all media outlets stopped covering the story at once.

    It was disturbing to see how the whole MSM just changed cause in midstream – huge story becomes non story.

  • Simon Jester

    The repugnant Tomasky has posted a follow-up article.

    Needless to say, he is unrepentant.

  • PeterT

    The article itself contains few surprises. What I find interesting is the lack of soul searching on the left. What about asking: “what is making these people so angry?” As pointed out in the original post, it is a question they feel able to ask about jihadists.

  • I think the terms left wing and right wing both presuppose some residual level of sanity and intellectual coherence that this man obviously did not possess.

    Was Mark Chapman left or right? Does anyone know or even care? Does the question even have meaning?

    Having seen the YouTube video, I’d go with the thoughtful diagnosis of the bearded analyst in the Gary Larson cartoon: Just Plain Nuts.

  • John K

    Do you recall a few years back a nutter attacked a Lib Dem MP at his surgery with a sword? He wounded the MP and killed one of his staff. Was that front page news around the world? Did the US news bulletins lead with it? Did we have a nationwide minute of silence?

    The fact is, a deranged man committed a crime. For the MSM to immediately kneejerk it into an attack on Sarah Palin and the Tea Party shows them up for the nasty pukes they truly are.

  • Tedd


    Tedd, that’s neither fair nor accurate.

    It’s both fair and accurate, I just mean something different by “violent rhetoric” than you do. Rightly or wrongly, when I used the phrase “violent rhetoric” I meant any expression that states or implies support for violence directed toward any real person. In most cases, I would probably include expressions that state or imply that a violent act led to a good outcome even though decrying the act itself. By that definition there are hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of violent rhetoric on Samizdata.

    Naturally, there are places where violent rhetoric is acceptable. For example, if the violence itself is acceptable then, generally speaking, violent rhetoric in reference to it would be, too. I would have no problem with someone expressing pleasure at the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, or praising the actions of those who brought about his demise.

    Obviously, that means there’s plenty of room for disagreement about when violent rhetoric is acceptable. But, by my definition, there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of it around.

  • Paul Marks

    I also “love” the idea this man was influenced by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

    I see their favourate is “The Communist Manfesto” and the National Socialist work “My Struggle” (by A. Hitler).

    The Guardian writer is a liar.

    As for the “violent rhetoric” – for years Glenn Beck has preached NONviolence.

    Special shows on Gandhi and so on.

    So the Guardian writer is (again) a liar.

  • Bod

    There’s a world of difference between:

    ‘Come the day we hear that Castro is finally dead, I’ll be the first one to be celebrating,’


    “You know, I’d have more respect for you if you were actually prepared to go over to Havana and shoot that SOB Castro in the head.”

    I’m unconvinced that the former is comparable to the latter. The first is mild – not only by blog standards, but by any standards of publication in the US or Europe.

    The latter is quite different, and in the way it’s phrased, is a direct call to action on your part, by me. To claim that both constitute ‘violent rhetoric’ is – frankly – laughable, unless you consider that being crass is somehow violent.

    I personally have no problem with embracing the spirit of that first quote. Indeed, I’ve said it myself many times in ‘polite company’.

    I can’t imagine a situation where I could utter the second (except to illustrate a point). For one, because I don’t think it should happen, secondly, because I can’t think of someone I’d want to coerce into doing it and lastly, because it’s remarkably crass.

    So, have I embraced ‘violent rhetoric’? I don’t think I have.

    Just in passing, I think that most of the ‘violent rhetoric’ spouted by leftist politicos is all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    I think that the correct course here is to confront them whenever they push this ‘violence’ meme, get in their faces and punch back just as hard. To not do so is to cede ground to them, prolonging the battle.

  • In most cases, I would probably include expressions that state or imply that a violent act led to a good outcome even though decrying the act itself. By that definition there are hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of violent rhetoric on Samizdata.

    Can you provide a specific example (omitting the author’s name) so that I can see what exactly you mean?

  • RAB

    Well in the opportunist way that the Left has always embraced, and the phrase “Never let a good crisis go to waste”, Truth has already flown out the window here.

    I was just watching the shooter’s High school teacher on Sky News. He has pegged Loughner as an extremely disturbed young man that the school was deeply worried about, with no coherent political ideas whatsoever.

    But hey! fuck that eh? He’s a Right winger right? Stands to reason, he had a gun!Only Right wingers love and have any use for guns.

    Oh yeah? Try some of these quotes on for size…

    We could start with Stalin’s “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic” and move on to Mao’s “Power comes from the barrel of a gun”

    Then there is placid and peaceful Pol Pot’s reorganisation of Cambodia so that there were about 3 million less citizens in it (more room for the faithful see!) and of course cuddly Uncle Jo’s show trials, executions, Gulags and state manufactured famines, that murdered hundreds of millions.

    A coupe of Che quotes wouldn’t go amiss either. Try these…

    “I don’t care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting.”


    “In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm”

    Yes that’s the sort of peaceful rational reasonable humane dialogue that the Left loves and espouses isn’t it?

    The Left are scared shitless of the Tea Party movement. They have already tried every smear in the book, every lie and half truth they can possibly lay their hands on or just plain manufacture to scare the populace away from voting for them, and they still lost bigtime in the American Congress. This is a godsend to them.

    Look forward to the Left pushing for not just Hate Speech Laws, but now inclement and hurtful speech laws next.

    They will be able to carry on regardless though with their own brand of Hate speech, which will, of course be protected by the defence of fair comment.

    Daniel Hannan’s blog is on the money again, but he writes for a right wing newspaper doesn’t he? Bound to be suspect! Check the link in the piece to Hanoi Jane (Sarah Palin’s fault) she’s on the rampage again with not one single fact in her head as usual, and very little else either.

  • Tedd


    Can you provide a specific example (omitting the author’s name) so that I can see what exactly you mean?

    Too easy for someone to recognize their own words and be offended, or to search on the string and find the author. I don’t want to incite a who-said-what flame war. But if you search on verbs that imply violence, such as “kill” or “shoot,” or terms that describe groups generally not liked by Samizdatistas, such as “leftist” or “environmentalist,” you’ll find examples.

    I will concede, though, that examples were a bit harder to find than I expected, so there are perhaps not as many on Samizdata as I suggested. But it’s important to put that in perspective: the discussion here is orders of magnitude more civil than on most sites, and the subject is the prevalence of violent rhetoric in general, not on this site, specifically. I intended no criticism of Samizdata. Quite the reverse. I only meant to say that violent rhetoric is so common that it even shows up here, were the discussion is normally very civil compared to the blogosphere as a whole.

  • The Left are projecting their own failings onto the right:


    They are a sick bunch.

  • Dishman

    The Sheriff knew Loughner already.

  • Laird

    I stand by my earlier statement. Tedd’s definition of “violent rhetoric” is so broad that it contributes nothing to the discussion. In fact, I think it offers cover to the violent leftists who project it onto others.

  • The Telegraph are now down at the bottom of the barrel with the Southern Poverty Making Shit Up Centre-


    -how low can this go? Apparently the SPLC are a “civil rights group”. Who knew?

  • Jane

    I remember a few months ago the left put out a you tube video. To them it was a joke and it showed a classroom where the teacher asked the students to participate in some “green” activities or some environmental activities. If the children said no thanks the response was, “okay no pressure.” Then they hit a button and the children exploded and their blood was splattered all over their classmates. It went on to an office scenario , etc etc.

    I guess to the left that is just humor, not violent rhetoric. When a movie was made about assassinating GWB that was just art not violent rhetoric. Gotta love the hypocrisy.

  • and invented his own form of grammar called “truth language”, that is said to set people free of the government.

    I have to admit I’d go for a free sample…

  • I got so excited that I forgot to credit Ian’s link with the above quote…

  • Tedd


    I stand by my earlier statement. Tedd’s definition of “violent rhetoric” is so broad that it contributes nothing to the discussion.

    I have a pet peeve about over-heated rhetoric in blogs and blog comments, in general, and I set the bar for what I consider acceptably civil fairly high. So my definition of “violent rhetoric” is broad by intent. But it would help me to understand your perspective if you could provide a definition of “violent rhetoric” that contradicts my assertion that it’s common in the blogoshere (that being the only point in our discussion I can find that we disagree on).

  • RAB

    -how low can this go?

    Plenty left in the bottom of the barrel yet Ian.

    They’ll be checking his record collection next. Aha! Black Sabbath!…

    Though judging by his picture in the link Laird provided ages ago, he looks like a Doors fan to me. 😉

  • He looked fully dressed to me, RAB;-P

  • RAB

    Jim was fully clothed when I saw them at the Roundhouse Alisa. The willy out thing is a myth, he only threatened to whip it out and the Florida Plod, looking for any excuse, arrested him.

    The MC5 now, were stark bollock naked, all of them, when I saw them at a Festival in Lincoln, 1970 ish.

    But this is a serious thread you minx, we mustn’t highjack it. 😉

  • Quite unfortunately for all of us Tedd, you are not the one setting the bar.

  • Tedd’s right by the way.

  • Richard Thomas

    WRT violent rhetoric, I think, also, that one has to be careful to distinguish outright violent rhetoric from defensive violent rhetoric. The common phrase “From my cold dead hands”, of course, does have a violent undertone but it is purely as a response to an initiation of violence from another party.

    Statists, of course, are blind to the violence implicit in forcefully disarming a person and see the government in terms only of doing good (except when it suits them otherwise) and never see the violence implicit in creating a law. Thus, to them, they see only a violent statement and totally miss the self-defensive aspect.

  • Laird

    !) When did I post any link here with my photo in it? I can’t imagine that I would have done such a thing. It must have been some imposter!

    2) I’m not particularly a Doors fan (not that I actively dislike them, and I am rather fond of “People are Strange”). In the late 60’s I was more a fan of Jethro Tull, especially this album.

    3) More seriously, and to Tedd’s question, I define “violent rhetoric” as inciting others to commit violent acts against persons or property. I do not consider the term to include assertions of a right to self defense, nor do I consider it to include discussions about the possibility of generalized violence following a societal breakdown (such as if the US were to experience hyperinflation causing the collapse of the dollar). Quoting Jefferson* or the Declaration of Independence** is not “violent rhetoric”, either. It is merely a generalized expression of historical principle, not a specific incitement to violence.

    * “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”

    ** “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government . . . .”

  • My feeling here is that we’re dancing to their tune, all desparetely trying to dissociate ourselves from “violent rhetoric”. Backing up Tedd (I think anyway), I’ve seen numerous assertions of the “we’ve got guns and we’re not afraid to use them, don’t push us too far Obamunists” type on various forums. I can distinctly remember once saying here (no idea which thread) something to the effect of “well what are you waiting for? Where’s this line in the sand of yours?”

    Now of course this is generally bluster; it’s the loudmouth in a bar saying, “don’t push me” and hoping his friends will hold him back. But it is violent rhetoric.

    Now me, I don’t have a problem with that. I think violent rhetoric is entirely valid. I don’t think we Brits should be ashamed of our discussions of lampposts and hempen rope either. I want the bastards to think that maybe, if they keep doing this to us, they may face violent rebellion. The certainty that they won’t leaves them without fear. And you know what Jefferson said…

    I’ve thought seriously about this, as best one can in the hypothetical. I’ve thought, would I feel morally justified in killing these people? The answer I’ve reached is yes. If the mob rose up- if it were not some solitary, counterproductive, futile gesture then, yes, I would act as countless men before me have acted, and I would kill. In terms of our politics as a species, that is how we act when pushed too far. If somebody were to kill Tony Blair, I say honestly- and I hope without bluster- then I would be glad. I would cheer. I would not put on a display of mock horror and say, “oh, that’s terrible”. I’d have a drink to celebrate.

    This week, several people in Australia have died, and possibly more will, due not just to an act of nature but because people from the Enemy Class actively discouraged their government from installing flood defences which would no longer be needed due to Global Warming. The Enemy are killing people every day; in wars partly, but also by malign negligence. How many have died due to the treatment of the Third World by this woman’s oligarchic cabal? How many unnamed, unknown little people in Africa die from DDT bans, and from active suppression of their economies by the Left? How many more are going to die unless we can stop these people?

    I feel sad for those people. I feel sad for the Australian victims of the floods. I feel sad for Joanna Yeates and her family.

    But when one of the enemy dies… sorry, I feel nothing at all. And I won’t pretend I do.

  • MattP

    I’d like to offer a perspective from the states on this atrocity.

    The media meme isn’t gaining traction not because of an obsession with guns here in the states, but an indifference to them.

    A lot of us like to shoot. Some, though, grow up without ever acquiring a taste for it. The thing is, it’s hard to convince such people that the mere presence of guns causes violence. How do you convince someone who didn’t much care his dad had a .38 revolver in his dresser drawer that a person with access to a firearm is inevitably bound to use it in a crime?

    That’s not how it worked out in their experience.

    The media proceeds as if everyone is operating in the same vacuum as they are. Those of us who like to shoot know that we’ve never been tempted to kill a politician. And a great many of Americans who don’t care for the shooting sports know that the fact they had access to a gun didn’t turn them into killers.

    It’s a hard sell.

  • Excellent comment from MattP. I’d never really thought of it like that.

    JP is right about the endemic nature of quasi-military language in politics. people “fighting elections” and when elected having “Wars on…” everything under the sun. I guess they do it because it sounds macho and it sounds decisive and all…

    Is it in some way responsible for violence? No more than movies or TV or games. I mean if they had the level of influence they are supposed to then I as a fan of Bruce Willis movies would feel the urgent need to get into fights wearing a dirty vest, stopping only to make the odd wise-crack. It’s because most people see the difference between fantasy and reality. The mad of course (pretty much by definition) can’t… But then what triggers violence in people? Hard to say. I remember the tabloids moral-panicing over heavy metal. Not a dicky-bird bout the effect German late romantic music had on the psychopathology of a certain monorchid. The real nutters – who knows? But it probably isn’t anything that we would recognise as anything other than deranged conspiracy theories and the like.

    Not that I’m blowing my own trumpet but over at CCinZ yesterday I blogged about a recent British convert to salafi Islam. he went straight from the BNP – just flipped over during a week’s holiday in Morroco. There is something about that which intuitively makes more sense than a nutter (and he clearly is a nutter) making a long spiritual journey or something. I guess what I was trying to say in my post called “Any dream will do..” is that at the bonkers ends of extreme social, political or religious views that is true. These people will go with anything as long as it is extreme and they will flip quickly.

    Oswald was much the same. What actually motivates them seems invariably to be minor things such as a week’s holiday. Well I spent 10 days in Malta not that long since. Upon my return I didn’t hot-foot it to the nearest Catholic Church. I guess I’m saying these sort of people have a profoundly weird capacity to wig out and to perform the most amazing mental gymnastics
    with their world view. Tim McVeigh springs to mind too. As perhaps do the 7/7 bombers. Some people just wig out. It is interesting that the “martydom” video made by the 7/7 leader was cut to just the end by pretty much every media outfit. The vast majority of the rant wasn’t about Iraq or the ‘stan – it was about the apathy of his fellow Muslims – imams happy to have a comfortable life and drive a Merc and stuff. Of course that didn’t fit the media narrative because it had to be “blowback” and because it just seemed not to justify the action. Yet it did to the perp himself. He was well passed writing intemperate letters to the local masjid.

    Even Mohammed Atta was to a very large extent motivated by the predominance of Western architecture towering over the old mosques of his native Cairo. He was of course by training an architect.

    The thing with nutters or extremists is they do things because they are nutters or extremists and their motives tend not to make much sense. They make perfect sense in their own heads but they don’t tend to stand-up to scrutiny by the outsider. We do ourselves an injustice by not realising this and trying to invent reasons that make sense to us. The guy who shot Reagan did it because he was obsessed with Jodie Foster. Like that makes any sense. Sometimes the truth makes little sense and in the case of the supremely unhinged I would suggest that is almost all the time. I could go on – those nutters who offeed themselves because of the Swift-Tuttle comet, Denis Nielson, Peter Sutcliffe, the Crossbow Cannibal… All raving mad. This geezer – yup. Does any normal person believe that shooting the Congresswoman advanced any political cause one iota? Some evil (Stalin’s purges for example) have method in their madness and some evil is just mad.

  • Laird

    It seems that a solid majority of Americans aren’t buying the swill being proffered by leftist pundits, and think that the AZ shooting was just a random act of violence rather than the result of political anger in the country. I guess a few vestiges of sanity yet remain here!

  • Laird: I wouldn’t expect them to. The idea that it is Sarah Palin’s fault is just so completely nuts that you have to be living in a bubble divorced from reality to believe it. Most Americans are not in this bubble. I watching with appalled fascination at how big this bubble is but still, most Americans are not in this bubble.

  • Paul Marks

    Ian B.

    There may come a time when it is time fight physically,when they come for us PHYSICALLY.

    And I will be with you – after all what have I got to lose? The great pleasure of gasping for breath? The wonderful career of being stuck in a box at a park? The wife and children I do not have?

    No if it comes to a death fight – put me on the front line.

    However, the person comming to kill us will not be some little Congresswomen from a rich family who wanted to show how compassionate she was by becomming a Democrat.

    The lady is even all that bad – do you know the only time that Glenn Beck has ever mentioned her? As the left was screaming at him, even more than normal, the staff went back and checked.

    He PRAISED her – for her courage in standing up against Obama (and Bush) on border security.

    Not an “immigration” thing as British people understand the term – what is happening over the southern border is much more like violent invasion than immigration.

    In fact

  • Paul Marks

    And, of course, the lady voted AGAINST Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House (all the Republicans voted in favour of their candidate – but some Democrats voted against their candidate, and Member of Congress Giffords was one of them) and was a strong Second Amendment person.

    One think I should have done (and did not) is draw a strong line between spin and a direct lie.

    Spin is the sort of thing one gets in most of the media – “this nasty tone” implying there was some sort of link with the murders without formally saying so.

    The direct LIE one is likely to find on MSNBC or in the pages of the New York Times “all the news that FITS” being its true motto (although even “fit to print” showed a snobbish and rather sinister attitude).

    A recent example is the atttitude of the murderer on abortion.

    Parts of the MSM (including ABC news) reported at how the young man laughed about abortion in class and made crude remarks about the babies.

    The New York Times twisted the report to make it look like the man was antiabortion.


    Why lie about such a thing?

    Simple, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck (and so on) are known to be antiabortion.

    So if you put the idea into the minds of your readers that the murderer was also antiabortion……

    Simple enough – if you have total contempt for the truth. Which the New York Times does – it will not hesitate at telling direct lies (for the good of the cause). A lot of the MSM WILL hesitate at a direct lie.

    That is a distinction I should have explained more than I did.

  • Paul Marks

    Let us remember who and what this muderer was.

    Apart from the “little” fact that he was insane, he was also….

    By accounts at school and community college “liberal pothead”.

    He admired both the Red Collectivism of The Communist Manifesto, and the Brown (National Socialist) collectivism of Adolf Hitler.

    He was an athiest and a supporter (not as the New York Time claimed, an opponent of abortion).

    Is this what Mr Michale Tomasky means by “mostly right wing”?