Jerrold Loughner allegedly went to a grocery store parking lot in Tucson, Arizona yesterday morning, where he allegedly pulled out a Glock semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine and shot Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head at point-blank range. He then allegedly continued shooting into the crowd, wounding 18 people and killing several others, including a 9 year old girl and a federal judge who had just stopped by to say hello to the Congresswoman. He continued shooting until he was tackled by two brave onlookers who held him down until the police arrived and took him into custody.
As always, the news reports the shooter as being a “mentally disturbed individual,” “an anti-social loner,” etc. There has been speculation on both sides that Loughner is one of theirs. Evidence seems to point both ways; he was described as a doper, lefty flag burner, but his ramblings also included concepts near and dear to the hearts of those like Glenn Beck – the gold standard, government mind control, and the criminal nature of our government.
I have no problem with the description of Mr. Loughner as being mentally ill. You must be terribly mentally ill to walk up behind another human being and shoot them point-blank in the head, and then to turn and spray the crowd of horrified onlookers with bullets until 18 people lie broken and bleeding on the pavement.
But how did Mr. Loughner get to that dark place? What did he see, and hear that fed those sick and twisted fantasies that led to him first buying his gun, then deciding to use it on a Democratic congresswoman who represented his district in Arizona?
I think I know.
The right would have us believe that the media is “liberal.” I believe there is nothing further from the truth. These days, there is no such thing as the “liberal media.” There are facts and statistics to back up my assertion that talk radio has a ratio of 9:1 conservative over liberal. The conservatives have their own propaganda channel in FOX, where the left is vilified 24/7 where what they broadcast only occasionally stops to kiss the truth on the cheek.
The left had their violent days back in the 60’s and 70’s with the Vietnam war; the Black Panthers were a real threat then, along with violent groups like the SDS, etc. There were bombs, and fires and people died.
However – a HUGE difference between then and now? NO INTERNET. NO CABLE NEWS. The left never ever had a national platform to spread their ideology; it spread from person to person, through secret “cells” on college campuses, from where it spilled onto the streets. These people were always on the fringe; everyone considered them to be criminals – they dared not proclaim themselves openly, but worked in the shadows.
Today the hate is right out in the open: it spews 24/7/365 from the mouths of mainstream media figures like Rush Limbaugh – whose voice is broadcast to our soldiers – !! Rightwing politicians have adopted this violent rhetoric as their own, placing rifle cross-hairs on their political opponents, and encourage their supporters to “take them out’ by shooting M-16s at paper targets who wear their opponents’ faces. We have even elected them to represent us; Alan West, the newly elected rep from FL, would have us believe that “if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”
Lunatics, real mental headcases like Glenn Beck, have their own tv shows: hours every day to broadcast their hate, their twisted views, their bigotry, prejudice, homophobia, religious zealotry and conspiracy theories to their millions of viewers….which end up reaching, as Eugene Robinson said last night, the weak, the infirm, the mentally unbalanced and the fear-filled who see monsters lurking every shadow.
These people are exhorted to fight back, to “reload,” to “take out” those government monsters who are coming for their freedom — and now, because the right has also removed almost all meaningful restrictions on gun purchases, these fear-filled people can buy all the guns they want to fight back, to kill the monsters who are coming for their guns and their freedoms and their jobs.
I hope the events of yesterday shock all of us enough to stop the madness, but considering what I have read and heard, the right refuses to take responsibility for any of it; no, as always, they simply remove the evidence, scrub their webpages to remove the incriminating rifle sights, and they profess themselves to be “shocked and horrified” that this could possibly happen – even when they themselves laid the trail of breadcrumbs that led to that parking lot in Tucson, Arizona.
I would like to think that the brave congresswoman and those who died yesterday are the only victims of this rightwing hatred…but I don’t hold out much hope